I'm using a Mac (OSX 10.7) and a USB connection. Intermittently, the SD card won't mount and/or my software (Repetier or Pronterface) won't connect. When I do get a connection, it frequently fails after some time. I am using a USB cable with a ferrite shield. Any suggestions as to what I could change to get this to work consistently? No combination of reboots/unmounts/unplug-replug/changing USB ports seems to help.
How long is your USB cable, and are the mac and 3D printer plugged into the same power strip ?
You definitely want them in the same power strip.
If that doesn't solve it, try a shorter USB cable.
And by the way : Ethernet has all the same functionality, and is totally immune to ground loops/EMI, so you may want to use that.
I'll have to do some rewiring in my workroom to get these on the same strip. I did unplug the AC power to the Smoothieboard so that it's only powered via the USB and it seems to be working. Obviously, I can't do anything with the steppers or heaters, but I can talk to the board.
As for Ethernet, I wish. I'll have to get a router just for this, as the room is isolated from the rest of the network. Can the next version add WiFi support?
You won't be able to stream gcode reliably over wifi, it's not designed for this. You can however upload files then "run" them from the SD card, that works.
If you want to add Wifi to any Smoothie, just use a $20 Ethernet/Wifi bridge.
Would powering the logic on the Smoothieboard only from the usb make any improvement? If so, isn't there is a jumper pad that does this.
No, ideally you want to get rid of USB alltogether. Ground is shared anyway, so it wouldn't help powering only from USB.