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NEW PART DAY: SILENT STEPPER MOTORS


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Posted · NEW PART DAY: SILENT STEPPER MOTORS

I have almost finished my first PCB-design for the addon-board for the Ultimaker 2 to support the SilentStepStick from Watterott:

 

PCB for UM2 for Watterott SilentStepStickIMG 20150322 212309IMG 20150322 212255DSC 1554DSC 1555DSC 1573DSC 1575DSC 1578DSC 1579

CFG1, CFG2 and CFG6 can be configured via jumpers (5V, GND and open). So it will be possible to change the microstepping modes and stillstand power configuration.

I will need to add a connector for a fan and some capacitators. If you have some more suggestions which functions or connections are missing, please let me know.

 

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    Posted · NEW PART DAY: SILENT STEPPER MOTORS

    Make sure you have solid power connections - I'd make the 24V power line 0.5 - 1 mm thick. I guess you have a GND plane.

    You should also use good polymer capacitors for the drivers (one for every driver). For reference: I used a Panasonic 32SEPF68M (68 uF, 32V, ESR 25 mOhm)

     

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    Posted · NEW PART DAY: SILENT STEPPER MOTORS

    Please NOTE that the video is somewhat misleading when you are talking about using these in a 3D printer. The stealthChop mode will NOT provide enough torque for a 3D printer. You need to use the spreadCycle mode which isn't as quiet as stealthChop. Even so, spreadCycle is significantly quieter than the A4988 on all but the fastest moves.

    Only place I could find them was Watterott.

    http://www.watterott.com/en/SilentStepStick

    I suggest you order the small heatsinks too.

    http://www.watterott.com/en/Heatsinks-6-3x8mm

    See "Tom's Guide" review posted earlier in the thread.

    For motion camera's the stealthChop is ideal. However, it probably won't work in a 3D printer.

     

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    Posted · NEW PART DAY: SILENT STEPPER MOTORS

    I have designed the TMC262 into a commercial product. It works very well and the configuration abilities are fantastic, but it's more complex with the SPI bus. The stallGuard is a nice feature, the coolStep is not so useful. /256 microstepping is very smooth.

    I have also played with the TMC2100. As mentioned the stealthChop is not good with high accelerations, I tried higher voltages but haven't tried an external clock.

    With small low inductance motors it's pretty noisy in spreadCycle. This has good current control for accurate microstepping.

    The microPlyer is perhaps the best feature. It's as smooth as the TMC262 without the high step rates and works well with the step rate limits of the Arduino boards. And after all the accuracy of a step motor is no better than /16.

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    Posted · NEW PART DAY: SILENT STEPPER MOTORS

    Would anyone be interested in a PCB design for a Marlin-based electronics platform with TMC2100 steppers?

    I've been meaning to make a whole new platform, but that will take years to complete. Meanwhile, this could be a quick interim solution.

    It seems that the difference is already worth it, even without the advanced features of the TMC260.

    It takes a 4 layer PCB to make a good design for a stepper motor, so I'd make a complete all-in-one platform like the UM2 electronics. It won't be as cheap as a Rumba, but it should actually come close to a Rumba + 4 drivers.

    /edit:

    Actually, designing this as an Arduino shield might be better. The ATmega2560 is an insanely expensive part, and it doesn't even have USB integrated..

     

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    Posted · NEW PART DAY: SILENT STEPPER MOTORS

    What about designing it as a smoothieboard derivative?

     

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    Posted · NEW PART DAY: SILENT STEPPER MOTORS

    Thought about it, but I want to go all the way with an FPGA-based motion controller...

    I started designing the shield as a time & cost effective upgrade kit for UMOs. If you already have the Arduino Mega 2560 and don't want to spend a lot of money replacing all the electronics, then this is a good way to go.

     

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    Posted · NEW PART DAY: SILENT STEPPER MOTORS

    Maybe my soldering iron and skills just suck, but I found it really hard to solder on all the pins and the jumper wire properly :(

    Also I was wondering if there is a risk of damaging the drivers with the extreme heating by the soldering iron?

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    Posted · NEW PART DAY: SILENT STEPPER MOTORS

    I like to solder the pins by placing the pins in breadboard. I then place the driver board on top and solder away. The jumper wire I bend one side into a small loop, solder to the top of the ground pin, then get the other side through the hole, cut off the excess wire and solder it in.

