S3 XL Control Board - The Z-axis has gone bad

Yesterday I was in the middle of a project when the Z-axis buried itself into a a piece of MDF and the MDF began smoking. Luckily, I was sitting at the machine at the time so I quickly hit the kill switch. I assumed that I must have made an error in programming, but after checking things out I discovered the Z-axis was not working properly.

Here’s a quick video showing that when I jog the Z-axis from Carbide Motion, it jumps up and down erratically. The X and Y axis jogs normally.

The problem subsequently got worse in that the motor buzzes as soon as the Shapeoko is powered up. It no longer moves when I try jogging the Z-axis from Carbide Motion.

My first thought was that the Z-axis stepper motor had gone bad. Just to double-check, I pulled the cover on the control board and swapped the X and Z axis cables. The result is that the X-axis motor buzzes upon power-up, and the Z-axis stepper motor now jogs smoothly, so the problem is with the control board, not the motors themselves.

I’ve checked all connections to make sure that nothing is loose. I even tried swapping the USB cable with another, but I found that the problem persists even when the USB cable is disconnected. I’ve never upgraded the firmware on the controller, so its running whatever version it came with. I’m not sure that there’s much else I can do to troubleshoot the problem.

Is there anything else to check, or should I just assume that the control board has gone bad and needs to be replaced?


Let us know about this at support@carbide3d.com and we’ll get your Z-axis moving again.

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