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Tuning the heater temperature control

The facilities described here are available in RepRepFirmware-dc42 and DuetWiFiFirmware version 1.15 and later.

How the heating control operates ¶ 

Each heating controller in RepRapFirmware 1.15 and later can work either in bang-bang mode of in PID mode. When operating in PID mode, it can get its PID parameters in either of two ways:

  • Use two sets of PID parameters computed from a first-order + delay time (FOPDT) model of the heating system. The FOPDT model parameters may derived using auto-tuning, or configured manually using M307.
  • Use one set of legacy PID parameters configured manually using M301. This provides backwards-compatibility with previous versions, and provides a fallback if the behaviour of your heating system cannot be approximated well enough by a FOPDT model.

After power up or reset, the bed heater controller is in bang-bang mode and the extruder heaters use the model-derived PID parameters. If you use the M301 command to set the legacy PID parameters, the controller for that heater switches over to use them. If you run a successful auto tune or you set the model parameters manually using the M307, the controller switches back to using model-derived PID parameters.

To see which set of parameters is being used, run M307 H# where H is the heater number, and that will tell you either that the model is in use (so model-based PID parameters are being used for that heater), or not in use (so legacy PID parameters are being used).

Each heating controller performs temperature monitoring to try to detect fault conditions such as a heater of thermistor falling out of an extruder heating block. The temperature monitor relies on the model parameters to decide what is reasonable behaviour. Therefore, even if you decide to use legacy PID parameters, you should still define an approximate model of the heater to provide good heater monitoring without false alarms.

Setting the model parameters by auto tuning ¶ 

Auto tuning is initiated by the M303 command:

M303 H1 S240 ; auto tune heater 1, default PWM, 240C target or maximum temperature

M303 ; report the auto-tune status or last result

Firmware 1.18beta1 and later ¶ 

The S parameter is the temperature to heat up to. The default value depends on which heater you are tuning. During auto tuning, the heater will be run at the specified power until this temperature is reached and then it will be switched off; so the temperature will overshoot the target somewhat

The P value is the PWM value to use. Unless your heater is greatly over-powered, use the default PWM value of 1.0.

Firmware 1.17 and earlier ¶ 

The S parameter is the maximum allowed temperature. Auto tuning will be abandoned if the temperature exceeds this value.

The P parameter is the PWM fraction to use. You should choose it such that when the heater is run at this PWM for an extended period, a typical printing temperature will be reached but the maximum specified by the S parameter will not be exceeded. The default value of 0.5 is satisfactory for a heater of modest power. If you have a particularly powerful hot end heater, reduce it as necessary to avoid excessive temperature rise. Conversely, when tuning a weak bed heater that can barely reach 100C, increase it.

All firmware versions ¶ 

Only one heater may be auto tuned at a time. Before commencing auto tuning, the heater to be tuned must be at or near room temperature and its temperature reading should be stable.

Send M303 with an H parameter (and optionally P and S parameters) to start the auto tune process. A message will be generated when auto tuning is completed or abandoned. You can also run M303 with no parameters to see the current status of auto tuning.

Warning! During auto tuning there is minimal protection against heating faults. Therefore you should not leave the printer unattended during auto tuning.

If auto tuning is successful, new model parameters are set and the PID parameters computed from them are used. You can see these parameters by running the M307 H# command, where # is the heater number M307 will also indicate that the model is in use, meaning that the PID parameters displayed by M307 are used, not the PID parameters displayed by M301.

Tuning a hot end heater typically takes between five and ten minutes. Tuning a bed heater may take more than half an hour, depending on the thermal capacity of the bed. You can cancel tuning by sending M0.

After you have run auto tuning and checked that the heater control is working well, run M500 to save the heater parameters in config-override.g (this is supported in firmware 1.17 and later). Alternatively, construct a M307 command with the model parameters and add it to config.g. For example, if after tuning you run M307 H0 and see this:

M307 H0

Heater 0 model: gain 199.0, time constant 962.6, dead time 4.5, in use: yes

then you should add the following to config.g to preserve this model:

M307 H0 A199.0 C962.6 D4.5 B0

The B0 parameter tells the system to use PID (the default on power up is bang-bang for the bed heater). If you need to limit the maximum PWM of the heater, add an S parameter to the M307 command, for example S0.8 will limit the PWM to 80%.

Make sure there is no M301 command for the same heater after the M307 command, otherwise the model will not be used.

