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TB6643 Based Power Control Shield

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

A very cool new design! Excellent!

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The title says it all. I’ve been working on a new open source shield for the community. Something with easier to obtain chips. It’s been a process but I think it’s ready for the rest of the community to have a go at it. All relevant information is in the CG GitHub here:

TB6643 Shield

There’s still some firmware bugs to work out but I think they are PID tuning related. Maybe someone with more experience can help iron them out.

Thanks for all the help @bar and @Orob. Couldn’t have gotten this far without your assistance.


I’m the one that single handed designed and tested the original TB6643 shield almost two years ago.
I selected this chip after literally testing dozens of different Ic’s which took me months of work before finally settling on the not very well known TB6643. It’s worth mentioning that this IC is not used anywhere else and you won’t find a single project using this chip in the entire internet.

I also did the necessary changes to the 1.26 firmware to make it work as it should without the need of tuning PID’s, which is free and open source for anybody to use and/or download from EastBaySource website or from the main Maslow cnc repo.

Maslow cnc still is an Open Source project and all the original files are available to anyone to download them along with the original LP298 or the TLE5206 files, I don’t mind at all sharing our improved shield files to anyone wanting to reproduce it for their own use, but our commitment is to the Maslow users community only. If a fellow seller wants to improve his shield to stay competitive he should do the leg work himself just as MakerMade and EastBaySource did.

I also think having two different versions of the same shield would make things more confusing for new users.


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I think you might be misunderstanding the situation a little bit. The goal of an open source project is that good ideas DO get re-used. The fact that he came along was inspired by your idea and learned from it is the way things should work.

I’m not sure I understand how this isn’t exactly that. He’s not selling them, and has no plans to start selling them as far as I know.

This is a case of someone who came to me never having designed a circuit board before and asked for help and I helped him with the design, he was inspired by your design and wanted to make his own version. He’s not undercutting you, he’s not stealing your ideas, he’s learning from what the community has to offer to make something better. The whole point of open source is that you don’t have to start from square 1, you get to take someone else’s idea and make it 1% better, or maybe not even better just make it your own. And that’s OK.

If you want to do closed source design that’s 100% OK too, but maybe this isn’t the right venue for that.

He’s deleted his github repo and asked me to remove the garden page which I will do, but I don’t feel good about it. We’re trying to create a community where people are welcomed and encouraged to explore, learn, and create something better and you’ve made him feel like he’s not welcome.

We’re here to share ideas freely with anyone from anywhere for any reason.

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if the newboard is compatible with the old one, what is the harm?

what advantages does the new board have over the old one? (if any, and
‘advantage’ could be easier to make at home, easier to understand, not just
performance in the finished board)

opensource means that people are expected (and encouraged) to modify the design

I really don’t know what the differences are between these two boards.

David Lang

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I absolutely agree 100%, perhaps my post came out a bit rough. I understand how open source works and the benefits of it as well as the importance of crediting the original contributors and keep helping each other. If you go to EastBaySource website you will find your name along with any one else that has contributed to this wonderful project.

Any one that needs help customizing or upgrading our design or build on it is more than welcome to do so or contact us for help, we have mailed out several times blank pcb’s to everyone that requested them along with schematics and never turned our back on anyone asking for help regardless of his vendor, we even helped a fellow seller to fix his shield without hesitation.

I certainly don’t think he is and i love the idea of anyone trying to help or get inspired by our work, we all are inspired by someone else work in the end, I just think that it would have been easier if he ask us for help so we could come up together with something compatible instead having two shields that work the same but with different encoded version.

We are here for the long run and will never leave the community without parts or support, we’re working literally day and night to keep providing affordable yet very functional kits to the community, for the past several months we had experienced an up to 30% price increase from all our vendors to the point of making almost no profit, yet we’re still holding on and keeping the price down to reach and help as much people as we can to get this tool.

I must apologize to @jonatpridesleap, it was not my intention to make him feel unwelcome at all, i just find a bit odd that there wasn’t a single mention to East Bay on this new project, that’s all, hope you understand.

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is this your project?

Hi David
Thanks for asking

No is not, it uses different pinout and version number.

None, is as easy to make as our v1.5 shield

Agree 100%, i just think this new shield will make things a bit more confusing for new users.

Besides different pinout and ours having a 12v output for easier router automation, there are no other differences.

No is not, that was a wonderful contribution of a Maslow community member @blurf meant to replace the LP298

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@dlang, I’m replying to your post but this response is to the group in general. It’s not meant to be a direct response to you so please don’t take it as such. You made a cogent satement that I think cuts to the root of the perceived problem.

I believe it’s necessary to establish a bit of context as to the history of this project and why I made the decisions I did during its development and subsequent release.

Last January, I went through the process of trying to build the TLE5206 Thruhole controller shield that was posted to the Community Garden. Specifically, it was this one:

As I understand it (I may be wrong), this is the shield design that originated from the Maslow Brains/Blue Smoke Herder shield efforts. The design that I linked to above was first posted in the Community Garden nearly four years ago by @blurfl and to my knowledge has been freely open and available to the community since.

