Loss of Stepper Motor Power

Hi there, I have just lost all power to all 4 stepper motors on my Shapeoko3. All was OK when I first turned it on. Completed homing cycle, jogged to start position and went to load my G-code using Carbide Motion when suddenly everything went limp, like the power had just failed, except it hadn’t. On inspection the LED’s on the control board still light up and I get red and green flashing when the USB is connected. I get blue LEDs light up with each homing switch as normal but there is no power to any motor. I have heard that the stepper driver chips can fail but all 4 at one! seems unlikely. Has anyone else experienced this sort of failure before or can anyone offer any reasons or suggestions as to what might have happened please? I have metered the power supply and it’s giving out 24V as it should.
I have emailed support and they got back to me at first but have now gone quiet on me for 2 days which is not great or helpful. I need to get this resolved as quickly as possible as I am mid way through a job with a looming delivery deadline so any help anyone can offer would much appreciated.

Turn it off, unplug USB, turn it back on ( USB not connected).
Do the motors lock?

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additional suggestion: unplug all motors, and plug one back at a time, see if it moves.

Thanks for the suggestions. Tried both those and nothing, Motors don’t lock up at all. Very strange!

I have never had any trouble before in two years of using the machine.

If the motors don’t lock, I’m afraid something is fried on the board :frowning: (happened to me 2 years ago, one stepper fried, it was very visible on the board, and I smelled it too. Then turning the machine on would not lock any stepper anymore)

Best case Support has a trick up its sleeve to find out is the board is really damaged or not, worst case they’ll soon send you the hidden link to order a replacement board…

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Please contact us at support@carbide3d.com if you have not yet and we’ll do our best to help on this.

Thanks to everyone for your advice. I have a new board on its way. Im still curious to know what would cause a failure like this to happen out of the blue, and not even under load. Cosmic rays?!

Just bad luck. Electronic components have a (very low) probability of random failure, you normally don’t see anything failing because the probability is so low, in the order of 1 failure in a million hours for a single component, that can add up to 1 failure in e.g. 10.000 hours for a complete board (I have no idea what the MTBF of Carbide3D’s controller board is, this is just a ballpark). Very often, as a user you will have replaced/stopped using the device long before reaching those values, so you almost never experience that they can “just fail”, but the probability is still there that they will, at any time.

When one of my stepper drivers fried, as a preventive measure (i.e. paranoia) I sticked a small 8x8mm heatsink on each controller of the new board. Probably not necessary, nobody has them, but I know the relationship between temperature and failure rates, so they cannot hurt.

n.b. : cosmic rays: they cannot fry a component but they can certainly make it temporarily misbehave :slight_smile:

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Yeah, that was one interesting thing from the Gibson Research/Spinrite folks — back in the days of spinning magnetic disks they noted that every so often in an enormous number of bits copied there would be a bit which would randomly flip — fortunately solid state seems a bit resistant to that.

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