[TTT] TMC2100 VS DRV8825 Drivers

Here’s my take on the TMC2100 drivers after using them for a while AND the DRV8825s.

The TMC2100s are VERY silent when you are in their “silentChop” mode. This is the default mode where it also steps the 1/16 to 1/256 for smooth motion. BUT the “silentChop” mode is NOT made for 3D printers. 99% of the time when using them in this mode they would print fine but they would still skip from time to time. You can make this stop by upping the VREF voltage but then they run hotter and your stepper motors are very warm, I had to run my steppers at almost 1V on the VREF to get them to stop skipping. This made them run at about 70C.

You can switch them to “spreadCycle” mode where they operate like a normal stepper and have the 1/16 to 1/256 translation for smooth movement BUT they are VERY noisy. I have a DC-DC step up converter on my setup for the drivers where I can run anywhere from 12V to 48V. Even up to 36V they were still making a high pitched noise. They did NOT skip though and I was able to use a low VREF and the motors didn’t get too hot. In order to switch them to spread cycle all the CFG pins should be open and you must close the solder jumper on the CFG1 so that it pulls down to ground through the RAMPS board.

What does this all mean? The TMC2100s are good drivers. I also have the DRV8825’s and they are quieter than the TMC drivers when they in “spreadCycle” mode. My 8825s are actually quieter than the TMC2100s and have more torque at a lower VREF.

TLDR; the DRV8825 is my choice for drivers since I do not want any chance of the motors skipping. Save your money and go with the DRV8825’s or the A4988. TMC even says that silentChop is NOT meant for higher torque applications which is what we need for the 3D printers.

[TTT] Getting started with 3D Printing with the Anet A8 Printer – Part 2 of 4 – Recommended Upgrades

Part 1 is here: [TTT] Getting started with 3D Printing with the Anet A8 Printer – Part 1 of 4 – Required Upgrades

The next part of this 4 part series is going to cover the recommended upgrades. These upgrades are not required to use the printer but will help your printer produce better, cleaner, and more accurate prints. I will go over what each one does and why it is beneficial.

Cooling Duct

The factory cooling duct is very simple and doesn’t fully cool all sides of the filament as it is extruding. This upgraded duct will ensure that there is 360 degrees of airflow going around the filament as it is being extruded. This will allow the filament to adhere and cool evenly as it is being extruded to the layers.

You can download it here from Thingiverse.

X Belt Holder

The factory way to attach the belt to the rear of the carriage is with 2 screws and a zip tie. This makes adjustment and belt replacement difficult. This holder allows you to easily adjust and remove the X axis belt by hand without any additional tools. I had this pre-printed from a friends printer before I even had the printer assembled. This made connecting the belt to the carriage much easier as well as getting the correct tension.

You can download it here from Thingiverse.

X and Y Tensioner

In addition to the upgraded mounting blocks I recommend in this post these other two addons make adjustment of the tension of bot the Y and X axis belts much easier. You can simply adjust the tension by turning the screws on the addons to change the belt tension. I should note that if you want to use the X tensioner you must cut the belt about 3″ longer than the Anet A8 guide recommends or just replace the belt with and GT2 style belt (Amazon)

You can download the X Tensioner and Y Tensioner from Thingiverse.

Y Belt Mounting and Clips

Lastly the Anet guide actually tells you to assemble the mounting plate upside down and this causes a shift and un-needed strain on the stepper motor and belt. Make sure the plate is mounted with the single bar down, not up. I have included a picture illistrating this. In addition to that you may want to print some upgraded mounting clips to further level the belt and replace the brittle acrylic ones that are included.

You can download the mounting clips from Thingiverse.

Correct Belt and Y Mounting Setup

I hope this has been helpful. If you need the parts printed and are near the Chicagoland area I would be glad to print some for fellow Anet A8 users. The next part will be coming tomorrow going over some enhancements and extras you can add on to make the printer even better. Until then have fun and let me know if you need any help!

[TTT] Getting started with 3D Printing with the Anet A8 Printer – Part 1 of 4 – Required Upgrades

Part 2 is here: [TTT] Getting started with 3D Printing with the Anet A8 Printer – Part 2 of 4 – Recommended Upgrades

Around Christmas time 2016 a friend let me borrow his Micro M3D printer. I enjoyed playing with it and decided to get my own. I came across the Anet A8 DIY printer kit and purchased on from a seller on AliExpress.com (shipped from the US warehouse). During the time I spent many hours researching information on this printer. I found out that while it is a decent printer there are some major issues with it if you do not spend about $50-60 on some aftermarket addons to make the printer work better and safer. I am going to cover what the must do-s are for this printer are and what other modifications I did to mine. They will be broken down into 3 categories: required, recommended, and optional. The required ones are the most important since they are safety related. Each category will get it’s own post since I do not have time to write them all at once. After that there will be a general write up post on the printer and tips to get it to do what you want.

Required Upgrades


The factory heat bed mosfet is severely under powered and you will burn up the connector where it connects to the board OR completely fry your Anet board. This is a manufacturer issue but for the price I am not surprised that this was an oversight. The MOSFET can be had for between $10-15 on Amazon or EBay and looks like the image below. Some people also go with a SSR or Solid State Relay but it is really personal preference as both will handle the current required to run the heating bed.

To connect the MOSFET is simple. You will have a small 2 wire plug that will come with the MOSFET, these 2 wires go to where your heat bed + and – go now. Not connect the heat bed wires to the heat bed terminals on the MOSFET. Now run 2 more wires from the MOSFET + and – to your power supply directly. This takes the load off of the Anet board and puts it on the MOSFET.

In addition to this I would recommend going from the PSU to the MOSFET with 12 Gauge silicone wire and running dual (4 wires total) 16 gauge silicone wires to the heat bed itself. There are 2 positive and 2 negative terminals on the heat bed and they are the same connection that accept 12V. If you measure the bed resistance you will get between 1.0 and 1.1 ohms on a working bed. If you have anything different then your bed is broken.


Upgraded Power Supply

The factory power supply is also very under-powered. It is rated at 20 Amps and actually puts out around 15 Amps. This leaves very little head room for expansion. This also causes the heat bed to take forever to warm up. Replace the PSU with a 30 Amp one like the one pictured to the right. You can purchase one on Amazon with THIS LINK. After just changing this my heating times for both the heated bed and the extruder were greatly increased. I highly recommend this upgrade as it is under $20 shipped.


That is where I will leave this post. I have also put some pictures of actual Anet board failures because the users were not listening to advice about using a MOSFET and checking their connections. This is a great printer but you will need to give it a little TLC before you start printing with it.

Parts Links:

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Finding an AC Adapter for the MSI GT62VR Laptop

Recently I picked up the MSI Dominator Pro GT62VR laptop for myself. I always like to have spare adapters to leave at home and at the office so I don’t have to be moving one between every location. The MSI uses a female 4 pin “DIN” (Kycon) style connector and finding adapters is not as easy as other laptops I have owned. I wanted to share these details with someone else that may be looking for another adapter as well. There are overlapping adapters out there from Clevo and Sager that also work with this laptop. The 3 main OEM companies that make the 230W 19.5V 11A+ adapters are Delta, Chicony, and FSP. The FSP will work even though it is labeled as a 220W adapter where as the others are 230W the amperage is still the same as the 230W branded adapters. Here are the part numbers and pictures of the actual adapters are below.

  • Delta – ADP-230EB T
  • Chicony – A12-230P1A
  • FSP – FSP22-ABAN1

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Those model numbers are for the actual packs and the connector on the end to the laptop can vary. You need to make sure you have the 4 pin FEMALE connector on the end with the positive connection on the pins that are furthest apart (see pic below). I managed to pick up adapters for under $50 each by searching eBay and Amazon. I ideally would like to find the raw end so I can put it on any adapter but I have yet to find them. From what I gathered the technical/brand name of the connector is a “Kycon” connector but you will see them called “Mini DIN” connectors on some websites.

4-Pin Connector Info

I hope this has helped someone as it was a pain for me. Here are some models that you can search for that should have the same plug. Make sure you verify that the plug is the same style and polarity as pictured above. Crossover compatible models: Sager/Clevo NP9170 NP8170 P170EM P170HM P370EM X7200 P377 375SM

Looking to save money? Think twice about Jet.com.

I just wanted to put this out there since their customer service is only capable of telling you what they can’t do and then outright making up information.

I ordered a Vizio soundbar from Jet.com since there was a promotion and I was in the market for one for my bedroom. I ordered the Soundbar on 11/27/2016. I waited a few days to see if it had shipped and on 12/1/2016 when it still was “processing” I called them. I was informed that they were “trying to get a hold of the vendor (Dell) and they don’t have any information for me”. I said “OK” and they promised a call back within 24 hours, they never called. The delivery date that was quoted was 11/30-12/5, the order did not ship until the end of 12/5/2016.

After that I called daily until I told them to cancel the order. They then informed me that they could not cancel the order and there was nothing they could do. My only option was to just “wait it out” and return the item if it shipped. I called them on 12/5/2016 to further express my dissatisfaction with this order and that I did not want the item. Again they told me they couldn’t cancel it but their “system” will more than likely cancel it since it was taking so long.

On all the calls (which I have recordings of) I was told different times from different reps about how long it was until their system automatically voided out ordered that were not being shipped, it was anywhere from 7-10 days. This is nowhere to be found in their ToS either.

You can imagine my reaction when on 12/6/2016 that the item is now showing as shipped. So now I have to so through the hassle of getting this large item over to FedEx for a return and waiting an undisclosed amount of time for my refund.

That being said if you really don’t care about customer service and/or when your order ships then check out Jet.com. I will never buy anything from them and would gladly pay a few bucks more to get a product quickly to not have to deal with this again. I checked their ToS and there is nothing about order delays on them. I created Archive.IS links in case they decide to change them after I post this.

Shipping and Delivery TOS: http://archive.is/vfAt4

Returns TOS: http://archive.is/wifuL

Terms of Use: http://archive.is/G1AF3