Introduction: Install and Configure SilentStepStick in RAMPS - TMC2100 Schrittmotortreiber

About: I'm blogging about my projects before they make it to Once I've finished a subject on my blog, I'll put it together and post it on Instructables, so you can get a preview on my site.

This Instructable is purely going to focus on how to get from wanting to buy SilentStepsticks to installing and using them in your RAMPS. During this Instructable we will not delve on HOW it does what it does, but simply on getting these babies to Work with minal effort.

And it is minimal effort. Hardest part is the soldering really.


To get started, you need to buy some of these, and the only place you can do that, is at the manufacturer homepage:


You also need a heatsink for each SilentStepStick you buy. If you have some lying around, it is important they have non-conductive tape on them. You can not use thermal paste:

Step 1: Preparing the SilentStepstick

While handling the SilentStepSticks, try to avoid putting sticky fingers on on largeish golden pad on the side marked with "TOP". In fact, try only handling it by holding the edges.

NOTE: At the time of writing this instructables, it was general consensus that the pin should be removed. However, this practice has since been abandoned with seemingly no difference, so don't do this part.

I've run multiple machiens with all pins in place.

Take a plyer or similar and remove the 3rd pin from one of the two rows of pins that comes with the SilentStepSticks. This missing pin is going (not going really) to the spot where CFG2 is marked on the SilentStepStick.

If you do not have a breadboard like I do, you can use a kitchen sponge, some cardboard (carefull not to bend the legs, puncture with scissor first maybe) or something else you have at hand.

Line up the two rows of pins and make triple sure the missing pin lines up with CFG2 on your SilentStepStick.

Now solder up the two rows.

Put on the thermal non-conductive tape on your heatsink while making sure you do not put sticky fingers on either side of the tape and not o the bottom of the heatsink itself.

Make sure the Heatsink covers the entire golde area, and do not cover the hole in the end of the SilentStepStick that leads down to the Potentiometer which we need to access to adjust the power to our motors.

Step 2: Prepare RAMPS for Your SilentStepSticks - and Install Them


If you are using the common A4988 StepSticks like I do you need to invert the direction of your motors.

I recommend inverting the motor direction in firmware. Unless you currently run your steppers at something else than 1/16, you need to make changes in the firmware anyway.

You can also switch the motor-pair cables going to your ramps by swapping over the pair to the right, with the pair to the left - I prefer doing it in firmware. (which is why I do not having picture of the cable-swapping).

On the board

Under each of your drivers there is a number of jumpers. Note their placement, as you need to know your current microstepping settings.

If you are unsure on your current microstepping, you can Refer to this table.

Jumper 1 is the one closest to the RAMPS power-connector. Number 3 is the other way.

jumper   	Yes/No	step size
1     		2    	3
no   		no  	no    full step
yes  		no    	no    half step
no   		yes  	no    1/4 step
yes  		yes   	no    1/8 step
yes  		yes   	yes   1/16 step


Back to our projct.

Now you have removed ALL the jumpers under the location where we are going to install each of the SilentStepSticks. We do this, as we want to run it in 1/16 microstepping. The SilentStepSticks then dials it to 1/256 - just in case it confuses some (I know I was confused).

Install the SilentStepSticks

Now place the SilentStepSticks onto your RAMPS board with the hole for the trimpot (potentiometer) facing towards the RAMPS Powerplug. The potentiometer on the old A4988 were facing the other way.

Now lets head over to the firmware part before we start tuning these babies.

Step 3: Prepare MARLIN (firmware) for Your SilentStepSticks

Change motor direction in firmware

If you are using the common A4988 StepSticks like I do you need to invert the direction of your motors.
This can be done in firmware by changing "false" to "true" for each axis you install the SilentStepSticks on.
The changes are made in Configuration.h - Hit CTRL+F and search for INVERT_X_DIR - The // True for SilentSteppers is just my comment in order to remember why I made the change.

// @section machine
// Invert the stepper direction. Change (or reverse the motor connector) if an axis goes the wrong way.<br>// True for SilentSteppers<br>#define INVERT_X_DIR true<br>#define INVERT_Y_DIR true<br>#define INVERT_Z_DIR false

Change steps pr mm in firmware

Now do the CTRL+F thing and find DEFAULT_AXIS_STEPS_PER_UNIT

You might have something like this (default) where each number is representative of X,Y,Z and Extruder.

 #define DEFAULT_AXIS_STEPS_PER_UNIT   {80,80,4000,500}

If you ran your motors on 1/16 microstepping before - if all 3 jumpers were on, you do not need to change anything.

If you ran them at 1/8 you need to double the number for the respective motors.

It is a good idea to copy the old values - just copy the line, place it above the other line and place two // in front of it - you can even make a comment to help you remember, like so:

// My original values<br>// #define DEFAULT_AXIS_STEPS_PER_UNIT   {80,80,4000,500}

This way you can remember what your original steps were.

Change Direction of motors

If you did not do this allready, you need to change the direction of the motors.
Here I've changed it for X and Y and made a comment to remember why I did it.

// @section machine<br>// Invert the stepper direction. Change (or reverse the motor connector) if an axis goes the wrong way.<br>//True for SilentSteppers<br>#define INVERT_X_DIR true<br>#define INVERT_Y_DIR true<br>#define INVERT_Z_DIR false

Step 4: Tuning the SilentStepSticks

Now we come to the not so fun part - at least I thought so.

How to adjust the SilentStepSticks properly.

I know two methods and I'll list the non-technical one first, as I used to do it like this, as all the vref stuff was very confusing.

Method 1 - the listen feel method.

Put your hothead in the middle of the axes, turn the printer on, and give it a command to move. First 1mm and if it does that, move it 10mm or even 100 if you have the room.

Does it move smoothly? Good. If not, then you need to dial up the potentiometer on the SilentStepStick. Turn it clockwise. Just a tiny tad. Like 1/8th of a turn. Less if you can as it is really sensitive. Mine moved 0.1 volt to 0.2volt for each infinitesimal small move I made

If the motor moved smoothly you can try dialing the potentiometer counter-clockswise - very small increments as above, untill it does not move smoothly anymore. Then dial it up a tad again to make it run smoothly once again.

Do a test print of a cube or some other testprint/calibration you have or find on the net.

Method 2: adjust potentiomenter and measure vref

I don't know how to really use the value we measure here, but it is recommended to put it at 0.8 volt and take it from there.

What you do is put your multimeter on 2volt, put the red wire on the potentiometer and the Black one on the GND pin. As my board is oriented in the Photo it is the lowest left pin.

Read on the board to make sure you hit the right one.

If you are unsure or shake a bit then do not do this.You will short something out if one of the probes slip and hit something else. The Red part is going to be stable, as it will go through a hole, but the GND one can easily hit the pins next to it

Both my SilentStepSticks initially measured at 1.1 to 1.2 volt, so I dialed mine Down some. It really very, very small increments they need to turn, so take it slowly

When you get it dialed in, you go back to Method 1 and see if they run smootly.

Step 5: All Done.

Your done. Congratulate yourself on your new, maybe not shiny, but silent 3D printer!

If you find the hissing noise from the motors annoying, you can try adjusting the potentiometers some, but I don't really hear it from the creaking of my printer case :)