Controller boards

Hello, I’m new to CNC. I’m looking to get into CNC and build my own. However, I don’t know enough to understand what the differences are between the SKR PRO1.2, 5X 2209 DRIVERS, TFT35 E3 V3 -FLASHED- controller board and the Rambo controller Board. It seems like the SKR comes with a screen but the Rambo doesn’t and the Rambo has stop sensors and wiring but not the SKR board? If someone could explain what the differences are that would be great. I apologize ahead of time if some of the terminology is wrong.

They are both Marlin based boards.

The SKR Pro has a more advanced processor, 32 bit processor verses the RAMBo 8 bit processor, but both are ok for the work.

They will both take the same programs and you will end up with identical results for your CNC.

The SKR Pro has more advanced drivers than the RAMBo (the parts that control the actual motors) and the better processor means that it can do some calculations more smoothly, like moving in a circular pattern. It also has some ability to connect to wifi for file management, which I really like.

The RAMBo has been around a while, and has a reputation for being rock solid, but I don’t own one myself.

Either one will do the job, i would personally recommend the SKR Pro, but mainly because I own 2 of them (though neither is currently connected to a CNC.)

I think you would be happy with either board. The Rambo board is more turnkey and may be tougher. I’ve seen on the forum people who make wiring mistakes that would kill many boards, and the Rambo comes unscathed. I would recommend the $15 purchase of a display for the board. In addition to interfacing with Marlin, the display allows running g-code from an SD card.

The SKR Pro is a bit less turnkey. It requires you to modify a pin on the stepper drivers and install the drivers. The display has two types of wiring and its own firmware (both have been a source of questions and issues on the forum). We’ve also seen some problems from the SKR Pro including freezes when running files directly from the TFT in TFT mode, and lately some boards are having trouble with end stops. And, I’ve read on the forum that BIGTREETECH plans to discontinue this board. On the flip side, there are some benefits of the SKR Pro over the Rambo

  • It runs faster and has hardware math support meaning theoretically it can process math intensive g-code like G2 and G3 better than the Rambo.
  • It may be able to run a laser faster.
  • It has hardware support for a wireless module. I’ve seen a couple of people on the forum make use of the wireless module, but I think there are some hoops to jump through to get it working.
  • People seem to really like the TFT display vs. the Marlin mode display of the Rambo
  • It is easier to flash the firmware on the SKR Pro vs. Rambo
  • It has replaceable stepper drivers, so if a stepper driver goes bad, it can be replaced by the end user. The stepper drivers on the Rambo board are hardwired, but it is rare for a stepper driver to die on a Rambo board.

And you are right about the end stop switches and extension wires coming with the 'Rambo and not the SKR Pro. The wires are provided by the manufacturer, so this is not something done by V1. Both boards support end stops.

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Thank you, I really appreciate the info.

Ty Robert for breaking it down. Being that I’m new to this I think I’m gonna start with something more turnkey that I can sort of plug and play if you will.

Rambo has advantages for what you are after, compared to the others. The fuses, isolated io, etc… all very welcome on a cnc. As a result, Rambo has earned the reputation of being a board that’s impossible to kill. You have to add extra circuits externally to most of the SKR series boards to have the same level of protection. This makes Rambo an excellent choice for a first cnc board IMHO; it is a more important selling point that what wires it comes with. If you get into lasers you can even load GRBL on it for ‘M4’ mode, to get some experience and find the limitations for your use case (if any). From my experience, 2560 boards (ie RAMBO) are perfectly fine for most cnc work; they only start getting a bit slow when you get into laser etching with raster images.