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Eddie Current Probe Comparison - a PERSONAL viewpoint


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Eddie Probe Comparison:

 

Feature

Beacon Probe

Cartographer

IDM

Packaging

Plastic Box. USB Cable and Plugs included

Cardboard Box, Connectors and short cable included

Plastic bag, connector included no cable

Connection

USB

USB / CAN

USB /CAN

Temperature Limits

No temperature warnings

No temperature Warnings

Warnings - coil temperature exceed limits

Performance

Very Reliable and consistent (4months +)

Very reliable

(3 weeks)

Inconsistent readings

(2weeks, then changed)

Installation

USB from probe to Raspi

Can H and L spliced into toolhead, 5V and GND from probe input

Can H and L spliced into toolhead, 5V and GND from probe input

Cost

1.AUD$149.00 incl postage

2.AUD$219.00

AUD$55.00

AUD$64.95

Supplier

1.Beacon 3D (USA)

2.PhaserFPV (Aus)

Orvil3D (Australia)

Budi Store (Aliexpress)

 

·      Beacon Probe:

       image.jpeg.5b574b797fa84c7d4f4959984187e007.jpeg   image.png.d36123933935aaba0166db44cfd1999e.png

  Plastic box with connectors, probe and USB Cable

·      Cartographer:

      image.jpeg.8fffcd2a362c81dbdeea92d01f374934.jpeg    image.png.46e7630b11668b7c33e1ee8123df63b0.png

  Cardboard box with connectors and pre-crimped cable

·      IDM:

       image.jpeg.5fdcf6e71ab64ae381a099c4c2f29294.jpeg     image.png.23d43c8c3bb4feeab713a816c787f720.png

  Plastic Bag with one connector and crimps. No cable.

Here are the probes in order: IDM, Cartographer and Beacon:

   image.jpeg.56cb5ec0d519730661009bcc491435aa.jpeg

 Each probe has identifying marks on the coil, but the Beacon Probe has the name written on it as well.

Whilst I had the Trident 300mm in for some repairs and maintenance, I decided to try out the IDM Eddie scanner (Canbus) that I got from Aliexpress.  First impression was not good. The probe was delivered in a plastic bag, no cable, no instructions.  Went ahead and installed this on both the Micron 180 and the Trident 300. 

Had trouble with the alignment of the probe PCB mounting holes on both printers with the IDM probes. They were out of alignment by about 1mm and had to enlarge the mounting holes on both probes. The probe on the Micron was mounted to a printed piece which could have accounted for this, but the one on the Trident was mounted on a CNC carriage from Funsor.  Also test fitted the Beacon probe on the Micron and mounting holes aligned.

Installation after that, was simple – mounted the probe and crimped a cable – one end has 4 wires from a JST connector for the probe, the other a JST connector for the toolhead board and spliced the CanH and CanL into the existing can cables on the toolhead.

Had to update the firmware on the IDM probes. Very simple process, as I followed the instructions on the cartographer github page.   Calibrated the probes and set the Z-Offset as per the instructions.

The Beacon probe (Rev D) has been installed on the VZBot and has been operating for a few months now – USB from board back to Raspi. Since then Beacon released the Rev H which is larger, but flatter than the Rev D. The overall dimensions on protruding behind the printer is similar though. Just less height.

image.png.f37f2a41224b458880f7137f45dcdd67.png             image.png.009b80ef61fe3907d128fa62706cdce2.png

 The IDM probe on the Micron has been nothing but trouble. Seems to be losing the Z-Offset and routinely comes up with “temperature out of range for coil – shutting down”., which I suspect is the cause for the inconsistent Z-Offset.  The IDM probe on the Trident has given the occasional “mcu lost communication with probe” error. I put this down to a bad splice on the CanH and CanL connections.  Or maybe it is the Canbus bridge on the Octopus board? (Had this issue on another Trident – may switch to a UTOC 1 on this whilst it is out for service)

Since installing the beacon probe (months now – Rev D version) – have not had to touch it. Works flawlessly.

