Troubleshooting a problem with your Smoothieboard
If you have a problem with your Smoothieboard, don't panic.
First of all, make sure you have read the documentation on this website, it is likely the information you are looking for is here, it is a very complete documentation. In particular take a look at:
If you can't find your answer here, you can also ask for help in the community. There are many channels:
Before doing anything elseIncluding asking for help, please read the “How to troubleshoot” section bellow.
And of course try to find the answer to your question on this page too.
Below is the list of the most common problems and things you can try to solve them :
How to troubleshoot
Here are some of the things you should do when running into trouble, and before asking any kind of help around :
1. Backup your configuration file
Take your SD card out, and save your configuration file to your computer. If you are going to be messing around with the printer, you'd better be safe and make sure if anything happens to your SD card, you will not loose the work you put into your configuration file.
You should really have done this already, it's just good sense.
2. Clean your SD card
Sometimes SD cards get corrupted, and it can cause all sorts of weird and difficult to understand problems.
You should :
- Format your SD card ( as FAT32 )
- Paste the most recent firmware file on your SD card
- Paste your configuration file to the SD card
- Insert the SD card back into the board and reset it
Then see if your problem still exists or not.
It's probably a good idea to do this even if you don't think it's a SD card related problem, quite often people think it's not and it fixes the issue anyway.
3. Incremental wiring
This may not apply to your specific problem, but if it does :
Unplug everything from your board, then plug things back into the board one at a time, resetting the board and testing your problem each time you do.
Start with USB, then the power supply, then do the same for each peripheral in turn until everything is plugged back in. If you do not know what the problem is, it should help you pinpoint it.
4. Prepare your config for asking for help.
Open your configuration file.
Copy it's content.
Now go on the pastebin.com website.
Paste your configuration file's content into the « New paste » box
Click on « Create new paste »
The website will give you a link. You can now give this link to people on IRC or the forums, without having to copy/paste the entire file, and people will be able to see your config and help you.
5. Before asking the community for help.
If you have an Open-Source board like the Smoothieboard, a board from Panucatt, or one of the many designed by the community and that support the project, ignore this.
If you chose to buy a closed-source derivative board, however, please understand that those are considered to be toxic to the project, and that asking the community for help with those would be similar to asking the community to help with destroying itself.
Please ask for help from the person that sold you that board, before asking the community for help. Providing support for their product is the absolute very least they can do. And of course unsurprisingly they are well known for not doing even that. But please ask them first.
If they don't help you, then feel free to ask the community, but please be aware even then some won't accept to help. If this happens please remember that the community helping you is a service they are giving you, and that when they choose not to, they are only not doing you a favor.
Always make sure you have your board updated to the very latest version of the firmware before you ask for help.
Power supply problems
Smoothieboard does not work at all
First off, do any LEDs turn on on the board when plugged in via USB ?
If not, that's very bad, contact your seller.
If LEDs turn on, it then depends on what they do :
There is a series of LEDs on your board, near the center.
They are labelled VBB ( red ), 3.3V ( orange ), and 1 2 3 and 4 ( all green ).
We are still only interrested in the green LEDs.
Different behavior can represent different situations and problems for the board :
SD card problemIf your LEDs do this :
Then the firmware is running, but the board encountered a problem reading or accessing the SD card, or the configuration file on the SD card.
Try taking the card in and out of the board several times, or try using another SD card ( here is how to set up a new card ).
See bellow for more details.
Plugged in and 3.3V LED is OFF
This means the microcontroller on your Smoothieboard is not getting any power.
Smoothieboard gets this power from your USB cable (unless you are using the optional voltage regulator or the 5V input): check that Smoothieboard is correctly connected to a USB port or otherwise powered.
If it is, but the 3.3V LED is still not lit up, one other possible reason would be a short on your board.
Unplug the USB cable, and disconnect everything else from your Smoothieboard. Then plug the USB cable back in and check if it starts working again.
If so, there is a short in one of the peripherals. Quite often this is due to incorrectly wired Endstops (shorting 3.3V to GND instead of connecting GND to Signal for example).
If this still does not solve the problem, examine the board for problems with your soldering of components/connectors and any other anomalies you can detect.
If you can still not find anything, contact the community.
The 3.3V LED is ON but LED4 is not ON
LED4 indicates SD card status. If it is not lit up, it means there is a problem with your SD card.
First thing to try is taking the microSD card out of your Smoothieboard and testing it on your computer with a SD card reader.