    I don't know about the risk of heat damage, but if the board didn't get hot enough to melt the solder on the chip's pins, I think you are probably fine. Of course, it is safer to not get the board any hotter than you have to. I used 525 F on my iron (wish I new how to get it to read out in C).

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    Posted · NEW PART DAY: SILENT STEPPER MOTORS

    What I did was:

    Use an old arduino header *across* the carrier so one pin from each header was stuck in it at the correct distance so they remain parallel

    Solder one pin at one end of each header

    Check for straightness and reheat the one pin and adjust.

    Solder the other pin at the opposite end of the header in each side.

    Using a pair of needlenose pliers, while pressing the black header spacer up to the board so it doesn't break, I yank out the 3 CNF pins.

    Then I solder all the pins except the CNF pins.

    The using some silicone wire, I strip a bear minimum like 3mm and insert into the CNF1 hole and solder.

    Then I cut the jumper to length and only strip a little length like 3mm and solder to the gnd pin.

    PS: I strongly recommend getting silicone insulated wire for work like this. The insulation is much less likely to shrink away from the heat of the iron.

     

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    Posted · NEW PART DAY: SILENT STEPPER MOTORS

    I used a breadbord too for keeping things in place, that part worked fine... But really, the soldering iron i have is pretty bad, and probably not well suited for this kind of work (if any at all)... The tip is quite large, so its hard to place it properly (and yes, my wire insulation crimped away like crazy)

    Also, you cant adjust the temperature, it just either on or off... Which tends to make it either too cold or too hot...

    I guess I solved my own problem via the reflections in these posts:

    "Buy a better soldering iron" ;)

    Thanks guys :)

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    Posted · NEW PART DAY: SILENT STEPPER MOTORS

    Temperature control really helps. Before I had that, I was happiest with a relatively low wattage soldering iron that had a good tip (I think it might have been a 25W Weller Iron. Don't remember the model number, but it was about $20 at the time.)

     

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    Posted · NEW PART DAY: SILENT STEPPER MOTORS

    These joints should be quite easy to solder. If they're not, you probably have a bad soldering iron, or bad tin (or both).

    Proper temperature control is essential when you solder electronics. If you put a 400°C soldering iron (which is what many electrician's soldering irons run at) to a PCB, you could actually kill some components. And you will burn up the soldering tin too fast and never get good results.

    I have a Weller WHS 40D, which is a medium-priced, but quite well built electronics soldering station. It has only 20W, so it's not useful for beefy solder work, but even that usually works more or less.

    Next thing: Keep the tip clean - always put some tin on it when you're done soldering. Use a wet sponge or copper wool to wipe the tip after every 2-3 joints soldered. You need to clear the soldering tin from the tip every 10-20 seconds (by wiping), because the tin will get brittle and useless when heated for too long.

    Use normal Sn60Pb40 tin with solder flux core, and set the temperature to 360°C. Don't use any special alloys with copper or silver in them, and don't use lead-free solder (unless you're trained to work with that stuff). Unless of course you want to sell the stuff you soldered, then you'd have to meet RoHS restrictions.

    Don't turn up the temperature if it doesn't work well - that doesn't help. If it doesn't work, clean your tip and use fresh soldering tin.

    The thing with these solder joints is: The pins take a lot of heat until they bond well with the solder. Try putting the tip of the soldering iron to the pins without touching the PCB. Wait 1-2 seconds to heat them up. Then touch both the tip and the pin with the soldering tin. It will flow down inside the PCB hole, heat up the hole quickly and bond well. You don't need to ever touch the PCB - that way you'll put minimal heat stress on the electronic components on it.

    If you put the pins into a socket (or breadboard) for soldering, you only have more metal to heat up. It's better not to do that.

    I use a "third hand" (you can get these for 10$) to hold difficult pieces together. Just make sure it doesn't grab the pin you're soldering.

    /edit:

    You can "revive" most old and blackened tips using "tippy" cleaner. (Stannol Tippy is the brand name, I don't know how else to call that...). It is a soap-like little brick. You put the hot soldering iron into it for a second, then clean it. It will be almost like new...

    The tippy says "leadfree", but that's ok anyways.

