Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile

Advanced

MakerBot Stepper Controller Help

Posted by Katai 
MakerBot Stepper Controller Help
May 13, 2010 10:51PM
Hi there,

I bought a stepper controller from MakerBot (actually, I bought the whole electronics set), and it seems one of the stepper controllers isn't working. I have the ribbon cable and the ATX power connected. When I turn the main motherboard on, the green Power light on the stepper controller turns on, then fades.

The other two steppers they sent me works fine. The light stays green, and a few other LEDs are on.

I already sent an email to MakerBot, but I was wondering if you guys had any ideas to get this working.
Re: MakerBot Stepper Controller Help
May 14, 2010 01:25AM
well, if you got the prebuilt version, I'm guessing you don't want to modify it, and so, just send it back to them - they say they replace defective parts for you.
Re: MakerBot Stepper Controller Help
May 14, 2010 11:31AM
Since you have three stepper drivers, three steppers and three ribbon cables you should swap parts around to determine what piece is faulty. If it's a ribbon cable you can fix it. If it's a motor or driver board you should contact MakerBot about a replacement.
Re: MakerBot Stepper Controller Help
May 14, 2010 06:18PM
Yeah, I switched the cables around and such. Two of them work fine in any configuration, while the third is just dead. I sent an email to MakerBot, but so far haven't received any replies.
Re: MakerBot Stepper Controller Help
May 14, 2010 08:37PM
Since you have definitely identified one specific driver board as faulty you should take some time to examine the solder joints. From observation of other problem reports I'd say that most failures are due to solder problems.

Make sure every solder joint looks shiny and has filled the space between board and pin. Also look for solder bridges between adjacent pins. If you find a bad joint you can re-flow it with a fine-tip soldering iron.
Re: MakerBot Stepper Controller Help
May 17, 2010 02:58PM
Nothing looks out of the ordinary as far as the solder points go. I'm still having no luck with this thing, and so far MakerBot hasn't replied. I'm afraid I might have to shell out another 40 bucks to get another one sad smiley
Re: MakerBot Stepper Controller Help
May 18, 2010 07:05PM
It doesn't look like MakerBot is going to replace my board. Do you guys have any ideas on how to salvage this?
Re: MakerBot Stepper Controller Help
May 19, 2010 02:47PM
Hey Katai

If the board is faulty then Makerbot has a duty to replace it.

I know in the UK we have protection that specifies the product purchased must be fit for the (stated) purpose.... I am sure you in the US have similar consumer protection.

As a matter of principle, I don't think you should let it go at that.

Cheers
Re: MakerBot Stepper Controller Help
May 19, 2010 03:46PM
I think the justification is that because I'm using it to build a Mendel instead of a MakerBot, and that I'm using my own Power Supply instead of theirs, they can't be held responsible for possible damage to the boards caused by shorting, ESD, ETC. Honestly, it's hard to argue either way because we don't know where/when the damage took place.
Re: MakerBot Stepper Controller Help
May 19, 2010 06:07PM
fair enough, if you damaged it.

I was under the impression you received a faulty board from Makerbot.

So was it difficult converting the boards to the Mendel config or are you using them without modification?

Cheers
Re: MakerBot Stepper Controller Help
May 19, 2010 07:14PM
Well, I don't know if it's a faulty board or not. I just plugged it and it's not working.

I'm using them unmodified (except for a small hack between the main motherboard and the extruder board to get that working).
Re: MakerBot Stepper Controller Help
May 20, 2010 02:13AM
they specify that you can use an ATX power supply not necesarily theirs
Re: MakerBot Stepper Controller Help
May 21, 2010 06:06PM
I was just about to post a thread about this but decided to search first to see if anyone else had had this happen, and it looks like you did.

I just posted about it here on my blog:
Back.. But now ANOTHER stepper board is fried??

Bottom line, I had three stepper driver boards, modified three of them, and at the end only one of them worked. I'd get a power light, but on the two bad boards none of the LEDs next to the stepper motor connectors would light up (whereas they would on the working board).

I ordered two replacement boards, and just fried another one, even though I was extremely careful. The only modification I made to this one was replacing the 4-pin molex power connector with a 2-way screw terminal.

I'm afraid to modify the next replacement one..

I was only using a 15 watt soldering iron.. That can't be too hot, can it?

A picture of the only working board from my initial three boards is at the end of this previous blog post.

Are these boards indeed fried?


