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  1. #1
    As per title. I've read that the branded (i.e. Leadshine, etc) drives are superior to the unbranded ones...but is the 80% price increase justified? I'm a firm believer in "you get what you pay for" but am also aware that you can often pay a premium price for an identical item because it has a brand name on it.

    I'm just wondering...what are the main differences between these various boards? I've recently bought a spare Chinese M542 driver off eBay and while peering through the air vents, I noticed that the component layout is different to the PM542 boards I bought form Zapp about 18 months ago. There seem to be several variations of these "M542" boards, including various names and numbers, but all having identical specifications. Are there any of these that should be strictly avoided or are they pretty much all the same in both quality and reliability? Are there any visual clues to tell us which style board is used, or is it just a case of suck it and see?

    And while on the subject, assuming that the drive is fitted to a proven machine, what is the average lifespan? Under what circumstances do they fail? I've made some adaptors to provide forced cooling via 80mm fans mounted on each drive heatsink, but is that just overkill or a worthwhile upgrade?

    Just for the record, judging by the 2 horizontal caps near the L.H. edge of the PCB, the unit I received from eBay seller "Sinedy" (a.k.a. "Buy In coins") appears to be the same style as this:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by birchy; 01-02-2013 at 03:46 AM.

  2. #2
    Hi,

    I use 12 Leadshine M542 (and predecessor HP5042) drives for quite a while with 1 failure for unknown reasons.
    As long as you have some safety margin towards maximum current and voltage I'd give the cheaper ones a try.
    2D / 3D CAM Software and CNC controller: http://www.estlcam.com

  3. #3
    I don't think leadshine is a brand name in the way that say Dewalt is. Yes I would agree that you can pay more just because something has a brand name but not sure if this is the case with leadshine.
    You will be paying for better quality components (at least I believe you will be), I do know that a lot of the cheaper electronics coming out of china are manufactured with the cheapest of components which are all uncertified.

  4. #4
    I bought a Chinese 542 driver connected and set as instructions and it was hopeless it stepped a different amount in each direction I complained and after exchanging several e mails they sent a replacement it works but steps a different amount to the genuine leadshine driver it also has dreadful am radio interference so beware I am now going to get a genuine driver

    cheers glen

  5. #5
    Clive S's Avatar
    Lives in Marple   Stockport, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 10 Hours Ago Forum Superstar, has done so much to help others, they deserve a medal. Has been a member for 5-6 years. Has a total post count of 2,309. Received thanks 403 times, giving thanks to others 35 times. Made a monetary donation to the upkeep of the community. Is a beta tester for Machinists Network features.
    Quote Originally Posted by fastpart View Post
    I bought a Chinese 542 driver connected and set as instructions and it was hopeless it stepped a different amount in each direction I complained and after exchanging several e mails they sent a replacement it works but steps a different amount to the genuine leadshine driver it also has dreadful am radio interference so beware I am now going to get a genuine driver

    cheers glen
    Before you buy a new drive have you checked out the specs. Modern drive can handle up to 80v and can handle resonance much better something like am882 or the newer version EM806. What type of machine are you fitting it to? and what size motors etc?
    ..Clive
    The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

  6. #6
    Tom J's Avatar
    Lives in Melksham, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 2 Weeks Ago Has been a member for 3-4 years. Has a total post count of 148. Received thanks 7 times, giving thanks to others 18 times.
    How about that:
    http://robocutters.co.uk/proddetail....Leadshine_M542
    18 + 4 postage in UK

  7. #7
    Clive S's Avatar
    Lives in Marple   Stockport, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 10 Hours Ago Forum Superstar, has done so much to help others, they deserve a medal. Has been a member for 5-6 years. Has a total post count of 2,309. Received thanks 403 times, giving thanks to others 35 times. Made a monetary donation to the upkeep of the community. Is a beta tester for Machinists Network features.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom J View Post
    How about that:
    http://robocutters.co.uk/proddetail....Leadshine_M542
    18 + 4 postage in UK
    If you want an analogue drive !!! And only handling about 45V fine But you can't compare it to a digital drive like the AM882 etc that can handle 68V and stall detection etc
    Last edited by Clive S; 02-02-2016 at 08:31 PM.
    ..Clive
    The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

  8. #8
    Tom J's Avatar
    Lives in Melksham, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 2 Weeks Ago Has been a member for 3-4 years. Has a total post count of 148. Received thanks 7 times, giving thanks to others 18 times.
    Quote Originally Posted by Clive S View Post
    If you want an analogue drive !!! And only handling about 45V fine But you can't compare it to a digital drive like the AM882 etc that can handle 68V and stall detection etc
    yes Clive, but debate was about uk price, for DM542 - digital price is double for genuine product or buy that:
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/DM542A-2-4...sAAOSwZG9WjBE5

  9. #9
    The thing with drivers is that if they work, you are none the wiser. At the 13 price, who can argue, it is disposable. Humble pie will be light on the stomach.
    I cannot see the ebay one being any different from the ones the cnc4you sells TBH, and I have bought them and been happy. That was for learning though.

