Electronics - Twostep - FAQ

Do you have a mailing list for the Lasershark and Twostep boards so I can keep up to date with developments?
Yes, you can sign up here: http://macpod.net/mailman/listinfo/lasershark_macpod.net

How can I obtain a Twostep?
I'm having a batch of these fabricated so you can purchase an assembled pcb or even a bare pcb from me. Alternatively you can make your own. The Twostep boards are not particularly difficult to solder but if this will be your first attempt at surface mount soldering you may have difficulties. The stepper motor driver ICs have a large heatsink/gnd pad underneath the chip (requiring hot air, a hot plate, or oven to reflow) and fine pitched leads.

Do I need a Lasershark unit to use the Twostep?
No, a Lasershark unit is not required. The Twostep boards have a second unpopulated header with a pinout compatible with 3.3v and 5v FTDI breakout boards such as those sold by Sparkfun. Alternatively you can use this header to connect another piece of controlling hardware to the device.

How do I use this?
Please see the usage page. If the instructions there did not answer your question feel free to contact me.

My stepper motors are getting hot. Is this ok?
Yes, stepper motors in general can become quite warm under normal conditions, even up to 80C for some!

The stepper motor drivers on the TwoStep are getting hot. Is this ok?
It is fine if they are hot (even such that they are too hot to touch), but you may want to consider adding a heatsink or even an active cooling system to the unit. The A4982 ICs have a thermal cutoff so if they become too hot, they will shut down on their own.

How do I program the Twostep?
If you purchased a Twostep board from me it includes a version of the AVR XBoot bootloader. You can program the device using either an FTDI breakout board or another UART transceiver unit using avrdude. The Pinout for the UART header is present on the Wiring page and avrdude instructions are present in the usage page.

I have a question that I am certain isn't answered here. How do I get help?
For the edification of others, please post your question on the forums. If this is not practical I can be contacted via the contact page.


If you found this project interesting or helpful and have the means feel free to donate!