Friday, October 03, 2008


New Board: Stepper Motor Driver v1.2

I sent a new board off to production earlier this week, the Stepper Motor Driver v1.2. This board is a minor upgrade from the previous Stepper Motor Driver v1.1 board. It still uses the same L297/L298 chipset (all through-hole!) but I've modified it a bit:

* added 10-pin IDC header for interface
* simplified unique component count
* removed a couple unnecessary components
* re-laid out the board to route better
* added RJ-45 footprints w/ optional .100" header

I've also been working on the Generation 3 electronics for a while now. One of the things I'm aiming to achieve is making everything a bit more friendly to assemble. One of those things is the switch to using IDC connectors where possible. These things are super easy to make, polarized, and fairly cheap. I'll be coming out with a 'Sanguino Motherboard' soon which will have complementary IDC headers. Wiring up your RepRap will be *much* simpler with these new electronics.

Of course, you can easily just have an IDC connector on one end and route the individual wires to where you want.

Files posted to SourceForge or available in SUbversion as always.

On a only slightly related tangent, any idea when you will next have steppers in stock? I've been holding off on ordering an axis-full of electronics for a while, because the motor hasn't been in stock. (I suppose in theory I could test with a stepper exerciser four-LED board, but it's not the same.)
I suppose, of course, that now I'll have to wait until the stepper driver 1.2 comes out, but it sounds worth waiting for -- the IDC headers, in particular, seem like a big win.
The next shipment of steppers is supposed to arrive this week. My supplier is also supposed to be stocking quite a few more of this type of motor. The main problem is that my immediate supplier ran out and had to order more from china.
I really like the V1.x boards now - very versatile. Do you think we could work the 5V regulator in to the next batch for those of us using 2-terminal 12V power? It really lightens the cabling.

I've been meaning to try a conversion to I2C. Not sure if I should do a daughter I/O expander board for that or put the i2C stuff on the driver board itself?

Here's to V1.4 and beyond!

Vik :v)
Zach: That's great news! It'd be great, I think, if you could post this sort of news on a more common basis -- perhaps on the frontpage of That way, those waiting on parts can see that there is hope, and if they subscribe to the feed, can see what is coming up without having to visit the site again.
Oh, and I almost forgot to ask -- any idea how long it'll take to get the stepper driver 1.2 back from production? Will that translate into kits right away, or is there additional lead time for that?
Hey James,

Its certainly one of my goals to be more communicative. Unfortunately its a bit of a trade-off between telling people whats going on and actually doing stuff. Both are important.

Anyway, I have ~75 stepper motor driver v1.1 kits left. The prototype run will bring about 15-20 boards which I'll put up on the store for people who want to stay on the cutting edge. once the v1.1 kits sell out, i should have v1.2 kits made up and ready for sale. if not, maybe i'll have a v1.1 fire sale to get rid of them ;)
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