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It appears I've broken my printer...

Brian H

Super User
I am hoping the fix is simple...
Here's where I'm at. I had been ignoring my 3D printer for awhile (just didn't have any need to print anything). I went to print something yesterday and nothing was coming out of the extruder. I was thinking plugged nozzle so I proceeded to work at changing that. Well, lo and behold, I discovered the stepper motor for the filament feed wasn't turning. I disassembled it and tried to diagnose the issue. (did I mention I am "electronically challenged")

What I did:
-checked the connector was not unplugged/loose
-opened the electronics box to see if wires had come un plugged
-tried to swap the wiring from the Z-axis stepper to the filament stepper and told it to move axis and the stepper just buzzes but doesn't turn
(it turns freely when steppers are disabled and locks solid when the command to move is given)

I did a search but didn't find any useful information. One suggestion was the cable or driver may be bad but I don't have any way of testing either of those)

Before I start ordering pieces I'm hoping to get some advice from those of you that are more knowledgeable on this...
 

Proxule

Ultra Member
Swapping the leads out like you did, indeed narrowed it down. But we can only hope the VREF supplied to the z axis is the same as the extruder stepper.

Did you try manually turning the gear on the extruder to see if its locked up?
Silver lining is these are common cheap steppers and amazon will have it to your door in 1 day or so.

Would be nice to confirm vref for this stepper and all of them for future troubleshooting.

Trying to think how to trouble, ill report back

gluck
 
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Brian H

Super User
Swapping the leads out like you did, indeed narrowed it down. But we can only hope the VREF supplied to the z axis is the same as the extruder stepper.

Did you try manually turning the gear on the extruder to see if its locked up?
Silver lining is these are common cheap steppers and amazon will have it to your door in 1 day or so.

Would be nice to confirm vref for this stepper and all of them for future troubleshooting.

Trying to think hot to trouble, ill report back

gluck
Yes, I can turn the stepper by had very easily as long as the power is off or the steppers are disabled.

Thanks for the link, I will read through this and hopefully make sense of it.
 

Brian H

Super User
Another question, I noticed an upgrade available for the ender 3 to relocate the extruder and make it a direct feed. Has anyone done this? It's not much more than just the stepper motor replacement and it eliminates the bowden tube??
 

Proxule

Ultra Member
Im not sure on the specifics for your printer but yes if you can swing the cost. Direct feed is normally superior vs. Bowden. Shorter retraction and easier to feed filament like TPU.

GLUCK
 

Janger

(John)
Vendor
Premium Member
Could Brian apply power say 12v dc to one pair of wires and see the stepper move 1 degree then the other pair and this would show if the motor can move or is bad electrically?
Of course disconnect the boards from the wiring first!

I’m not that familiar with steppers but I do know the board powers one pair of wires and then the other pair to activate electromagnets set 90 degrees to each other. This alternating switching makes the motor turn.
 

Doggggboy

Ultra Member
Another question, I noticed an upgrade available for the ender 3 to relocate the extruder and make it a direct feed. Has anyone done this? It's not much more than just the stepper motor replacement and it eliminates the bowden tube??
I did the switch a couple of years ago on mine. Swapped in a Microswiss all metal hot end. Enables printing with higher temps for stuff like nylon too.
 

Brian H

Super User
Could Brian apply power say 12v dc to one pair of wires and see the stepper move 1 degree then the other pair and this would show if the motor can move or is bad electrically?
Of course disconnect the boards from the wiring first!
I plugged the stepper motor into the x-axis wire and activated the move axis for that motor and it didn't move there either. It "locked up" but wouldn't move, just buzzed. Would that not accomplish the same thing?

The same wire when plugged into its motor operated perfectly.
 

Janger

(John)
Vendor
Premium Member
Could Brian apply power say 12v dc to one pair of wires and see the stepper move 1 degree then the other pair and this would show if the motor can move or is bad electrically?
Of course disconnect the boards from the wiring first!

I’m not that familiar with steppers but I do know the board powers one pair of wires and then the other pair to activate electromagnets set 90 degrees to each other. This alternating switching makes the motor turn.

Also one thing - the filament will prevent the motor from turning unless ithe hot is on and allows filament to flow through it. That might be another thing to check - if the hot end stays cool then then the motor won’t turn. You said it did turn manually so I guess Brian you have handled that.
 

Janger

(John)
Vendor
Premium Member
I think you’re right. How about plugging the z axis control into the x axis motor. Then you can isolate it down to the motor.
 

Brian H

Super User
Also one thing - the filament will prevent the motor from turning unless ithe hot is on and allows filament to flow through it. That might be another thing to check - if the hot end stays cool then then the motor won’t turn. You said it did turn manually so I guess Brian you have handles that.
yes, I removed the tube from the hot end completely. I can move it freely. Also, I removed the stepper from the assembly and tried it apart with the same results.

Thanks for confirming my thought process though. I wasn't sure if I was going about it the right way.
 

Brian H

Super User
I think you’re right. How about plugging the z axis control into the x axis motor. Then you can isolate it down to the motor.
Sorry, I just looked and that is the closest motor so that would be the lead I used... still figuring which motor is which...
 