If it works there, copy the files that are on it elsewhere, format it (as FAT32), copy the files back on it and try again.
If it still does not work in the Smoothieboard after this, take another microSD card, format it (as FAT32), copy the files to it, then try again.
If it still fails, then as you tried two SD cards they are probably both fine. The problem could be with the files on it.
Format a SD card as FAT32, and on that fresh card, copy two files:
- firmware.bin , with this exact name, which you can find here
- config , with this exact name, which you can find here
Then insert the card into your Smoothieboard and try again.
The 3.3V LED is ON but none of the 1 through 4 LEDS is ON
Or LED1 and LED4 are ON, but LED2 and LED3 are not blinking.
This could be caused by a firmware bug, or by a problem with your configuration file.
If you soldered the smoothieboard then check either the 12 MHz oscillator or the SD card/SD card slot.
- This could be a bad solder joint with the 12 MHz oscillator (crystal), a bad SD card slot, a bad SD card, and/or a bad config file.
The 3.3V LED is ON, and LEDs 1 and 3 are ON and 3 is not blinking, LEDs 2 and 4 are OFF
This could mean your board has no bootloader, which is very wrong. Contact whomever sold you your Smoothieboard.
The 3.3V LED is ON, and LEDs 1, 2, 3 and 4 are ON and none are blinking
This could mean you have a bootloader but no firmware was ever flashed or found on the SD card. Again, this is very wrong, contact whomever sold you your Smoothieboard.
12 or 24V power is plugged in but the VBB LED is not ON
Unplug power immediately !
Check that your power is not in reverse polarity.
Even if you think you have it correct (read the instructions carefully, the markings on the board can be a bit confusing), try reversing it just in case.
All LEDs are on but LED 2 and 3 are solid
Firmware didn't get flashed, you need to flash it and also make sure you uploaded a valid config.
It smells like something is burning!
Whaaaaa! Unplug everything! Get a fire extinguisher!
Now, try to remember exactly what you were doing with your board, and contact whomever sold it to you.
Mosfets are never turning on
You configured everything right and plugged the heating elements into your mosfet outputs, but no matter what you do, they do not turn on.
Note Smoothieboard does not have a single power input. It has one for the motors, and then the big mosfets have their own inputs, and the small ones have theirs. You need to provide power to each, according to the mosfets you are using. See the documentation on this, it goes into great detail and has diagrams.
Changes to configuration are ignored in general
The config changes are not taken into account, files do not appear or do not update on the SD card
If anything like this happens, that could be related to the SD card “messing up”, format the SD card ( as VFAT/FAT32 ), then paste your files back on it.
See SD card.
Sometimes the SD card can get corrupted after which it will do strange things. Always make sure you unmount ( virtually not physically ) your SD card after doing anything on it
Changes to configuration are ignored on a particular line
If a line begins with the # character, it means it is “commented out” and Smoothieboard will ignore it.
You need to remove the # character and Smoothie will now take the line into account.
My stepper motor does not turn correctly
If it always turns in the same direction, and/or turns only weakly, and/or makes a strange sound, one very common cause of that is that only 3 of the wires of the motor are connected to the stepper motor driver.
Check your connector and your cables.
If that doesn't help, do the following :
- Try this motor on another stepper motor driver
- Try another motor on this stepper motor driver
My stepper motor does not turn at all and makes a very high-pitched sound
This can happen with Z axis (or any leadscrew driven stepper motor) due to the high steps per millimeter number. You are probably trying to move it too fast. Try asking it to move at a much lower speed ( for example G1 Z100 F100 ).
It's also possible you are trying to home, or to probe too fast. See the corresponding modules for how to modify the default speeds.
If you are using external stepper motor drivers (driven by ENn, Stn and DIRn pins) check polarity, voltage and timings of signals to your driver. Also consider increasing microseconds_per_step_pulse slightly if the default 1us pulse width is too narrow for your driver or cable lengths.
My stepper motor does not turn at all
And it does not present any resistance/torque when turning it manually :
This means the stepper motor driver is maybe not able to power the stepper motor.
Try wiring a different motor to that driver and try again. If the new motor works on this driver, then the motor is the problem. Otherwise the driver is probably the problem.
If you changed any of the stepper motor driver pins in your configuration, try testing again with a fresh configuration file.
My stepper motor turns in the wrong direction
There are two solutions to this :
You can reverse the order of the wires on the stepper motor connector.
