Friday, October 11, 2019

FlashAIR - Success at last

Scroll down to the "FlashAir 3rd attempt - success at last"

Attempt #1 

I found the SD card annoying.  It was easy to flip the "locked" switch when inserting or removing the card from the reader.

Solution (not)

I bought a FlashAir SD card.  This is an SD card that has a WiFi interface.  The card can be left installed and loaded/uploaded with files over WiFi using a web interface.

The device fails both from a software, and a hardware standpoint.  It's a shame because it would be really neat if it worked correctly.

It is intended to be used in cameras that don't have wireless, so that they can upload pictures to the web.   So using it to download gcode files is conceptually a small difference.  I found examples of people who use this card on their 3D printer.

It takes a bit of fiddling to set it up, but even though this was a bust I am recording the process.

The card has to be initialised using software downloaded from here:

In fact I suspect that it isn't necessary to use this software unless the card needs re-initializing.


Configuring the card to work as I desired was simple but very obscure.  After trawling around on the web for a while I discovered that the configuration is fairly simple.  
Once the card can be made visible to a computer, it might be necessary to change the properties of the card so that all the files are made visible.  

A file called "CONFIG" will be found, and should be set up as follows.



Once the file has been saved the card can operate stand-alone.  I actually simply plugged it into a PSU to test that it would work stand-alone.
Because my APPNAME=prusa I was able to find a web-site called http://prusa

Uploading files to the card was clumsy.  You have to type in another URL: http://prusa/upload.cgi

I guess this would have been just about OK.  The UI is about a simple as it can get.   You use the "Choose File" button to select a file, and the "submit" button to upload it.

It's so quick that it feels like it failed!
When the upload is complete it completely confusesd me by displaying the following.

So I uploaded a bunch more to make sure I wasn't being a dummy...

However when I went back to the directory listing mode I found this:

I found that although I could access the card if I pushed it into the SD card slot of my laptop, I couldn't access it using USB plug-in devices as shown in my photo above..  So connecting to the desktop machine was out!  

Plugging the card into the Prusa I found that I could indeed download files OTA to the card.  Yay!

However the card does not function as a viable SD card when plugged into the Prusa.
The card is capable of powering up, and displays some kind of directory structure.  

Sadly there only entry in the list that does anything is "Back".  The directory entry does sweet FA.

Possible reason for problems

My FlashAIR card is SDXC (64GB) and I suspect Prusa only accepts the old style SDHC (up to 32GB).  The new format uses the exFAT file format, and I'm guessing Prusa expects FAT.

FlashAir Setup 2nd attempt - TBD

GitHub - FlashAirDevelopers/FlashAirFileManager: The application to browse and download files on FlashAir™ via the network. - XXX deprecated

FlashAir 3rd attempt - success at last

  • I bought a 32G W04 card.
  • All the setup programs etc are useless, unless you have to re-init the card.

  • Plug the card into a computer that has a card reader, and use a text editor to edit the file: CONFIG
This is the right stuff to put into the file
UPDIR=/<Directory name to put G-Code>

  •  Save the file, and wait 10s.  Do not safely eject the card.

  • Now make a network drive:

Should be able to drag and drop GCode files onto the card.
NOTE that Prusa only shows files with the ".gcode" or ".gc" extension

  • Now can go to Prusa find the file and print it.
Some more documentation

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