Repairing or replacing Smoothieboard V1 in Kodak Portrait 3D Printer

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…

One of the technical problems with the clones is that they often run at a slower clock speed than Smoothieware was written for (ignoring for the moment concerns about how they interacted with the community…)

Acknowledging that it would be more convenient to do a like-for-like substitution, if you can’t do that, and reasonably don’t want to use uncooperative smoothieboard clones, the fact that there is a raspberry pi in there means you could switch to Klipper which moves the motion planning to the raspberry pi. That would open up to replacement boards that aren’t smoothie clones and can be lower performance, and should be within your price range. There are a lot of boards supported by Klipper, including some very cheap ones. It would take work to convert the configuration, and you would be the best judge of whether that would fit into your time budget.

I hate to make recommendations like this in the smoothie category, but given current reality it seems like a way to avoid waste, possibly…


I’ve been running Smoothieboards, both the real deal and the MKS clones, in several machines since 2016. I’m not a fan at all of how MKS is profiteering off of the open source community, but I’ve found their build quality and performance to be more than adequate for my hobby needs. Each machine has a Raspberry Pi, mostly 3B+, pulling host duty. In the last year or so, I’ve moved most of my shop over from Smoothieware+OctoPrint to Klipper+Mainsail running on the same hardware. I recently picked up my first non-Smoothie controller, a BTT Octopus, and have been very happy with it as well.

I see a used v1.0 X5 genuine Smoothieboard on eBay right now for $50 and a few new v1.1s for $100-150 if you’re set on a drop-in replacement. In your situation, personally I’d pick up an Octopus (you can never have too much expansion capability) or similar that you can get local shipping on and a set of 2209s and get to learning Klipper.


Thanks, both, for your responses.

Yes, Klipper immediately came to mind, given that there’s already a Pi involved - the project I linked to is someone who has already done a lot of the hard work there, and I was preparing to install it when the Smoothieboard died on me!

Unfortunately I did scour ebay and various other sources first - As I’m in the UK, none of the US offerings were showing up as shipping to here, although I did, weirdly enough, find some via google… Didn’t spot the secondhand one for $50, if there were one at that price domestically I’d be all over it in a heartbeat. Both the positive and negative comments about the MKS clones are noted - in the absence of any actual Smoothieboards available to me, I did end up buying an unused MKS SBase 1.3 for about $40 USD, and I’ve got my fingers crossed that I can do a more or less drop in replacement, with running Klipper on the Pi meaning that the slower clock speed may be less of an issue.

The funny thing is that I actually have a set of TMC 2209s kicking around from an upgrade I never did to my old Anycubic i3 Mega, which I was grateful for when I noticed that a lot of the other Smoothie clones don’t have onboard drivers supplied. The SBase I found does though, so I’ll keep them in the proverbial back pocket a while longer. It did occur to me that in theory I could have pulled the Trigorilla board from the i3 and tried a Klipper setup, as it has enough stepper/hotend outs, but I didn’t really want to be left with two dead FDM printers rather than just one…

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Fixing a stepper driver is not totally out of the question…but there are some possible other problems.

Contact me at and i may be able to help.

I may even have some of the custom boards that were used in those printers cheap.

Also, ari from reprap@liberachat has converted one of these to klipper. So he may be able to help more.

Edit: it was ari from reprap…not buzz.
Edit2: I see now you are using Ari’s info already, glad to see it is arranged like that.

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Thanks Chris, much appreciated! I’ll shoot over an email shortly.