Or you can edit your configuration file. For example, if you have this problem on the beta stepper motor driver, you need to invert the direction pin for that driver :Â
Save, reset and start again.
My stepper motor loses steps
Losing steps means not moving the exact number you asked of your motor. This will result in your machine losing its position and working where it shouldn't, often in the form of small offsets.
There can be several causes to this, here are some things to try:
- Make sure you have correctly set the current value for that stepper motor. Too high as well as too low values can cause this problem
- Make sure there is no mechanical problem in your machine, like misaligned axes, things hitting other things, too much tension in belts, things like that
- Is your stepper motor driver too hot to touch? Try aiming a big fan at your board (ideally the bottom of it), the stepper motor drivers might be overheating and shutting down for safety reasons. Never put heatsinks on top of your drivers, they are designed to be cooled from the bottom.
Homing does not work
You ask Smoothieboard to home an axis, and instead of going to the endstop and stopping there, it either does not move at all, or moves a little bit and stops.
What is probably happening here is either Smoothie thinks your endstops are always triggered (even when they are not), or it things they are triggered when they are not and not triggered when they are (inversion).
If it thinks they are always triggered, check your wiring.
If they are inverted, there is either something wrong with your wiring, or your configuration. See the Endstops section for more information on how to fix this
Homing does not stop when hitting the endstops
The endstops are always read as not triggered. Check your wiring and see the Endstops section for more information on how to fix this. Also sometimes having the sdcard mounted on the host (especially Macs) will cause this, unmount the sdcard and see if it still happens.
My stepper motor driver is burnt
It's possible to burn stepper drivers if a short occurs, or if you manually turn the stepper and it's a high-inductance stepper.
In this case, you have two solutions : either replace the stepper driver, or wire in an external stepper driver.
To replace the stepper driver, you need a hot air soldering station and some flux :
If you feel this is too difficult for you, or you don't have the right hardware, you can alternatively wire in a $10 external driver like the TB6600 ( easy to find on ebay or aliexpress ).
For instructions on wiring any external driver see [http://smoothieware.org/general-appendixes#external-drivers|the dedicated page].
IÂ can not connect to my board on Windows
Depending on the version of Windows, you might need to install the Windows Drivers for Smoothieboard
Note on Windows10 the drivers are not needed, and installing them can cause problems.
I get disconnected from my host frequently
This can be caused by several things :
- Make sure you use a short good quality shielded USB cable with ferrite beads on it.
- Make sure the Smoothie PSU is plugged into the same outlet as the PC you are connected to, otherwise you can get ground loops.
- If your printer is unusually large, add ferrite to everything coming from or going to your board ( motors, endstops, thermistors, mosfets, etc )
- Try using a shorter USBÂ cable
- Make sure your power supply is clean ( ideally with an oscilloscope )
- Route wires for motors and mosfets away from signal cables ( endstop, thermistors, USB, etc )
See the USB page
Smoothieboard Mass storage (SD card) is recognized, but not the Serial interface, on Windows
Please take a look at windows-drivers and see next section if that does not work.
How to disable MSD permanently
Install this version or firmware https://github.com/Smoothieware/Smoothieware/blob/edge/FirmwareBin/firmware-disablemsd.bin?raw=true (Remember to rename it firmware.bin)
and add this to your config file
msd_disable true # disable msd
The mass storage device will no longer be available, but serial should work.
Smoothieboard Mass storage (SD card) won't mount on my host computer
Even if the smoothieboard seems to work OK, this is almost certainly a problem with the SD card itself. Try using a different SD card. This problem has been reported with some SD cards that shipped with the original kickstarter boards. See this thread for more discussion of the problem. See the SD Card page for information about setting up a new SD card.
Motor won't turn but all lights are correct, motors make no noise at all
Bad USB cable or insufficient power to 5v(Required to give motors enable signal) - Don't underestimate the power of a bad USB cable to waste hours or days of your life.
Pronterface ignores my commands
If sending a command to the board via pronterface and it is being ignored, that is because you need to “escape” it by adding @ before it.
For example do not send version but send @version.
My machine was executing a file and it stopped
First thing to check : open the Gcode file and verify it's not truncated. This can happen for example due to errors copying the file. It's more common than you would expect.