Since installing the IDM on the micron – ready to chuck it out. (Must qualify and say this was the cheapest probe I could get on Aliexpress.) Did this and replaced with a Cartographer probe (CanBus) - No issues as yet - works flawlessly

Since installing the IDM on the Trident – some communication issues with the probe – will need to give it a bit more time. Did that and all issues settled. Been running for 3 weeks now and no problems. Had to take the printer out of commission for some maintenance and upgrades. Think I will change to a Cartographer Probe.

Picked up some Cartographer probes from a local supplier.Very cheap indeed - AUD50 for Canbus and AUD55 for CanBus/USB.

The Cartographer probe performs very well, probably on par with the Beacon so far.  But it is early days.  Will have to see what time and the high chamber temperatures does in the long run.

What I love about the cartographer is that it is Canbus - no bulky USB running to the toolhead. Still just the 4 wires in the umbilical. 

Which is best? - you decide

 

 

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, mvdveer said:

Which is best? - you decide

Thank you so very much for this 'report'! I have been waiting for it to appear, like I waited for my 'Donald Duck Weekblad'!

I was hoping to hear your judgement... Luckily I do not have to read between the lines to 'guess' it. But the real question should be, which is best value for money for the average 3d printer user in the world.

Because I have seen so many comparisons between several different kinds of probes, I was hoping to hear your opinion on how these probes compare to the Klicky you were using 2 years ago... and the printed TAP from 1,5 years ago, and the CNC2 version TAP from a year ago.

The previous 'report' where @Paul Trautner reported a comparison between the TAP and the IDM he wrote that the cnc chaoticslab v2 TAP was almost as good, functionally, as the IDM. But it took TAP to reach the result 1.5 hours vs 5 minutes for the IDM.

In another post where I suggested a new Voron Builder to consider an Edddy-Current probe instead of TAP, my suggestion was met by a huge resistance by experienced users that are mainly members of the Anti-CAN group.

I miss the bed meshes you make with your probes... but I can imagine that would take more time, and not really be comparative, since you would have to compare one printer to the other.

What I have managed to learn, is that both IDM and Cartographer are the same probes, hardware-wise, but IDM is meant only for the Chinese market. This also explains why the Cartographer site and documents work well with IDM.
Support for the IDM is provided only to people that have a Chinese messenger with a land line QQ? The AliExpress sellers give you a Chinese word document and a link to the Chinese github - gitee.
These IDMs are more expensive than the Cartographer and without support for non-Chinese, I would never buy it again.

The reason there is a slight difference between the Cartographer and the IDM on the pictures, is that your IDM is an older version (V2) and the Cartographer a V3. This means that you can switch Cartographer from CAN mode into USB mode by simply flashing it.

Finally, you did not mention the 'Input Shaper' functionality in your comparison form. Both the IDM v2 and Cartographer v3 do carry the Lis2DW chip which supports full Input shaper functionality. 

Oh... and availability maybe.... Apparently in Australia.. I had to import mine back in christmas, but nowadays even I can order them from Germany for 45 euros and it will be here (The Netherlands) the next day.

Edited by Dirk
added IDM gitee links
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2 hours ago, Dirk said:

Finally, you did not mention the 'Input Shaper' functionality in your comparison form. Both the IDM v2 and Cartographer v3 do carry the Lis2DW chip which supports full Input shaper functionality. 

I do not know if I would advise using the LIS2DW for input shaping. While they have greater sensitivity than ADXL345 chips, they have a lower sampling rate. This can cause inaccurate graph results, and is especially problematic if using the Shake&Tune module to help diagnose build problems or areas of improvement. 

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3 hours ago, Dirk said:

In another post where I suggested a new Voron Builder to consider an Eddy-Current probe instead of TAP, my suggestion was met by a huge resistance by experienced users that are mainly members of the Anti-CAN group.

 

Ahhhh the old angry mob strikes again.

I once made the mistake of posting that I was using a Diamondback nozzle and cheap nozzle mob came after me.

I barely escaped with my life. 😆

 

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4 hours ago, Dirk said:

Finally, you did not mention the 'Input Shaper' functionality in your comparison form.

