What causes the spontaneous reboots?

This has come up a few times in the forum, but I don’t recall having seen an official answer, just speculation from the community.

On a handful of occasions (I would say at least 5 so far), my Glowforge has just been sitting idle between jobs or setting up a job, when it “reboots”. Specifically, the lights flicker very briefly, and after a few seconds it goes through the startup with the ticking noises and the calibration, exactly as if it had been turned off and on. I would suspect something wonky with my power if it weren’t for:

  1. I had dedicated circuits installed just for the Glowforge, and significantly oversized everything.
  2. Several other people on the forum have reported the same thing, and they seem to cluster.
  3. It never happens during a print, just while it’s doing nothing.

The most popular guess seems to be that maybe it’s a firmware update. I think equally likely it’s crashing. In any event, we have no way to access the uptime or logs or firmware version, etc., so we’re making stuff up.

Is there any way we could get an official answer? Is this expected behavior in the way you push updates? If it’s not, can you investigate the reset that occurred on my machine just a few minutes before this post and see what the cause was?


Well, today there was a firmware update. Supposed to improve calibration. Someone on @staff posted about it today but I don’t remember which thread.

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My GF rebooted sometime after I saw the “new firmware” post. I thought you had to turn the GF off and on to get the update, though.

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Maybe. Hard to say. I don’t think Glowforge has said exactly how the upgrade process works.

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Firmware isn’t something you can usually just patch while running. I would put my money on a reboot being required to apply it after it’s been downloaded, and or something in the startup sequence that checks for them and applies prior to calibration.

Certainly. Especially something like the Glowforge that’s running a full blown Linux operating system.

After I read about today’s update I turned on my GF to let it download the update. A few minutes after it calibrated it spontaneously calibrated again… I assumed it had rebooted itself to install the update.

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This is where OSD’s in the UI and a particular color code for the button would be extremely useful. If it happened quick enough, invisible updates would be “fine”. But they are visible, and we just don’t know what’s going on when it happens. I think this is also an issue when a machine is received and first set up. People are raring to get their first print going and thus a little impatient. Then some unexpected, unexplained actions start occurring.


Thanks for letting us know. I’m asking an expert to investigate. If this happens again, would you let us know the date and time of the reboot so that we can look at the details?

Chris, I do remember many people having the re-calibration issue but you are the only person that I know of that has talked about the lights flickering. Not sure if you mean lights flickering like a power brownout or you are talking about the print button flashing.
If its the internal LEDs that are flickering it sounds more to me (electrical engineer and computer engineer) like a power thing. Might be internal to the machine or external but I’m thinking the most likely scenarios. If you know your power is good my troubleshooting procedure would be to rule out the obvious while Support is checking. Something as simple as the power cord is not pushed into the GF all the way or a loose connection. Hate to see you lose the GF because Support decides it’s a flaky Power Supply.

No, when it reboots, the cabin lights blip off for about 100ms. I bet it always does this but you have to be looking directly at it to catch it.

BTW, when I said “they seem to cluster”, I meant that several people report reboots around the same time, not that I have a series of reboots in a row. The one I asked about here was the last one I encountered.

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Yeah, understood that you meant a cluster of different machines for what you were calling reboots. The cluster of Calibration problems I would attribute to the confirmed firmware update. On my machine it manifested itself as a normal Calibration after power on and then a couple minutes later a series of Offline/Calibration and eventually a Ready on my machine. Been stable ever since. I imagine if I had interrupted the process it would as a minimum had to start all over or might have confused the update. I just had to be patient.

But your issue doesn’t sound the same.

Here’s an example of a thread where a cluster of people reported a sudden reboot, including the lights flickering. Spontaneous reset?

In my mind, a satisfactory resolution to this ticket would be (in order of preference):

  • Customer access to diagnostic information so that we could see the current uptime and reason for last restart
  • An official statement that this is expected behavior, that the machines reboot on their own when receiving a firmware update, that it will never interrupt a job in progress, and that there are plans/no plans to provide customer access to diagnostic information
  • An official statement that the machines do not reboot on their own for firmware updates, they only happen when the user turns the switch off and on, and that they’ve investigated the logs related to my reboot and it was caused by X

Unsatisfying will be:

  • We’re glad to hear your Glowforge is working now. Let us know if this happens again.

Of your second bullet point, the first 2 of your 3 points have already been said as has your main point to bullet point 3. Don’t remember anything special specifically in reference to diagnostic information and of course we’d all like specifics about things that have gone wrong but not sure anyone has gotten them. We’ll need staff for those.

Citation requested.

I’m sorry for my slow reply to your post.

Unfortunately, this is not related to a firmware update. Firmware updates are only applied when you turn on a unit and before a print begins. They won’t interrupt a print.

The reboots you’re seeing are not expected behavior; your unit has a hardware problem. We’ll send a separate email regarding arrangements for a replacement.

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