Need Help with Older Machine

I have an old Shapeoko 2 (purchased from Inventables). I have used it successfully for many years, and have no need for greater capabilities, but it has stopped working. I’m hoping that someone here can advise me on how to get it working again.

When I powered it on recently it seemed to be working at first - it was able to connect (via USB) and I could manually jog the spindle. But by the time I finished setting up to make a piece it would no longer move, even though it seemed to still be connected. I tried swapping USB cables and ports to no avail. On examining the controller closely I could not see anything wrong with it (no burned out components, etc.). But after all that it would no longer even connect. The computer sees it, and Device Manager shows it as “Arduino Uno (COM4)”, but Easel does not see it.

Any suggestions?


Is you Easel Drive up to date?


Brandon R. Parker

I was thinking about that, and haven’t checked, but the fact that it was working when I first turned it on suggests that that is not the problem - unless they changed something on the server side while I was setting up the project.

Do you have an e-stop?


Brandon R. Parker

I’m not sure what you mean by “e-stop”, but assuming it is a limit switch(es), no, I don’t have any. That would prevent any motion, but wouldn’t prevent Easel from connecting to the controller, right?

This be the e-stop.

No, I definitely do not have that! These systems didn’t even come with an enclosure for the controller - I had to make my own.

Yeah, I was not sure if you had done any upgrades.

Can you connect to the controller with the Arduino IDE?


Brandon R. Parker

Connecting the controller to Arduino IDE was another thought I had, but having no familiarity with this tool, I’m not sure either how difficult it would be to set it up and use it, or how helpful it would be. Might it help to re-flash the firmware? I think I found the appropriate file online.

OK, Arduino IDE connects to the controller. I found instructions for updating GRBL, but the first step is to use “Putty” to save the current firmware. There are no detailed instructions for this. It appears that Putty is a network communications utility, so I don’t know how that would relate to a USB-connected Arduino board. Any suggestions?

You must mean to save your EEPROM settings. You can’t save the actual firmware off the Arduino.
If you’re connected via Arduino ide, you won’t need to use Putty (which can make the serial connection as well).
Connect through the serial monitor and send $$ to see your current settings.

When you upgrade to the current version of Grbl, your settings will reset. Just take a screenshot of your current ones to speed up your setup later on

Yes, it is just the settings - I misunderstood. The instructions I’m looking at are here:

The next step is to download the HEX file, but I’m not sure what version to use. The latest is v1.1, but will it work with this old machine? I would think so, but don’t really know enough about it.

After that it instructs me to use a utility XLoader to flash the firmware, but the IDE must have this capability, right?

Thanks for your help!

Xloader makes it really easy to upload a precompiled hex file. Grbl is weird in that it must be installed as a library with Arduino. Not a big deal if you’re familiar, but not everyone is.
1.1 should work… What version is on it now. Some pin assignments changed with v0.9

The current version is 0.8c. Changing pin assignments sounds like trouble!

Also: Since the controller is responding to all the listed commands I’m puzzled as to why Easel won’t connect. Maybe I should be investigating the driver rather than the controller.

Do you have limit switches or a variable controlled spindle? If not, you won’t need to do anything.

Maybe you should be investigating why you want to connect with Easel in the first place. They’re a bunch of additional options available since you purchased that machine.
Many of them may have trouble with v0.8, though. I’d upgrade if I were you. What’s the controller look like? Is it a GShield?

No limit switches or controlled spindle (I do have variable speed, but manually controlled).

Ha! Yes, back when I was using this machine for my business I often told myself I should be using better software, but the truth is my designs were all very simple, and I didn’t have time to learn new software. Now I just use it infrequently for personal projects, so there’s even less motivation to switch.

Yes, the controller is Arduino Uno + GShield. The GShield is removed now, since it is not easily disconnected from the stepper motors. I suppose it’s possible that having the GShield attached causes the Uno to fail. It shouldn’t, but I’ll try it.

You can still use Easel for the design and export the gcode to send with another user interface. Grbl switched to a baud rate of 115200 with 0.9. Your controller is probably at 9600?

Just a thought, you can buy a Genmitsu controller on Amazon for less than 40 dollars. Easel should recognize it. The drawback is that motors are connected to female plugs and set up for 3 motors, so you might have to either purchase one for dual Y motors or rig up a slave, like the shapeoko and this is assuming that the voltage and current of your power supply is in the ball park.

CNCTOPBAOS 3 Axis GRBL 1.1f USB Port CNC Engraving Machine Control Board CNC Router Engraver Milling Machine Controller Board

» Shapeoko 2 CNC Machine (ep41) (

I used UGS a long time ago because it was quicker when repeating the same cuts multiple times, but it seems to have disappeared from my computer. I’ll try re-installing it. Or is there something else you would recommend?

UGS has gone through a lot of versions. The platform version is very nice. That is really all I’ve used with my S2 and X carve upgrades.

Download - UGS (