Posts: 128
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2015 6:56 pm

Simple Qestion - Do Stepper Driver Boards Go Bad?

Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:32 am

Can't get any of my printers to print any longer. Constant problems that seem beyond simple calibrations and adjustments.

The machines in question have between 3,000 hours and 5,000 hours printing time on them.

Do the actual Stepper Driver boards go bad? Is that a common problem?
Specifically, has anyone resolved their printing issues by replacing a Stepper Motor DRIVER?

I'm not sure if I have a bad mainboard, bad stepper motors, bad Stepper Motor Drivers or what.

It just seems as if the printers can no longer find their way and every attempt at printer (on both printers) ends up with a mess, shifted prints, over extrusion, under extrusion and a host of problems.

What I've tried so far......

Replace Power Supplies (no change)
Replace thermisters (no change)
Recalibrated extruders (no change)
Checked ALL belts for tension and gear tightness (no problems found)
Checked carriage for free movement in X and Y axes (no problems found)
Checked to be sure motors are securely mounted (no problems found)
Changed Nozzles (no change)
Changed teflon guide tubes (no change)
Check all connections on mainboard and re-tightened all connections
Re-tightened all connections on power supply
Checked and re-seated ALL connectors to LCD and control panel
Check guide rods (all seem secure with no movement in any direction)
Checked linear bearings (all seem ok)
Check for extruder obstructions that could interfere with Extruder movement (no problems found)
Leveled the print bed (about 100 times)
Changed print surface (new Kapton tape, Glass bed with Kapton tape)

As you can see, I've nearly exhaustd things to check. That's why I'm beginning to believe it's in the electronics. Such as a failing Stepper Motor Drivers.
Of course, at 3,000 plus hours it could also be failing stepper motors I suppose.

The Coils in the stepper motors all read about 7 ohms.

Once in a while, the LCD display will display trash during a print and once, the print stopped due to it.
I think this would point to a mainboard issue?

Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:51 am

Re: Simple Qestion - Do Stepper Driver Boards Go Bad?

Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:43 pm

For sure. It's usually a bit more complicated because nearly every board has integrated steppers, so differentiating between control board and stepper takes some work, but it's sorta irrelevant since if it's integrated, you need to replace the whole board anyways. Sometimes, the board will show you the damage. If you look at the attached picture, you can see the discolorations on the x, y, and extruder stepper drivers (picture taken from backside of board). The z-axis, which does considerably less work is fine. The board still worked, but has many issues. I would replace the control board (maybe an upgrade version if they have one). Usually heat is what kills the stepper driver, and unfortunately, many boards have bad thermal designs and/or are housed in terrible enclosures with little to no air flow. Addressing those issues can often reduced control boards going bad.
bad board.jpg

Posts: 128
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2015 6:56 pm

Re: Simple Qestion - Do Stepper Driver Boards Go Bad?

Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:47 pm

Fortunately, mine has removable stepper drivers.
It's a MightBoard from a FlashForge Creator Pro Dual Clone.
I've already ordered new stepper driver boards....on the way.

I do a fair amount of PC board work and I've gone over this board with my loupe and can't find anything.
Nothing burned or even browned. All caps look good and no chips damaged. No traces look stressed.
If I'm lucky it could just be that the Stepper Drivers need replacing.

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