Machsupport Forum

Mach Discussion => Mach3 under Vista => Topic started by: billcat on November 10, 2012, 09:25:13 PM

Title: Mach3 support for windows 7?
Post by: billcat on November 10, 2012, 09:25:13 PM
Hello forum,

Does Mach3 work reliably with Windows 7 32bit and the parallel port?  It seems very odd that most related questions to the subject here on this forum go unanswered or are answered vaguely.  ::)

If so, anyone successful with this willing to walk me through troubleshooting erratic, inconsistent "clunks" from the step motors on my router.  This is my third attempt (mildly frustrated, to put it lightly) at a new,clean install, custom built, dedicated PC for the purpose, and still no joy.  Well I haven't connected this one to the router, but the drivertest utility results appear near identical to the first two PCs, very "spikey".  And both of those PCs yielded less than desirable results in actual operation on my small 3 axis router.

My limited understanding of the drivertest is that you want a very flat line, but no joy there for me.  I certainly could use a better understanding of the test, to say the least.  My computer skills are at most, basic, and questions directed to those more knowledgeable often take for granted my knowledge base.  I am hoping that I am simply not catching something with the PC configuration and setup. 

But it also seems peculiar that there is only an "XP optimization" reference file available from Artsoft, not one for 7, even though it has been asked for a couple times right here on the Machsupport forum. ???

Any suggestions would be most appreciated!

Title: Re: Mach3 support for windows 7?
Post by: ger21 on November 10, 2012, 11:01:56 PM
If you have a multi core processor, go into the bios and disable C1E or EIST.
Title: Re: Mach3 support for windows 7?
Post by: billcat on November 11, 2012, 10:24:02 AM
Thank you Gerry, but because I have noticed that you give that recommendation often, it is one of the first things I checked.  Unfortunately I cannot find either of those settings in my bios. I have attached(hopefully) a pdf of the user manual for my latest motherboard. If not, here is the model: Asus F1A55-M LX PLUS.  Have a look if you will, perhaps those settings fall under a different name.  FWIW,  both of the previous mobos I tried did indeed have those settings and they did not solve the problem.  Those two used Intel P4 processors and this one uses AMD, if that makes a difference.

On the other hand, I temporarily swiped my son's old Dell running XP and a core2duo processor just for kicks, and it seemed to work the router without the aforementioned hiccups.  Coincidentally, it also demonstrated the "flattest" line on the drivertest utility graph.  This also seems to justify that all of my hardware downstream of the PC is working correctly.

So why dont I just use the Dell and be done with it?  Well... please refer to my op.  I am not opposed to using XP as a last resort, but because Mach3 is advertised to work with 7, and one of the reasons I purchased it, I would indeed like to use Mach with that os.  And because it is so unsettling watching your router run on a workpiece for several hours , then glitch a time or two and ruin the piece, I want to use all new hardware for this purpose to reduce the chance of end of service life hardware failures.  Not to mention the amount of money and time I have invested directly toward this target.

From the Artsoft webpage:

"Software Requirements

Keeping with our home hobbyist roots, the minimum software requirements to run Mach are very reasonable.  Below are the specifications for running Mach3 stably.
Mach3 Minimum Requirements:

32-bit Desktop (using the parallel port)

    32-bit version of Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 Operating System (64-bit will not work)
    1Ghz CPU
    512MB RAM
    Non-integrated Video Card with 32MB RAM
    Basic Computer Skills (ability to copy/rename files, browse directories, etc)"

I am confident I have satisfied these requirements.

Thanks for the quick you have any more suggestions?  Are you running Mach3 with Win7 through  an onboard PP?  Do you know of anyone that is?

Title: Re: Mach3 support for windows 7?
Post by: ger21 on November 11, 2012, 10:44:05 AM
Sorry, but I don't even own a copy of Windows 7. But I've seen numerous posts from people that do use it.

Looking at the manual for your motherboard, In the Bios, I'd disable a ton of stuff.
In the Ai Tweaker section, disable EVERYTHING.

In the Advanced CPU section, I'd disable:
C6 mode
CPB mode
AMD PowerNow
C-State Pmin

Also, I'd disable everything you're not using. serial ports, usb, sata, sound. Everything.

Also, try using the Vista instructions in the post in this forum.
Title: Re: Mach3 support for windows 7?
Post by: BR549 on November 11, 2012, 10:55:16 AM
I do know with Vista and above ???  you can have all kinds of permission problems at times. I have a copy of W2K and XP and Vista running here and VISTA  is NOT a stable enviroment in "my case" for MACH3. It will cause things that other OS that MACH3 was designed to run (W2k and XP) will not cause.

