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Upgrade to TMC2208 Stepper Drivers

Samuel PinchesSamuel Pinches Administrator Posts: 1,433
edited December 2018 in Modifications & Upgrades

Several people have asked how to do the upgrade to TMC Stepper drivers, which are both quieter and have better print quality. DaHai Zhu has some awesome videos on the A5 - and he's now working on a series of 3 videos that make it really easy to install the TMC2208 in a variety of methods. If you haven't already, I definitely recommend you check out his channel!

Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TubpTMFkbVs

There's also a great guide on the wiki by AETEK here: https://jgaurorawiki.com/a5/silent-stepper-driver-tmc2208

The advantages of the TMC2208 are discussed by Trinamic (the TMC manufacturer) in this forum post here:

Post edited by Samuel Pinches on


  • hombre666hombre666 Member Posts: 3
    Hi..wanted to start seperate thread but this seems the right topic..

    I am a new A5 user and I wanted initially to check my Vref on stepper drivers when I noticed there is no potentiometer on the driver(to set VRef)...now I dont know which driver this is and is it worth upgrading to TCM drivers.

    Picture inclosed..does anyone have any idea which driver this is?
  • Samuel PinchesSamuel Pinches Administrator Posts: 1,433
    You have the stock A4988 drivers from JGAurora. I don’t know why they decided that no potentiometer would be a good idea, because each axis has different power requirements....
  • hombre666hombre666 Member Posts: 3
    Ok..then i will definetly be thinking toward replacing the driver with TMC series...thanks, i didn’t even knew they made A4988 without potentiometer... :)
  • Samuel PinchesSamuel Pinches Administrator Posts: 1,433
  • Samuel PinchesSamuel Pinches Administrator Posts: 1,433
    edited September 2018
    Sorry ... couldn't resist  :D

    I hadnt seen them either... until I saw the JGAurora A7 which also uses them. But, I had thought that they were just specially designed for that motherboard on that specific printer... it doesn't make any sense for them to be used as standard stepper drivers, tuning is very important!!
    Post edited by Samuel Pinches on
  • sasasasa Member Posts: 34
    What happens when cooling of new drivers fails. Get proper fan before upgrade :)

    Thanked by 2Samuel Pinches beata
  • netzmarknetzmark 🌟 Super Member 🌟 Posts: 88
    edited December 2018
    Hi Sam,

    I just got TMC2208 into my hands. And I'm considering what's better to do:
    - change Marlin 1.1.8c into 1.1.9c, or
    - stay with 1.1.8 and connect serial wires as it's assigned in 1.1.8
    - stay with 1.1.8 but remap the pins to have them in agree with 1.1.9? Some information why that small change but loosing hardware compatibility was done at all?

      #define X_SERIAL_TX_PIN    59
      #define X_SERIAL_RX_PIN    63

      #define Y_SERIAL_TX_PIN    64
      #define Y_SERIAL_RX_PIN    40

      #define X_SERIAL_TX_PIN    40
      #define X_SERIAL_RX_PIN    63

      #define Y_SERIAL_TX_PIN    59
      #define Y_SERIAL_RX_PIN    64

    Post edited by netzmark on
  • Samuel PinchesSamuel Pinches Administrator Posts: 1,433
    I am sorry, but I have not done this modification and I am not knowledgeable of the details of what changed between 1.1.9 and 1.1.8 for the TMC support. You may have to try and see.
  • netzmarknetzmark 🌟 Super Member 🌟 Posts: 88
    I have the question about the currents settings. Maybe AETEK is here to also reply?
    He writes that the settings recomended for TMC are:
    Axis = Vref
    X = 0.85V
    Y = 1.25V
    Z = 0.85V
    E = 1.00V

    and also he writes that decided to don't upgrade Z because it is relatively rarely used and need double of current taken from the driver (what is both true). So why he recommends for TMC the Z voltage representing the current the same like for X and lower than Y?
    Also in A4988 current(Vref) for Z is set much higher than X and Y but not here for TMC. What's going on with this about, how to understand it?
  • netzmarknetzmark 🌟 Super Member 🌟 Posts: 88
    edited December 2018
    A4988 Irms currents are recommended:
    Axis = Vref
    X = 0.55V = 0.71A (fixed factory resistors setting is 0.52V)
    Y = 1.55V = 0.71A (fix.res. 0.52)
    Z = 0.85V = 1.1A (fix.res. 0.84V)
    E = 0.60V = 0.78A (fix.res. 0.52V)*
    Logically, Z set for more current.
    *worth to change middle 30C resistor into 15k to little increase E current to equivalent 0.6V/0.78A).