    Afaik the fumes from the tippy aren't too good for your health. Do that in a ventilated room and don't take a deep breath when you're melting the stuff ;)

     

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    Posted · NEW PART DAY: SILENT STEPPER MOTORS

    Just note that the SlientStepperStick has a fairly significant ground plane and you need to put a good amount of heat into the ground pins and trace before the solder will flow...

    PS: I like the hakko soldering products like the FX888D which I own. A little expensive but think of it has an investment if you are into electronics.

    I've also been using SparkFun's "special blend" lead free solder: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10242

    It works well. However, it has a notably "dull" finish that looks like a cold joint so you need to understand the difference (see my pics).

     

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    Posted · NEW PART DAY: SILENT STEPPER MOTORS

    I have never had a problem with lead free solder. In fact, I am not sure if I have ever used leaded solder. Growing up, I am pretty sure my parents always got us lead-free and I know my universities and employers have only supplied lead-free.

    However, I have also never bothered with purpose specific soldering tin. We always just coated the tip with a little solder, wiped that on a wet towel/sponge and called it good.

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    Posted · NEW PART DAY: SILENT STEPPER MOTORS

    I have never had a problem with lead free solder. In fact, I am not sure if I have ever used leaded solder. Growing up, I am pretty sure my parents always got us lead-free and I know my universities and employers have only supplied lead-free.

    However, I have also never bothered with purpose specific soldering tin. We always just coated the tip with a little solder, wiped that on a wet towel/sponge and called it good.

     

    That's how it's supposed to be ;)

    Some companies take more time, others less to switch to lead-free. I did my apprenticeship using leaded solder, and I have a hard time using the lead-free stuff (which is why I just don't use it :p).

    At least when I do reflow-soldering, I use lead-free, no problems there :)

     

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    Posted · NEW PART DAY: SILENT STEPPER MOTORS

    TMC2100 stepper driver - 3D preview

    Ready to join the fray with my own TMC2100 implementation!

    According to Trinamic sales, the ICs should be available in March.

    Why not Pololu compatible? Because the Pololu footprint is simply too small. I want a clean layout that can actually make use of the TMC2100's nice properties. Also, I want access to all config pins. My board should also work well without any additional cooling or heatsinks (that's what the extensions on the sides of the PCB are for).

    Current return paths are much better here than on the silent step stick version (simply because there's more space...), and I also bypassed the IC's 5V regulator using an external 5V source. This saves quite a bit of power loss in the IC, especially when driving the motors at 24V.

    I also implemented the minimal ESD protection measures for the driver (just 6 more capacitors) which should improve lifespan and ruggedness of the driver.

    It comes with an Arduino shield that accepts these drivers and has jumper fields for all the config options. I have to make some final changes to it (had to switch a few pins on the driver), so there's no preview just yet :(.

    /edit:

    By the way, the heatsinks on the sides are an experiment - I'll cut them off on one prototype and compare temperatures. We'll see if they're good for something...

    /edit2:

    Why not make an all-in-one platform? Because I already have a few Arduinos laying around, and this is much cheaper than making one large 4-layer PCB (the shield is just 2 layers).

    /edit3:

    Provided these work as intended, I'll be selling them within Switzerland.

    Sources will be available once it's tested. No use publishing an untested (and therefore not yet working) design...

     

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    Posted · NEW PART DAY: SILENT STEPPER MOTORS

    What do the 2100 have over the 260s? How will you use these with the UMO electronics?

     

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    Posted · NEW PART DAY: SILENT STEPPER MOTORS

    The main feature of the 2100 is that they don't need to be configured over SPI and might be cheaper. They are otherwise inferior.

     

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    Posted · NEW PART DAY: SILENT STEPPER MOTORS

     

    Ready to join the fray with my own TMC2100 implementation!

    According to Trinamic sales, the ICs should be available in March.

    Why not Pololu compatible? Because the Pololu footprint is simply too small. I want a clean layout that can actually make use of the TMC2100's nice properties. Also, I want access to all config pins. My board should also work well without any additional cooling or heatsinks (that's what the extensions on the sides of the PCB are for).

    Current return paths are much better here than on the silent step stick version (simply because there's more space...), and I also bypassed the IC's 5V regulator using an external 5V source. This saves quite a bit of power loss in the IC, especially when driving the motors at 24V.

