I have been searching around the internet for the last 3 days trying to figure this out. My Z axis motors for a pursa-i3 3d printer are not working correctly. I have marlin firmware and using repetier host. I send a command to move the z axis and I get it to move, however I if I send the same command again the motors will sometimes spin the other way. feel like They almost randomly choose which direction they turn.

As I said I have been trouble shooting this for a while now. What I am suspecting is the firmware feedrates and acceleration or some setting is not correct.

Here is my code:

#define NUM_AXIS 4 // The axis order in all axis related arrays is X, Y, Z, E
#define HOMING_FEEDRATE {50*60, 50*60, 2*60, 0}  // set the homing speeds (mm/min)

#define DEFAULT_AXIS_STEPS_PER_UNIT   {80,80,4000,590}  
#define DEFAULT_MAX_FEEDRATE          {300, 300, 3, 45}    // (mm/sec)
#define DEFAULT_MAX_ACCELERATION      {1000,1000,50,500}    // X, Y, Z, E maximum start speed for accelerated moves. E default values are good for Skeinforge 40+, for older versions raise them a lot.

#define DEFAULT_ACCELERATION          1000    // X, Y, Z and E max acceleration in mm/s^2 for printing moves
#define DEFAULT_RETRACT_ACCELERATION  1000   // X, Y, Z and E max acceleration in mm/s^2 for retracts

#define DEFAULT_XYJERK                10   // (mm/sec)
#define DEFAULT_ZJERK                 0.3     // (mm/sec)
#define DEFAULT_EJERK                 5.0    // (mm/sec)

I tried swapping the drivers around and the motors will work perfectly on another axis so I don't suspect it to be a driver issue. I have been turning the pots ontop of the drivers to make them work but can't make them to go the same direction i want them to.

I've checked the wires and I almost sure they are wired up correctly. (could be wrong but have checked it over with a multimeter.)

I am new to this and it's my first time building one of these would appreciate any help I can get and and maybe I have over looked something I have tested. Just really want the axis to move in the direction That I say it to move in.

More details about my setup is: A Robocraze 3D Printer Controller Board RAMPS 1.4 using A4988 stepper motors drivers and my motors are the nema 17 stepper motors. I currently have the two z axis motors wired in parallel but have tried before using series, however the problem of being unable to control the direction of the Z motors still arises (can easily switch back to series).

currently trying with no load just to get the motors turn in the correct direction when I send a G-code command. I am using Repetier host on ubuntu 14.04.5.

I have also check the endstops and they are working perfectly, so they ain't a problem (I don't think :p)

Thank you, Bobby

  • $\begingroup$ Not sure if I asked a clear enough question, hoping for some help and can provide more details if needed? $\endgroup$ Jan 20, 2018 at 6:50
  • $\begingroup$ Try adding more specifics on your wiring, the servos you use, etc. There is something not completely obvious going on here. $\endgroup$ Jan 20, 2018 at 16:52
  • $\begingroup$ Added a few more details and yeah I can understand :(, hoping someone has faced the same issue? really odd because when I send the exact same g-code command repeatedly The Z axis will turn back and forth clockwise then Anti clockwise with each different command! Such a headache hahaha, Thank you $\endgroup$ Jan 22, 2018 at 4:24
  • $\begingroup$ Did you try with just one of the motors connected? What if you disconnect the motor coupling? You need to isolate electronic/software and mechanical issues as the potential cause. $\endgroup$ Jan 22, 2018 at 8:52
  • $\begingroup$ Hello, Yes I have tried with just one motor connected to the Z driver and still same issue, even different motors completely. I know it is something that is wrong with the Z pins, driver or firmware (feed rates as such are different). I have tried swapping the drivers and it works in other slots for the x,y or extruder motors, so i don't think the driver is the problem. Could be maybe the RAMPS board slot for the Z motors is faulty? I am guessing that since no one has jumped up and said anything about the code, the firmware is fine? so it must be the RAMPS board Z driver socket??? $\endgroup$ Jan 22, 2018 at 10:02

1 Answer 1


So after 5 days of trouble shooting, Bob-the-Kuhn over on the marlin github forum solved it for, anyone else who faces the same issue can head over to github for my solutions.


Conversation from link:

Bob-the-Kun: Problem does not follow the driver. Problem does not follow the steppers.

I'm thinking that the Z socket has a problem. Sounds like an open/poor contact.

Try bending the DIRECTION lead on the Z driver a little and see if the problem disappears. It's one of the corner pins. Sometimes it's called DIR. If your driver's pins aren't labeled then bend all four corner pins a little.

Another option is to move the Z function to the E1 socket. Replace your pins_RAMPS.h file with this one. pins_RAMPS.zip

FYI - if this really is a hardware problem then it's the second RAMPS hardware problem within a week. Most unusual.

Post reply:

Yes the socket I am now assuming is just broken (not sure what exactly but possibly one of the connections), After using for pins_RAMPS file and changed the motors back to series and connected to the E1 slot I successful got the printer to work!!! Thank you very much Z axis is working as I would expect! I am now calibrating the printer as it definitely needs it.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It's great that you took the time to come back and share that you solved the problem. It's sub-optimal - though - that you just put a link. Stuff changes / get moved / is deleted from the internet, and the risk is the link will break at some point in the future. It would be great if you could al least add a summary of what the solution is all about. :) $\endgroup$
    – mac
    Jan 23, 2018 at 22:32

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