Machsupport Forum

Mach Discussion => General Mach Discussion => Topic started by: illmakemyown on May 05, 2009, 12:05:54 AM

Title: Mach 3 and Geckodrive G540
Post by: illmakemyown on May 05, 2009, 12:05:54 AM
I just bought a Geckodrive G540 so I can convert my Denford Micromill 2000. I plan on buying Mach 3 but I don't know if I would need the Add Ons for the software, I am going to be using Mastercam to draw my parts. So my Question is What should I buy? Thanks
Title: Re: Mach 3 and Geckodrive G540
Post by: Peter Homann on May 05, 2009, 12:49:38 AM

Best thing to do is to just buy Mach3. If you decide later that you need the add ons, you can buy them then. When you buy the add-ons you are just purchasing a licence file which gets emailed to you, so it is quite quick.


Title: Re: Mach 3 and Geckodrive G540
Post by: Jeff_Birt on May 05, 2009, 10:09:51 AM
If your going to be using MasterCam then you most likely would not benefit from the Mach Add-Ons. The add-ons let you chain together code from the wizards to create a G-code program without needing a CAD/CAM program. It works great for common tasks but not more complicated things.

When you purchase a Mach license it normally only takes a few hours at most to get the license file sent to you, but since it is a person in the loop process it could take up to a day. For instance if you bought one from my website at Midnight it would be a few hours before I was awake and could process the order.

Be sure to go to Gecko's website and download the XML profile for the G540, that will have all your settings needed to make Mach work with the G540 already set.
Title: Re: Mach 3 and Geckodrive G540
Post by: clive.simcock on October 13, 2009, 05:02:16 AM
Hi, my micromill has just blown its stepper motor board and a service exchange is £300.  I am going to convert my mill to G540 drive and March 3.
Have you finished your conversion? If so, how did it go? Any hints or tips you could give me before I start?

Regards clive :)

Title: Re: Mach 3 and Geckodrive G540
Post by: clive.simcock on October 13, 2009, 05:06:57 AM
Mach3 and Gecko G540

Hi, my Denford Micromill stepper driver board has just given up and a replacement is £300.  I am going to convert it to a Gecko G540 and Mach3. Anyone else done this? if so any helpfull hints or tips or things I should know before I start?  Any help would be appreciated.

Regards clive
Title: Re: Mach 3 and Geckodrive G540
Post by: Peter Homann on October 13, 2009, 07:24:55 AM
Hi Clive,

Assuming your Steppers are size 23, then the Gecko G540 should be a perfect match. You may be able to use your existing power supply, depending on what it is. Anything up to 50V will be fine. If you need to get a new power supply, look at a 48V 6A linear supply.


Title: Re: Mach 3 and Geckodrive G540
Post by: Jeff_Birt on October 13, 2009, 11:29:46 AM
The fit of the G540 is dependant upon the type of motors you have, how they are wired, and what performance you wish to get out of them. Take a look at the G540 docs: to get an idea of the ideal range of motor sizes / inductance for the G540. Gecko also has a good guide to steppers at:, starting at page 10 it talks about power supplies. For the G540 sized machines I prefer to use a switch type power supply as they are more compact and much more efficient (for instance the model I sell is more than 90% efficient), they also generally have over current, over voltage, over temp protection built in. They also have a formula floating around somewhere for doing a rough calculation on the 'ideal' power supply voltage.

Depending on your machines configuration there may not be a single 'ideal' power supply voltage. I just built up a special STDR-4C drive system (G540 based) for a customer that had a 4'x8' commercially made router. The stepper motors installed at the factory were all over the ballpark as far as size/inductance. Gecko had recommended they replace their existing NEE controller with a G540 and after finding out the motor specs and how the motors were wired it was apparent that there was no one 'ideal' power supply voltage (or driver for that matter) but the G540 was a good fit and was no doubt much better than the original drivers. I'll have pictures of the custom STDR-4C up on my website soon.

One thing to keep in mind is that the G540 has a fixed 10x microstepping. From a performance standpoint that works out great as it gives very smooth low speeds and as the G540 morphs to full steps as the RPMs increase higher RPM performance is good as well. The step morphing is an internal function, you just set Mach's steps / unit for 10x microstepping. If you have a lot of gear reduction and a slowish PC it could have the potential to cause problems if your LPT can't generate pulses fast enough. Usually it is not the case and increasing the pulse time or selecting Sherline 1/2 pulse mode will get it working fine. On my Taig mill the steps/unit with a G540 comes out to 40,000. My old shop PC can run the machine close to 90 IPM with the SS it can go faster.

If you can find out the specs on your motors someone may be able to give you a more exact answer.