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Loud noise during Y-movement and hot stepper motor

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Hi there!

I have an issue with my UM1.

Allthough it doesn't seem critical (it doesn't affect the prints and it doesn't seem to get any worse) i still would like to find out the cause and what I should do to solve it to prevent future issues.

Here's my problem: during printing the Y-stepper motor gets a lot hotter then the X-motor. Especially during prints with slow print speed the temperature rises to a point where I can only touch the Y-motor for a few seconds before getting "burned". The X-motor also gets hot but i can keep my finger on the housing for a long time.

Also Y-movements produce a louder sound then X-movements during travel speed. This is clearly heard during bed-levelling (see video).

Loud Stepper Motor

However, when I move the head by hand I do not hear any difference in sound and I do not feel any noticeable difference in resistance between X-movements and Y-movements. I can also not determine if the sound really originates from the motor itself.

I have calibrated the X & Y axes several times but this doesn't make any difference.

I have used some oil on the axes but this doesn't help either.

Anyone encountered this same problem before? Because I would love to find out how it can be solved!

Thanks for helping out!



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Obviously the y stepper driver is set to a higher current compared to the x stepper driver.

You may reduce the current. Please check the http://wiki.ultimaker.com/Electronics_build_guide. Especially make sure, you don't turn the potmeter on the driver pcb into the wrong direction; you could destroy the driver with a too high current. And don't run the UM1 electronics longer than 30s without the cooling fan.

Although I switched my UM1 to direct drive some time ago (and therefore have reduced mechanical resistance in the axes), I think it should be possible to run the motors with the standard setup (i.e. including the short belts) with a current that still allows you to touch the motor.


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First, stepper motors do get pretty darn hot. A common "safe" temperature I see thrown around is 80C, but I'd try to keep it well below that.

Since you're not feeling any difference in resistance when moving the head around and print quality isn't effected then perhaps the current is simply set too high for that motor. You can tweak the motor current on the driver board underneath the machine. You can find instructions for that on the page linked below. But please, be careful, and read everything before trying to adjust anything.


Alternatively you could mount a heat sink on it to help it cool off.


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Unlike normal motors, stepper motors apparently use the same amount of current regardless of how much work they are doing. So I assume a hot motor doesn't have much to do with mechanical resistance - more to do with current setting.

These stepper drivers are very easy to destroy. But they are also cheap and available from many sources.


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Quick update:

I have decreased the power by altering the potmeter on the Y-motor stepper driver and it did the trick!

I didn't use the multi meter as recommended though.

I just removed the fancase from the electronics, rotated the potmeter slightly clockwise, moved the fancase back onto the electronicsboard and tested the sounds via a bedleveling Gcode.

I repeated this a few times until both X and Y motor sounded the same.

I am now printing in slow speed to check if the temperature issue is also fixed. Until now the Y-motor is even slightly cooler then the X-motor so I guess decreasing the stepper driver power solved all my problems. (well....regarding the Ultimaker that is!!! :smile:)

Thanks again for your help!


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