Azteeg X5 Mini v 1.1 Review

The Azteeg X5 Mini v 1.1 features a beefy 32 bit processor which can run circles around Arduino based boards. I received my board a few days ago and after playing around with it have some interested news.

The X5 Mini runs on the same firmware the Smoothieboard does. The configuration file is slightly different but all the functionality of the firmware is the same.

I opted for the Screw Terminals for an extra $3. Here are the first impressions.
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Screw terminals aren’t lined up.
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Some of them appear to be a different style connector.
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The rest of the board appeared to be in excellent condition though. Good quality PCB, solder, and connectors are evident in this tiny package.

The X5 mini shipped with a single heat sink that spans all of the stepper drivers.
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The board appears to be properly equipped to drain heat out of the bottom of the driver (which is how they are designed) based on the large exposed copper traces on the backside of the board, but I’ll take any extra methods of heat dissipation as a plus.

The X5 Mini only has the ability to power one fan. If your hot end requires a fan you won’t be able to power a layer fan with it unless you hardwire the hot end fan into the 12v supply instead of only having it run when the hot end is running.

The board is also lacking a ethernet jack, something I’d grown accustomed to with the Smoothieboard.

With the power jumper set to receive power from the USB I could not get the X5 Mini to boot. I could only get the board to turn on when the 12v supply was attached and the power jumper set accordingly.

Once I started printing I noticed the motors were not as smooth as they were with the RAMBO or Smoothieboard. I noticed a lot of vibration in the effector and in the resulting prints.

Here’s a video attempting to show this issue, you can hear “clicking” as the motors move slowly. The problem was either masked or not present when the motors were moving quickly.

I switched to the L’Cheapo laser to get a better idea of what was happening, this was printed around 20mm/s.
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After zooming in you can notice the excessive vibration affecting the laser on the portions of the print that should be straight lines.

I researched online without any obvious hits. After going through a few IRC channels I came across the variable decay option stepper drivers can have. The Azteeg description stated it had a optional jumper to enable “fast decay” mode, but I was unable to find this jumper in the documentation.

After more searching, I realized the PDF on the Smoothieware website did not point to the more current documentation for the v 1.1 board, which identifies the jumpers.

After soldering the jumper pads on the backside of the board (remember to remove power before doing this!) the print quality got immediately smoother:
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Here’s a video with the jumper pads connected:

A negative side effect of fast decay is a high pitch whine coming from the motors. This whine was also present with the RAMBO and Smoothieboard, but not the Azteeg. I assume the first two had this feature already enabled.

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