I don't use the probes for input shaping. Use the ADXL on the CanBus Toolhead instead. And as I am using Klippain, I use the "Shake and Tune" version mentioned by @MrSprinklz, as this is part of that software package.

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2 hours ago, MrSprinklz said:

This can cause inaccurate graph results, and is especially problematic if using the Shake&Tune module to help diagnose build problems or areas of improvement. 

While this great overview is completely not about the lis2dw chip, but a personal viewpoint of someone who many around here value... I did mention it for the completeness. 

Even though I do not want to hijack the thread I would like to say just this: The Lis2dw chip is not inaccurate, on the contrary it is more sensitive. That is why automated scripts that you use, and refer to (klippain) is unable to interpret it. Which is maybe a bad thing for automation.

 

Edited by Dirk
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4 hours ago, Dirk said:

how these probes compare to the Klicky you were using 2 years ago... and the printed TAP from 1,5 years ago, and the CNC2 version TAP from a year ago.

I would say "better" with regards meshing the whole bed, and definitely faster. I can now do a 90 x90 bed probe on a 350mm build plate in less time than it took to do a 9x9 probe with TAP and klicky. Despite what may be claimed, I did see pitting on the build plate with the TAP probe - especially on smooth PEI plates. 

There will always be division in the 3D printer community as to which is best/better/more efficient/nicer/smarter/etc - thus the title - my personal opinion. The Beacon/Cartographer vs TAP debate will carry on into the future with both sides highlighting their advantages/disadvantages.  I will stick to the cartographer probe for the following reasons:

  • It is Canbus (less bulk in the umbilicus)
  • It is as accurate as the TAP
  • It scans a bigger surface area much faster than any other probe
  • it is reliable

There has to be a drawback - it cannot be mounted on a printer with a build in magnetic bed (mandala Rose be with integrated magnets). I have one of those on a printer - thus it will stay with TAP.

I had a Professor in medicine that told me 40 years ago that in medicine, like in life, there are "band wagons". You are a passenger on the side of the road, and if one of these wagons come by that you like, you will jump on it, but will jump off it again when you think a better wagon passes by. (This was in reference to changes in medical thinking, but is relevant to anything else in life).

My current bandwagon is the Cartographer probe🙂

 

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14 hours ago, mvdveer said:

My current bandwagon is the Cartographer probe🙂

Is this based solely on price? 

I have the revH Beacon, it was a my first and it seems to work extremely well. My only complaint about it was the shipping time and the price.


My next and all subsequent probes will be an eddy current, of some flavor.

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2 hours ago, BeerMedic522 said:

Is this based solely on price? 

 If you knew @mvdveer you would know he will not go for less money over superior quality. His spare goods drawers are full of Mellow PCBs, Octopus PRO's BTT 5-7 inch TFT screens,  Orbiters and Revo Vorons😂.
 

As I read it, he already answered your question...

17 hours ago, mvdveer said:
  • It is Canbus (less bulk in the umbilicus)
  • It is as accurate as the TAP
  • It scans a bigger surface area much faster than any other probe
  • it is reliable

And I think in his case availabilty also counts a big deal (thats why he keeps all those spares)

 

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@BeerMedic522 most of the reasons listed are for either, but the canbus one is specifically for Cartographer. Beacon is USB. Cartographer being canbus means keeping only one cable to the toolhead and just splicing it down to cartographer. This is opposed to using beacon and either running a usb cable clipped to the can cable @mvdveer is undoubtedly already using, or swapping to a Can+USB cable and branching that out. 

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I went from Beacon to Cartographer just to get CAN connectivity, and as far as I can tell they're pretty much identical in performance and reliability (both excellent). Of course, the Cartographer is a shameless ripoff of the Beacon, but that's a separate subject...

As far as comparing with Klicky or Tap, there is one big drawback to the Beacon-style probes that doesn't seem to get mentioned much. Namely, they're calibrated in the middle of the bed where there's effectively an infinite horizon of metal beneath them. They don't operate within 15mm or so of the bed's edge. Well, actually they operate just fine, but they return numbers that are unusably inaccurate. I spent a couple of days trying to develop a bed-edge correction model, but it's hard to do it right. I guess if it were straightforward the Beacon software would be doing it already.

