Troubleshooting X axis movement

Hello Inventables community, I’m hoping you might be able to chime in w/ some thoughts on what may have happened to my X axis. I’m linking to a video showing exactly what’s happening;

Here’s a bit of background;

I’ve been running my X-carve at what I’m going to guess is a moderate, to mod low pace over the last 1.5 years. It maybe gets 2 hours tops of run time per week. All has been well for the most part over that time.

Now, something is wrong w/ my x axis controller/movement. When not powered, all axis move fine. In fact, the day prior to this current problem, I had been using it ‘manually’ as one might do w/ a router sled to flatten a slice of log. I’ve done that several times before w/ no issue. Could I have fried something by pushing my router around manually? I also thought that maybe a wire came loose or got knocked when cleaning up around the machine. As far as I can tell, each and every wire is still snug. They are all so delicate, I didn’t want to really tug anything, but none are disconnected or cross-contacting another. What are some steps to go about tracing down the issue?

My typical workflow is Vcarve Desktop to UGS. I also double checked using Easel and same problem, jogging the X axis either way just stutters and doesn’t go anywhere.

Try to swap the X motor and Z axis motor. Be aware this will move 8 times faster now. Send 1mm to move by UGS to Z and if the X moves correctly 8mm you proved the stepper to be defective. Send 8mm to X and if the Z axis stutterns now you proved to have a defective stepper.

@BobJewell, I hoped the video would explain it. It does a sort of jerking movement, with some motor struggle sounds that are hard to put to words.

Since you confirmed that I could have fried the motor, I’m inclined to just assume I did and order a new motor now before I can get around to testing as @ErikJanssen suggested.


Now, I’m wondering which motor to order. I looked back at my original purchase, and it was the NEMA 23 Stepper Motor Kit - 30570-02, which doesn’t exist anymore. Can anyone at @inventables give me a hand? Seems there are two versions here;

I had a issue with mine. Although not the same but here is what I experienced.
The little locking slug vibrated out. I happend to see it sitting on the build platform before it got sucked up.
Also I had added the 2 bars for the 30min stiffining and it was putting too much pressure on the v-wheels. Probably something I did wrong. So I removed the mod. I will get the new maker one piece to replace it soon.
Also my V-wheels were too tight. (either by me or they somehow vibrated tighter.)
Check that your X travel is smooth and that it isn’t stiff. You should be able to move it with one finger and very little effort.

I confirm Bob’s suggestion and also think you fried the stepper controler not the motor.

I had this issue with my Z-axis with the struggle you described and swapping the X and Z motor leads showed that both motors moved correctly but one of the driver outputs was defective.

I always do appreciate the help in this community. You guys are awesome. @StephenCook I just double checked all that and I’m good there. Moves very easy off power and my vwheels don’t feel overly tight.

@ErikJanssen I couldn’t find the build instructions for my previous model xcarve online and for some reason didn’t save it elsewhere like I should have. For swaping the X and Z axis, I figure it’s the wire plate on the back of the Z carriage, but need an assist on which wires are necessary to move vs. leave in place for this test. Would I do just do the black and green or the red and white also?

For background knowledge you can read the instructions of Pololu for the stepper driver, this will make you udnerstand what happens. You can find it here pololu driver details the drivers on your G-shield are similar. The ShapeOko 2 wiki also provides excellent background information like ShapeOko2 wiring

Each stepper has two coils with two leads each, you have to prevent mixing up these wires. You have to swap all 4 wires from each motor. Leaving a stepper disconnected may ruin the stepper so you should always have both motors connected at all times, so test X-Z or Z-X together.

As your system was running fine before first is to check that all wires are still properly attached, if one of the wires broke you will get your described effect. If you find one, re-attach it and try the motor.

Take a piece of scotch tape and put it flat over the 4 wires of one motor, fold it back on the other side, now you fixed the order of the wires. Do this also for the 2nd motor and swap the wiring keeping all 4 in the same order. Your picture shows red-white-green-black for both motors.

Try to jog your motors 1mm and tell us what happens. Remember the X will move 8 times more now as we are using the Z commands.

If the problem is still there we have to check the wiring in case one of the wires in the drag chain is defective. In order to find that one out we have to re-produce the swap procedure but now on the G-Shield side, what we effectively are doing is swapping the wiring. Swap the X with the Z and everyting is as before, test the motors and if the X is still giving problems your G-shield is gone.

Never mind, just made an un-educated guess and swapped all 4 wires and tested. It’s definitely the controller and not the motor. Good test. Now…

Does anyone have experience w/ the new X-Controller? Worth the money? I really want to lean toward that as an upgrade + fix solution at this point.

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Have you tried swapping the wiring on the G-Shield, that is a $50 test, if the wire is broken in the drag chain the output will work fine.

Thanks all. @ErikJanssen, I’ll give it a last ditch test swapping wires at the G-shield, but those connections were the most aggravating I had of the entire original build.

@PhilJohnson and @BobJewell, the recommendation on the X-controller pushed me over the edge. Will likely be ordering shortly.

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With the X-Controller you can power each of the Y motors to the motor spec of 2.8A each and with the 4A spec of the controller you have some reserve resulting in less heat dissipation.

With the G-Shield you can power until the limit of 2.2A when properly cooled for Two Y motors, So only 1.1 for each. So on the Y axis you have only 40% of the power per motor compared to the X-Controller.

You can also choose to use a Protoneer Arduino Stepper Shield to your Arduino UNO with 4 individual Pololu 8825 Stepper Driver boards which will give you almost 80% of the power or the X-Controller. The last version has the noise suppressing capacitors installed.

The X Controller will make your life easier in installation and system stability unless you put a lot more effort in the electrical installation.