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  1. #1
    Registered
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    50

    Do I have a bad Gecko Drive?

    The X axis on my plasma cutter has stopped working intermittently. I have a 4X8 plasma table. X axis is along the 4 foot gantry, Y runs the 8 foot length of the table. It started developing a symptom where it would be cutting fine, then X would just stop. The torch would run up and down the table in a straight line because X wasn't moving for awhile, then X axis would start moving again, but it would be totally off from where it should actually be.

    The DRO for X axis in Mach3 keeps running during this. I built this table using CandCNC's BladeRunner Dragon Cut electronics about 4 years ago. I started doing some rapid moves along the X axis and for awhile it would work fine, but then the motor sounded like it would stall out. It would stop during a rapid move, make a loud, overloading, grunting motor noise and stop working. I tried turning Mach3 on and off to see if that changed anything and it didn't. I then tried restarting the computer to see if that changed anything and it didn't. Once X axis has stopped working, if I turn the motor control box off and back on sometimes that will make it respond for a bit, but it always quits again. Once the X axis stops responding, I physically push against the torch mount on the gantry to see if the motor is engaged and it won't move by hand. the X axis DRO reads like it's moving, but it's not.

    So, I took the Z axis motor cable out of the Z axis connector on the motor control box and switched it with the X axis motor cable (Z is now X, X is now Z) and now the X axis stepper motor works perfectly, but the Z axis motor quits working. So whatever stepper motor is plugged into the X axis connector on the control box doesn't work.

    I guess what I'm asking is this. Is there something else in this design that could be causing X axis to stop working? This thing appears to have Gecko G251X stepper drives. I guess instead of switching motor cables, I could switch the Gecko drives themselves and see if the problem then moved to the Z axis. I'm sort of thinking (typing) out loud, but that seems like that would defiantly narrow the problem down the the Gecko drive if I move the Gecko drive itself and the problem moved with it.

    Anyway, thanks for reading. If you have any ideas, advice or experience with this kind of issue, I would appreciate the help.

    Oh, and nothing has changed about this system. It's been working as configured for years now. I haven't installed anything on the computer or changed anything software wise at all. It was fine the other day, fine for years before that, but not now.

  2. #2
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    602

    Re: Do I have a bad Gecko Drive?

    sounds to me like the X cable is bad, i would swap the x cable to the z motor and drive and the Z cable to x motor and, also if this regularly happens in a certain spot off the table and not in others it would deffinitley point to the cable being the problem. The DRO's are moving because they do not actually know where your gantry physically is.

  3. #3
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    2415

    Re: Do I have a bad Gecko Drive?

    You can get product specific support for your Bladerunner at CandCNC Support Board ? Index page

    Since you have eliminated the motor and cable by swapping an another then all that is left is the driver of the interface signals to that drive. So carefully unbolt the suspect drive (2 bolts inthe center hold it to the heatsink and the 12 edge screw termiansl have to be loosened, and swap in another driver from a good axis. If it runs fine then you need a new Gecko. If it keeps the bad motion then you have to look at signals (step signal on X is port 1 pin 2.) You can also elect to just send it in and get it fixed under our out-of-warranty repair policy of a flat bench labor charge and the cost of parts.
    TOMcaudle
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