SKR 1.3 Upgrade for Sidewinder X1

The SKR 1.3 upgrade for the Sidewinder X1 is a big improvement over the stock configuration. It updates the printers’ capabilities to 32 bit, makes it a bit quieter and allows for easier firmware upgrades.
I previously reviewed the Sidewinder X1 and it’s a good machine in its stock configuration. For most users, this upgrade might not be necessary. But for enthusiasts that like to tinker with their printer and get the best performance out of their printer, the SKR 1.3 upgrade for Sidewinder X1 will be a nice improvement.

Why install the SKR 1.3 upgrade for Sidewinder X1?

The main reason to install SKR 1.3 upgrade for Sidewinder X1 is the added processing power given by the newer and more powerful 32 bit processor used in the SKR 1.3.
Besides the faster processor, you also get easier firmware upgrades. On the SKR 1.3 you just need to insert the Micro SD card and reboot the printer for a firmware upgrade. You won’t be limited by the screen interfering with the flashing process like on the stock configuration.
With the TMC2208 / TMC2209 drivers, you will notice that the printer runs a bit quieter compared to the stock TMC2100 clone drivers.

Benefits:

  • Improved processing speed.
  • Easier firmware updates.
  • Quieter operation when using TMC2208 / TMC2209 drivers from the StealthChop 2 feature.
  • UART configuration for the stepper drivers allowing control of the stepper driver voltage using firmware.
  • More room for new Marlin features added in the future.

Drawbacks:

  • The SD Card slot from SKR 1.3 does not properly align with the Sidewinder X1 housing.
  • The LED light is not working with the SKR 1.3 (in the configuration described in this article)

More information about the differences between 8 bit and 32 bit can be found in Teaching Tech’s video

Before you begin

Please note that in order to install this upgrade you need to have some experience with 3D printers and hardware. This is not a trivial task for beginners and you may break your printer during the process.
Read the full guide carefully and do the SKR 1.3 upgrade for the Sidewinder X1 only after you properly understood all the steps involved. If you have questions before starting, leave a comment and wait for a reply.
I am not responsible for any damage you may cause to your printer by following this guide. You are doing this on your own responsibility.
The guide was written as detailed as possible. If I missed anything please let me know.

Prerequisites

In order to do the SKR 1.3 upgrade for Sidewinder X1, you will need the following:

  1. SKR 1.3 board from BIGTREETECH with the TMC2208 or TMC2209 drivers.
  2. BLTouch for leveling the bed
  3. Printed mount for the SKR 1.3 board.
  4. Micro SD card extender for easy access to the board SD port (optional)
  5. Some skills for replacing the board and re-doing the wire connections.

Amazon links:

SKR 1.3 board with TMC2208 or TMC2209 drivers
BLTouch sensor

Prepare the SKR 1.3

Sidewinder X1 SKR 1.3

When you receive your SKR 1.3, the board will have a lot of jumpers installed on the board. You need to remove all the jumpers under the drivers, and only keep the UART jumpers.
Then, install the 5 stepper drivers on their respective sockets. Make sure you install them correctly. The black row of pins should match the black row of headers on the board.
Your SKR 1.3 board with the drivers installed should look like this:
The radiators included with the board need to be set on top of the golden heatsink of the driver, as shown in this image:

Radiators installed on SKR 1.3

How to install the SKR 1.3 upgrade for Sidewinder X1?

1.Disconnect the power cable from the printer.

2. Remove the bottom cover of the printer. The bottom cover fan is connected to the board so pay attention when removing it to avoid breaking the cable.

Sidewinder X1 bottom cover

3. Remove the 4 mounting screws from the stock board.

Remove the 4 screws from the stock board

4. Carefully remove the connectors from the stock board and connect them to the SKR 1.3 according to the wiring scheme below.

Gen L to SKR 1.3 wiring scheme for Sidewinder X1
SKR 1.3 wiring Sidewinder X1

5. Install the mounting bracket you previously printed.

6. Carefully mount the SKR 1.3 board on the bracket making sure you don’t tighten the screws too much. This can strip the plastic and render the mount useless.

