Making your own powerful Controller on the cheap side

I’ve got one of the 269 ozin steppers running my linear Z on the Xcontroller. Runs smooth as can be and required no changes when I upgraded from stock motor.

I need to make and sell some things before I do the other motors and belts.

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I too have 3 of the ones and love them. They are a considerable upgrade over the stock ones, but at the time I bought them I only looked for torque and max current and I wanted to use the existing power supply and drivers (X-Controller).

If I was building a controller from scratch I would also look to match the motors’ inductance to the power supply(ies).

Here’s an excerpt from Gecko’s stepper basics guide

To figure out what the maximum power supply voltage should be, use the following formula with the motor’s inductance in millihenries (mH) used for the L value.

32 * SQRT(L) = Vmax

Over this value, the motors will overheat. Below this value, the motors will underperform.

StepperOnline Vmax=32SQRT(5.4)=74Volt
AutomationTechnology Vmax=32

Instead of saying will perform better I should have said will underperform less when used with a 24V power supply.

So building from scratch, I’d probably go for the AutomationTechnology 8-wire stepper in bipolar parallel configuration (4.2A, 2.2mH => 47Volt) with 48V power supplies… and probably capped @3.5A to use with the Gecko 540. The steppers don’t cost more, but 4x power supplies + the 540 do.


I am curious at your, or anyone elses thoughts on here, about the cost you incurred on this vs an x-controller and also some pros and cons over an x-controller. I am looking to upgrade and am curious which route to go, ease of installation and troubleshooting is a big part but of course money plays a role as well.

What are your thoughts on these motors?

For the xcarve they won’t fit the std Z-axis (max motor case length = 54mm)

I have by hand tried to stall my X/Y during carving but was unable to achieve that, I have Nema23´s 269oz with 2,6A drivers running 1/2 step (and ACME rods, not belts)

I used one of these on the X-Carve’s X axis for half a year, then moved it to a new machine. The added weight (compared to stock) works nicely as a counterweight too (especially if you have a direct drive Z which turns your X-Carriage front-heavy). It’s not that heavier than the StepperOnline (1.05 vs 1.2kg).

It was included in this list.

Higher torque NEMA 23 on the X (was originally to match the 2x on the Y. I settled with a one which is still within the X-Controllers range (3.0A).

I’m using an Open Builds C beam Z. and a screw drive upgrade kit, so that isn’t a concern.

Thanks. I think I might just pick those up, then.

would this screw shield work for me? It has a couple less terminals than the linked kit, but do i need those? i am using 4 x TB6600 drivers.

DOH! didnt paste the link:

i just don’t want to have to solder. i’m not very good at soldering these little pins. I do want to maintain the necessary pins for coolant control so that i can add that at some point without needing new electronics.


I take zero responsibility even if I were responsible! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

One of the main reasons I am building my own controller (aside from more power), is so I can replace a driver individually if one dies.
The tinyg like all integrated boards, at least that I am aware of would require specialist equipment to remove surface mounted chips. So more than likely one driver chip being dead would mean buying a whole new board

does it ever? :sweat_smile:

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I am a partially retired Research Associate at the University of Utah ( I have absolutely no connection to Synthetos other than I happen to have purchased a Tiny G from Synthetos for a CNC Plasma Cutter that I am building. I DO NOT OWN an x-carve. I am hoping to use changeable Z Axis mounts so that I might do Plasma Cutting , Wood Carving, Light Aluminum Machining and PC board routing. I am also building my own mechanics. I noticed that folks were trying to build ( and sometimes struggling ) to build their own stepper motor control and drive systems. That is the only reason I mentioned an option for a complete controller/driver board. As for where I replied to a thread, I wasn’t sure where the best place to make my suggestion. Here is a picture of my partially built system.

If this qualifies as spam then delete it. I COULDN’T POSSIBLY CARE ANY LESS. I was just attempting to be helpful.


Hey @PhilJohnson I was doing some light reading (yeah right) and came across this white paper. Since I remember you posted somewhere your were using the chips spec’d in the paper, at least I think you did, I thought you might want to read it. I think it has some great info in it. Regeneration Energy Dissipation or Store When Using the MX3660 and MX4660 (1).pdf (1.4 MB)

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For those using drivers with the integrated Toshiba chips that geek speak basically is about switching transients. The simple, If your using a switching regulated power supply do not go over 24 volts. Keep your drivers cool. If you happened to get the well made ones you should see years of service. If you happened to get the poor made ones, you can post on the net about the crap drivers with everyone else. If you need to drive at higher voltages and amps then look to the drivers with discrete FETs. They are much tougher and more expensive. The Toshiba chips are a great value if they are operated with in their design envelope. Also note that the better driver manufacturers of high current and voltage drivers usually talk about unregulated power supplies with large caps to absorb these switch transients.

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I really like that framework. Did you weld/build that yourself?

can someone tell me which connection each color wire coming from the stepper is? the stepper online specs don’t label which is which. i am on the last bit of wiring. just wiring the steppers to the drivers.

Thanks, Cory

The specs sheet that came with the steppers was only in Chinese, but on their website it shows the matching colors for A+ A- etc. I wired mine according to that and had to invert the directions in grbl settings

Well, for those that just have to know, take a look here: