My experience with the probe

Alright so I did 2 upgrades tonight, the grbl 1.1 and then the probe.

During the update I had to hold down the Z limit switch, I assume to comfort the machine while it undergoes the operation. Had to restart the machine to do this since the router was in the way at the time.

The update went smoothly with no issues and me holding the z-axis limit switch, then the controller rebooted and the spring pulled the z-axis upwards, but of course I didn’t know at first what it was doing and for a moment was concerned the shapeoko was trying to crush my finger.

Onto the probe.

The slip of paper sent me to a url for the user manual which included instructions for using the probe but not installing it. I was able to guess the url for the instructions and I’m sure I could have found them on the forum but why on earth should I have to?

I mentioned this elsewhere but the probing instructions in one place suggest you need a minimum of 12mm clearance and elsewhere that you need a maximum of 12mm.

The instructions for the 2.3 installation using the adapter mention the images below the text when the images are above.

Make the images of where to connect the probe adapter clickable so we can see a larger version.

The fact that we can’t disconnect the probe when not in use is in my opinion a mistake. It’s a premium product with a premium price tag and there’s a world of interconnects available that would have done the job. Something we could drill a hole in the enclosure and install would have been amazing but any interconnect would have sufficed. I would begrudgingly hand over a bit more money if you came up with a retroactive solution for this, if I haven’t DIY’d something before then.

As others have mentioned there’s no instructions on where to install the ground lead, I put it on using the enclosure screw but made sure it was behind the painted enclosure touching the aluminum plate.

LED on the probe is great and makes me much more confident when using it.

The text when doing X and Y probing tells you to position the probe above the target which isn’t correct. The diagram is correct.


I’ll let you know if I do something but I will dig through my micro electronics bin this weekend and see if I have a better connector for the probe. One way or the other I plan on making a quick disconnect for it. Also, I’m definitely going to make a ground connector next to my electrical outlet. You can use any “ground”, it doesn’t have to physically be on the machine.

I miss having Radio Shacks’ around. I could have just run in and bought what I needed. I may have some cannibalized computer parts laying around so maybe I can use some Molex type connectors.

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Yeah RS you paid 1000x the cost of the item but you could buy just a few of something.

I was going to look into possibly using an audio jack type connector.

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That’s true, a 3 pole audio connector might work, but I’ve not tried to wire one of those by hand before. I suppose I could cannibalize an existing one and just connect the wires with some solder and shrink tube. I’ve never seen an audio connector outside of the manufactured ones where the wires are already inside the connector.

They’re fairly simple, you slide the casing over the wire, solder the connections to the internal leads, then the housing screws over them.

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Oh yeah I see. So something like this then if I didn’t have one laying around:

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Yeah that’d work and possibly be easier, and sparkfun has a breakout board for the other end. May need to think about the order of the pins to avoid accidentally sending power down the wrong pin but I imagine if the tip was the +5 and the base the ground, with the middle section being the data, it would work okay. I’m assuming regardless of what’s in the probe that ultimately it just closes a switch when the connection is made, shouldn’t be too complex.

So yeah we just need the female version of what’s on the end of the probe now, the same one they use on the adapter, attach that to the end of the audio cable with the right pin mapping, can shrink tube the connection between the two making it semi-permanent (that is the connection between the probe and the frankencable). Drill a hole in the enclosure and add a panel mount 3.5mm jack, wire it internally. I used to do pneumatic halloween props and used 3.5mm jacks for some of the wiring, might even have some bits left over.

Curious if anyone spots issues with that plan, will have to see what’s in my old misc electronics box tomorrow then see what I need to order.

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As an alternative, most folks are probably like me and have a ton of old USB cables around. I bet I could make it work with USB as well. That’s usually only a 5V signal as well.


How many total leads are in the wire going from the probe to the control board?

Just 3, one is +5v and one presumably ground, and I assume the other pin goes high when the bit is detected.

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