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Messages - simpson36

HiCON Motion Controller / Re: MACH3 - Spindle as axis - not homing
« on: November 02, 2015, 05:07:58 AM »

Answer to this is no longer needed.

Both machines have home sensors on the spindles, so I am using that instead of the encoders and its working OK.

HiCON Motion Controller / MACH3 - Spindle as axis - not homing
« on: October 31, 2015, 07:02:42 PM »
MACH3 - Spindle set as Axis 5 (C)

Encoder feedback connected to HiCON A/A+ B/B+ Z/Z+  Verified with scope it is receiving a good signal.

Encoder feedback is displayed in Encoder 1 with Axis C set to feedback on Encoder 5

Have tried all home setting combinations, behaves same if set to sensor or index only with or without use index checked.

Have tried setting C home in Mach to the actual HiCON pin 13/3 or a phantom MACH pin.

PROBLEM: C axis will not home
PROBLEM: As soon as spindle is shut off, C axis DROs go to zero, so spindle positioning for ATC is not possible.

What is the proper config to have the spindle stop at the same spot each time?


Please download the latest mach4 software and also the latest plugin from our website.  There had been many updates that happened between now and last few weeks.

I do not understand this comment. The last plug-in on your site is dated Oct 9th. You posted on Oct 28th stating that many updates have happened over the last few weeks, but there has not been a new plug-in posted in 4 weeks.

There has only been one MACH4 release and the release notes say nothing about this problem.


Please let us know what error are you seeing so we can narrow it down and try to resolve it.


I pulled the plug on MACH4 around week 3 of this issue, but I continued to spend time working with Vital Systems to identify and test this bug. At some point, I tested a new plug-in/Mach4 release and the problem seemed to be gone.

However, subsequent to that, Vital Systems posted another work around for the same issue, so obviously it was not fixed. Also obvious is that discovering that the bug still existed must have required much more extensive testing than I did.  

The problem has been the same since I reported it on Sept 8th. The latest workaround posted by Vital Systems identifies the same problem. I already tested a 'fix' and did not see the problem, yet Vital Systems did find it again later, apparently in more extensive testing. As I have no idea what they were doing to make the bug resurface, most likely I would not find it in cursory testing.

I have only two HiCON's and both are now configured for and running MACH3 with no problems. I am not inclined to load and reconfigure MACH4 and flash the HiCONs to do more testing using machines that need to be running. I think I have done more than my share in helping Vital Systems find and fix this issue.

Vital Systems is well aware of what the problem is and should be able to say if it is fixed or if it is not fixrd, and in what version of the plug-in and/or MACH4.

HiCON Motion Controller / Re: M Code "Handshake" – Need Help
« on: October 30, 2015, 09:06:56 AM »
Mach4CoreAPI is the document you want to use. The LuaCalls.txt is just a listing of the functions with zero explanation of what they do or how to use them.

Using loops in your code is risky business and can easily lead to the system hanging.

The PLC has very fast loop times so additional loops inside the PLC are generally not needed except in extremely critical time sensitive events.

You can monitor 'state changes' (first time thru M100, etc) by adding variables to hold a previous state. If you create variables in the screen load script, they are global (perpetually available from anywhere) and will maintain the last value assigned, so adding to the previous example, you can do something like

M100FirstPass = true   <= put these in the Screen Load script

function M100()
  if  (M100FirstPass == true) then
        M100FirstPass = false       <= this line will prevent any more passes thru this routine




Production run of InTurn™ MEGA for December is now SOLD OUT. 

The order period is closed.

There will be a new waiting list started, so interested parties may contact via e-mail to be included on the list.


InTurn™ MEGA model production run scheduled for December. Waiting list took most of them, but there are still a few units available from the run.

A lot of info has been added to the site www.theInTurn.com

NEW info not added yet:

*The MEGA will now feature a one-piece forged Chrome-Moly (4140) steel spindle like its big brother.

* The InTurn™ 4th axis motor controller now features a TCP (Ethernet) interface and is compatible with both MACH3 and MACH4

There is ONE InTurn™ ULTRA still available from the last batch. Next batch of ULTRA machines is tentatively set for 2Q 2016

Please respond via e-mail if interested.

HiCON Motion Controller / Re: Significant Problem - Mach4 freeze on M codes
« on: September 15, 2015, 05:12:15 AM »

Haven't checked the release notes, but 2686 does prevent the GCode processor from getting stuck.

Oh, and about re-running the GCode File, have you tried M99? M30 is used to rewind the file to the start, but doesn't run until the Cycle Start button is clicked. M99, on the other hand, re-runs the GCode file from the start for continuous execution.

