ER17 - The X or Y axis is stuck or the limit switch is broken

This error refers to a problem with the X or Y limit switch. These are located in the back-left corner of the gantry. These switches set the 'home' or '0' position of the print head and ensure the print head won’t move any further when it has reached the corner of the printer.

The ER17 message indicates that the X or Y limit switch (or both) is not activated or released when expected. This can refer to a problem with the switch, an obstruction, or the movement of the print head.

Check Y switch activation

The X and Y limit switches are normally activated by the print head:

  • The X limit switch, with the blue wire, is located on the underside of the top panel. It is pressed by the sliding block on the back axle of the printer.
  • The Y limit switch, with the red wire, is located on the left panel of the printer. It is pressed by the end of the X print head shaft, that sticks out of the sliding block on the left axle. 

It is possible that the print head shaft has shifted too far to the right. In this case, it will not be able to activate the Y limit switch. You will hear a loud stuttering sound before the error appears. Don't worry, this will not immediately damage your printer.

To resolve this, simply click the X print head shaft out of the left and right sliding blocks. Reposition it to the left, until the end of the shaft is ~1 mm away from the left panel. Firmly press the shaft back into both the left and right sliding blocks.

UM3-XY-Limit-switches.jpg UM3-Left-sliding-block.jpg
Activation of X and Y limit switches Press the shaft into the left sliding block

Note: Ensure the shaft is fully pressed into the blocks and the sliding blocks are straight.

Limit switch diagnostic

The Ultimaker 3 diagnostics menu contains a limit switch test. In the Ultimaker 3 menu, go to System - Maintenance - Diagnostics and select the limit switch test.

The menu will show an overview of the X, Y, and Z limit switches and their activation state. If the switch is pressed, it will show an [X]. If the switch is not activated, it shows blank.

UM3-Limit-switch-test-Z.jpg

Manually place the print head in the center of the printer. Check that the display indicates that both the X and Y switches are not activated. Then manually press first the X, then the Y limit switch. Check that the display indicates that the switch is activated when pressed.

If the diagnostic test responds correctly to the state of the switches, the limit switches are connected correctly and are not defective. You can continue to check the print head movement. If the test shows one of the switches as always or never activated, there is a problem with its connection, or the switch is defective.

Check the connection

If the diagnostic test indicates a potential connection problem you will need to access the electronics at the bottom of the printer.

UM3-Turn-printer.jpg UM3-Mainboard-cover.jpg UM3-Limit-switches-mainboard.jpg
1. Place printer on its side 2. Remove cover 3. Check connections

Gently place the printer on its side, then manually lift up the Z stage.

 

From the inside of the printer, remove the two bolts that secure the cover and place the cover aside.

 

The limit switches are the blue (X), red (Y), and black (Z) wire. Ensure the blue and red wires are connected to the connector marked 'X-stop' and 'Y-stop' respectively.

 

Check the print head movement

This error can also appear when the print head is not moving when instructed. To test this, manually place the print head in the front-right corner of the gantry. In the Ultimaker 3 menu, go to System - Maintenance - Print head. In this menu, select Home to instruct the print head to move to the back-left corner. Carefully observe the movement of the print head. A few scenarios are possible:

Print head reaches home position If the print head fully moves to the corner in both the X and Y directions, the motion system (both electrical and mechanical) is fine. If the head does not stop moving when it reaches the corner, please check the previous sections again (check Y activation, diagnostics, and connections)
Print head stutters in one or both directions When the print head does move, but not smoothly, it is likely that one of the pulleys is loose. Check and tighten all the pulleys that affect the stuttering direction. Ensure to also check the one on the motor. Alternatively, it is possible that one of the short belts is much too loose and must be tightened.
Print head does not move at all in one direction

When there is no movement at all in one direction, this could also be caused by a loose pulley, as described above (usually the one on the motor).

It is also possible that one of the motors or the motor port on the mainboard is defective. Try swapping the X and Y motor connectors on the mainboard. If the same direction is unresponsive, the motor is likely defective. If the other direction is now unresponsive, the stepper driver on the mainboard is likely defective.

Print head does not move at all in both directions

If there is no movement at all in either direction, it is very likely that the motion controller on the mainboard is broken. To check this, try moving the build plate via the menu. If this is also unresponsive, the mainboard should be replaced.

Note: If problems persist after taking the steps on this page, you want to enquire about replacement parts, or you want more detailed advice on the troubleshooting steps above, contact support or your local reseller. Ensure to include the error number and the log files of your printer.

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