The company BigTreeTech, known for its famous SKR boards, has just launched another additional electronics for all the Ender 3 printers available on the market.
These new electronic boards have the designation BIGTREETECH E3 RRF V1.1, and bring with them some improvements compared to other similar products. In today’s article I will try to expose some of the characteristics of these electronics, as well as their novelties.
Furthermore, according to BigTreeTech, this board is fully compatible with Marlin and RepRapFirmware firmwares, another firmware developed by the well-known electronics company Duet3D and for which the manufacturer is firmly betting with this new product.
If you are a regular visitor on our blog, you will remember that they are not the first boards that this company develops for the Ender 3 model.
Some time ago we told you about the SKR MINI E2 V2.0 in a previous article New revision of BTT SKR MINI E3 V2.0 for your Ender 3 printer. But now BigTreeTech shows us a new product with interesting improvements in this regard.
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It is always positive that new products appear on the market and try to improve the user experience for owners of Ender 3 printers, which was sold massively due to its optimal performance and low cost.
However, everyone knows that the Ender 3 electronics are a bit modest (always talking about the first version). And certainly changing your electronics is a major improvement we can make to this rugged printer.
One of the main problems is that its stock processor, an ATMega1284P 8bit AVR, has only 130,048 bytes of memory to install Marlin. Considering that Marlin 2.0 occupies approximately 119,408 bytes, you can imagine how little room for maneuver we have when configuring our firmware for new devices (such as BLTouch sensors).
Although it is possible to deactivate some functions by default that Marlin brings to save space, it is not entirely the best option and it is quite cumbersome. Some of the options that you can disable (or rather sacrifice) to get to compile your firmware successfully are:
Although as always I usually recommend, and for the price that electronics currently have, the best solution is to replace our board with a more modern one. And by the way, have at your disposal some silent Trinamic drivers, something that is very worthwhile.
Where to buy the BIGTREETECH E3 RRF V1.1?
I leave you some links to the electronic ones mentioned in today’s article. It is my duty to tell you that they are links to online stores (affiliates).
If you use them, the price of the product will be the same as if you log in regularly, but 3DWork will have a small commission left that will help maintain this website (and I will be eternally grateful).
|BTT SKR MINI E3 V2.0|
|BIGTREETECH E3 RRF V1.1|
If you wish and as an alternative, you can also use our component search engine Markets.sx, where you can compare prices on different sites (Amazon, Aliexpress, Banggood, etc.) with a single search very easily.
In the following images you can find information for the connection, the connector pins and the main technical specifications of this new electronics:
|Size / Nº of layers||100,75 x 70,25mm / 4 layers|
|Microcontroller||ARM Cortex-M4 STM32F407VGT6 (168MHz)|
|Power / Voltage||DC 12-24V / 3.3V|
|Drivers and interfaces||TMC2209 (UART mode) / X,Y,Z1,Z2,E|
|Display||Compatible with all original BigTreeTech and Ender3 displays (LCD12864)|
|Temp. sensors||TH0, THB, 2 NTC 100K channels|
|WiFi conectivity||Onboard, ESP8266 + External antenna|
|Recomended software||Cura, Simplify3D, PronterFace, Repetier-host, Makeware|
Comparative: SKR MINI E3 and BIGTREETECH E3 RRF
Being a board specifically oriented to Ender3 printers, the ideal would be to make a brief comparison with its predecessor (the SKR MINI E3 V2.0) and thus see what news it brings us in this regard.
So with your permission, we are going to review some of the most important points of both electronics:
Processing capability (MCU)
The first thing that should be highlighted in this brief comparison would be the increase in power in terms of process capacity.
The new BIGTREETECH E3 RRF board comes equipped with a spectacular ARM Cortex-M4 STM32F407VGT6 microcontroller at 168MHz speed.
Similar to the one that also mounts on its high-performance electronics, and of which we made an exhaustive analysis a few months ago: SKR GTR V1.0: Complete analysis and configuration with TMC22xx drivers and Sensorless (Marlin 2.0.x.x)
The above electronics SKR E3 MINI brings as standard a more modest microprocessor, specifically an ARM Cortex-M3 STM32F103RCT6 at 72 MHz speed.
However, it is not something you should be overly concerned about. Both microcontrollers are 32-bit and will work without any problem in any type of 3D printer.
Although it is certainly appreciated the bet that BigTreeTech is making in its new electronics offering last generation processors and higher performance, everything has to be said.
TMC drivers and their cooling
Regarding motor management, both electronics have TMC2209 drivers welded directly to the board.
If you do not know this type of drivers, I strongly recommend that you read an excellent article that we wrote some time ago: TMC Drivers: Discover the best drivers for 3D printing and their available technologies
While they are the same drivers, BigTreeTech have implemented their cooling in the E3 RRF in a total different way.
As you can see in the following photo (click to enlarge), instead of using the typical individual heatsinks BigTreeTech has opted to mount a single oversized heatsink, something very successful in my opinion.
This size of heatsink will greatly facilitate the dissipation of the heat generated by the drivers when operating, something vital and that will avoid possible step losses in our motors.
Onboard Sensorless Homing
Another improvement that we can find in these new electronics is the ease of configuring our printer to operate without limit switches, a feature called “Sensorless”.
The TMC2209 drivers come standard with a very interesting technology called StallGuard™. This technology, patented by the driver company Trinamic, allows us to make real-time measurements of the load on our printer’s motors without any additional sensor.
And this allows us to detect in a relatively precise way when an axis reaches the end of its path, and in the case of 3D printers to dispense with limit switches in the X and Y axes (in Z it is not recommended).
In the BIGTREETECH E3 RRF V1.1 electronics the manufacturer has very aptly added some jumpers to easily enable or disable this option. In this way we can configure “Sensorless” without any headache, except to configure it in our Marlin. Obviously it goes without saying that if you activate “Sensorless”, the mechanical limit switches will not work by default.
If you want to find out a little more about technology StallGuard™ and how it works, do not hesitate to consult the technical documentation available in the following manufacturer link.
WiFi ESP8266 module onboard
Another feature that has surprised me is the integration of a Wifi module in the electronics itself (on the back). Specifically, we are talking about a ESP8266 ESP-07S module, which is designed to occupy the minimum possible space on our electronic board (or PCB).
I think that being able to connect our electronics remotely via Wifi is becoming a more than essential feature.
It is clear that many electronics come with ports where they can be externally connected, but for the price these modules have now and for what they offer, it makes no sense not to integrate them directly into all the new boards that appear on the market.
BigTreeTech takes an important step by adding it directly to this new electronics, something that does not happen in its previous models SKR V1.4 Turbo, SKR Pro, SKR GTR or even in its competitor the SKR MINI E3, a great success.
In addition, this ESP8266 ESP-07S module has an external antenna, which will improve connectivity by being able to freely place it wherever we want, and avoid possible interference with the electronics itself, something I like a lot.
Well, this is it for today. I hope this short article about the new electronics BIGTREETECH E3 RRF V1.1 may have been of interest to you.
Feel free to read other interesting articles in 3DWork:
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- SKR GTR V1.0: Complete analysis and configuration with TMC22xx drivers and Sensorless
- Adding filament sensor in SKR electronics (MINI E3, v1.3, v1.4 and v1.4 Turbo)