I still prefer the Beacon/Cartographer to the other options (and I've tried most). Being able to create in seconds a detailed regional map for every print is a game-changer.

 

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8 hours ago, BeerMedic522 said:

Is this based solely on price?

Price is a factor, but not a big one. The Beacon H (I have two) were nearly triple the price of the Cartographer probe. I got the Beacon form Beacon 3d itself at USD80 = AUD129, with postage came to AUD149each.  I got three cartographer probes for that price (AUD50 each) and picked it up locally. The other big consideration was canbus. No USB running to the electronics compartment. So far very happy with it.

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1 hour ago, MrSprinklz said:

@BeerMedic522 most of the reasons listed are for either, but the canbus one is specifically for Cartographer. Beacon is USB. Cartographer being canbus means keeping only one cable to the toolhead and just splicing it down to cartographer. This is opposed to using beacon and either running a usb cable clipped to the can cable @mvdveer is undoubtedly already using, or swapping to a Can+USB cable and branching that out. 

Running only Can Cable - Twisted pair for CanH and CanL and two power wires. The cartographer is spliced into the cable entering the toolbar.

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2 hours ago, GarthSnyder said:

Of course, the Cartographer is a shameless ripoff of the Beacon, but that's a separate subject...

Indeed.

@mvdveer's mention of the 'beacon-clones' got me interested in them for the first time, because  I really liked what @mvdveers beacon could do but it cost about 120 euros to buy it for me (holland). Before I bought my voron, my previous printer which could print out of the box cost me 240 euros. 

I have looked into this clone story. And the Cartographer being a clone is as much as the BTT SB CAN boards or the Mellow FLY CAN boards being a clone of each other and of HartK's 2 part toolhead PCB.

The guy that made Cartographer made a smart move by using the form factor of Beacon, to make his own probe. He also did use open source parts (configuration files) of beacon. Which is completely legal and actually endorsed by you and me.

A clone would be a 1-on-1 copy of the hardware by reverse engineering of the PCB and also the firmware / software that goes with it.

  • The best proof that Cartographer is not a clone of the Beacon is that Cartographer has a completely different chip. This different chip, the STM, makes it able to use CAN and USB on the same PCB. Like a leak of Fysetc toolhead PCB I showed a few days ago. Beacon on the other hand, has a completely different chip, which makes it able to withstand higher temperatures, but unable to communicate over CAN.
    You can simply see by looking at the images that they are totally different PCBs, just the form is the same.
  • The Firmware of Cartographer, is taken and adjusted from Klipper itself with consent and assistance from the Klipper programmers. Beacon is proud to have their own code and firmware, which is not open source.

How do I know?, check out the open source documents and firmware which is on Cartographers github. They also make reference to Beacon, whenever they use their open source configuration files.

At best, what you or anyone can say, is that the 'idea' of using a eddy-current  sensor on printers is 'stolen'. It is not. As I looked up and shared in the previous mentioned thread, it is a method of 'sensing' that exists a while.

I hope beacon will also soon come with their CAN probe and have distribution points in other parts of the world, so we all can give it a try. Not just the lucky ones that live in North America or Australia apparently 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, mvdveer said:

The cartographer is spliced into the cable entering the toolbar.

I found the installation of Cartographer quite simple. It was also pre-flashed when it arrived (and I did not need to update klipper!). Because I had installed my RP2209 on the SB, it was just as simple as the clear schematics show on the website. plug in the 4 cables that came pre-crimped after mounting it.

I did not need any soldering, crimping or making my own cables (which was the case with the IDM). 

On their website they clearly recommend only to use the BTT PCBs. But I went to the discord and asked how to use the Cartographer on the Mellow Fly PCB. I received a video with an explanation on how to do it (indeed splicing, soldering). He also told me he was working on a FlexPCB which would soon become available, that would make it possible to get it all to work without soldering.