    I also implemented the minimal ESD protection measures for the driver (just 6 more capacitors) which should improve lifespan and ruggedness of the driver.

    It comes with an Arduino shield that accepts these drivers and has jumper fields for all the config options. I have to make some final changes to it (had to switch a few pins on the driver), so there's no preview just yet :(.

    /edit:

    By the way, the heatsinks on the sides are an experiment - I'll cut them off on one prototype and compare temperatures. We'll see if they're good for something...

    /edit2:

    Why not make an all-in-one platform? Because I already have a few Arduinos laying around, and this is much cheaper than making one large 4-layer PCB (the shield is just 2 layers).

    /edit3:

    Provided these work as intended, I'll be selling them within Switzerland.

    Sources will be available once it's tested. No use publishing an untested (and therefore not yet working) design...

    Will the shield have all the other electronics needed for a 3D printer, or will it be designed to sandwhich between the Arduino and UMO shield?

     

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    Posted · NEW PART DAY: SILENT STEPPER MOTORS

    It's a replacement for the UMO shield, so yes it does contain all the other features (except they're better ;)). I've used good MosFETs and switching regulators instead of linear regs. And maybe a bit cleaner analog layout, but not that much.

    I bumped into some details this afternoon, so it's not yet completed. But maybe tomorrow evening I can show you the design.

    /update:

    Still work in progress - I'm having trouble with a certain TI DC/DC switching regulator that disappeared from their WeBench design software. Now I either have to wait until they fix that, or switch to another regulator (which would suck because 24V to 12V is already done).

     

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    Posted · NEW PART DAY: SILENT STEPPER MOTORS

    Time for an update!

    I redesigned the switching regulators because TI didn't care about my problems. The prototype design is now finished and all the parts are ordered.

    The TMC2100 will be released March 27, which is also when the rest of the parts and my ordered PCBs should arrive. So I should get a prototype ready in early April.

    The TMC2100 launch also means that the step-sticks might be re-available in April. I haven't heard or inquired about that - just an assumption.

    Personally, I don't like the stepstick design - there's simply not enough PCB space for cooling. I suppose my variant will not need any forced air cooling (but that remains to be tested).

    Here's a preview render of my Arduino shield:

    preview 3D

    I know, looks a bit strange, but that's how Altium's 3D view looks like. Sadly, it's not possible to modify the colors of STEP models in Altium.

    Top row + right side: 4x Stepper motor connections for my TMC2100 driver board. Closeby are jumper selectors to set all 7 CFG pins. Marlin's enable (I don't know if it's even used) works, as does the CFG6 selector (same pin). A MosFET is used to tie CFG6 low (disable stepper), but leave the CFG6 setting intact when the stepper is enabled.

    Left: DC jack power input (same as UMO electronics / PSU). Just next to it is a screw terminal socket for industrial power supplies. Right next to that is the heatbed connector, and in the lower left corner the extruder output. Both are switched by highly efficient PSMN4R0-30YLDX MosFETs (4 mOhms, 30V). There's also some red LEDs to indicate when a heater is on.

    In the center there's the two DC/DC switching regulators. One for 12V which is used to power the Arduino and the 3 fan outputs (cyan connectors to the lower left). The fans (1 PWM, 2 hardwired) can be run from 12V or the PSU input voltage, selectable individually by a jumper.

    The other regulator creates a clean 5V supply which is used for the motors and temperature sensors. This improves the TMC2100's current scaling quality and reduces power dissipation, because the TMC2100's internal 5V regulator is bypassed. The temperature sensors also benefit from a clean supply.

    Then there's the 6 limit-switch inputs, and three temperature inputs. The 4.7k resistor can be disconnected with a jumper (for termocouple sensors).

    UltiPanel connections are in the bottom right corner. Same as UMO electronics...

    I'll release the documentation once the prototype is up and running.

     

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    Posted · NEW PART DAY: SILENT STEPPER MOTORS

    Forgive me for possibly asking the obvious, but what parts will your design replace and which are retained?

    I understood these stepper drivers could be made as pretty much drop-in replacements for the current Ultimaker hardware, so I am not terribly sure why you are designing this - outside of you making a whole own printer, of course.

     

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