Stepper Expander

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Crystal Clear action run.png
Stepper Expander

Release status: working

Stepper Expander.jpg
Description For when you need more stepper drivers on your printer.
License CC-BY-NC-SA
Author Kenneth Weiss
Contributors
Based-on Sui Generis
Categories RepRap Diamond Hotend, Stepper motor drivers, Electronics, RAMPS
CAD Models none
External Link www.reprap.me


Contents

Intro

The Stepper Expander X1/2/3 is designed as an easy way to add more stepper drivers to your 3D printer and other electronics.
It can also be used to repair / patch-up boards where the stepper driver chip is SMD soldered on the board like Melzi, Printrboard and so on....

SE-X1.png
Stepper Expander X1

SE-X2.png
Stepper Expander X2

SE-X3.png
Stepper Expander X3

It is possible to set the microstepping for each stepstick. This is done via the solder jumpers called MS1, 2, 3. By default the pads of these solder jumpers are connected (On) but you can cut the thin traces individually with a sharp tool thereby disabling each of them. If needed at a later point the solder jumper pads can be reconnected using solder.

Pinout

X1 X2 X3
n/c EN STP DIR +5V
n/c EN STP DIR GND
EN STP GND +5V
n/c DIR GND +5V
 
66 44 64 59 +5V
65 42 40 63 GND
58 57 GND +5V
0 1 GND +5V
RAMPS pin numbering
SE-RAMPS.JPG

Notice: the very first production batch, identified by green PCB (as opposed to the newer black version) counter-intuitively has the text VMOT placed next to the negative power terminal. This is fixed in newer batches as the VMOT label has been moved next to the positive side of the screw terminal.

As An Expansion Board

Using RAMPS

See Adding more extruders for an easy guide to adding a third extruder motor to RAMPS
RAMPS SE X1.jpg
RAMPS capable of running 3 extruder motors.

RAMPS SE X2.jpg
RAMPS capable of running 4 extruder motors

Repair Jobs

There are many different 3D printer control boards and variations thereof but the general steps are the same.

PrintrBoard

Printrboard AT90USB.png
Identify the contact points for DIR, STEP and ENABLE.
As the traces can vary from one board version to another it's recommended to make the connections directly to the MCU unless there are other obvious alternatives.
Printrboard connect points.JPG
The 5V and GND are usually easy to find at the capacitors.

Cut the signal traces to the defective stepper driver so it won't make any trouble in the future.
SE cable.jpg
Take a 10 wire ribbon cable with a 2X5 female pin header connector and cut it to your desired length.
For the Stepper Expander X1 only wire's 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 are used.
Wire 1 = 5V Wire 2 = GND wire 3 = DIR Wire 5 = STEP Wire 7 = EN
SE Printrboard connected.JPG
Solder the wires to the right connections.

It's a good idea to secure the wires to the board with hotglue or similar to prevent them from breaking off due to vibrations.
Connect the stepper motor to the Stepper Expander and the power terminals on the Stepper Expander to the main board's power input and you should be good to go.

Melzi

Melzi def Z step.jpg
First remove any components that are causing any problems from the stepper driver you want to replace.

Melzi ATmega.png
Identify the contact points for DIR, STEP and ENABLE.

As the traces can vary from one board version to another it's recommended to make the connections directly to the MCU unless there are other obvious alternatives.
Melzi connect points.jpg
The 5V and GND are usually easy to find at the capacitors.

Cut the signal traces to the defective stepper driver so it won't make any trouble in the future.
SE cable.jpg
Take a 10 wire ribbon cable with a 2X5 female pin header connector and cut it to your desired length.
For the Stepper Expander X1 only wire's 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 are used.
Wire 1 = 5V Wire 2 = GND wire 3 = DIR Wire 5 = STEP Wire 7 = EN
SE Melzi connected.jpg
Solder the wires to the right connections.

It's a good idea to secure the wires to the board with hotglue or similar to prevent them from breaking off due to vibrations.
Connect the stepper motor to the Stepper Expander and the power terminals on the Stepper Expander to the main board's power input and you should be good to go.

Where to get it