What to Do When Your Homing Sensor Fails: Part 1

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Michael Dunning
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What to Do When Your Homing Sensor Fails: Part 1

Postby Michael Dunning » Mon Jan 02, 2017 9:48 pm

Yesterday, the homing sensor for the X-axis in our machine failed for the second time. While sorting out the problem, I decided to make a video sharing what I have learned about dealing with this issue. So if your machine suddenly starts crashing into itself, I hope this helps!

https://youtu.be/2rW476NOQ2c

This video covers diagnosis and a workaround for when your homing sensor fails, and the same steps should apply regardless of sensor type: proximity sensor, limit switch, or Hall effect. These tips will keep the machine from damaging itself further and hopefully keep you going until the sensor truly dies.

I will post a second video showing the sensor replacement once my parts come in.
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Doug Fisher
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Re: What to Do When Your Homing Sensor Fails: Part 1

Postby Doug Fisher » Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:21 pm

Excellent video! Thanks for taking the time to create it and post it.

A question. Once you went through that manual procedure to home the X axis, if you power the machine off and then back on would everything still work OK or did you have to go through the manual homing procedure again each time after a power off and on ?

This only worked because you were able to find a position for the head that got the wires into a bent position where they connected, correct? If you have not been able to get the sensor to work at least temporarily and light up, this procedure would not have worked, correct? And when you said it failed again after a couple days, that was because the wire breakage or separation was no longer able to be temporarily corrected, yes?
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Michael Dunning
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Re: What to Do When Your Homing Sensor Fails: Part 1

Postby Michael Dunning » Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:30 pm

Doug Fisher wrote:Once you went through that manual procedure to home the X axis, if you power the machine off and then back on would everything still work OK or did you have to go through the manual homing procedure again each time after a power off and on?


That's correct, you have to manually home the machine every time you turn it on. So if you have some work that absolutely needs to get done, you're best bet is to leave the machine on with the laser off until you're finished.

Doug Fisher wrote:This only worked because you were able to find a position for the head that got the wires into a bent position where they connected, correct? If you have not been able to get the sensor to work at least temporarily and light up, this procedure would not have worked, correct?


Nailed it again :) In my case, the fault was intermittent and got worse until the wire finally gave out.

The LED light came in handy again later though. I managed to muck up a crimp when I installed the new sensor and had zero light coming on anywhere along the X-axis; even with the head located right on top of the sensor. After quick checks at two or three different Y locations, I suspected my new wiring and found my bad termination in short order.
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fred ungewitter
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Re: What to Do When Your Homing Sensor Fails: Part 1

Postby fred ungewitter » Tue Jan 03, 2017 5:29 am

I hope I don't have to replace my sensor again, but it's great to have a fallback. Well done video, clearly explained, easily understood.
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Michael Dunning
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Re: What to Do When Your Homing Sensor Fails: Part 1

Postby Michael Dunning » Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:00 am

Did your X-axis sensor fail too?

My original sensor died after two months of use. This one seems to have made it a little less than 8 months. I'm starting to wonder if this is systemic to these machines, and if it only affects this one axis.
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fred ungewitter
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Re: What to Do When Your Homing Sensor Fails: Part 1

Postby fred ungewitter » Tue Jan 03, 2017 1:14 pm

Less than a month after arrival, my x axis sensor did fail. I swapped the x and y and the problem went with the device. Having pulled the swapped sensor through the cable chain meant that when the replacement arrived, I had an easier job of getting the replacement bolted in. Due to operator ignorance, and lack of vendor support and unaware at the time of RDWorksLab, I also blew away my vendor and user settings. The forum came to the rescue and it was dancing around in short order.
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Redsail clone 60w 700 x 500
home upper right
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Emblaser A3 4w diode laser
BCN3D Sigma Dual Extruder 3d printer
LMS Mini-mill
Cube 3rd gen 3d printer (works great, for sale)
Under construction: OX CNC 1000x750 router - out of the box, still in baggies!

Michael Dunning
Posts: 42
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 11:02 pm
Location: Alabama USA

Re: What to Do When Your Homing Sensor Fails: Part 1

Postby Michael Dunning » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:24 pm

That's another good data point then.

I've got 5 new PL-05N sensors coming that I ordered today. I've decided to lick this problem for good, and the parts on order will be made into test subjects, spares, and perhaps a few kits. If any survive that long, that is!
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