Second thing, check the Smoothieboard is not in “Alarm” mode. If in Alarm mode, it should turn off it's heaters, but refuse to move. Sending the M999 (or $X or $H) command puts it back into normal mode, but first check your host program for the message Smoothie sent telling it what the problem was, most problems that cause it to go into alarm mode are problems that deserve your attention. It can be hitting a limit switch, or a problem with temperature control for example.
If you are using Simplify3D to stream, try using a different program like Pronterface or Octoprint, or print from SDCard. S3D does not currently support the protocol Smoothie uses for streaming files, and will just stop sending most of the time.
Check if the leds are still flashing, if they are then Smoothie is still running fine, and it was your host that stopped sending the file. If the leds are not flashing then smoothie crashed, there are instructions here to find out what happened.
Am I running out of memory?
Most of memory is allocated during boot, very little is allocated after booting, if you have a very large config file it may run out of memory during boot, in which case it will not boot and the leds will not flash. (delete everything in the config you are not using and try again).
To check how much memory you have after boot issue the mem command, if it says you have over 2,000 bytes free then you are unlikely to run out of memory whilst it is printing.
I burnt one of my mosfets !
Oh no !
Don't panic ! One option is to use a solid state relay instead ( this works well for beds for example ). See http://smoothieware.org/general-appendixes#solidstaterelay
Another option is also to use one of the mosfets you aren't using yet : Smoothie comes with more mosfets than users generally need, so it's likely there is one or even two you aren't using yet, simply switch to one of those.
Even better, if you have the right equipment, you can replace the burnt mosfet yourself, as in this video :
Problems between the chair and the keyboard
I'm very upset at something, everyone is mean and nobody listens to me
Now this isn't meant to offend, and it probably doesn't apply to you, but keep reading.
Smoothieware is an Open-Source firmware developed by volunteers on their free time. They are giving it to you for free. It's a favor they are doing you. They are being really really nice to you.
The people in the community who help you, do it in their free time, and could be drinking beers with their friends instead of helping you.
Before you get offended at:
- People not answering you fast enough
- People asking you to read the documentation
- People not willing to help you right now
- People not implementing something you want
- People not not taking your recommendations into account
Please please please remember you are talking to volunteers. You did not pay for the firmware, it's free, and it was done by people who did it to make the world better, with their own free time, and sometimes their own money. All for you, without even knowing who you are.
If you have a problem with your Smoothieboard, the hardware itself, you did pay for that, and you are entitled to your issues being resolved. Contact the seller and they are legally obligated to help you, and they will gladly do so.
But the people in the community are not obligated to do anything, you are not entitled to their help or attention. They are doing you a favor, and if they choose for whatever reason not to do you a favor at any given time, that is not depriving you of anything, that is just « not volunteering to do you a favor ».
To be clear, the Smoothie project is mainly composed of two parts :
- The Smoothieboard hardware, which you paid for, and are entitled to help/fixes for only from the person who sold it to you, not the community, contributors, or anyone else
- The Smoothie firmware, which is free, you didn't pay for it, and no-one is obligated to help you with. It so happens that the main Smoothieboard sellers have a policy of helping users with firmware problems even though they are not obligated to ( again : you didn't pay for the firmware, it is free ). But the community and contributors are definitely not obligated to help you with it in any way.
If somebody in the community is not willing to do what you want, remember you didn't pay them, and contact your seller instead.
This is a nice read on the subject: https://hueniverse.com/2016/01/26/how-to-use-open-source-and-shut-the-fuck-up-at-the-same-time/
Again: this probably doesn't apply to you, but if you are upset, please take a moment to consider if maybe this applies. If you are upset and it doesn't, please contact your Smoothieboard seller as soon as possible, the main reason for frustration is users waiting too long to contact their sellers for help.
Very important: if you are upset because your board burned, your seller did something wrong ( please contact them, they really don't want you to be upset ), or anything like that, this does not apply at all. This is only about interacting with the volunteers in the community.
I asked for help for the 15th time today and nobody wants to help me anymore
Please take a look at http://slash7.com/2006/12/22/vampires/
Somebody refused to help me because my board is a MKS, what's that all about ?
Smoothie is a community-built Open-Source project. Many people around the world come together to work and share to make the best possible CNC controller. They put likely more than a century of cumulated work into this, and make a lot of sacrifices so that *you* can have the best controller board and firmware possible, with the best documentation and best support.
MKS is a company that takes that work, and instead of contributing to it like everybody else, uses it all without respecting the work of the contributors or contributing themselves in the slightest. They don't respect the license of the documentation, they don't release their work as open-source despite it being obviously derived from open-source work. They wouldn't exist without the work of the smoothie community and act as if they had created all this themselves.
