Makerbot Replicator 1/2/2X : Smoke / or bang from my motherboard. 

So you heard a bang, and or saw smoke from the motherboard or rising from the base of the machine? 

There are 3 things that can go bang or cause smoke on the motherboard

a) 5V regulator (Replicator 1 only!)

b) Screen carrier Board

c) Bot Steps

Powers of elimination away : 

A) 5V regulator - Replicator 1 only

On the Replicator 1 (rev E motherboards) the square regulator just behind power connector plug - can lift as in photo right - or just break off a piece when it blows. Once this blows it is game over for the Rev E motherboards.

Usually once blown the machine will not even turn on. No lights, No sounds, No Screen

b) Screen carrier

This is the board that holds the SD card and Screen. 

We do not see them blow very often on the Replicator 1 (more common on the Replicator 2 and 2X)

Unplug the biggest ribbon cable from the motherboard (with power off) and then turn on the machine.

If it is the carrier the machine should sing its normal start up song, and be visible in Makerware - you just have no screen

If this is the problem you can now print via USB while you wait for an LCD carrier board to arrive. NOTE there are different boards for the Replicator 1 vs 2/2X

Makerbot bot step

c) bot steps

These little boards control the stepper motors and can blow from time to time with smoke and a loud crack noise.

There are 4 on a single extruding Makerbot Replicator 1 or 2 (X Y Z + extruder A), and 5 on the Replicator 2X and Twin Replicator 1 (X Y Z + extruder A (right) and B (left))


There may be no physical evidence of a blown bot step on the board. When blown they can fade a screen, cause lines through a screen, and effect motor movement.


BEFORE DOING THIS TAKE A PHOTO OF THE MOTHERBOARD. That way when you put them back in you will get the orientation correct. This is really important! If you suspect one has blown (and is taking down the screen or whole machine) it is easy to test

1. remove them one by one and turn the machine back on. Do not replace them until the end as it could be more than one. 

2. When you get to the point that the machine starts up properly start replacing the bot steps one at a time to see which ones are blown. 

3. Then replace those ones with new ones (they are on our website - search Bot Steps)


If it is effecting movement, but not the screen etc, try swapping the Z with the one related to the bad movement (usually X as it works the hardest. If the problem resolves in the X direction, for example, you know that bot step needed replacing.

Good luck and do not hesitate to contact us if you need more help.