a5:upgrade-stepper-drivers-tmc

Stepper Driver Upgrades: TMC2100, TMC2130, TMC2208

The stepper drivers that come with the A5 are the cheap and cheerful A4988. This drivers are incredibly low-cost, and are generally quite reliable and robust. However, they do fall short in a few areas:

  • They are incredibly noisy
  • They can cause salmon-skinning on print surfaces
  • They are only able to do 16x microstepping

Fortunately, the MKS Gen L motherboard on the A5 and A3S has socketed stepper drivers, which enables us to replace and upgrade the drivers. One option comes from a German company called Trinamic, who make a range of more advanced stepper driver chips. These chips can be swapped in to overcome ALL the shortcomings of the A4988 listed above, and to add some additional smart features too. All Trinamic drivers offer 256x microstepping, and are much quieter in operation too.

The current range of Trinamic drivers available is listed on the manufacturer's website, but only some are available in ready to go drop-in modules. The popular options for 3D printing are the TMC2100, the TMC2130, and the TMC2208.

A brief comparison summary of these drivers is listed below:

  • TMC2100: A simple option that offers two operation modes, SpreadCycle or StealthChop. See the TMC2100 section below for more info.
  • TMC2130: Same as the TMC2130, but also offers additional operation modes, as well as additional functionality like stall detection. See the TMC2130 section below for more info.
  • TMC2208: Similar to the TMC2100, but this chip offers a UART interface and a more sophisicated StealthChop 2 operation mode. This chip is also easier to install, and can even be used without any firmware changes at all! See the TMC2208 section below for more info.

For each of these driver modules, details about where to buy, and how to install are listed below.

TMC2100

Where to Buy

How to install

Basic Installation is fairly straightforward:

  • Remove old drivers
  • Remove all jumper connectors underneath the old drivers
  • Install the new drivers
  • Add a fan to blow over the drivers
  • Invert the direction of the motors in the firmware

NOTE: the orientation of the new drivers is different to the factory ones. Make sure you match up the pinout with the old drivers to ensure you insert them correctly.

There is a good video guide of how to install the TMC2130 in the section below - it is recommended to watch this as the installation of the TMC2100 is the same as the β€œstandalone” installation of the TMC2130.

TMC2130

Where to Buy

There are a few options for configuring the TMC2130, and as a result there are range of modules that come preconfigured for different operation modes. Changing the mode requires some very delicate soldering, so it is best to buy the module preconfigured for the way you want to use it.

Standalone mode modules (TMC2130 v1.0)

SPI mode modules (TMC2130 v1.1)

How to install

Basic Installation (No SPI control):

  • Remove old drivers
  • Remove all jumper connectors underneath the old drivers
  • Install the new drivers
  • Add a fan to blow over the drivers
  • Invert the direction of the motors in the firmware

NOTE: the orientation of the new drivers is different to the factory ones. Make sure you match up the pinout with the old drivers to ensure you insert them correctly.

There are two excellent videos by Da Hai Zhu on how to upgrade the factory stepper drivers to TMC2130, both in Standalone and SPI mode

There are also text guides for installing these drivers.

TMC2208

Where to Buy

How to install

Basic Installation (No UART communication):

  • Remove old drivers
  • LEAVE all jumper connectors underneath the old drivers
  • Install the new drivers
  • Add a fan to blow over the drivers
  • No changes required to firmware.

NOTE: the orientation of the new drivers is different to the factory ones. Make sure you match up the pinout with the old drivers to ensure you insert them correctly.

There is a series of three excellent videos by Da Hai Zhu on how to upgrade the factory stepper drivers to TMC2208.

There are also text guides for installing these drivers.

a5/upgrade-stepper-drivers-tmc.txt Β· Last modified: 2018/12/04 13:54 by samuelpinches