Cryoine

Active Member
Another question, I noticed an upgrade available for the ender 3 to relocate the extruder and make it a direct feed. Has anyone done this? It's not much more than just the stepper motor replacement and it eliminates the bowden tube??
hey hey, Im not sure how i missed this post lol

Direct Feed printers usually have the advantage with some materials in particular TPU, TPU is good for printing seals and spacers that need a bit of squish and oil resistance, however in filament form it is super flexible so the drive of the extruder being that close to the nozzle leaves less chance of the machine jamming. however there are tradeoffs, the increased mass of the printing head can cause small oscillations when accelerating decelerating or changing directions(like when printing infill), these might be small but can cause noticeable defects in your print quality

as for the drive motor, it could be that the driver IC on the mother board has failed, the buzzing when u swapped them around could be caused by the pulse duration in the firmware of the controller(I assume that they both are the same model of stepper motor?).

did you also check for continuity and resistance between the pairs of leads in the motor between A+,A- and B+,B- and across them?
 

Cryoine

Active Member
Could Brian apply power say 12v dc to one pair of wires and see the stepper move 1 degree then the other pair and this would show if the motor can move or is bad electrically?
Of course disconnect the boards from the wiring first!

I’m not that familiar with steppers but I do know the board powers one pair of wires and then the other pair to activate electromagnets set 90 degrees to each other. This alternating switching makes the motor turn.
don't do this, some of these NEMA 17 motors dont operate at such a high voltage, some of them run on 3.4V, the driver chip that runs the motor in some cases can accept up to 48V, the principle is sound though you can use a 3V low current source
 

Janger

(John)
Vendor
Premium Member
hey hey, Im not sure how i missed this post lol

Direct Feed printers usually have the advantage with some materials in particular TPU, TPU is good for printing seals and spacers that need a bit of squish and oil resistance, however in filament form it is super flexible so the drive of the extruder being that close to the nozzle leaves less chance of the machine jamming. however there are tradeoffs, the increased mass of the printing head can cause small oscillations when accelerating decelerating or changing directions(like when printing infill), these might be small but can cause noticeable defects in your print quality

as for the drive motor, it could be that the driver IC on the mother board has failed, the buzzing when u swapped them around could be caused by the pulse duration in the firmware of the controller(I assume that they both are the same model of stepper motor?).

did you also check for continuity and resistance between the pairs of leads in the motor between A+,A- and B+,B- and across them?
Can O ring seals or gaskets e.g. for a motor block be printed from TPU? and will they endure in use?
 

jcdammeyer

John
Premium Member
Late to the party here. If you have a meter check the resistance of the motor windings. There are two windings. You should see a low resistance between two of the wires. Start with one and just test until you find the other. If you don't find the other then your motor has an open winding. If you find it note the resistance. Then switch to the other pair and measure. The resistance should be the same.
On my printer the motors are all sized the same so trying the filament feed on one of the other axis should cause the motor to turn. If not again I'd suspect the motor.
 

Cryoine

Active Member
Can O ring seals or gaskets e.g. for a motor block be printed from TPU? and will they endure in use?
It depends and I don't have much long term data on this, if there is very little heat and slight compression then it would last a really long time, I wouldnt use it for o-rings though as the cross sectional area is round so the layers arent the best but flat gaskets are fair game.

I had printed a vibration dampener(motor coupling) for someone and ask them to give me feed back on its performance, they never got back to me sadly
 

Brian H

Super User
so, I received the new extruder/stepper assembly. I followed the instructions on install and still no movement on the extruder...I am assuming there is something in the computer board "thingy" that may be faulty...

Thanks to everyone that has given advice on testing methods, I however don' t think I have any of the correct test equipment. I have a really cheap multi meter from PA that I'm not sure even works (can't expect too much from a $9.99 tool) and a greenlee tester for checking for live wires.

Can this board be easily changed? I feel like I'm in a position where I will need to replace items in the "most likely culprit" sequence.

I'm not sure if this is relevant, and I know its a different circuit, but, I know I have power to the extruder head because the fan starts when I turn the printer on. Since I had to install the new wiring harness, I feel I got that part correct.
 

phaxtris

(Ryan)
Premium Member
Premium Member
so, I received the new extruder/stepper assembly. I followed the instructions on install and still no movement on the extruder...I am assuming there is something in the computer board "thingy" that may be faulty...

Thanks to everyone that has given advice on testing methods, I however don' t think I have any of the correct test equipment. I have a really cheap multi meter from PA that I'm not sure even works (can't expect too much from a $9.99 tool) and a greenlee tester for checking for live wires.

Can this board be easily changed? I feel like I'm in a position where I will need to replace items in the "most likely culprit" sequence.

I'm not sure if this is relevant, and I know its a different circuit, but, I know I have power to the extruder head because the fan starts when I turn the printer on. Since I had to install the new wiring harness, I feel I got that part correct.

If your board has built in stepper drivers then you will need to replace the board, you may be able to order a direct replacement depending on the printer model/board, in Wich case it's just a plug and play affair

If it has replaceable stepper drivers it's possible that you just have a bad stepper driver and may get away with just replacing the driver
 

Cryoine

Active Member
If your board has built in stepper drivers then you will need to replace the board, you may be able to order a direct replacement depending on the printer model/board, in Wich case it's just a plug and play affair

If it has replaceable stepper drivers it's possible that you just have a bad stepper driver and may get away with just replacing the driver
if you are able to change the driver chip, then you need to ensure that vref is set before you use it on the motor
 
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