Yes, I noted in my post that 86 is not hanging on M codes. However, it gets stuck after running the file and will not re-run the file unless MACH4 is closed and restarted, so MACH4 remains essentially unusable for practical purposes.  M47 or M99 is not a solution because they are continuous, as you mentioned, the code needs to rewind and stop so that the workpiece can be changed out, then run again with cycle start.


I'm not 100% certain that your issue is the same as what I'm fixing, but the symptoms sounded similar. The thing with the "M5" in the example that I posted was that it was implementing custom functionality (which called a motion sync) for THC control where the problem was most prominent. The problem applied to any time a motion sync was called in the middle of a GCode file. It's hard to pinpoint where this could happen unless I run your files with some debugging information from Mach and our plugin.

In all versions prior to 86, MACH4 was hanging on the standard internal M5 (i.e. no M5 in the macros folder). I substituted the standard M5 for my custom macro thinking that my macro might be the problem. The exact same macro had already run several times earlier in the code, but I was out of ideas to try. M5 seemed like a 'sterile' candidate, but it hung the interpreter also at the same point.
As I reported earlier, it was always near the end of the G-code and was related in some way to 'A" axis moves. If I removed the "A" axis move, the interpreter would execute the M5 (or my original custom macro). I wish I could give you more to go on, but this is the extent of what I discovered over several hours of trying to figure out where the problem was.

The G-code seems to be working with 86, but if you think it will be useful, I'm happy to send it to you via e-mail or PM. I'll need to take a look at the  macros as I think these may be calling custom subs in MACH4, so I would need to include those as well for the macros to work. Just let me know if you still want this stuff.

The main problem remaining is that MACH4 will not re-run the G-code after M30.

HiCON Motion Controller / Re: Significant Problem - Mach4 freeze on M codes
« on: September 14, 2015, 01:17:50 PM »

Unfortunately, the bug with the motion sync isn't completely fixed. I had hoped to get a complete fix before posting a reply on this thread, but it looks like things are getting delayed. Right now, Mach4 build 2686 should be available on the web and it should prevent the GCode interpreter from getting stuck, but instead of getting stuck, it may skip GCode lines instead.

Interesting. There was nothing in the release notes about this issue being addressed at all.  86 does not hang on M codes, but it still will not re-run the G-code, so it still requires shutting down and restarting MACH4 to run the same code again.


I'll also post a another notification on this thread once the bug is completely fixed and this workaround is no longer needed.

If this still doesn't solve the problem, then email me your GCode file (support at vitalsystem dot com) and I'll try running it here myself. Oh, and I'll also need those "custom macros", and your profile as well.

Thanks for the prompt response and the work around. Unfortunately, I spent the weekend installing MACH3 on the HiCON setup in order to get parts made for a deadline. MACH3 seems to work fine, so I will continue to use that until this problem is resolved. I have put my MACH4 projects on hold.

My custom macros were fairly complicated and I suspected them at first because that is where MACH4 was hanging up. But as you also found, the problem is unrelated as it happens with M5 as well. Also, all of the custom macros run fine early in the code. Near the end of the code, MACH4 hangs on any M code. I found some work arounds also, but could never get MACH4 to re-run the code without restarting MACH4. I made about a dozen or so of the several hundred parts needed and gave up on that procedure. Once MACH3 was installed, the parts were run without any problems.

HiCON Motion Controller / Significant Problem - Mach4 freeze on M codes
« on: September 08, 2015, 09:22:24 AM »
Ran into a nasty bug. This is with the latest Sept plug in as well as the previous. Problem present on all V2 MACH4 releases.

This problem is not present using the MACH4 sim or the ESS board, so it is definitely being caused by the HiCON

M codes in general are not handled reliably and MACH4 hangs sometimes on M98, sometimes on M99  . . these issues clear if MACH4 is restarted

Hangs consistently on custom M macros after an 'A' axis move. i.e. removing the A axis move removes the problem.

Hands on M30 and after manual rewind, will not run the G-code again until MACH4 is restarted.

This is not much to go on, I realize. I noted in previous HiCON release notes that 'M code list' (or something similarly named) was fixed in a previous release, so I'm hoping this is/was a previous problem that has resurfaced.

If needed I can supply the G-code and the Macros that demonstrate the problem.

HiCON Motion Controller / Mach4 and HiCON -
« on: August 31, 2015, 04:23:17 AM »

Warnings and errors as shown in attached snip.

What do these mean?

Should they be corrected?