Formlabs Website Store Support

Dashboard shows offline a lot

I’m in my first week with the Form 3 and one thing I see a lot is that the dashboard shows the printer offline often.

The printer is connected with Ethernet, and our Internet connection and firewall are likely not the issue. Uploading jobs from Preform works just fine.

It’s not just me, right?

I have this problem with the Form 3 and our two Form 2’s.

I thought it was my wifi, but since one week I have the Form 3 on ethernet and Dashboard shows it suddenly offline. The printer itself reports as connected on the LCD and shows an IP address.

I’m seeing a lot of similar messages in the forum.
This is absolutely critical. Prints while printer is “offline” won’t show in the statistics in Dashboard. Then my monthly invoicing of the prints are completely inaccurate (as is the count of remaining resin, I guess)

I have the same issue, Form 3, can send jobs and see remaining print time on Preform, but dashboard showing as offline. Same as @hoolito said, this is a problem as I need to be able to track my prints and materials.

I am troubleshooting this with Support and I will report here back if I have a solution.
So far they told me it might be a Firewall problem, but once disabled the problem remained (Printer went offline after about 5 hours).

I’d like to clarify what is key for me: the actual problem is not so much losing connectivity, but rather that the data in Dashboard is afterwards incomplete due to this loss.
For example in August I have 2 prints that are ONLY visible locally at the printer, so the entries don’t show up in Dashboard nor is the 176ml amount of used resin accounted for.

Even if the internet connection of my printer turns out to be sketchy, it seems this loss of data is avoidable.
Why doesn’t the printer retry sending the data to Formlabs after the connection is restored?

Still no solution. My printer shows offline or online intermittently.

I found a lot of forum posts on the same issue (the older ones are more than 3 years old), but there’s either no solution posted or the post ends with people finding “a solution” after a “power cycle”, which is ridiculous because I bet that solution must have been temporary. Besides, how can a power cycle be a solution if the printer is designed to be “always on”?

The posts contain also some suggestions, like automatically retrying the connection or manual synchronising of local and dashboard data after the fact, but I don’t see this has been implemented by Formlabs in their firmware or back-end…

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I wonder if there are people out there (regularly using Dashboard) that NEVER had this problem?
Has someone which had this problem found a definitive solution?

Remember that the problem can be anywhere between your printer and Formlabs’ servers.

My guess would be that the strength of the signal between your printer and router is not sufficient to maintain constant contact. A WiFi booster might help, or the alternative is use a wired connection, ethernet or UBS.

Thanks, but my printer connects to my LAN via Ethernet, not wifi…
We are closing in I think…
Unreliability seems to be related to port forwarding configuration in your firewall/gateway.
I’ll post here when I reach a solution.

Hi, I promised to give an update, maybe it will help people with issues:

We didn’t pinpoint the EXACT cause of the problem. But these are the things changed / probably helped:

  1. Setup port forwarding in the firewall section of the LAN gateway (in my case our modem/router/AP) to ports 443, 80 and 35 to the IP-address of the printer in your LAN. (This page from Formlabs only talks about port 443)
  2. Give the printer a manual IP, even if you use DHCP, just in case.
  3. Changed the configuration of the Powerline adapters from MIMOBoost to SISOBoost, which given my electrical installation, was apparently better suited. (Note: yes, I know UTP cables would be best, but this is an improvised home office…)
  4. Connected the printer again via WiFi. According to Support, “sometimes the printers have a very spotty internet connection if the Ethernet cable running from the printer to the next active device is too long”. And my cable was indeed much too long. The Powerline Wifi access point is 1 meter from the printer. Signal strength shows as “Excellent”

So, it’s been online for the past 6 days. Fingers crossed.

Anyways, I think the Dashboard setup information could be improved, specially with specific requirements about the reliability of the connection and how to test this. For example the page instructs to “Check the Formlabs server connection…, the status of API on status.formlabs.com for down time”. But the link doesn’t work.

Mine does this too. It was so bad when connected via WiFi that I connected directly to the pc via usb. It still shows offline every now and then but I can at least upload jobs now, and it’s far easier to disconnect the usb to fix it. My prints no longer show up on the dashboard but this has saved me the frustration of trying to get it to stay connected to my network.

BUMP
I had to factory reset the printer, even though the Form 3 is connected/updated etc (can upload from preform just fine), none of my prints have been uploaded to dashboard since the reset. Also a lot of having to reset the printer connection… keeps disconnecting and I have to manually reselect. Possibly a bug in the latest firmware?

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I’ve had a similar problem, but only with WIFI-only connections.

I started a support ticket, but Formlabs tech support was asking me to do things that were not convenient (connecting direct to the router would require a ridiculously long cable, and I already know I don’t have any problems that way, etc).

Power cycling recovers the connection. But better than that, keeping the printer ON, while cycling the Wifi off/on seems to be just as effective.

The printer still drops the wifi connection once and a while, but the above work-around works. If you depend on being away from your printer for long periods of time, this won’t really help, though.

I’m having this issue too. Can Formlabs at least let us know if this bug is being worked on?

I since discovered the majority of my problem was a slight local network clash – we have various wifi networks in the house, and for a time there were two routers with the same wifi name. One was a signal booster for the other, and none of my other devices had a problem with this. But the Formlabs struggled with it.

I’ve since renamed the signal booster network to another name, and the Formlabs has maybe only lost wifi connectivity once, since.

Good to see something recent on this. I have been struggling with my Form 3’s connection since the start. Every single time I go to do a new print, I have to power cycle it to get it to connect. I can see it on the network but for whatever reason, it just will not go into the online state unless I fiddle with it most of the time I just power cycle it now. Its a real bad experience. I have 6 other printers that are connected to the network and have no issues. One reason I am sure is that there is no need for the external services with these machines. That said my Glowforge seems to stay online without issues. I am connected hard line since the WiFi was a no go not even for registration. I don’t understand how something as simple as making a connection to a cloud service is so hard. Its not like its not been done before. I have to figure any business that must rely on there Form 3 is connecting to it using USB.

Its really tarnishing my opinion of not just Form Labs but also resin printers in general. I spend so much of the time related to this workflow just trying to get my print to connect to the cloud that all I can think about when asked about it is that it is impossible to do anything efficient with it.

Could use some advice from Form Labs.