I think I fried my X-Controller

I have a PM into Inventables, but I thought I’d post on the forum anyways to get some advice from someone more electronics-savvy …

I had my new X-Controller running perfectly for a week or so, but I think I may have fried it while wiring up a relay on the M8 output. I’m guessing I accidentally shorted across the relay board I’m using (dropped a screwdriver), as I saw a spark and heard a crackle on the relay board. From that point on, the X-Controller stopped responding.

The state I am in now is that my controller software (grblweb) sees the X-Carve serial port okay, but doesn’t respond to any commands I send it.

Is there a way to troubleshoot this? Or, perhaps a fuse on the X-Controller board that I can replace (I doubt it)?

I took the X-Controller apart and inspected the board, and don’t see anything out of the ordinary. I also tried different USB ports on the host computer (Raspberry Pi) and tried bypassing the external USB connector on the X-Controller, and going straight to the internal USB micro connector. I tested the power supply, and it is supplying 24 volts DC …

Am I pretty much doomed, and need a whole new X-Controller?

Ooooo ow ow. Like the others said, and for anyone else reading, never ever ever ever add new wires or relays or sensors or anything else on any electrical device without turning off the power first, unless you must keep power on for a good reason.

The X Controller, and all XCarve controllers, uses an arduino compatible microcontroller to run. What this means is that it should be possible for you to write and upload a test program to determine if the microcontroller is dead. (I’m not super familiar aith the X Controller electrically, but I’m assuming it’s still Uno based, in which case your board should have a fairly large chip labeled ATMega328P)

Why do I suspect the microcontroller? Because you A. Can see the com port exists
and B. Can’t make the microcontroller do stuff

You see, the ATMega is a nice chip, but lacks the capability of appearing as a USB device, or communicating over USB directly. It does, however, have a UART port. So, Arduinos are designed with a USB to UART bidirectional communications chip from FTDI (usually. There are a few substitute chips used here and there). The FTDI chip appears on your computers COM port, not the microcontroller. It’s like a dumb translator. If you turn the power off, wire an led and resistor from a digital pin to ground, upload an arduino sketch program to turn that digital pin high and low (the first arduino tutorial is called “blink” and does just that), and the LED doesn’t blink, it means your micro is dead.

If that’s the case, I hope for your sake the ATMega is a DIP chip in a socket.

First of all, bravo Inventables, that’s a gorgeous board. Second of all, sucks for anyone that breaks theirs. This guy wont forget to unplug ever again.

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@AngusMcleod @NathanButler @PhilJohnson Gentlemen, thank you for looking into this, as well as your advice and wisdom.

It was absolute carelessness and stupidity on my part. I know better! I’ll take my lumps, learn from the experience, and move forward.

At this point I’m not sure if I am going to replace the X-Controller, go back to the original gshield setup, or go another route entirely. Time to take a step back and finish up some other projects (that don’t involve CNC work) …

Thanks again …

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Yeah, like Angus said. Don’t get to thinking you’ve ruined your machine. An ATMEGA328P is like $1.20 new. Mailing in yours and getting a replacement board for your controller might only cost 20 or 30 bucks.

If your micro is even broken. You still need to run some tests to verify that.