Smoothieboards

The Smoothieboards are numerical fabrication controllers designed to run the Open-Source Smoothieware firmware, by a community of volunteers.

They come into a range of different versions, with different feature sets and advantages.

All Smoothieboards are designed to run on the most powerful hardware in their price range at the time of their conception, to be easy to expand for new and adventurous uses, to be easy to develop on, and to be simple to use for normal users.

This page lists the different boards, you can find more information in each Smoothieboard’s dedicated page :

Source code download here.


v1

Smoothieboard v1 has been the first released Smoothieboard and has received several updates.

It has gone from an experimental project to a widely used and acclaimed system.

It features :

  • 32-bit Cortex-M3 LPC1769 with 512kB flash and 64kB RAM
  • 3 to 5 A5984 stepper drivers with 1/32 microstepping
  • Thermistors and mosfets to control heaters and fans
  • Ethernet and USB connections
  • SD card to store configuration and Gcode files
  • Various inputs and outputs for extensibility
  • Much more

The board comes in 3 versions, 3X, 4X and 5X, with different sets of peripherals each.

More information on the Smoothieboard v1 page.

Microcontroller

The board uses the LPC1769 microcontroller, an ARM Cortex-M3 chip :

  • 32-bit architecture
  • 120Mhz frequency
  • 512kB ROM ( program space )
  • 64kB RAM ( execution memory )

Compared to lots of other boards, this allows for faster/smoother movement, more features and more extensibility.

The board runs the Smoothie firmware, which has been designed and perfected to take best advantage of the hardware, to make the board easy to configure and use, and to add cool features.

See Firmware.

USB

The USB interface connects to a host ( your computer ), and can be used :

  • Via its USB/MSD ( Mass storage ) interface to directly access the SD card in the board ( read, edit, copy/paste files )
  • Via its USB/CDC ( Serial ) interface to send commands ( like Gcodes ) for execution, for example using host software

This allows for pretty neat things like :

  • Editing the configuration without having to edit source file or reflash the firmware
  • Dropping Gcode files to the board and executing them
  • Dropping firmware upgrade files to the board for easy flashing

See USB.

Ethernet

The Ethernet interface allows you to connect the board to your local network ( LAN ).

You can then use a different protocols to talk to the board :

  • HTTP to use web interfaces hosted on the board, or via using host software that supports this
  • Telnet to send commands via a serial interface, or via using host software that supports this

See Network.

SD Card

The board comes with a SD card slot containing a 2GB card.

The card is used for :

You can also add Gcode files to it and then play them from the SD card, which is useful for files so dense that streaming them to the board isn’t convenient.

See SD Card.

Stepper motor drivers

Stepper motors are used to move axes on your machine, or turn extruders.

You plug them into stepper motor drivers on your Smoothieboard.

The drivers on the v1 board are A5984 drivers which offer :

  • 1/32 ( quieter ) micro-stepping
  • Several protections making them sturdier
  • Digital ( configuration-file set ) current values, no potentiometer manipulation
  • Great heat-sinking allowing use of their full 2A current rating, for more torque/speed

The Smoothieboard 3X has 3 drivers, the 4X has 4 drivers, and the 5X has 5 drivers, thus their names.

See Current Control

Mosfets

Mosfets are transistors for high loads. They are essentially digitally controlled “switches”.

Your microcontroller can choose if they are let electricity pass or not. This is useful to control heating elements ( like hotends and heated beds ), fans, and other power-oriented peripherals.

Smoothieboard v1 has two types of Mosfets :

  • Small ones for fans, hotends, and other low loads ( 5A, up to 24V )
  • Large ones for heated beds, powerful hotends, and other high loads ( 12A, up to 24V )

Smoothieboard 3X has two small mosfets, Smoothieboard 4X has two small and two big mosfets, and Smoothieboard 5X has three small and three big mosfets.

This is more than you need, which is nice if you ever break one, and also means a Smoothieboard 4X can be used for dual extrusion just by adding an external stepper driver, and a Smoothieboard 5X can be used for triple extrusion the same way, because you already have extra thermistor inputs and mosfets.

See Mosfets.

Temperature reading

All v1 boards come with 4 temperature reading inputs.

These can be used to read the resistance of thermistors in your hotend or heated bed, inferring from it its current temperature, and from this the temperature control module can regulate the temperature by choosing whether to heat it or not.

See Temperature Control.

Endstops

The board has 6 endstop inputs. These can be used for limit switches at the end of the axes, used to limit motion within the work area, or for homing to origin.

They can also be used to connect probes, for example for bed leveling or automated machine calibration.

See Endstops and Probes.

Power inputs

Smoothieboard has a main power input that supports from 12 to 24V.

Each mosfet pair must also be powered via its own, separate input, supporting from 12 to 24V.

The board’s logic power can be provided via USB, via the 5V power input, or by adding the voltage regulator to the board. The board will automatically select the best power input amongst those you provide.

See Main power input and Logic power.

Extensibility

The board is designed to make it as easy as possible to add things to it.

As such, most pins are broken out to connectors, and great care is taken to make sure extending the board is as easy as possible

See Pinout.

Sources

Oh and by the way, it’s all Open Hardware ( CERN OHL and GPL-licensed ).

You can find the Eagle files on GitHub :

You can find the old version of this Smoothieboard v1 page here.

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