Stepoko + Bitsetter = Trouble(?)

Hello guys,

I originally got into this world 5 years ago when I bought a Sparkfun edition S3. Over the years I’ve tacked on upgrades including the stiffer Z axis front plate, an XL upgrade, Contact homing switches and a BitZero. The only streaks of red remaining on my machine are the Y axis end plates, the Z back plate and the control board. So I feel like I’m kind of part of the Carbide 3D gang despite coming in through the Sparkfun entrance.

That is until recently when I purchased a BitSetter. I know, I know, it clearly says this is not compatible with the Sparkfun version on the shop page. I didn’t ignore this, well at least not completely and so within the same order picked up a carbide motion 2.4e PCB too, hoping that would remedy the incompatibility and allow me to run the newest version of Carbide Motion. Feeling flush, I also picked up a Z+ upgrade as I’ve long dreamed of increased vertical stiffness and I could get rid fo a bit more red too.

So the package arrives and I’m like a kid at christmas, when suddenly it dawns on me I’m going to need a power supply (240V one at that being a UK chap). So rather than following some of the links I found on this forum I thought i’d go straight to the source and get a Carbide 3D supplied one in my attempt to make my machine as stock as possible and not go down Amazon link rabbit holes. I was also hoping future upgrades in the same vein as the BitSetter and BitZero would should all play nicely with Carbide Motion and a stock-as-possible S3XL. I thought whilst there, maybe I could also pick up some fresh wiring for the Y axis motors since I’d long since chopped off the connectors to fit with the screw connectors on the Sparkfun board.

Upon emailing the guys at carbide support they told me that yes they could make up a custom order for a 240v power supply. They also said however, that I was likely to see issues with the BitSetter on the Sparkfun edition machine and that the machine was ‘unsupported’ so they couldn’t send me the wiring for the Y axis motors. I wrote back saying that the only thing sparkfun about this machine would be the Y axis plates but could they outline the differences between sparkfun edition plates and carbide 3d stock Shapeoko plates. They said they didn’t have a Sparkfun edition machine so couldn’t outline the differences. I scratched my head (and realised this was developing into an overly long story) then wondered if anyone could outline the differences. I had naively thought the Sparkfun edition was just a red version of the Carbide 3D machine except using a Sparkfun pcb (that being what they’re known for). I’m now lead to believe it’s a completely different beast. And also feel a little out in the cold with a semi-(but wholly)unsupported machine.

Can anyone shed some light on the differences? Also what might i need to do to get the BitSetter working, if indeed i am likely to run into ‘issues’. I haven’t even connected any of this up yet so might all be fine but I’d rather know what I’m getting into…



Here’s my naive view on this (as someone who has never seen a Stepoko, I’m sure Will will be in a better position to comment): while it makes sense that support puts specific limits on what configurations they do or not officially support, from a pure technical standpoint I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t make all the devices (BitSetter, BitZero) work. The BitSetter and BitZero are just probes, you will be using an up to date 2.4e controller board with GRBL 1.1, and it’s GRBL doing most of the work anyway during probing, so it seems to me that the worst case scenario would be that you could maybe not mount the BitSetter where it’s supposed to go (I can imagine things like plate thickness being different or something?). Well just mount it anywhere else with a little DIY solution then.

I understand how support would not like to have people just report that something does not work on a non-supported configuration, but you seem to be pretty knowledgeable about those upgrades anyway and you will always be able to get “non-official” support here! :slight_smile:


As noted, we don’t have a Stepoko to test.

The controller ought to work, it’s just that the versions of Carbide Motion which will still connect to a Stepoko board are old enough that a supported version isn’t going to support the newer accessories — you’ll probably need to use 3rd party software such as cncjs or bCNC or Universal G-Code Sender so make use of them (doing it manually in the MDI and manually calculating offsets would be quite tedious).

but if he replaced with a new official board that should solve that

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Unfortunately, that’s not really an option since the motors from Sparkfun don’t have Molex KK connectors.

Someone higher up would have to speak to the specifics beyond that.

@WillAdams , you read that wrong :wink: @samsonxander has a new control card from carbide, so normally no problem for new accessories. except maybe a mechanical problem…I don’t see why? you have engine references? are they the same as carbide’s?
if you change the connectors to KK molex it should connect to the new control board.


With a CM board and the connections made up suitably, it should “just work”.

Thanks Julien, that broad aligns with what I had suspected. I even noted that the Bitsetter comes with the ability to alter the mounting height (posibily from Winston video?) so thought that would potentially alleviate some issues (albeit maybe with a little more trial and error than the plug and play solution that a stock machine would provide). Plate thickness surely won’t be an issue since the front plate is stock shapeoko XL from the upgrade kit?

@samsonxander What were you using before Carbide Motion?

Thanks Will, that gives me immense hope.

A question though that I’m still wrestling with for my own knowledge, are there physical differences between the Stepoko and the Shapeoko? Boards aside and small things like motor wire connectors, are the hardware elements such as the end plates the same? They sure look it. I’d be surprised if the whole Sparkfun venture was anything more than a rebadging for a slightly different market that may have had more appreciation of the Sparkfun board (which I’ll say has been great to date and certainly adaptable for other elements I’ve added such as a SuperPID, a whole host of e-stops and coolant).

UGS Sender, and I am now feeling that this all may be a slightly retrograde step.

I hadn’t properly done my research to see that others had been using macros to get the BitSetter to work outside of Carbide Motion. Maybe too easily sucked in by a shiny new Carbide 3D product? Either way getting back to something stock should hopefully pave the way for something close to plug and play down the road, when the newest shiny drops.

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The differences were:

  • red plates
  • Sparkfun control board
  • wires are bare, no connectors

older aspects of the machine:

  • old flat plate belt drive Z-axis
  • 6mm belts
  • no homing switches

I think Sparkfun advocated for drag chain for wiring management

Until C3D moves away from stock grbl, you’ll be ok with anything they add.

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