During my initial effort in February to build this shield I ran into the same problem that everyone else who has tried to build this board has discovered, the TLE5206 chips are nearly impossible to source. I see this as a problem as not being able to obtain the chips has effectively rendered the open source design in the Community Garden obsolete. Not having an open source option available to the community is risky at best as it could halt development SHOULD existing vendors decide to make their designs closed source. An open source option and the ability of the community to self-replicate this option has existed since @bar released the original shield design. The Maslow Brains/Blue Smoke Herder Shield/TLE5206 was created to offer another option that improved upon Bar’s existing shield design. This option, effectively no longer exists due to chip obsolescence.

In a forum post in March I asked @bar if he knew of any sources for the TLE5206 chips as the sources I found were questionable. One of the alternatives mentioned at the time was the TB6643 chip from Toshiba that was currently being used by East Bay Source. After looking at the cut sheet I figured I could make this chip work in the existing open source TLE5206 design (linked to above) but it would require modifying the Eagle files. I had never done this before so @bar offered his assistance.

I began the process of modifying the Eagle files I downloaded from the Community Garden TLE5206 project but it quickly became apparent that the existing board layout was going to require substantial modification. So many changes were needed that it proved easier to strip out nearly all of the existing traces and components and start from almost scratch. I updated all of the components and created a new, board specific parts library to support this. I maintained as much of the technical intent of the original open source project as possible, including most of the original pin-outs and routes. I also maintained the same discrete component specifications, layout and circuit design although some location changes were required to accommodate the new chips and heatsinks and new passive components had to be substituted for ones that were currently available.

After several board hardware revisions, I created a functional design that I could test. I worked with @bar to modify the MaslowCNC:master firmware in order to get it to work. I had just begun this process when bar asked EBS if they would be willing to merge their changes into the master. There were multiple reasons for this request. Rather than modify the firmware to accommodate another hardware version with an identical chip design (and making the code more convoluted than it already is) I decided it was best to just piggyback off of the changes already merged by East Bay Source. To be clear, my board design uses the firmware revisions that was developed by East Bay Source and merged into the open source MaslowCNC:master.

I was comfortable using EBS’s code changes for my board ONLY because:

  1. The Maslow firmware and entire project is open source.
  2. My only intent was to update the existing open source work done by @blurfl to include chips that were easily obtainable on the open market. I was trying to keep that project going, when it didn’t appear that anyone else was doing it.
  3. I am not nor do intend to be a vendor. My intent was NOT to create a sellable product. I had no intention of selling either assembled hardware or components. The requirements to build and use my board design are such that only the most hardcore DIY user would attempt it in the first place. I felt the number of people actually exercising this option would be miniscule and wouldn’t threaten anyone’s market share.


  1. The basis of my work was and is the open source TLE5206 project in the Community Garden. I did not, in any way, reference, borrow or otherwise use any design criteria from East Bay Source.
  2. I used the identical chip found in the East Bay Source controller shield.
  3. I made use of the firmware updates East Bay Source merged into the MaslowCNC:master.


  1. I have already deleted the project GitHub from the Maslow Community Garden
  2. @bar has regenerated the web page to remove any mention of my project
  3. I have closed an outstanding pull request with WebControlCNC that was going to merge the deltas between their master and the MaslowCNC:master
  4. I will be submitting a new PR to the MaslowCNC:master to remove the code I added that links my board revision to the firmware revisions merged by East Bay Source.


From what I can tell the only hardware similarity between my board design and that of East Bay Source is the TB6643 chip. My now deleted GitHub had all the necessary design data that showed the design I came up with had much more in common with the open source Community Garden TLE5206 project than that used by East Bay Source. My project doesn’t improve upon the East Bay Source design so much as it maintains the viability of the open source TLE5206 project by actually making it buildable again. If the claim is that I somehow stole someone’s design simply because I used the same commercially available component that is used in their design then I have to respectfully disagree with that claim. I do not believe Toshiba’s sole customer for this chip is East Bay Source. The current chip shortage (backordered for three months) leads me to believe that this chip is being used in other industries and applications and is in fact pretty common outside of the Maslow community. If I have somehow violated an exclusivity agreement between East Bay Source and Toshiba, I will cease its use in my design and find something else.

I did make use of the firmware revisions merged into the MaslowCNC:master by East Bay Source. I have already stated my justifications for doing so. I argue however that East Bay Source has in turn built an entire business model on software originally developed by @bar and improved on by the community as a whole. East Bay Source relies on a total firmware package developed by others and presumably benefits financially from the existence of this package. Not to drag other vendors into this but from what I can see, ALL the current vendors of Maslow related components, hardware, software, designs and intellectual property benefit from the work originally developed by @bar and that has been improved upon by the community under an open source license. I fail to see why it is I am being held to a higher standard for what I did.


I’ll add that @jonatpridesleap did ask me if it was OK to do what he was doing before he started and I said “of course” :grin:


As a former (self thought) electronic circuit designer I can assure building electronics from scratch is not an easy task and finding the right IC for the application is usually the most challenging part of it.