Troubleshooting auto tuning ¶ 

  • If you are using firmware 1.17 or earlier and auto tuning fails because the maximum temperature you specified in the M301 command (or the default) is exceeded, you will be prompted to use a higher maximum temperature (S parameter) or lower PWM (P parameter). You should wait until the hot end is within 10C of room temperature before trying again. The higher your hot end heater power, the lower the P value you need. The default of 0.5 works well for a 30W heater on a typical hot end (E3Dv6) run at its nominal voltage. A 40W heater might need P=0.4, and a 60W heater P=0.25. If your power supply voltage is higher than the nominal heater voltage then you should reduce P further. For example if you are using a 12V heater with a 13.2V supply, you should reduce P by 20% to account for the 10% higher voltage.
  • If auto tuning fails with a message that the temperature is not rising fast enough, this indicates that either you are using too low a P value in the M303 command, or the dead time in the existing model is much too low for your heater. You can increase the dead time using the M307 command. For example, sending M307 H0 D30 will increase the dead time to 30 seconds. The actual dead time will be known after a successful auto tuning.

Setting the model parameters manually ¶ 

Model parameters can be changed and reported using the M307 command. Examples:

M307 H1 A350 C139 D5.5 B0 ; set model parameters for heater 1 and use PID mode

M307 H1 ; report model parameters for heater 1, and whether the model is being used

The H parameter specifies the heater.

The A parameter is the model gain, which is the ultimate temperature rise divided by the PWM fraction. For example, a gain of 350 means that at a constant 50% PWM, the temperature would eventually reach ambient temperature plus 350 * 0.5 degC.

The D parameter is the dead time, which is the delay between a change in PWM and an appreciable effect on the rate of temperature change.

The C parameter is the model time constant. This may be thought of as the time taken for the temperature rise to reach 63.2% of its ultimate value after the heater is switched on from cold at constant PWM, less the dead time.

You can limit the PWM by adding a suitable S parameter, for example S0.8 will limit the PWM to 80%.

To use bang-bang mode instead of PID, change B0 to B1. In bang-bang mode, the S parameter is still used to limit the PWM when the heater is turned on.

Measuring the gain ¶ 

  • If necessary, use M301 to set some PID parameters that let you achieve a steady temperature. You can set the I term to zero if it helps - this means you won't reach the temperature you set, but that doesn't matter.
  • Set the heater to a temperature you typically use and wait until the temperature is stable. It doesn't matter if it is still creeping up slowly, but it must not be oscillating.
  • Send M573 P# (where # is the heater number) to report the average PWM.
  • The gain is: (actual_heater_temperature - ambient_temperature)/average_pwm.

Manual adjustments to the heater model parameters ¶ 

If necessary you can make manual adjustments to the M307 model parameters, as follows:

  • If during initial heating the temperature undershoots the target, reduce the A parameter. If it overshoots the target, increase the A parameter. Try increasing/decreasing it by 5% or 10%.
  • If the response to temperature changes caused externally (e.g. the print cooling fan turning on) is too slow, reduce the D parameter. If the temperature is not stable but oscillates around the target temperature even when the print head is stationary, increase the D parameter.

Setting legacy PID parameters ¶ 

This mode is intended as a backup, for use if model-based tuning is not working well enough. The parameters are configured using the M301 command. Example:

M301 H1 P10 I0.2 D50 T0.3 S1.0

The H parameter is the heater number. Usually, 0 is the bed heater, 1 is the extruder 0 heater, and so on.

P, I and D are the standard proportional. integral and differential coefficients, scaled by 255 for compatibility with older firmware. A negative P value means use bang-bang control. Important: firmware versions prior to 1.15 beta 7 had a bug that doubled the I and halved the D values requested before setting them, and conversely used to report half the actual I value and double the actual D value. Therefore, in your M301 commands you should use twice the I value and half the D value compared to earlier firmware versions.

T is the approximate additional PWM needed (scaled by 255 again) per additional 1C of temperature. This is equivalent to 255 divided by the gain parameter of the model.

S is an optional scaling factor used to scale the output of the PID, normally 1.0.

Previous firmwares also had B and W parameters in the M301 command. These are no longer used.

Temperature faults ¶ 

If the firmware detects a temperature anomaly, it will turn off the corresponding heater and put it in the Fault state. This can be seen in DuetWebControl, which will show the status of that heater as "fault" instead of "active", "standby" or "off".

You can reset a heater that is in the fault state using the command M562 P# where # is the heater number.

When a heater goes into the fault state, an error message is generated giving the reason. You can view the message in the Console page of DuetWebControl or PanelDue. The most common reasons are:

  • Temperature reading was too low for several consecutive readings, suggesting that the thermistor has become disconnected
  • Temperature reading was above the limit set by M143 for several consecutive readings
  • A thermocouple or PT100 interface chip reported an error for several consecutive readings
  • During initial heating, the temperature was not rising as fast as expected. This can occur if you have a slow or low-powered heater and you have not tuned the heater model, so that your heater has a greater dead time or a lower gain than the default model
  • The heater reached the target temperature, but the temperature subsequently varied by more than +/-10C. This can occur if you are using unsuitable PID parameters, or if you turn on a very strong print cooling fan that cools the nozzle excessively.


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