Stepper driver and Stepper shield

jahn
Posts: 75
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:22 pm

Stepper driver and Stepper shield

Post by jahn » Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:25 pm

Can anyone please explain the difference between
Stepper driver and Arduino stepper shield?
Thanks

edwardrford
Posts: 1250
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:40 pm
Location: Dixon, IL
Contact:

Re: Stepper driver and Stepper shield

Post by edwardrford » Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:52 pm

Hi Jahn! Welcome to the forum

I assume you're referring to

the grblshield
Grblv1.jpg
Grblv1.jpg (45.87 KiB) Viewed 3848 times
vs

Buildlog Stepper Shield
DSCN1913-300x226.jpg
DSCN1913-300x226.jpg (20.88 KiB) Viewed 3848 times
The grblshield is a 3 axis all in one solution from Synthetos. It features TI stepper drivers capable of pushing your motors with up to 2.5A of current. It's a clean design that's ready to use out of the box. All you have to do is crimp the molex style connector on the ends of your stepper motor cable. The cost is roughly $70 and they can be purchased through the link shown above.

The Stepper Shield is a 3 or 4 axis shield that requires pololu drivers to run. The pololu drivers can source up to 2A. The shield is available as a kit ($25) and can be purchased by emailing payments@buildlog.net. The drivers can be purchased from Pololu or through buildlog.net at your time of order. The buildlog.net drivers come with a heatsink and are $14/ea. (you'll need 3 or 4 depending on your setup).
Shapeoko 1 #0 - a couple of upgrades.
Shapeoko 2 #0 - a couple of upgrades.
Shapeoko 3 #2 - Stock

RedOko
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:49 pm
Location: TX

Re: Stepper driver and Stepper shield

Post by RedOko » Tue Apr 10, 2012 2:06 pm

Jahn,

A stepper driver is actually a chip/ic that you used to send pulses to make the stepper motor move. Most of the time they are already in a board to make it easy for us to use, example are the Pololu, stepstick, easydriver and for bigger indsutrial type one the Gecko (IIRC that is a brand name, could be wrong) that come in a box like casing.

The stepper shield is a way to connect these driver to the arduino, megas (the steppershield by buildlog) that we are using and usually has the screw-in connector. You don't actually need one as you can build one (see Rob's build in the wiki), it just make it a lot easier because the Pololu's and stepstick mostly has pin connector.

http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/ ... rier_board

The Grblshield by synthetos has the shield and driver together for the arduino, another one by the same company is an all in one the driver is already with the controller called TinyG.
http://www.synthetos.com/wiki/index.php ... ects:TinyG


If I forgot/mistaken anything, others please chime in.
Luis
aka "RedOko"

CptanPanic
Posts: 98
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:14 pm

Re: Stepper driver and Stepper shield

Post by CptanPanic » Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:17 pm

Regarding the 2 shields, why wouldn't everyone just use the grblShield? Costs about the same and comes assembled.

edwardrford
Posts: 1250
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:40 pm
Location: Dixon, IL
Contact:

Re: Stepper driver and Stepper shield

Post by edwardrford » Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:54 pm

I think it's a matter of preference. I'll play both sides for the sake of argument:

Stepper Shield:
- I like kits! They makes me feel more involved with the project and building it up gives me a better understanding of how it works.
- I like the idea that I can replace the Pololu drivers. More specifically, I like the fact that I can the Pololu drivers out of the shield and use them in other electronics I have laying around (RAMPS v1.4, sanguinololu, 4 axis Open Source Controller).
- The Stepper shield has a cool Relay module that can put be in place of the 4th axis which turns the spindle on and off.

grblShield:
- It's turn key. Open the box, hook up your motors, start using it!
- The TI drivers are great. I think my motors run cooler and the machine seems to be a little more responsive.
- It's got cool LEDs that tell you when the axis are in motion.
Shapeoko 1 #0 - a couple of upgrades.
Shapeoko 2 #0 - a couple of upgrades.
Shapeoko 3 #2 - Stock

sandro
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:15 am

Re: Stepper driver and Stepper shield

Post by sandro » Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:56 pm

The advantage to having the drivers and breakout board (or shield) separate is that if/when you blow a driver, they are individually replaceable.

Edward mentioned blowing a z-axis on a controller board, using Pololu drivers or a Gecko you would only have to replace one (plug-in) driver. Using GrblSheld or TinyG, you would either have to: replace the surface-mount chip, ask Ril3y/Alden to repair it, or get a new board. I use a Gecko for my projects, but if I ever get to the point where I feel confident I'm not going to fry a driver, I'd probably switch to TinyG setup.

RedOko
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:49 pm
Location: TX

Re: Stepper driver and Stepper shield

Post by RedOko » Tue Apr 10, 2012 4:10 pm

A bit off topic,

has anyone made any driver (Pololu form factor) using the TI DRV8811 chip?

With the 2.5 amp capacity, we don't even need a heatsink for the shapeoko with 1.5 amp motors.
Luis
aka "RedOko"

CptanPanic
Posts: 98
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:14 pm

Re: Stepper driver and Stepper shield

Post by CptanPanic » Tue Apr 10, 2012 4:28 pm

sandro wrote:The advantage to having the drivers and breakout board (or shield) separate is that if/when you blow a driver, they are individually replaceable.

Edward mentioned blowing a z-axis on a controller board, using Pololu drivers or a Gecko you would only have to replace one (plug-in) driver. Using GrblSheld or TinyG, you would either have to: replace the surface-mount chip, ask Ril3y/Alden to repair it, or get a new board. I use a Gecko for my projects, but if I ever get to the point where I feel confident I'm not going to fry a driver, I'd probably switch to TinyG setup.
From what I read the grblshield uses the TI DRV8811 stepper drivers which I heard are very self protecting and haven't seen that anyone has had a driver blow on a grblshield.

edwardrford
Posts: 1250
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:40 pm
Location: Dixon, IL
Contact:

Re: Stepper driver and Stepper shield

Post by edwardrford » Tue Apr 10, 2012 4:52 pm

@CptanPanic: I can verify that claim as well. Both Ril3y and Alden have told me there are no reports of blown grblShield drivers.

I have given up on the "grblshield doesn't have replaceable drivers" argument. the TI drivers are rock solid and if used correctly, there's little chance you could blow one up.

I was pointing out more the portability of the Pololu drivers. There are lots of other projects that use them, so theoretically you'd only need a couple to fulfill a lot of tasks.

With that said, if you're going to put your CNC electronics in a case, then removing the drivers really isn't practical.

-Edward
Shapeoko 1 #0 - a couple of upgrades.
Shapeoko 2 #0 - a couple of upgrades.
Shapeoko 3 #2 - Stock

RedOko
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:49 pm
Location: TX

Re: Stepper driver and Stepper shield

Post by RedOko » Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:09 pm

I believe if Alden where to make their grblshield where one can easily replace the driver (I know there is no report of any blowing up), it will give others the peace of mind that they don't need to send the whole shield out for repair. And since its modular, you can still use it in other projects, give Pololu's and Easydriver another competitor.

Just an idea.
Luis
aka "RedOko"

Post Reply