If you take the time to go to and do a simple search for “dc motor driver” will find it returns thousands of IC candidates, you will then have to read endless datasheet pages before sorting out the ones that might suit your project better and start ordering samples, buy IC clips or make custom PCBs just to be able to connect to them, next the testing begins, custom coding and more testing until you find exactly what you need, is a long and tedious process you need to go through, multiple iterations and more and more testing because the last thing you want is to come up with a flawed product and face a big recall.

I do agree with @jonatpridesleap in the sense that anyone is free to copy, work, learn or build on top of any open source project they like, is a personal decision to contribute back or not, but the original creators MUST be credited which is the missing part here.

Also doing a simple “TB6643” forums search yield to this old post that you probably missed too.

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I don’t need to answer this, but I will.

I bought my kit a few weeks ago from EASTBAY SOURCE. Your post was the first topic on the list yesterday and the title caught my attention, my initial thought was it could be an upgraded version of the v1.5 but I was wrong. I only wanted to share my opinion as a former developer, unfortunately your tone suggests it’s not welcome.

Did it never cross your mind posting such a similarly named “new shield” (and goals apparently) into the same community where the original developers are selling theirs, which does the same, carries a higher version number and is not yet fully functional could be undermining their hard work?

So by your standards, would it be OK if I get inspired by Bart Dring eps32 grbl shield, create a very similar project as his, name it after his, stamp a higher version number on mine and post it right up next to his while claiming is my personal project without even contact or mentioning him?

Open source is not an excuse for unethical or poor behavior.

This is my opinion only, and it’s nothing but that, nobody has to agree with me.

Not to add further confusion to the matter but I have deleted the GitHub Repo for this project for the second and final time. I will not be posting it again.

There is naming a board to match someone else’s board, and there is naming a
board based on the chips that it’s using

if someone has a creative name, copying the name is wrong.

But if someone has a purely functional name (named after the chip it’s using),
then someone else independently creating a bord using the same chip can use the
same name. producing a board with a particular chip on it doesn’t give you any
rights over the name of that chip.

Open Source is not an excuse for unethical behavior, but I don’t see that
producting a board that uses the same chip as another board and naming it after
that chip is unethical.

David Lang


so two boards use the same chip and because they share the chip the one must attribute the other? If the second used the plans from the first, then the open source license used typically dictates that all contributors be acknowledged.

The only similarity between these boards is the drive chip. If the layout, the shield pinout, and the other components were the same or based off the other board (which would require a posted and public schematic), then this whole discussion might have merit…

The idea of using a TB chip for this application came from EBS, yes, but from my read of this, nothing else did, so why the big stink? This isn’t an HOA. The value of your machine will not change based on his contribution. It was a free contribution to the community and everybody just shat on it. I made it work with holey calibration. I probably should attribute every line of code I wrote for it to madgrizzle because he started webcontrol. This is rediculous.

I have a maslow up for sale. anybody interested?


Sir, it is not my intention to start an argument but to give an opinion from a former developer standpoint.

My initial thought about east bay claim about their shield being the only project on the whole internet based on the TB6643 was a bit BOLD, but hey…see it for yourself
After seeing seeing the above i have no doubt this new shield was is inspired on EBS work. Furthermore, the chances that someone without any electronics experience pick exactly the same IC among thousands are very slim.

I think the concerns of the original developer are valid, both shields share the same name (for whatever reason), same goals, apparently do the same, but the non yet functional one has a higher version number, what I’m missing here?

I did a medium fast review of East Bay Sources site, and could find no mention of Bar’s contribution. I’d venture to say that Bar made a somewhat larger contribution to the Maslow project than East Bay Source. It may be there but it sure isn’t obvious. How does that affect your sense of ethics and attribution?

It’s a real shame that a new purchaser of an East Bay Source version of the machine that Bar designed has driven off someone who freely invested their time to produce a controller board that, oh horror, used the same driver chip and identified it as such. Guess we should avoid every PC that uses an i5 processor then.



given that there was an extensive discussion before the TB664 was selected by
EBS (and they were not the first to explore putting together a motor controller
shield with that chip), it’s not at all clear they copied from EBS.

And even if they knew about EBS and their board, there are not that many
different h-bridge chips in that power range and price range (which is hy EBS
picked it, along with others)

even if you are the first to use a chip, and name the board after that chip,
that doesn’t give you the right to prevent anyone else from using the chip name
(ho many esp32 boards are there for example)

no, if the new developer claimed to be endorsed by EBS, or to be a successor to
EBS, that would be a reason to get upset.

but parallel development of a board to do a pretty specific task, selecting the
same chip from the catalog does not prove (or even imply) that one is based on
the other.

And from the complaints from EBS about how the new board is inferior, it’s
pretty clear that they did not start from the EBS design

And I’ll go further, even if they did copy the EBS idea, driving them away
doesn’t help the community in any way. I don’t think this discussion has made it
at all more likely for anybody to contribute, and I suspect that it’s going to
be a lingering toxic topic for years (and taint EBS as well)

pointing out that what they are trying to do already exists and is free to
use/copy is one thing, browbeating and accusing someone of fraud/immoral
behavior and that they are a bad person is something very different

David Lang