Getting fed up with burnt out stepper drivers. Options?

I’ve got a i3 plus (5.1 board) and have now had two mainboards die on (stepper drivers). On my first board, the z-axis driver died, and on my second board, the extruder driver died. The boards are quite expensive ($75 to $110 with shipping) and it just feels so wasteful of both resources and money to keep buying new boards because of these drivers. I’m handy with a soldering iron, but I don’t have a hot air reflow station to pull chips off of the first bad board and swap over. I guess I could just buy a reflow station instead of getting a new board, but that still would involve a good bit of work and the problem would likely happen again later anyways. Has anyone come up with some other options for this? It’s getting a bit frustrating. I love this printer and especially ADVI3++ and would like to continue using it, however if i have to keep buying new boards, it might be worth it to just upgrade to a different printer that doesn’t have this issue so frequently. Sorry that this post was so negative, it’s just a bit frustrating and i’m looking for advice from others here.

Just an idea, but there are custom solutions with their own drivers. I have one but never get the time to test it so I can’t tell if is good or not:

https://silence3d.com/product-category/wanhao-i3-plus/?product_count=24

Note also that it is based on a old version of ADVi3++

Thanks! I had come across that site while I was doing some research. As well as the external driver mod using the EXT port. But at this point, after having the drivers die a few times on me, I ended up picking up a new printer. It’s only a matter of time before another one goes and it’s dead again. I’m planning on reusing the power supply and steppers for a new project (maybe some kind of mini CNC). Really going to miss ADVI3++, that really was my main reason for not wanting to get a different printer. Thanks again for all of the amazing work on it!

Your decision is quite understandable. Personally, I never had problems with the mainboard but I know some people had. By curiosity, which new printer have you chosen?

There was an “open box” Ender 3 V2 at a store close to me for ~$180 and it seemed like a small but decent enough upgrade over the i3 plus. If i was going to spend around ~$100 fixing this one (after already having spent that previously), and a new better machine was $180, then i figured that would be a decent way to go.

Maybe we need to identify a replacement board for the printer and get ADVi3++ support for it. I will love the project going but this printer is aging. I have been thinking also on look around for a new replacement. We should have also some hardware upgrade that is supported and tested. I think ADVi3++ needs to get out of the Wanhaoo shell and be something that can be used on upgraded Wanhaoo or other DYI printers. Can the same LCD be supported on a new board? 32 bits?

I am considering adapting ADVi3++ to other printers. The Ender 3 V2 is a candidate but also the D9 from Wanhao. This is the advantage of supporting recent versions of Marlin (so with 32-bit boards for example). But it makes sense only if:

  • the stock firmware is not good enough or closed-source (including sources that are open but unusable)
  • the printer has already a compatible LCD panel or it is possible to adapt a LCD panel.

It means also that I will have to bought new printers and there is the question of the cost and of the place needed for those printers. And of course time is a problem.

Anyway, my short term priority is to add new features to ADVi3++ for Di3+ printers. I am working currently on the migration to the latest version of Marlin (2.0.9.3) and on the filment sensor support.

I would assume input limitations would make that a pain as well. The E3V2 uses a rotary/press knob for interaction instead of a touch screen, so the whole interaction model would need to be changed/adapted for that.

I agree it would be nice to have a drop-in replacement board, or even some way to just have all of the stepper drivers be external/swappable (I believe the limit is currently 2 externals using the EXT port). It seems like most of those solutions are treating the EXT pins as direct lines for the drivers, it would need some sort of encoding system to push more data through it, which would also require a decode step on whatever daughterboard you’d need (and thus drive the price up).

As an aside, I THINK it was a jammed piece of filament that killed mine. As I was getting set up for a new print and was loading the filament, the tip broke off and jammed just below the gear, which caused the gear to slam against it repeatedly. I’m not sure if stepper motors draw more power when locked like a traditional electric motor, but if that is the case, it’s likely the cause of my issue.

Ah yes so it is not the printer I was thinking of, I made a confusion.

I bought a used Wanhao i3 Plus. The seller told me that the extruder stepper stalls occasionally.
At home I pluged it in and tried it out.
X, Y and Z moved as they should. When testing E, I found that it jerked in place constantly without turning. I connected the motor to the connector of Y and had the same problem.
After i had reconnected all motors correctly, Y suddenly jerked on the spot.
When measuring the E Stepper, I found that the wiring of the motor is not correct.
Now i have two burned stepper drivers and want to use external A4988 drivers.
But I have no idea how to load and compile the firmware in the arduino ide.
Hopefully someone can help me.

Arduino IDE is not supported (far too limited for a project like that).

You can find in the User Manual the instructions to build:

More complete and advanced instructions are here:
https://community.advi3pp.com/t/advi3-5-advanced-building-of-advi3-firmware-from-sources/3553