Archive for June, 2010

Stepper problem resolved.. Now summer vs Mendel

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

The problem I described in my previous post has been resolved! It turns out that I didn’t fry *any* of the stepper driver boards, and now I have two to spare. 🙂

The boards I thought were bad were suffering from not getting 12V or GND connections on both sides of the board. Contacts would be made somewhere, but not everywhere. Enough was connected that the green power LED would light up, but no power would make it to the stepper motors.

I desoldered the screw terminals on both fully-modified boards and fixed them. To make sure I was getting contact on both sides of the board I figured I’d play it safe – I took one of the metal contacts I’d ripped out of an RJ45 jack and soldered it in along with the screw connector. First, I soldered it on the top:

Then I bent it beneath and cut it to length:


I soldered the screw connector on after that and everything worked fine!

I mounted the boards on the Mendel again, and stopped for dinner.

One point worth mentioning for anyone following down this path.. The way I was determining if a board was working was by connecting it via ribbon cable to the motherboard, connecting power, and then looking for lit LEDs next to the ABCD stepper motor connectors (such as the incredibly bright red LED in the first video above). However, I later discovered that this method only works when connected to the X or Y stepper driver port on the motherboard. The Z stepper driver board won’t light up those LEDs, even though the board is fine. (I went through a quick discouraging moment where I thought I had a bad cable or Z port on the motherboard). Actually using the RepRap host to move the motor, however, works.

Once I realized this, I remembered reading that the Z motor is only enabled when it’s needed (since it’s used far less during a print). I think that even might be configurable in the firmware, if memory serves. That’s also probably the enable line that everyone was talking about before (either in the comments in the last post, or in various threads on the Mendel forum).

Now my biggest obstacle is the summer. 🙂 Trying to get our pool usable is eating up daylight, and once it’s open, that will eat up more daylight. Maybe I’ll be building by night. 🙂

p.s. Just because this post is so short, here’s a quick video showing the acceleration that RepRapHost (or actually probably the FiveG firmware) does during simple move commands: