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DM556 Drivers with Black Box

Discussion in 'CNC Mills/Routers' started by Jacob Koeberlein, Jan 18, 2021.

  1. Jacob Koeberlein


    Jan 18, 2021
    Likes Received:
    The Black Box was recommended to me by a friend as an alternative to my current DM556 & Arduino setup that stops/disconnects randomly. I hooked up the Black Box and immediately had good results. However, I noticed that the stepper motors would "slip" occasionally. I later discovered that this was caused by the fact that my steppers are Nema 34 motors, and require a much higher current (5 amps) than what the Black Box outputs.

    I currently live the OpenBuilds interface, and I love the capabilies of the Black Box. Having an electronically controlled coolant system and a probe is very helpful, and I wish to continue using the Black Box for many reasons. However, I don't want to compromise the torque of my current stepper motor setup.

    I think that the best solution is to figure out a way to connect the DM556 drivers to the Black Box. I am curious, how do I go about doing so? I disassembled the Black Box and see the drivers, but I also see a lot of surface mounted components and am not sure about how to make the changes that I want.

    Thanks for the help in advance!
  2. Rob Taylor

    Rob Taylor Master

    Dec 15, 2013
    Likes Received:
    BlackBox is basically an Arduino Uno, 4 stepper drivers and some IO sockets in a box. Great for noobs who don't want to take the time to get under the hood, but if you were already running an Arduino and DM556s, there really wasn't any point in spending the $200. Plus, you need to be in the 48-72V range for NEMA 34s, which is well beyond what the BlackBox [drivers] can take. 24V is on the lower end even for NEMA 23s, but on 34s you're probably gonna get commutation problems- or "slip", as you found.

    The "Brain" board is the Uno. It's electrically (but not physically, obviously) identical for convenient remote troubleshooting and to maintain absolute compatibility with the grbl firmware that it's running without any modifications. So you'd just have to look for the traditional "pinout" as best you can, though it looks pretty well labeled for the grbl outputs to me: https://docs.openbuilds.com/lib/exe/fetch.php?cache=&media=docs:blackbox:1.png - soldering a header - soldering a header to that middle row of outputs should get you there, though you end up in the exact same place as you do with an Uno, trying to make DuPont pins actually stay in the stupid little headers. Better to just use the Uno, get a terminal block shield, and go from there.

    Both CONTROL and INTERFACE should, as far as I'm aware, still work with a stock Arduino Uno. It's all just passing serial messages back and forth to grbl; what exactly is running grbl shouldnt' matter too much. Peter could confirm or deny that, though.
  3. JustinTime

    JustinTime Journeyman

    Dec 18, 2013
    Likes Received:
    As Rob said, the BlackBox has the Uno circuitry in it. Like you, I had some drivers (DM542) and all I needed was an Uno. I ended up using an Arduino Nano (the fake ones) that I have a few left from a digital clock project. It works a charm, is very inexpensive and runs the machine with no problems. I also use CONTROL and it drives the Nano perfectly.
  4. Rick 2.0

    Rick 2.0 OpenBuilds Team
    Staff Member Moderator Builder Resident Builder

    Dec 20, 2013
    Likes Received:
    As you already have the BlackBox and like using it I suggest tapping into the slave motor pins. A better explanation can be found in the BlackBox discussion thread.

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