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2 hours ago, Dirk said:

Mellow Fly PCB.

Mellow Fly does have a CanBus Expander board, but this mounts in the electronics bay.  I have ordered and received these  - will use it on the other printers I am converting to Cartographer. The only concern is that it increases the amount of wires going to the toolhead again - something I want to avoid.

image.thumb.png.47bf76fcfef7bf55da5baeaaf594e5f0.png

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10 hours ago, mvdveer said:

it increases the amount of wires going to the toolhead

This is the flexpcb I was talking about....

sb2290mellow-flexpcb.thumb.jpg.944e86159cfdfd62843fec559f683500.jpg

 

If you do not have the MAX chip.... you can just 'plug it on' so you can plug in your Cartographer probe.

They are unfortunately not for sale yet, but if you ask  on the discord they will send you one to try out.

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Could someone please comment about z offset with these probes?  Is it repeatable and consistent if you setup profiles etc for different temperatures?  I change print material frequently and have reverted to Euclid and autoz for the time being as it always works perfectly.

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Mellow will have a CAN/RS232/CAN-FD toolboard with a Klipper/RRF compatable current probe - seems to be ver simular to catographer - should be out "Soon" and Duet's got their Scanning Z Probe for us RRF fans. Personally, I really only think they are useful on big printers 350+  Looking forward to wiring up my Vcore/500 with the Duet3d SZP. On smaller printers I'll just stick to some sort of clicky and PAM

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Right. Very exciting indeed. 

Mellow will come with a new update of their Fly board, connected to an Eddy Current Probe.

And I caught the scanner from Duet as well with a similar design and prestation. Maybe the best until now, who knows.

And of course we can expect a similar device from Octopus maker Big Tree Tech, which I also saw images of, but not at work yet. It seems to have been presented at the SMRFF in December. It does not have the shape of beacon or Cartographer, but looks like the Omron Probe. But has the exact same Eddy Current functionality.

Let us hope that Beacon will set the step to CAN and their own Annex / Beacon toolhead board for can or usb.

And also that Cartographer will see the light and make their own can / Usb toolhead PCB where Cartographer is a part of.

I am sure that this all is again new, improvement and nicer stuff for us all!

 

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On 3/29/2024 at 7:28 AM, WINEDS said:

Could someone please comment about z offset with these probes?

Hey @WINEDS, I had not seen your post previously. I do not know about Beacon, and also not about the ones that are about to come. However Cartographer has some advanced tuning properties, which have been implemented and documented recently. Like Temperature Differential Calibration, Different Models (which you must be familiar with, as this is meant for people like you that change their filament and plates often). For these advanced applications to work, you do need to have your z offset tweaked right. 

Like the documentation, both procedures also have been improved as of late. 

If I were you, I would check out these new features and documentation, if you have not already. But it starts all with tweaking the Z offset. 

And if you still have trouble keeping the z offset at the right place, visit the discord and ask people to help you out. They will.

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33 minutes ago, Dirk said:

I do not know about Beacon,

Beacon has had this function since inception.  I have it set up on the VZBot with the Beacon Probe - basically called Beacon_PLA_S (Smooth PEI, 60deg bed)) and Beacon_PLA_T (Textured PEI, 60deg bed), Beacon_ABS_S (Smooth PEI, 100deg bed) and Beacon_ABS_T (Textured plate, 100 deg bed) etc. (My ABS and ASA profiles are the same)

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15 minutes ago, mvdveer said:

Beacon has had this function since inception

Nice. Thanks for this afdition.

You also have their latest probe. Does it also have the Temperature adjustment?

If I understood the Cartographer description well, it adjusts it's measurements according to the temperature. Hereby it uses the algorithms which are also referenced by Ellis' guide and klipper.

You just need to 'calibrate' the probe with the bed and printer. It takes about an hour to do so. 

I had the feeling after doing this my first layers were even better than before...

But I am very sensitive to bias, even more so when I have waited an hour long for some hocus pocus measurement to complete 🙂

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53 minutes ago, Dirk said:

Does it also have the Temperature adjustment

Not as far as I am aware, no

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