Cannot say anything for Windows 7 or 8 as I do not have them.

IF I were to setup a new machine today it would be a stripped down W2K or XP version.

Just a thought, (;-) TP

Title: Re: Mach3 support for windows 7?
Post by: billcat on November 11, 2012, 11:26:14 AM
Nice to at least have a path as I have been at this wall for some time now.  I will attempt Gerry's suggestions as time permits and post back with results.  As far as "permissions" this is quite elusive for me as well.  I read something here about running Mach as administrator, but frankly do not understand what that means, or how to do it.  I normally click on the Mach3 Loader icon and up pops the software.  Any ideas on how to do this?

Yes this machine is completely stripped down, as mentioned it is purpose built for the application.  The only software on it is whatever comes with the os, Rhinoceros, Cambam, and Mach3.  I dont feel like it's an issue with the cad/cam since it wont be running at all while Mach3 is running, but I could be wrong about this.   No network, no AV,no sound,etc.

Thanks for the suggestions, I will give them a shot.  Will post my results.
Title: Re: Mach3 support for windows 7?
Post by: billcat on November 11, 2012, 11:46:29 AM
Ok Gerry, so the Ai tweaker menu, I have disabled everything that has a "disable" option, which is one thing.  However, most of the menu blocks in this section ask for some actual parameter, none of which I have a clue what to enter.

For example:

Ai tuner offers these choices:

The Memory Frequency menu allows:

.....and several other choices.

suggestions while I march on?
Title: Re: Mach3 support for windows 7?
Post by: billcat on November 11, 2012, 12:14:16 PM
So far, I consider your suggestions successful, but am not quite sure.  I re ran the drivertest after disabling the suggested parameters in Bios, and this time got the flattest line on the chart I have seen yet.  There were very small ripples present, but not the huge spikes going from top to bottom of the chart, as there were before, including the other three computers tried except the Dell.  Again, the Dell worked the best on the router, and incidentally had the flattest line on the chart.

the number in the "pulses per second" box deviated between 25357 to 25369.
the average variation of the ripples in the line on the chart, based on the "Time between Pulses uS" heading on the left side, is between 36 and 38, with the occasional (about one per screen update) spike between 32 and 48.

Does this sound like what I am looking for?

Title: Re: Mach3 support for windows 7?
Post by: ger21 on November 11, 2012, 03:02:12 PM
I don't put a lot of stock in what the Drivertest says. All you can do is try it.

For the settings that give you a choice between auto and manual, choose manual. Then try to set everything to NOT do any type of overclocking, if you can figure out what you need to do. A lot of these newer motherboards are doing all kinds of things to enhance performance and power saving, all of which mess with Mach3's timing. You'd be better off with a basic motherboard that didn't have any overclocking settings.
Title: Re: Mach3 support for windows 7?
Post by: billcat on November 11, 2012, 03:18:03 PM
Thanks Gerry, I will try it on the machine when I get the chance.  Yep, it seems difficult to find a NEW motherboard that doesnt have all kinds of unnecessary bells and whistles, and does include the Lpt port.
Title: Re: Mach3 support for windows 7?
Post by: harry4516 on January 04, 2013, 08:44:32 PM
I have used Mach 3 on Win7 32 bit for half a year now and have installed two different versions.
There was not any problem, just installed und it runs.
I am using ESS (Ethernet version) which makes thing a lot easier.
Title: Re: Mach3 support for windows 7?
Post by: KHK on February 28, 2013, 11:43:16 AM
I was using XP Hone and wanted to update to sp1 and then sp2 and then sp3 I was unable to do the upgrades so I went to win 7.  The Mach3 driver test worked and the readings looked good.   The computer starts OK and will run for hours with no problems.  Sometimes when I start Mach3 it locks up (hard reboot required)   Sometimes I can load a tap file and run the file the table does what it is suppose to do.   The lockups have not happened while running a tap file yet!!   I am thinking of going back to XP