    TMC Irms Aetek recommended currents are:
    X = 0.85V = 0.6A
    Y = 1.25V = 0.89A
    Z = 0.85V = 0.6A
    E = 1.00V = 0.71A
    I can't see a logic. For me Z is replaced with Y. Specially that DaHai seems recommend XY as 2x800mA entry tuned.
    Post edited by netzmark on
  • Charly3Charly3 Member Posts: 12
    Got this 2208 working on two A5:

    on X and Y.

    They are somewhat different, for the poti is not working as explained by Da Hai. And current is messured from poti to ground as on the old drivers.

    IΒ΄ve tested and set them to 1.65V on both axes. Motor temperatures are about 42Β°. Layer shifts are history - even with tremendeously increased speed rates.

    Ordered additional ones and will report if they will work on extruder as well too.

  • AndreSchrammAndreSchramm Member Posts: 2
    edited January 2
    Guys, I installed TMC2208 on my A5 and I have noticed the very hot Y and extruder motors. 
    I adjusted the Vrefs according to the Dai Hai video (X0.9 Y1.2 Z1.1 E1.1). 
    Would anyone have a suggestion?
    Post edited by AndreSchramm on
  • Der_MuckDer_Muck 🌟 Super Member 🌟 Posts: 178
    edited January 2
    Turn them down, they are overpowerd with that valves.  x 800 y500 z900 e450
    Try it again and check if there are strange sounds or layer shifts. If yes, go 50mA higher till its ok but normaly it should work without any problems with that setting.
    Had the same problem with the 2130. I dont know where dai hai have those high valves.
    Thanked by 1AndreSchramm
    Post edited by Der_Muck on
  • Enrique RiriEnrique Riri 🌟 Super Member 🌟 Posts: 35
    edited January 7
    Making tests doing the modification with full TMC2208 for all 4 : X/Y/Z/E0, I face a lot of issues.

    The most relevant is the extruder motor who runs less than 1/2 speed compared with original driver. Means load and unload filament doesn't work correctly (I need to run 3 times the operation). I think a stepping  issue params somewhere to modify , but where (params on LCD or Marlin) ?

    Another interesting issue is with marlin 1.1.9 using Mesh Leveling. I need to push 30/40 times the touch screen for each adjustment.
    Here also stepping settings issue.  Settings , where?

    Finally, using comon vref values, the extruder becomes Hot and after 40% printing, the filament stack in the extruder motor, without the possibility to extract it (request to open the mecanism to extract it). The printer continues printing with no filament (funny). Here we can claim: a running filament sensor will be great for such case. 

    Strange, how Simply supposed mods can quickly become a nightmare. 

    Ok, I know somewhere doesn't make sense to modify Z and E0, but must to be a way to do it and up and running correctly.
    Forgot to mention : Simply steppers chips replacement , adjust Vref, modify marlin with directions and declare the steppers TMC2208 with the right Library uploaded.
    Studing this issue
    To continue...
    Post edited by Enrique Riri on
  • ProkktorProkktor 🌟 Super Member 🌟 Posts: 146
    Those TMCs really seem not to be the yellow of the egg when it comes to 3D printing... 
    I use my TMC2130s with:
    0.75A / 0.9A / 0.9A / no TMC for extruder
    and I have to actively cool the Y motor while it still makes an occasional layer shift...

    I use the hybrid mode with spreadcycle starting at 100 and I increased the hold current to 0.6.

    I read about the babysteps problem more then once, I think you need to go to the configuration.adv.h and set the step size, it should be 0.025mm
  • Der_MuckDer_Muck 🌟 Super Member 🌟 Posts: 178
    Ofcause it makes sense to mod. the E and Z motor but just turn the current down. When its hot, it runs to high. Why to set so high valves when you dont need them to ve so high. Better to set it to low than to high.
    Dont understand why the motor should run now slower. 
    I use the normal LCD firmware and the 1.1.8 and dont see the need for an upgrade. the 1.1.9 is not bug free.
    For me the 2130 are the best you can install. The 2208 have not more functions than the 2130 right?
  • ProkktorProkktor 🌟 Super Member 🌟 Posts: 146
    The 2208 heave an improved stealth chop 2 which provides more torque. But i did not want 1.19 so i bought 2130s
  • Enrique RiriEnrique Riri 🌟 Super Member 🌟 Posts: 35
    edited January 9
    Still testing, but this time Always with marlin 1.1.9 but using Arduino 1.8.5 : makes a lot of difference: Working , on testing and evaluate the results : To follow…

