everhack Stuff I've been messing with, or just thinking about.

5Apr/1122

Another (mostly) Repaired Cricut

Many thanks to Danny M. and Tim F. for taking an interest in fixing my latest busted Cricut!

This was the first one yet with problems I couldn't figure out. The relay clicked on and off with the power button, but nothing else happened. Using the voltmeter I was able to figure out that the CPU was getting no power, and that there was something funky going on with the 5v regulator: on the working one, pins 2 and 4 read 5 volts; but on the broken one, pin 2 was at 18 volts, and pin 4 at 0. This was pretty much where I got stumped. I saw lots of ugly looking solder joints, but nothing obviously fried or broken.

Fortunately, I also have another Cricut Create that DOES work, and so I brought both to the hackerspace last night for Microcontroller Monday.

Tim F. helped out by looking up the datasheet for the regulator, and showed me the illustration for a "typical application" in the datasheet. Using the meter I discovered that there was resistance and/or no connection between the output and feedback pins when they should have been directly connected through a resonator.

Around this time we also realized that while my older (working) Cricut had a 2-layer board, the newer (busted) one was a 3 (or more) layer board and much harder to trace. Fortunately when they changed the design, pretty much nothing else changed. Same board size, same components in mostly the same arrangement. This meant that the proper connections could be traced on the old/working board, and compared to the busted one.

Danny stepped up to the plate here and almost immediately found a broken solder joint on one of the resonator pins. We reflowed the two solder joints, plus a few others (the quality of the solder joints on both boards is pretty atrocious, no idea what kind of monkeys are assembling these things....) And THOUGHT it was fixed.

However, it still wouldn't power up. Hmm!

As it turns out, the broken solder joint also managed to disconnect both of the inner layer traces leading from the resonator to the regulator. After more continuity testing Danny added two small jumper wires to repair the busted traces, and Voila, the machine now powers up!

I was all set to send the machine home with him to play with, but when I tried to actually cut something, discovered the cutter solenoid does not move. The carriage and paper scrolls around properly, but the pen doesn't move up and down. (YET!)

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  1. The other night I finally looked at the pen issue and discovered it was a simple problem: One of the solenoid wires had broken at the solder joint and come loose. The fix was just a matter of reconnecting the wire.

    • I have a Cricut which won’t power up. Checked the power cord recieving power. Any idea how to fix?

      • Remove the bottom cover of the machine (7 phillips head screws) and check that all the cables are firmly plugged in.. Perhaps the power button has a bad connector or come loose. Check that the 5v voltage regulator is putting out the proper voltage…

        Does the main power relay click when you press the button?

      • I’d suspect a bad power supply or broken middle-layer Vcc traces in the motherboard.

  2. Any ideas what to look for if the machine powers up and tries to cut like normal, but the wheel that moves the may around won’t turn?

  3. Im trying to find someone to fix my cricut imagine… The LCD doesn’t display anything. I’m not so handy or tech savvy, still trying to figure out the new microwave. Any ideas on how I can get it working or fixed?

    • I’m sorry, I haven’t played with any Imagines yet, but I see quite a few broken ones on eBay lately. From your description I wonder if there’s a broken power trace to the LCD.

  4. At the moment I try to fix the cricut expression of my mother, which has the same problem that you describe here. At the 5V regulator Pin 2 was at 18V, Pin 4 at 0V. Just as here the connection between the resonator and the regulator was broken. After connecting with a short wire the Voltage at Pin 2 and Pin 4 was 1.6V. So i replaced the lm2576 with a new one. Now the Voltage at Pin 2 and Pin 4 is 2.0V. Do you have an idea where the problem could be?

    • I solved it. In the case that somebody with the same problem reads this my solution.
      The new lm2576 was not a lm2576-5, it was a lm2576-12. So I replaced it with a lm2576-5. And last but not least the resonator was broken. Now the cricut is running.
      Do you have a pcb layout or a schematic of the cricut mainboard? Would be great to have one because our cricut mainboard has a more-layer pcb.

  5. Hello. I have a problem with my Cricut Mini. Blades move to right and stops and make some loud grinding noise. This model is new and there is not any home position switch. Any ideas what is broken?

  6. I’ve had a Cricut Create for a year and had no problems with it what-so-ever. Decided to upgrade to an Expression (not the E2) and it will not cut through the thinnest cardstock… even when I re-cut twice on the same place with the pressure on max and the blade at 6. I’ve had it for less than a week and it cut fine for the first day and then…. just “kiss” cuts now… I’ve played with several settings and replaced the blade to no avail… any ideas? Thanks for the info.

    • Is it a “colored” model? I have heard there was some kind of glitch with the colored ones. NOt sure if there was a resolution..Hope you find something to help you…

  7. I have an Expression and the Usb Connector is shot. The cord itself is fine, its the 4 pin port that the cord goes into on my cricut that is messed. Looks like a pin is broken. My question is, can I just remove the broken piece and replace it with another?(I found one that looks just like it in an old printer) I know it is soldered on, but if I just do that will it screw up anything else or do you think that will do the trick? Right now I can use it just fine with cartridges, but I have SCAL and tons of svg files I would obviously love to use again.. please help.. I miss my CUTTA!

    • It should indeed be possible to remove the old USB connector and replace it, but you may have trouble desoldering the one from the printer without damaging it. If you try, let me know how it works out!

      Another possibility is to search a parts supplier like Mouser or Digi-Key to see if you can find a brand new matching replacement… Such parts are usually cheap enough that you could afford to get a spare in case you break one in the process.

  8. Like others, think the USB port on my Cricut Expression is shot. It looks fine, no cracks or anything. I’ve troubleshot for 4 days and tried every possible option. The USB ‘converter’ is not showing up in my Device Manager so think it must be the USB port. I asked our local computer shop if they could look at/replace and he said not worth his time. I ended up unscrewing it today to see if maybe the USB port had come un-attached from the circut board – it looked fine. Put everything back but still in the same boat. I’m so upset that I have no option to get this fixed

  9. Ok i keep seeing how everyone is answering the questions on how to fix it. What Im looking for an actual email to a person that can repair them.

    • Unfortunately unless you can find someone local to you, it would cost about as much to have yours fixed as to buy another..

  10. My cricut expression will not do anything when turned on, except the power button is lit up. I have tried the reset, etc. nothing. I noticed while reading through your blog others have had this issue but I can’t find if you had any solutions to this problem or not. If so, could you send me the instructions on your fix? I am not handy but my husband is and hopefully he could read through them and get it working again. Thank you for all the time you have put into finding and fixing the problems with these cricut machines. If your warranty is out (like mine is, of course) Provo Craft is no help at all.

    • Did you ever get any help? I am having the same problem. I was using mime, it finished the cut and the blade stuck down. After I got the paper out by manually removing it, and then turned it off. When I went to restart the machine, the green button lites up and the doors open, then nothing else. So I was interested if you got yours working.

  11. Wondering if you have any info on how to fix the cricut imagine. Mine won’t cut . Have been on phone with Provo craft tried to recalibrate and restore and format but it wont get beyond the calibration- point because it wont cut the paper. Apparently there is nothing further Provocraft can offer Any suggestions? Much appreciated

  12. i WAS WONDERING IF YOU BYPASSED THE RELAY OR IF REPLACING THE RELAY WOULD WORK AS WELL? I AM HAVING THE SAME ISSUE ON THE MACHINE I HAVE. THANKS!

  13. Does anyone know what to do for a cricut expression2 that will not recognize the left bottom corner when I recalibrate. I have it apart and can’t seem to find the problem


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