Title: Re: Mach3 support for windows 7?
Post by: joeaverage on July 09, 2014, 07:30:18 AM
Hi Billcat,
I'm running Windows Embedded Standard 7 which is the same as Windows 7 but with a few bits left out like Media Player, Internet Explorer and a few things
like that. I looks and behaves just like normal Windows and I have come to quite like it. It runs Mach3 well, better than my old XP machine, mind you
I sometimes had to light a fire under it to boot up!
There are a couple of things which have changed from XP. One of them is User Account Control (UAC). In XP if you are the only user registered in the OS
as often is the case with a home system then you are automatically the Administrator, after all someone has to do it and there is only you.
In Windows 7 and you are the only user, which I imagine would be the situation with a dedicated machine, you will be Administrator by default. Windows 7
does something interesting when you boot/logon tho, it logs you on as ordinary user with reduced privileges. If you want Administrative privilege you have
to ask nicely.
In order to run either Mach3 or Driver Test as Administrator highlight the icon, one left click, but rather than double click, right click instead. That should bring
up a little window of options, third from the top (from memory) is Run as Administrator, click of that and you launch the program with full rights.
You can automate that so that everytime you run that program it runs in Admin account by highlighting the icon, right click and clicking the Properties item from the list
(the bottom, again from memory) and going to the Compatibility tab on the window which results.  At the bottom of that window is a button 'Change settings for
all users', click it. At the bottom of the new window there is a checkbox "Run this program as an Administrator", check it, hit Apply, the OK. Click OK in the revealed
remaining windows and your done. Now any user account can run the program with Admin rights. You will have to repeat the steps for Driver Test.

Hope it helps
Title: Re: Mach3 support for windows 7?
Post by: garym1957 on August 25, 2014, 01:21:08 PM
Where do you find a PC new enough to run Windows 7, but old enough to have a parallel port?

Is there an Idiot's guide to setting up Windows 7 to run with a USB controller?
Title: Re: Mach3 support for windows 7?
Post by: joeaverage on August 28, 2014, 02:56:14 AM
Hi GaryM,
if you search for 'industrial single board computer' you will find heaps of manufacturers. Many of the boards they offer have a PP and often expansion slots to add more if you wish. I bought a UMB-1 from a Taiwanese maker UNIGEN and have had no probs. I bought fairly cheaply however. I know ADVANTECH have similar offerings but quite a bit dearer, at least in this part of the world. My board uses a dual core ATOM processor @1.8Ghz and runs Mach3 better than my old XP machine ever did.

Sorry can't help with the USB question as I have never tried. I have yet to exhaust the potential of PP and so don't see the need yet.

Title: Re: Mach3 support for windows 7?
Post by: Kensin on July 02, 2015, 12:32:29 PM
Hi, I am also using windows 7, 64bits. I have installed parallel ports in my cpu. I have read in forum that mach3 wont communicate via parallel port in windows 7 64bits. I am curious if the parallel port is not compatible because their cpu did not have it or 64 bit does not support parallel port at all for the mach3 communication even after the installation of the parallel port in the cpu?
After installation of the mach3 software, the driver test kept giving me error "Driver not sensed". Other than using external motion control, is there any other ways to get the software to work, given that I have already installed the parallel port in the cpu (windows 7, 64 bit)? Thank you very much for your feedback.   
Title: Re: Mach3 support for windows 7?
Post by: joeaverage on July 03, 2015, 03:32:10 AM
the Mach pulse engine will not operate in a 64bit OS. The pulse engine is responsible for timing the pulses sent to your breakout board via a LPT.
The original pulse engine code was written by Art Fenerty and is a very trick piece of code. It runs at kernel level and in a manner that Microsoft never
anticipated or approved. Think of it like a virus albeit benign.
It is this code that has allowed Mach to develop as it has, without a pulse engine a Windows platform cannot (on its own) control a real time machine.
In recent times external motion controllers have been developed which relieve the PC from timing the pulse stream and Mach becomes a trajectory planner
only, a much simpler proposition with a PC. They start at around $100 and just about everyone who has used one swears by them. I cannot say as I haven't
tried...yet. If you insist on having a 64bit OS then an external controller is required end of story.
I have not heard anyone say that Mach runs better in 64bit and doubt that it does. CAD and CAM programs probably benefit but I refuse to have them on
my machine controller anyway.
Note that Art has written a new or updated PP driver for Mach4 called Darwin. A $25 licence fee applies. It is by his description 'the best of the breed'. I have not tried
it but others who have support Art's contention. It will still only run in 32bit Windows.
Make the choice; 64bit and external controller or 32bit and use PP.
I have found no compelling reason to go 64bit and I keep spending my money on tools and upgrades to my mill to be concerned about it.