I’m looking for advice on how far I can or should try and repair a Smoothieboard V1, or what I can try to replace it with that’s as close to like-for-like as possible… I know that the V2 project is inching closer to rolling out, but that’s still not available as far as I know.
I picked up a barely-used Kodak Portrait dual-extruder, dual-nozzle CoreXY 3D printer recently, which runs on a Smoothieboard V1 5X and has a Raspberry Pi managing a bunch of software functions. It was the cheapest printer I could find that met various specific requirements I have for a project, but unfortunately while it seemed to be in full working order before shipment, it was dropped in transit and it wasn’t immediately obvious due to the design of the printer hiding the damage. Long story short, it weighs around 24 kilos and was dropped on one corner, unfortunately the corner that meant the bundle of stepper motor leads was partially severed against a sharp metal edge by the frame buckling under the impact.
I only realised something was up when I went to do some calibration prints and the movements made some abstract cubist plastic spaghetti - I replaced all the leads and the printer functioned okay for a few evenings of calibration and testing. It seems like the damage may have already been done though, as the Z-axis motor started behaving weirdly, making a horrible, loud noise and failing to move correctly when attempting high-speed movement. I subbed in another motor from an old printer to test with and had the same issue, plus another set of leads just to be sure, and had the same issue repeat so it’s neither the leads nor the motor itself, and my current assumption is the stepper driver has been damaged. Then, adding insult to injury, when I turned the printer on again the next morning, the printer didn’t home as it usually does, and after checking the LEDs were on okay on the Smoothieboard, I realised that the Pi wasn’t able to connect to it by USB, which I then confirmed after trying and failing to connect to it with Pronterface from a W10 laptop.
While it looks like I can probably replace the Z-axis stepper driver if needed, albeit with no small amount of difficulty, this thread about a non working USB port doesn’t fill me with hope about the USB port, and honestly I’m worried about what else may now be physically wrong with the board and how to diagnose it, as I can see this quickly becoming a money sink as I chase problems I can’t even diagnose until I fix the previous one.
Unfortunately I’m aware how difficult it is to get a V1 Smoothieboard nowadays, and it seems like it would cost me more than I paid for the entire printer to get one. While I should be receiving a refund for most of what I paid (I agreed to a refund, minus the cost of return shipping, in exchange for keeping the printer, as some bundled filament and the Raspberry Pi made that worthwhile to me), if I spend much more than around £50-100 and hours upon hours of my time on any more replacement parts chasing bugs at this point I may as well just write the whole thing off and try to pick up a different printer that meets my needs - If the Smoothieboard V2 was currently available, and if I could be sure that it was a straight-up drop-in replacement with some firmware tweaking as needed, then I’d probably be comfortable paying for that certainty, but sadly I don’t know if that’s the case, and I don’t think I have time to wait for it to ship.
Thanks to this incredibly helpful project, I have a full breakdown of how the Smoothieboard is connected to everything at least, for any repair attempt. Unfortunately, the only person I’ve found who has replaced the board in their Kodak Portrait for anything else swapped it out for a Duet 3 Mini 5+ and isn’t happy with how it’s worked out. I know that besides the general ire directed at them from the community, the various MKS/Bigtreetech knockoffs also have differences that may make them unsuitable for a straight drop-in replacement, but under the circumstances I’d consider one as a last resort before writing the whole thing off…