Power supply and stepper driver recommendations

For those using their own controllers - I am looking to get recommendations on DC power supplies and stepper driver combinations that are working well with the 1F motors. There are many options and price points available, and my thoughts are to spec components that would drive more powerful motors for future upgrades. Hoping to hear from those who are happy with their choice of manufacturer(s) and component(s).

I think this actually helps ‘limit’ your scope significantly. As most of the options out there are only really rated for the hobby market and max out at our current motor spec (Nema 23, 2.8amp, 178). Anything more than this, and you’d be exceeding most controllers with “built in drivers”.

If you’re already looking at more medium grade, than ignore the above. I’ve posted here a few options as well.

Because of this, I’d highly recommend the Gecko G540, as a great all-in-one 4-axis driver package. I run this on other machines with much larger motors/demands. You’d still need a controller to drive these, but your options are open there.


Thank you for your insights. I am looking for components separate of a controller. The Gecko G540 was actually one I had been researching. It comes at a good price point compared to individual drivers, but I was not sure if it would be better to go with the G540 vs individual drivers. I thought I had read somewhere that you could buy replacement drivers if one in the G540 failed, but do not remember if you can swap it out in the field, or if the whole unit had to be sent away for repair.

I’m running a Gecko G540 with a 24v power supply. It may be advisable to go with a 36v power supply for the larger machine to support faster jog & cut speeds, but I like how cool my motors run with the 24v power supply. On my previous machine (x-carve) I was running a 48v power supply, and my motors ran very hot until I swapped it out for a 24v. I have a 36v power supply on standby if I have any issues, but so far it’s been extremely stable & running good.

This is true, you can field-swap drivers if necessary, and their repair turn-around it very fast. And the first fix is usually free.

1 Like

That is great news to again hear of the successful use of the Gecko G540 - and confirmation of an easy repair if required. Thank you for taking the time to share this information.

FYI, here’s the individual drives used in the G540:
For me, the most difficult aspect of using the G540 is soldering the DB9 & DB25 connectors. Always gotta break out the level 3 reading glasses for that! I will post up a couple pics of my setup after work today.

The offer of pictures is helpful and appreciated - thank you.

Bill beat me to the punch, but I wanted to add - the G540 is most likely more than you’d ever need, and going with individual drivers beyond the ones used in the G540 is mostly overkill, especially on the OF. The pro-grade drivers will come with a significant price increase in order to fully build out, so I wouldn’t even bother.

Depending on your comfort/skill level, there’s a few places that make full enclosures with build int (quality) power supplies, etc in combo packages. I’ve considered, but ultimately roll my own each time.

(The one linked above has a few youtube videos in the description, which can attest to the quality).

I definitely wouldn’t skimp on the PowerSupply either, and stick with a good one like a MeanWell - OpenBuilds actually supply a version with a PCB end-cap, if you plan on keeping the PSU exposed, this closes up the terminals nicely for a clean/safe alternative (I own one, and can attest to it’s quality).


Thank you for the additional information. I am familiar with the enclosure you linked, since for the last few weeks I have heard the words “Hey guys, it’s Vince.” many many times. In fact his tutorials have given me further confidence to make my own cabling and enclosure. I have had good experience with Meanwell PSs, and have used the DIN mount versions in a few Home Automation control panels I have made (e.g., for powering motorized roller shades). - I was planning to buy an appropriate model for my CNC electronics enclosure. I have the luxury of time now to make my own cables and piece together the electronic components, so I feel fortunate. I am also excited about learning the new electronics and programming skills I will need. Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts and experience.

1 Like

lol, probably the first time, Tim! I can’t count how many times I went to respond to someone’s question and you had already nailed it, most times with basically the same response I was going to give!

@TMToronto here’s the pic of the back side of my controller. I bought 2 sets of the ‘extension cables’ and cut one end about 12" to connect to the DB9 connectors so the original Onefinity cables didn’t get hacked. Up side is the original cables are intact. Down side is it added an additional connector. I like things very neat & modular, so I’m very happy with this solution.

1 Like

Thank you Bill. Since my time on the forum I would say you and Tim are tied in your willingness and ability to provide quick, relevant, and honest information - something a ‘new to CNC’ member like myself values greatly.


Haha, sorry I’ll try to share the response space a bit more :wink: . Also I’m right there with you on the connectors and clean build, spent an hour last night crimping pins for connectors, etc, all so that things can be easily modular.

1 Like

This is a down-stream, maybe 6-12 months out, question. If I want to add a 4th axis (rotary), I think that will mean a 5-axis controller (XYYZA). Thoughts on a reasonable way to tackle this? The Masso G3 seems like it would do the trick, but most other options seem to cap at 4 axis. Motor drivers get a little more complicated than just using a G540, but seem do-able. Switching the y’s to hardware slaves might keep me in the 4-axis range, but seems to bring another set of challenges.

I don’t think I want to pull the Y’s out to run a rotary. Anything else I should consider?

I have the same future plans. I have decided to invest in the Masso G3 5 axis version. When I have the CNC experience and dollar savings behind me, I plan to purchase the rotary axis hardware and add a single stepper driver to control the new axis.

You could add a 4th axis with a 4 axis controller. On mine, the Y axis feeds into 2 drivers, so the A axis is still available on the controller.

Hi Bill, in that setup you then have 5 stepper drivers, and a 4-axis controller - am I understanding that correctly? Does this still allow the “auto-squaring” of a dual-Y configuration?

Thanks for the ideas - this is all new, but fun to figure out!

This topic has been of interest to me for a long time. Full disclosure - the more I research, the more I seem to understand very little, but about a lot more things. In your solution, does driver selection become important? Features like stall or fault detection to catch and stop any issues if one Y axis motor ‘behaves badly’, matching driver type, etc.? If I understand this solution, you are not slaving two axes, rather sharing the same signal, from one terminal on your controller board, with two separate stepper driver/motors.

Correct, one controller output (Y, in this case) feeds 2 stepper drivers. If I were to do a 4th axis, I would need to buy a separate driver for that axis, since all 4 of the drivers on the G540 are being used on the machine X,Y,Y,Z axis. There is fault or over-current protection on the driver, but to be honest, in the 4 years of running my x-carve with that setup, I’ve never had even a minor glitch that was caused by the G540. It’s not cheap, but it’s pretty much the gold standard of drivers. There is some redundancy at play with the G540 & the controller, but the G540 is serving strictly as a stepper driver, with no other I/O’s being utilized on it.

Mike, no ‘auto squaring’ on my machine which would require the controller to support a slave axis. Plus, that wouldn’t work for me anyway, since my controller does not support stall homing.

If I had it to do over again, I think I would have popped for the Masso Touch… that thing looks incredible. My controller does the job, but is light on support. It’s been well developed, but if it ever bites the dust, I doubt I would replace it with the same.

1 Like

@Machinist thank you for the explanation. My research to this point has me building my own controller box with Gecko G251X drivers - 4 to start - along with the Masso G3 (5 axis) and appropriate power supplies. I will build my own shielded cables using GX-16 5 pin connectors. I still have a few months to plan, save, and build.

Glad to help, good luck with the build!
@OnefinityCNC perhaps a ‘Custom Controllers’ forum topic would be a worthwhile addition to the forum?