Overheating The Stepper Driver

MakerBot 000001 experienced an issue during fabrication where sometimes the X-axis stepper motor would fail to fully complete a motion, causing the print head to be displaced, ruining fabrication. It turned out that this problem was caused by the stepper driver chip overheating.

Jas diagnosed this failure by (first grounding herself by touching the metal power supply and then) touching the back of the driver chip on the stepper controller board. The chip was noticeably hot to touch during operation.

We resolved this issue in two ways:

First, we adjusted the drive strength of the stepper driver by adjusting the potentiometer on the stepper driver board. It turned out that we had the drive strength set too high, causing the overheating.
Second, we lubricated the rods of the MakerBot with a dry silicone grease, to reduce the amount of work done by the stepper motors.
This completely resolved this issue for our MakerBot.

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