Sonic Pad Klipper Replaces OEM Firmware?

I’m looking into the Creality Sonic Pad as an add-on to my CR-10 Max. After reviewing Klipper online, I rather like the expanded adjustability and view into the printing process it provides. But I’ve identified two issues:

  1. Can Klipper be installed into, and run on, the CR-10 Max motherboard? Sonic Pad doesn’t explicitly mention the CR-10 Max as being supported, but the CR-10 Pro V2 and other variants are supported. I’ve read that Sonic Pad can be used with the Max but you have to choose a “similar” printer and then adjust the printer.cfg parameters like bed size.

  2. As far as I can tell, you have to upload Klipper onto your printer’s motherboard EPROM - afterall, its OS firmware and has to replace what was originally on the motherboard so it can run. So, what happens if you have problems, or just want to go back to your original firmware? From what I’ve seen, the Klipper install process doesn’t backup the original firmware, and if I had to go find the original firmware on my own, I wouldn’t even know where to start looking.

So, I guess I have two questions:

  1. can Sonic Pad be loaded into the CR-10 Max in a supported and reliable way? Or am I asking for grief? I mean, the current firmware is fine, and in-person print management isn’t a big deal, so this isn’t a mandatory upgrade for me, just a nice-to-have.

  2. how do you protect yourself from disaster by either downloading the original firmware before uploading Klipper, or find the original firmware online as a download, along with installation instructions?

Appreciate any input on these issues.

The sonic pad does not, i think, overwrite your original firmware. It is an add on to the printer.
I have completely converted my CR10S Pro V2 to Klipper by overwriting the firmware and adding a Pi to run everything. Works like a charm.

Um … pardon? I think the Sun got in my eyes:

“The sonic pad does not, i think, overwrite your original firmware.”
followed by
“I have completely converted my CR10S Pro V2 to Klipper by overwriting the firmware”

I’m pretty sure installing Klipper clobbers the OEM Marlin firmware. But I’ll stand corrected if that’s not true.

In answer to your questions:

  1. can Sonic Pad be loaded into the CR-10 Max in a *supported* and reliable way?
    The short answer is no.
    Creality has tested the Sonic Pad on their machines and there’s a good chance it will work but it’s not 100% and, if you have problems you will have problems as Creality isn’t actively providing support for people with Sonic Pad problems and online forums will be of little help (the official Klipper discourse group will not support the Sonic Pad because Creality uses modified and downlevel Klipper software in their product).
    I should point out that you’ll face the same issues with the BTT PAD 7 and FLsun Speeder Pad - use a Raspberry Pi 4B and you shouldn’t have any issues.
  2. how do you protect yourself from disaster...?
    You should be able to find the latest version of firmware for your printer from Creality and you can download and install it back into your main controller board.

One thing I’ve realized about Klipper (and I love it, it’s a vastly superior 3D printing and support experience to Marlin/traditional firmwares and front ends like Octoprint) is that it’s not something you just “try” with the expectation of backing away from if things get hard or you have an unexpected problem you’re not sure how to solve or seems hard because you’re dealing with Linux and you’ve never done that before.

If you’re going to go to Klipper, jump in with both feet with the expectation that you won’t be going back. I’m saying this because I’ve seen a lot of people who poke around with Klipper, get stuck or don’t want to deal with it and then end up having problems restoring their printer to it’s original operation.

Before making your decision, why don’t you go through this course and see if you’re comfortable with making the change:

Good luck!

I’m comfortable working in Linux thanks to many years of RPi experience, and running my in-home Linux servers. I’m perfectly ready to move to Klipper IF it works for my printer.

But given the wild west nature of 3D printers and manufacturers’ claims at this stage, I’m not prepared to forge into unknown territory without a backup plan. As you say, since Creality does not explicitly say they support my printer, I can expect no help from them if things go into the ditch. And I’d read about Creality’s Klipper being forked and therefore off the beaten path of the general community, which always raises flags for me.

Which is why I’m trying to cover my bases before I commit. As you say, those who poke around with Klipper get stuck and end up having problems restoring their printer to its original operation. That’s why you always need a backup plan for when something goes south. As it often does.

I use my 3D printers as tools to support other hobbies and interests, not to become a hobby in themselves. When I want to print something, I’m not interested in spending a day fixing or trouble-shooting the machine or its software before I can get started. If you’re saying that Klipper is going to need constant care and attention just to keep it going, then its not what I want.

Thanks for “find the latest version of firmware for your printer from Creality” - yeah, I get that. But go ahead - search for “Creality CR-10 Max firmware download” online. Its no surprise that (sponsored) links to Creality are top-of-search results, but those links only offer the newest firmware for their current printers - nothing (that I can find) for the old CR-10 Max.

In fact when I did that search, five links down from the top, I found a TinyMachines3D link that offers firmware for my printer … albeit not the OEM firmware, but their particular flavour. And even then - it turns out TM3D’s offering is called a firmware UPDATE, and there are lots of pre-conditions to the update being installed successfully. So how do I know their offering is what I need, without risking a test install first?

And that’s my point - if I want the Creality OEM firmware back for whatever reason, how do I download it prior to a Klipper install, or where do I go to get it otherwise? Apparently, not Creality (at least based on my unsuccessful hunt for it there). If you know where I could find it if needed, I’d be grateful if you could enlighten me.

Thanks for that course link - I’ve been watching Mr Law’s 3d printer videos since I got my first printer back in 2019, but I wasn’t aware of this particular one. I’d previously researched using a RPi as part of a Klipper install, but found it confusing and full of trap doors, and discounted it. Michael makes a pretty good case for going with a RPi4 instead of SP, in a decently detailed and illustrated step-by-step manner.

I noticed he made mention mid-way through the vids of saving the Marlin configuration in case you want to reload it, but it was a brief note and I’ll have to watch that segment a couple more times to get everything he said (closed captioning would be nice here).

Appreciate the detailed response. It gives me another data point or two to consider.

1 Like