    On my working machine I went for the best I could afford. Lost steps are not something you want to have to deal with ever.
    https://emvioeng.com
    Machine tools and 3D printing supplies. Expanding constantly.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by komatias View Post
    The thing with drivers is that if they work, you are none the wiser. At the 13 price, who can argue, it is disposable. Humble pie will be light on the stomach.
    Sorry but got to disagree with this.!! You are none the wiser until you see quality Digital drives work or encounter problems like resonance which can affect analog drives badly. For any decent machine It's 13 lost and that will be x3 or 4 which is price of 1 Digital drive so think in terms not buying as saving money.!

    Know I now I'm always spouting on about Digital drives and how good they are compared to Analog this is because I've experienced the difference but I know there are some who feel digital drives are Gimmicks and not worth the price so I'm going to show short videos of little machine that was recently affected and crippled by resonance using Analog drives.

    Little background first.!! . . . This machine came about thru Clive S and me helping a fellow member who was on Budget and not able to build a machine himself. Clive did all the build work and Wiring etc. I mostly provided the Machine design/Code and some components which included some Old Analog drives which where fitted to my machine several years ago. The 2 x came from Arceuro trade along with 1 x Gecko 204 all these drives could handle 80Vdc and run on 65Vdc and in there day not cheap drives.
    All Mechanical components where new or very low use and running on Hi-win linear bearings. Clive also did an excellent Job of putting together so what your about to see has nothing to do with Mechanical problems.
    When Clive first run the machine he experienced horrible vibrations and noises from it which sounded just like Mechanical noises. So did what any good builder would do and double check is work. This was fine so next he thought that maybe the noise was coming from some debris in one of the ballscrews so took them apart and cleaned. After doing all he could and about ready to plough sledge hammer thru it he took a video and sent to me which I straight away said was possibly Resonance.?
    Now Clive has only ever used Digital drives on his router with Motion control so never come across resonance and knowing Clive is honest man I think even he will Admit he didn't believe me.!! . . . So to Cut long story short which had nothing to do with Clive not being Capable of dealing with this problem the Machine ended up with me.

    Now the sound in Videos which you'll see doesn't show the problem anywhere near as Bad when stood in front of the machine which to be fair sounded like knackerd bag of old marbles. I was shocked to see just how badly affected and could see why Clive was so concerned on the phone and possibly scepticle about being resonance.(There's Big Hill called the Pennines between Clive and Me so first time I'd seen machine in flesh) But I have every Faith in Clives mechanical and electrical abilty so was still sure it was Resonance so didn't even look at the mechanical side.

    To prove this and ease Clives pain decided to do an experiment to show how changing ONLY the drives to Digital changed the machine completely.
    The Drives are AM882 and nothing was changed but these. In both cases it's running on parallel port at 25khz.
    One of the problems with Analog drives drives is there lack of settings regards motor current so it wasn't possible to get the exact current rating of the motors, Clive did the correct thing and used the next lowest setting. So to make the test fair and biased towards the Analog drives I set the AM drives up to match them in terms of current settings even thou thru software I could have selected the exact motor currents. Micro stepping etc was all set the same and no extra tweaking or setup of the AM drives was done.

    Like said Video sound doesn't show the problem anywhere near bad it was so I'll point out times to listen for noises.
    Again while they sound mechanical noises I assure you they are not. Also before anyone says the code was run in different place it made no difference where it was run it still happened.
    The difference in Stepper sound is noticeable in the AM video but it's nothing like the difference when in stood in front and in performance terms then it's another world away. The Analog drives started stalling at 7.5mtr/min and only really usable around 5mtr/min. The AM882 didn't stall untill 18mtr/min (And that''s reaching the Limit parallel port at 25Khz) and would have gone higher if setup to match motors. Thou set like this would have happliy run all day long at 15mtr/min.

    Analog Short Video: 4s Y resonating, 12s 34 - 38s X resonating, 51s no brainer, 1.02s X & Y resonating together
    Clive Analog: 25-36s grumbling noise, 41-47s resonating pulsing, 108-112s rough running 124-128s Vibrating resonance

    Machine is currently undergoing a complete electrical re-fit with motion control card etc and having a face lift but I will post a full video of it when done.

    Hope this helps anyone wondering if digital is worth the extra.? Belive me it is.!!

    Edit: For anyone wondering about the code used for Back n Forth movements then it all came from Jonathan's very usefull spread sheet he posted many moons ago. Which I've attached.

    Analog Short

    Clive Long

    AM882 Drives
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by JAZZCNC; 03-02-2016 at 10:13 PM.

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