BTT (aka BigTreeTech) is a manufacturer of 3D Printing hardware. They are mostly known for their Mainboards and BIQU branded Printers. Recently, BigTreeTech has released their new SKR 3 Mainboard – complete with their new Series of BTT EZ TMC5160 Stepper Drivers
What does this mean?
Displayed here is the new BTT EZ Drivers. BTT claims they can do a few things better than traditional StepSticks:
- Better cooling through larger heatsink
- Preventing of reverse-insertion
- Easy Insertion/Removal
- Better contacts
And that’s about all they claim these Drivers can do better.
This is good!
Sounds nice, right? Drivers that will be super easy to install, provide better cooling and have a far better contact surface – so more power can be transferred without being potentially harmful for the contact surface or electronics. It also allows for easier and less dangerous turning of the potentiometer, where i have certainly blown a couple Drivers myself. This Design could really advance our current ideas of Stepper Drivers and StepSticks and bring us forward if implemented correctly.
The HUGE catch
Let’s face it: The BTT EZ-Drivers are Proprietary as HELL. It’s extremely unlikely that other manufacturers would ever be able to legally manufacture these, especially with quality, without getting into trouble. But that’s fine, you say – this is just about BTT and not the other manufacturers at all.
Not true. BTT tends to get extreme media coverage with their Mainboards and new tech, this is no exception with the SKR 3 and it’s EZ Drivers. BTT’s Motto of “StepStick bad, switch to EZ Driver” is going to spread around, and other manufacturers will become scared that they will miss sales because of BTT’s marketing spreading all across the internet. This means – other Manufacturers will want to have their own EZ Drivers (or similar technology). If the EZ Drivers remain closed source, they will start manufacturing their own EZ Driver (or similar). This means we’ll end up in a hell of every brand trying to make their own new styled Driver, making us pay more, have less intercompatability and spend more money – especially in times like these where prices for electronic chips is increasing with no sight of recovery.
What to get, then?
Other Drivers that could achieve similar to the EZ Drivers for example are Mellows new TMC5160 Pro HV. They are Drivers designed to be run on high voltage and externally from mainboards. These also achieve the better heat dissapation of the BTT Drivers while remaining at a fair price.
Another huge advantage of the TMC5160 Pro is, you can run them at High Voltage(48V) without needing a HV Mainboard, unlike the BTT Drivers. Also, they can be connected to conventional StepStick slots, and are a good option if you have space for them. On something like a Voron V0, of course you’re not going to have that. But for a Printer like i.e. my VzPro 3D Printer project, they’re a great option.
So… What now?
The BTT EZ Drivers are absolutely a step into the right direction, traditional StepSticks have been pushed to their limits and new designs are coming – see mellow – so we can push our electronics further, make them easier to use, and of course make them more affordable. Tho, if implemented incorrectly, and if the media coverage causes a huge movement against stepsticks, this could end in a dangerous fate. Generally tho, we cannot directly blame BTT for anything. Although they are moving into the wrong direction.
BTT will move on, and most likely replace their Mainboards to only use their new EZ Drivers in the future, what the other Manufacturers like Mellow, MKS and FYSETC are going to be doing is unknown to us for now. Let’s hope for the best. In the meantime though, I’d buy the Mellow Drivers instead of the BTT ones – Just to be more safe about rapid changes/evolutions.
Keep your head up, and Happy Printing!
Do you know if they patented them though?
I tried my best finding out – some people have hinted at them being licensed and not Open Source, which is not traditional but also not unexpected for BIQU/BT