--Jeff Keegan (Just Another RepRap blog)
Re: MakerBot Stepper Controller Help
May 21, 2010 06:22PM
Quote
jkeegan ()
I was only using a 15 watt soldering iron.. That can't be too hot, can it?

No, my soldering iron is 58 watt and set for 350 C and I didn't have any problems (at least to start with)...

At first only my Z-axis worked (I hadn't programmed the extruder yet).
After programming the extruder the X and Y-axis also worked properly.

Then my only immediate problem was (and IS) that the extruder stepper motor moves but has no torque whatsoever!

And now my Z-axis is having problems of just pulsing without moving and it also has no holding torque just like the extruder stepper motor.

AND my temperture sensor also sometimes works and sometimes doesn't.

If it isn't one thing it is something else! hot smiley


Bob Morrison
W├Ârth am Rhein, Germany
"Luke, use the source!"
BLOG - PHOTOS - Thingiverse
Re: MakerBot Stepper Controller Help
May 21, 2010 06:37PM
Yeah I'm swapping out the stepper controller boards with the exact same cables connected to everything else, so in my case it's not like some cable is bad or one of the connectors on the motherboard is bad. I've isolated it down to the stepper driver boards.

Glad to hear it wasn't the soldering iron, but then I'm even more concerned about how fragile these boards are.


--Jeff Keegan (Just Another RepRap blog)
Re: MakerBot Stepper Controller Help
May 22, 2010 04:34AM
Just a question, is the ground of your controller connected to the ground of the stepper drivers? I have seen some folks neglect the ground connection, but if they're running off separate power supplies and there's no common ground, they don't work properly.
Re: MakerBot Stepper Controller Help
May 22, 2010 05:43AM
Both the ATX power supply and the laptop powering the motherboard via USB are plugged into the same power strip, which is plugged into a 3-pronged wall outlet (which I have every reason to believe is properly grounded).

When I connect the "working" (unmodified) board, or the one successfully modified and working board, they do work.

Thanks for the idea though. I'm still open to others. smiling smiley It'd be great if these boards were salvagable, but if not, at LEAST I don't want to do damage to my remaining board and future 3rd wave of replacements board. sad smiley


--Jeff Keegan (Just Another RepRap blog)
Re: MakerBot Stepper Controller Help
May 22, 2010 05:45AM
...but the question still stands fot Katai.. smiling smiley Forgot that I didn't create my own thread, sorry.


--Jeff Keegan (Just Another RepRap blog)
Re: MakerBot Stepper Controller Help
May 22, 2010 07:48AM
Jeff,
is it possible that you removed some through hole plating linking the top and the bottom of the board?


[www.hydraraptor.blogspot.com]
Re: MakerBot Stepper Controller Help
May 22, 2010 12:29PM
jkeegan:

If you decide the boards are a loss anyway, and want to send them to me, I'll see what I can do about repairing them for you. I'm set up to work on such things, and have repaired techzonestore stepper drivers so I'm familiar with the circuit. Just PM me if you'd like me to take a look.
Re: MakerBot Stepper Controller Help
May 28, 2010 01:31AM
I just ordered another stepper board and should be able to test it soon. I got some advice to switch out the IC3 5v regulator (my multimeter shows its only outputting 1.5v), so maybe I can salvage that when I get the parts.
Re: MakerBot Stepper Controller Help
May 28, 2010 09:38AM
Katai, good luck!

I haven't been able to scrape even one free hour out of this week's schedule to try desoldering my screw terminal to inspect for pad/thruhole damage and try providing connections by hand to both sides of the board if necessary to look for any signs of life.

And now I'm camping until Monday, so I may not get to try anything until late next week. sad smiley But if I hit a serious wall, thanks plasmator, I may take you up on that.


--Jeff Keegan (Just Another RepRap blog)
Re: MakerBot Stepper Controller Help
May 28, 2010 11:52AM
Katai Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I got some advice to switch
> out the IC3 5v regulator (my multimeter shows its
> only outputting 1.5v), so maybe I can salvage that
> when I get the parts.

If you are running the stepper from a PC power supply you can get 5V from the red wire of the power connector. The MakerBot stepper controller makes 5V from 12V so it can also be used for a RepRap which is specified to run on 12V only.
Re: MakerBot Stepper Controller Help
June 02, 2010 09:17AM
Quick post - I think I've identified *my* problem.
Video here:
[www.youtube.com]
I think nophead nailed it - only one side of the board seems to have been making contact with the screw terminal.


--Jeff Keegan (Just Another RepRap blog)
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login