Ender 5 Pro y axis stuck-motor? belt? cable?

Hi everyone. I just got an Ender 5 Pro for Christmas. This is my first foray into 3d printing. I’ve had decent success, but this morning I started a print and after a while realized the y axis wasn’t moving. I aborted the print and tried to start over, but when I auto-homed I got an error message–“homing failed, please restart.” After several restarts, the problem remained. I made sure nothing had gotten tangled, so that’s not it. I’m able to move the y axis manually, but only with great effort (meaning, putting my whole weight into it). When I try to move the y axis using the command pad, the motor initially got very loud but no movement happens. After a few attempts, the motor is now nearly silent when trying to move the y axis (but is still audible), though still no movement. I deduce the command is therefore getting through, but isn’t able to execute.

My guess is that there is something mechanical wrong in the unit, but I’ve been using the machine for less than a week so I’m a rank amateur. I’m somewhat handy, but intense technical jargon is probably going to be over my head, so please be patient. I’d surely appreciate any advice, because right now I’m just heartbroken.

Welcome to the wonderful/amazing/obtuse/frustrating world of 3D printing. You can make incredible things, but you can also run into truly puzzling problems.

I, too, have an Ender 5 Pro, although mine is now pretty heavily modified. If you search for my posts you will find quite a number related to things I’ve done to the printer. I would not recommend trying to implement any of them so early in your journey, but they can give you an idea of where you can go.

Now, on to your specific problem. When trying to isolate a problem, always follow the “divide and conquer” model. Try to divide the problem in half and see in which half the problem still exists. For your Y axis issue, I would swap the wires between the X and Y stepper motors. IOW, connect the X axis stepper motor cable to the Y motor. Next, use the LCD menus to move the X axis 10 mm. If the Y axis moves smoothly, you have a wiring issue, most likely a broken wire, in the Y axis wiring. I had this issue with my extruder stepper motor. The motor behaved quite oddly. I found the wiring issue, fixed it, and moved on, although I am planning to replace the wire with a new, purpose built 1.

If the Y axis does move smoothly, connect the Y axis wire to the X axis and try to move it 10 mm. If it’s a wiring issue you will likely see the problem occur on the X axis. IOW, the problem moved with the wire. This is your proof that the problem is in the wiring.

A cautionary note. When you were trying to move the Y axis manually, I hope you were not doing it with the printer powered up. Doing that could damage the
stepper motor. That said, if it was that stiff to move with the power off then I think you do indeed have a physical/mechanical issue.

Thank you so much for your response. I switched the wires and the X axis moved as expected, while the Y axis did not. Thus, it doesn’t look like a wiring issue. And I did make sure to move the Y axis with the power off.

It’s almost acting like something broke inside the motor and is now jamming up gears. Of course, without taking the thing apart, who knows. I know it’s all a learning process. Right now, though, I feel like a Pakled wandering around saying “It is broken” over and over (if you follow Star Trek TNG at all). Again, thank you so much for taking pity on me. It is much appreciated.

LOL, maybe I can sell you a crimson force field generator? :slight_smile:

Sometimes I have trouble keeping directions straight in my head, so bear with me a moment. When you switched the wires and commanded the Y axis to move, the X axis is the 1 that actually moved. And when you command the X axis to move, the Y axis did not actually move. Do I have that correct?

If that is the case, it would seem you need a new Y axis stepper motor. Since you got it for Christmas, I would think it should be under warranty, so I would contact the vendor.

You are indeed correct–confirmation that it’s not a wire issue. My wife got it through Amazon, so I took your advice and contacted them. A replacement will be here in a few days. They were surprisingly helpful and receptive. Can you think of anything I might have done wrong to cause this issue, or is it something that sounds like a manufacturing defect? If I made a mistake, I want to make sure I don’t do it again. Thank you!!!

Your wife made a good decision by buying it from Amazon. Amazon is very strict about customer service. If 1 of their vendors gets a number of bad comments or reviews they come down hard on that vendor. Vendors are genuinely worried about losing their store on Amazon, so they bend over backwards to make things right. Congratulate her for me. :slight_smile:

Your wife’s decision is doubly good, because dual shaft motors, like the 1 used for the Y axis, are somewhat hard to locate.

As to what you might have done wrong, well, as I said, forcing an axis to move when its stepper motor is energized is not a good idea. I did misspeak a little in my last post when I said not to move the axis with the power on. That’s not strictly true. What matters is whether a stepper is energized. The system will keep a motor energized to hold the axis in a specific location. It’s part of the accuracy of the system. However, there are times when a system is powered on but the motors are not energized. At those times it is not a problem to move the axes manually. The way you tell is by applying just a little pressure. If you feel resistance, back off, don’t force it.

So, what can you do while you wait for the replacement motor? A couple of things:

As part of the diagnostic process you can unplug the wire from the Y axis motor and disconnect the motor from the 2 shaft couplers. This is something you will have to do anyway, so no biggie. Then, try spinning the shaft. Is it super stiff? Does it move easily? I’ll address what to do if it spins easily in a bit but, if it is stiff, it’s further confirmation that the motor is toast.

The 2nd thing you can do is check for mechanical issues with the Y axis without the motor. Try moving the X axis crossbar from front to back to front. Does it move easily? If not, it could be a sign that your issue is actually mechanical. This is especially true if the Y stepper does move easily. It could be that the motor is actually fine. It might be that, somehow, the Y axis dual belt system got out of whack, causing the axis to ‘rack’, leading to binding. The way to check is to, once again, plug the wire back into the Y stepper and try sending it a command (without it be connected to the axis). If it spins well, that would tend to again suggest mechanical problems.

I think it may be possible that 1 or both Y axis belts may have been too loose, leading to 1 of the belts getting out of sync with its twin: i.e. racking.