    Post edited by Enrique Riri on
  • netzmarknetzmark 🌟 Super Member 🌟 Posts: 88
    Upgraded A5 to 1.1.9 using Arduino 1.8.5 because of serial control for tmc2208 - and everything works normaly on the moment. Can't see some bugs yet.
  • Enrique RiriEnrique Riri 🌟 Super Member 🌟 Posts: 35
    edited January 11
    So results of my personnal tests : Works fine now with marlin 1.1.9 and 3 TMC 2208. Solution: just follow the tutos from Dhai Zhu and use the third video : XY TMS2208 with dynamic UART and E0 standalone TMC2208 (you need to program the TMC using USB to serial adapter . Temp is OK with the extruder; now= just a little warm and that's fine. Running my 3 printer like this since 1 day, and all seems OK.  Loose a lot of time because I had several mods (auto power off, PWM on fans, etc... and from 1.1.8 to 1.1.9, they are not managed the same. 
    ref values I Used:
    X/Y = 1.5v (UART)
    Z (original  stepper ) = 1.2v
    E0 = 1.1v (OTP)

    Hope this helps .
    Most important= if the extruder motor becomes too hot : this is the beginning of a lot of issues

    To follow.
    Post edited by Enrique Riri on
  • netzmarknetzmark 🌟 Super Member 🌟 Posts: 88
    Hi Enrique
    Originally factory Z voltage is set to 0.8422V.
    Moreless the same is recommended here on the forum.
    Do you really have increased id to 1.20?
    I'm asking because since I have turned out the fans (controlled form Marlin) I nonstop hear a noise from Z until it is holded by controller (120sec from the move).

  • Enrique RiriEnrique Riri 🌟 Super Member 🌟 Posts: 35
    edited January 11
    According to the mix of the 3 video tutos and tests. Yes I set the Z ref voltage to 1.2v(100mv more than on the video).
    I take measurement on new fixed drivers delivered with last versions, where we cannot change the vref (no trimmer anymore).
    Both motors stay cold during 8 hours printing. So original stepper driver is OK for Z.
    But again, I'm qualifiying my settings. Request some more days.

    Post edited by Enrique Riri on
  • netzmarknetzmark 🌟 Super Member 🌟 Posts: 88
    Fixed resistors driver has 0.84V and you can change it... But need to calculate it and resolder one resistor. My one gives irritating noise :-(.
  • Enrique RiriEnrique Riri 🌟 Super Member 🌟 Posts: 35

    Thanked by 1Samuel Pinches
  • Enrique RiriEnrique Riri 🌟 Super Member 🌟 Posts: 35
    edited January 11
    This is my actual working.. And cherry on the cake with 0.6mm nozzle.
    All this with my settings explained upper
    As you can see, I replaced my heater and proble temp with that, as original is a crappy thing who finished to destroy and kill your mother board with a short Cut with shield over powersupply. In fact original temp probe fails, disconnect and creates a Short circuit with ground (happened twice on diffetent printer).
    I will open another topic : How to improve heating and temp probe with this new heater bloc.


    Post edited by Enrique Riri on
  • Enrique RiriEnrique Riri 🌟 Super Member 🌟 Posts: 35

  • Enrique RiriEnrique Riri 🌟 Super Member 🌟 Posts: 35
    edited January 11
    This is my quick final result with 0.6mm nozzle and my personnal machine settings:

    FYI, I use S3D v4.1.1 where I didn't optimized yet the final tuning settings (from 4.01 to 4.1.1 with same model and settings)

    Post edited by Enrique Riri on
  • Enrique RiriEnrique Riri 🌟 Super Member 🌟 Posts: 35

  • Enrique RiriEnrique Riri 🌟 Super Member 🌟 Posts: 35
    edited January 21
    Hi, after a lot of testing hours with TMC2208 and TMC2130, my personnal conclusion was; the extruder motor and filament mecanism are quite sensitive and requires a lot of attention if we want to be sure to always print without any issues during hours and hours and days.
    The target is quite simple : Always maintain the extruder motor as cold as possibile. My feels after checking other 3D printers used on professionnal profiles. The extruder motor always have and heatsink and fan to extract the hot temp generated by the motor. So I applied this to my printers and the results are totally positive. Especially with prints who run more than a day.
    Here it is:  You just need a simple heatsink for extruder, heatsink plaster and a 40x10 24v fan. You connect the fan to the 24v PSU and that's it (only few $).
    Thanked by 1Samuel Pinches
    Post edited by Enrique Riri on
  • Enrique RiriEnrique Riri 🌟 Super Member 🌟 Posts: 35
    edited January 19
    On the sample below,  this is after 16h00 printing and only 57% done.
    . Permanent temp of the extruder motor= 28Β°C 
    FIY, I tested a lot of different fans and WINSUN are excellent, super quite.(Amazon)
    Post edited by Enrique Riri on
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