A Look at the Epilog Mini/Helix Motherboard

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.

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9 Responses to “A Look at the Epilog Mini/Helix Motherboard”

  1. ril3y says:

    Dude! Mine did the same thing tonight. However my cutter is not in warranty! Grrrreat…

    I did find the LT3430 too busted.. We will see what they say tomorrow.

    Ril3y

  2. Craig says:

    It definitely looks like a design flaw that they’ve fixed. My cutter wasn’t on warranty, but they sent me a new MB without hesitation. Expect to be set back about 1K and make sure you get your core back in the mail relatively quickly, as I believe there’s some fine print that says they can refuse future support if you don’t.

  3. PATRICK ONYANGO PUYE says:

    Thank you guys!!
    For the last three months I have been figuring out what might have gone wrong with our lab laser cutter, it suddenly stopped working while I was engraving a design on a fish skin. Several attempts to revive it did not bear any fruit. on a closer visual inspection on the mother board I found U31 partly fired, but here it is LT 3130, is it equivalent to LT3430?

    is it possible to find it in Kenya and be replaced or the only remedy is to replace the mother board?

  4. Craig says:

    Most likely you’ll need to replace the motherboard if the LED for the power supply lights up but the cutter doesn’t boot. Check the fuses and the the internal breaker first just in case. If you can find someone that’s got access to a hot air rework setup you might be able to attempt a repair.

  5. giuseppe says:

    Ciao ragazzi
    io o sostituito il LT3430 ma si e bruciato di nuovo.
    Ora tenterò un altra volta con qualcosa di simile vi faro sapere
    ciao per ora

  6. gene morris says:

    Mine wont go to home position and displau is lit but blank. Epilog australia want 2400 for a new one . What a jip. How do you check the fuses I cant get them out.

  7. I had a look at one of these with the same issue and found that as well as the switching regulator being fried, the associated Zener diode had shorted to ground. Just replacing the regulator would have caused it to malfunction again in this case.

    Anyway, instead of replacing the components of a known bad design I decided to unmount them (U31 and D19) and substitute a separate DC/DC converter module with more voltage headroom and power margin – this one to be precise which can supply up to 6A at 75V:

    http://ie.farnell.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=15001&langId=353&urlRequestType=Base&partNumber=2450700&storeId=10163

    Just mounted the module on top of the board and connected it with flying leads to the power connector, CN12. Worked fine.

  8. GIUSEPPE says:

    IO LO RIPARATA CON SOLO 35.00 EURO
    TROVANDO OLTRE IL (LT3430) ANCHE DA DOVE PREVIENE

  9. Damjan says:

    Hi Jamie. I have exactly the same problem on my board.
    Can you post some more details about how you transformed the board?
    I replaced U13 and it fried after few seconds…

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