Archive for October, 2011

A Look at the Epilog Mini/Helix Motherboard

Monday, October 17th, 2011

I nearly had a heart attack about 2 months ago when my laser cutter stopped suddenly whilst cutting some parts. Turns out that a component or two on the motherboard was fried.  I took this opportunity to snap some pics of the board out of my 5ish year old Epilog Mini-18:

Epilog Mini-18 Motherboard Top

Epilog Mini-18 Motherboard Bottom

As you can see, there's already been a little rework on this board before (bottom photo near u17). Looks like a PXA255 is the brains of the system and there's an FPGA on board as well (Altera EP1K100FC256).  The entire system is powered off a single 48 Volt 12.5 Amp power supply, so this board seems to provide all other regulated sources for the system.  It seems that a voltage regulator blew from the looks of the fried chip (top photo, U31, just left of the PXA255, appears to be an Linear LT3430).

Luckily, Epilog will send you a new motherboard without much hesitation and I had my mini up and cutting orders in no time. My new board's layout is pretty similar but has an additional daughter board with some big inductors on it, which I'd bet is a power supply fix for this board.

P.S. If your Epilog Mini or Helix dies suddenly, looks like there's an internal 5Amp breaker the motherboard is on that you can try and reset and there are some status lights on the motherboard indicating the rails that are up (48v, 5v, 3.3v, and 2.5V) so you can at least tell if everything's getting power.  Mine only had the 48V rail up after kicking the bucket.