How to connect BLTouch on the expansion board

BLTouch connection for the SKR 1.3

In order for the BLTouch sensor to work properly, it needs to be connected to the expansion board as shown in the image below:

On the board, the brown connector needs to be inserted in the 3 pins with the plastic tab facing the bottom of the board.

Marlin 2.0.3 firmware for SKR 1.3 on Sidewinder X1

Now that we have the board installed, we need to flash the correct firmware for our configuration. I did the heavy lifting and I compiled the latest Marlin 2.0.x firmware for the SKR 1.3 on Sidewinder X1. There are two versions available, for TMC2208 and TMC2209.

To flash the firmware on the SKR 1.3, follow the steps below:

  1. Download the firmware: Sidewinder X1 firmware for SKR 1.3 with TMC2208 / Sidewinder X1 Firmware for SKR 1.3 with TMC2209.
  2. Copy the firmware.bin file on the SD card.
  3. Plug the SD card in the SKR 1.3 slot.
  4. Power on the printer, and wait 1 minute. There won’t be any information on the screen to confirm the flash is done.
  5. Turn off the printer and remove the card. You can connect the SD Card to your computer and check the file. If the name changed to firmware.cur, then the firmware flashed successfully.
  6. Turn on the printer.

For experienced users, I also uploaded the source configuration files used for compiling the firmware. They can be downloaded by following this links below:

Sidewinder X1 config files for SKR 1.3 – Marlin 2.0.x
Marlin 2.0.4 firmware – SKR 1.3 upgrade for Sidewinder X1 – For TMC2208
Thingiverse link

The firmware includes the Fast BLTouch probing option, improving the probing speed.

Flash a custom screen firmware on Sidewinder X1

Custom screen firmware for Sidewinder X1

I recommend using the stock screen firmware which has the BLTouch functionality enabled (from Robscar or CdRsKuLL) for reliable operation.

In order to install the new screen firmware for the Sidewinder X1, follow the steps listed below:

  1. Download the TFT Firmware
  2. Format the SD card.
  3. Unzip the archive and copy the contents to the SD Card.
  4. Plug in the SD card into the printer.
  5. Turn on the printer and wait for the firmware to finish flashing.
  6. Restart the printer.

With the SKR 1.3 I am using the custom screen firmware ported from the TFT3.5 screen made by BIGTREETECH. I covered the install process, pro’s and con’s in my previous article: Custom Screen Firmware for Sidewinder X1 and Genius. This firmware is still under testing and it is not recommended for production use. But if you are fine with a few bugs, you can install it following the guide.

Check the functionality of the printer after the SKR 1.3 upgrade on Sidewinder X1

With the firmware flashed, you need to check the functionality of the printer:

  1. Try to heat up the hotend and monitor the temperature. Only the hotend temperature should go up.
  2. Try to heat up the heatbed. Only the heatbed temperature should go up.
  3. Move the printer on the X, Y and Z axis making sure the movements are correct
  4. Finally, try to home the printer. Be ready to cut the power to the printer if the BLTouch is not triggering correctly. I recommend rising the Z axis to around 100mm, then manually touch the BLTouch pin to check if it triggers correctly.

if everything is running correctly, you can start your first print.

Bonus: Prusa Slicer profile for Sidewinder X1 with SKR 1.3

With the SKR 1.3 upgrade for the Sidewinder X1 i also tweaked my Prusa Slicer profile further.
It can be downloaded from here.

Wrapping up

First print with SKR 1.3 on Sidewinder X1

I hope this guide helped you and now to do the SKR 1.3 upgrade for Sidewinder X1. It took a lot of time to do and I hope it helps a lot of people
I would love to hear from you if this guide helped, and the upgrade process was smooth. If you have any additions or find any issues with it, let me know and I will edit it.

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1 Response

  1. pruckels says:

    Thanks for the guide. I bought a Sidewinder X1 inexpensively on Craigs List. All of the symptoms pointed to a number of electrical issues, so I decided to remove the stock wiring and rewire without the ribbon cables, cable, connectors, etc.

    Anyway, the one X1 connection that I don’t see on the wiring image is where the filament sensor goes – where does that get plugged in?

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