They also take sales away from open-source companies, and by doing so, severely restrict the means available to push the development of the project forward ( most companies selling *open-source* smoothie-compatible boards, actually contribute to the firmware in terms of time or money. MKS does not ).
MKS is considered a cancer, a parasite to the Smoothie project.
Because of this, I am sure that you will understand that we are very reticent to help MKS. Helping MKS is like helping destroy the Smoothie project. It makes no sense to work so hard on creating the Smoothie project, and at the same time work on destroying the Smoothie project.
If we help users with a MKS board, we are doing MKS's work in their place, so we are helping MKS. Helping MKS is not acceptable.
We understand that you are not MKS, but we still can not help MKS, and by helping you we would be helping MKS.
Because of all this, here is the current policy in the Smoothie project regarding MKS users asking for help :
Before asking the Smoothie community for help, ask MKS for help.
This is not a refusal to help. We only require that you ask MKS for help *first*. Then if MKS is not able to help you, you can ask the smoothie community, and it is possible that some members will want to help you.
Again : our policy is not to refuse to help MKS users, but to require that you ask MKS for help *first*.
If MKS is able to help you, that's great. If they are not able to help you ( which is likely, they are known for being very incompetent ), then you can ask the Smoothie community for help.
Please note that even then, *some* users might refuse to help you. That is their choice, you shouldn't be upset at them, they are only not volunteering to offer you their free time ( to destroy the Smoothie project ).
Please understand that you are talking to volunteers. They are giving you their free time, and they are not required to do so. If they don't want to help you, they are not hurting you, they are just choosing not to give you a gift. If a group of friends is eating cake, and somebody gives you their share of the cake, they are giving you a present. If they do not give you their share, they are not being mean to you, and you are being unreasonable if you are upset at not getting a gift. On this subject please read : http://smoothieware.org/troubleshooting#i-m-very-upset-at-something-everyone-is-mean-and-nobody-listens-to-me
My board works, now what software do I use with it?
Try one of these:
All software below either knows how to interface with, or how to generate g-code for, Smoothieware.
- bCNC - Open-Source CNC host with great preview and other operations. Set machine type to smoothie, and add grbl_mode true to your smoothie config (Note: You must update to the latest version of Smoothieware to ensure compatibility with bCNC).
- OpenSCAM.org - Open-Source Simulation & Computer Aided Machining (Free 3-axis CNC Simulator which understands G-Code)
- CNC.js - Open-Source CNC host with lots of features, running in your browser.
- OpenSCAD.org - Open-Source CAD software.
- PyCAM - Open-Source CAM software.
- jscut - Open-Source in-browser CAM software.
- CamBam - Closed-Source, but cheap and feature-full CAM software. Widely used by hobbyists.
- Fusion360 - Closed-source CAM with very advanced features, free for hobby/fablab/small business.
- Universal Gcode Sender Host program
- Fabrica - Easy to use web control interface ( Host )
- Kiri:Moto by Grid.Space - Free web based toolpath generator with support for FDM, Laser Cutting and CNC Milling.
- LaserWeb - Web-based full laser control application ( Host and CAM ), use to generate GCode but not recommended to use as a streamer of rasters as they do not support streaming to smoothie properly and refuse to cooperate.
- Fabrica - Easy to use control interface ( Host )
- Fast streamer - use for streaming raster images from a host to smoothie. Avoids the pauses when using LW to stream. Can handle upwards of 1,000 pixels/sec.
- This plugin for Fusion360 allows you to start your Gcode files from within Fusion360 directly using Universal Gcode Sender ( skipping the step of first saving the file in Fusion360, then opening it in Universal Gcode Sender )
LexiconA few words you will see in this documentation that require a bit of explanation :
- «Host» software is software that is used to “talk” to your Smoothieboard. It allows you to control the machine ( for example “jog” the axes ), to “stream” a G-code job, or to upload it to the SD card, things like that.
- «Slicing» software is software that is used to take a 3D model file, and based on some settings you input, “slice” it into layers, and generate a G-code file that the Smoothieboard can then execute to print a thing.
- «CAM» software, or «CAM Package», for Computer Assisted Manufacturing, is software that is used to take a 3D or 3D file, and based on some settings you input, transform it into a list of tool movements ( G-code file ) for a machine that uses a tool to remove material from a workpiece.