HobbyCNC Drives

Pictures of the HobbyCNC drive and power supply

HobbyCNC three axis drive boardHobbyCNC sells a number of stepper and drive options including a 305 oz.in. system, which works with the machines on par with the Xylotex 269 oz.in. system.

The smaller 200 oz.in. kit was used on the 10x9 and 13x13 machines. The difference in power between the 305 and 200 oz.in. steppers is noticeable and worth the extra cost.

This HobbyCNC drive board, like the Xylotex board, combines the three drives onto one printed circuit board. Right image.
The drive board is a kit which has to be soldered together.
HobbyCNC drive in home-made boxThe drive board is attached to the computer's parallel (printer) port, and each stepper is connected to the board. The power supply is also attached to the drive board. More info is on the Drives and Steppers page.

The HobbyCNC kit is designed to be put in one box that holds both the power supply and the drive board. This keeps things simple. However, in this shop power supplies, steppers, and drives play musical chairs; therefore, the drive box was built independently of the power supply.

In the images a jack from the drive box plugs into the power supply box, and D-Sub plugs and receptacles are used to attach the steppers.
These plugs and receptacles were installed to make the switch-outs easier; they are not included in the HobbyCNC package.

The board has proved to be a good product.
It includes the necessary pull-up resistors for using the other parallel port pins from the computer.

The HobbyCNC board does not have a disable function for each axis, unlike Xylotex which does. This feature is missed in this shop, since it is sometimes easier to physically move the axis to position by hand, rather than by using the jog function.
HobbyCNC power supplyThe image on the right is a power supply for the HobbyCNC system; it uses the components supplied in the HobbyCNC 3 axis package (switches, rectifier, fuses, capacitor etc.) as well as the transformer that is recommended by HobbyCNC.
HobbyCNC lists a supplier and part number for the transformer.

This power supply unit was wired together according to the HobbyCNC directions; the directions are thorough and straightforward.

Minor alterations were made to power the additional fan since separate boxes for the drive and power supply were used.

There is more about power supplies on the Power Supply page.

HobbyCNC also gives a supplier's part number for a box to enclose the components. The boxes shown on this page are home-made from shop jetsam; they are not from HobbyCNC.

The boxes are made of scrap plywood, counter-top laminate, 1/8" tempered hardboard, and yup, those are old speaker grills used as the vent covers.

Though not obvious in the photos, there are vent holes at each end of the boxes so air can pass over the components.

The boxes are not going to win any awards, but they do not look too bad considering the cost, and they do protect the components.

Boxes, however crude and simple, are definitely a worthwhile ounce of prevention.
Temperature of StepperHobbyCNC driver’s amperage is set by the user. On test runs here in June with the shop at 80 degrees F, the 305 oz.in. steppers heated to over 145 degrees F after a half hour run with the drives set to 2.5 amps.
The same steppers on a duplicate run heated to just over 120 degrees with the drives set to 2 amps. Right photo.
The difference in the stepper's torque was not noticeable; there were no lost steps with the lower setting.
A temp of 145 degrees is pushing the limit of what steppers can handle without damage, so the board has been left at the lower 2 amp setting. Generally, if a stepper is uncomfortable to the touch, it is too hot.

The documentation with the HobbyCNC drive board tells how to set the current for each axis. It is a simple process that uses a basic voltmeter.
HobbyCNC supplies ample documentation, and has a Yahoo group where those who have purchased the products can share info and help each other.

Solsylva is not affiliated with HobbyCNC; we are satisfied with their products.

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