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Messages - rgsparber

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General Mach Discussion / Re: reproducable fault makes no sense to me
« on: December 08, 2016, 06:01:48 PM »
New findings:

I can cause Mach3 to freeze by pulsing the X, Y, Z, or A axes. I can also get it to freeze by just pulsing the XZERO button. So far I have been unable to get it to freeze by pulsing the X, Y, or Z axes via the keyboard.

I was seeing Mach3 freeze this morning when the shop was at 68 degrees F and it acts the same now that it is 78 degrees F.

The fact that I can get Mach3 to freeze by pushing the XZERO button proves the problem is not related to the steppers moving. Less certain but still likely that the freezing does not occur when using the keyboard. It is also likely that the problem is not temperature dependent.

A theory: It is likely that asynchronous key presses on the keyboard are turned into synchronous events seen by the keyboard hardware so there is never a set up time problem that could lead to a logic 1/2. Otherwise, occasionally the PC hardware would miss the pressing of a key and the software would not respond. I have never seen this happen. Maybe the  asynchronous events from the Xbox controller are not turned into synchronous events seen by the PC. This means that occasionally, minimum set up time would not be satisfied. Maybe that causes the hardware in the PC to see a logic 1/2 and freeze up. The built in Xbox controller diagnostic seems to not freeze up (can't prove it) so maybe they protect against logic 1/2 in the software while the Mach3's software isn't that sophisticated. I'm not positive that software can handle this case but a search of the web did not turn up any games running on XP that use the Xbox controller that freeze up once other problems have been corrected.

I sure would like to hear from others that use the Xbox controller. If you repeatedly push the XZERO button quickly about 50 times, does Mach3 freeze for you? Periodically move the cursor to test for the frozen condition.

General Mach Discussion / Re: reproducable fault makes no sense to me
« on: December 03, 2016, 08:45:55 PM »
I swapped out the RAM. Made no difference. The search continues...

General Mach Discussion / Re: reproducable fault makes no sense to me
« on: December 01, 2016, 05:09:11 PM »
After many cycles of no failures with the fresh copy of the .XML file, I switched back to the copy I was using when I got Mach3 to freeze after less than 30 pulse. Sure enough, it doesn't freeze anymore! So until I can get failures again, I can't be sure I fixed anything. The next time Mach3 freezes, I will restart with my backup .XML file and see what happens.

IMHO, there is no problem harder to shoot than one that is so intermittent.


General Mach Discussion / Re: reproducable fault makes no sense to me
« on: December 01, 2016, 12:19:25 PM »

I can't prove a negative, but Mach3 was often freezing up after 3 pulses of the X axis and almost always froze up by 30 pulses. I installed my backup .XML and have not seen a problem after over 100 pulses. Will continue testing later.



General Mach Discussion / Re: reproducable fault makes no sense to me
« on: November 30, 2016, 08:49:14 AM »
I sadly agree that there is no future in Mach3 but that does not mean that I want to toss it either. My controller with Mach3 worked for a long time and then stopped working. That is not the sign of a software bug but rather of broken hardware or a corrupted file someplace. Your quote from Churchill actually fits my situation nicely.

I believe the problem I found is not a Mach3 problem and would probably exist with Mach4 too. It appears to be an interaction between a USB keyboard and the USB X Box Controller. With what I know now, my money is on a broken keyboard.


General Mach Discussion / Re: reproducable fault makes no sense to me
« on: November 29, 2016, 08:16:44 PM »
Correction: the keyboard is USB and not ps2.

General Mach Discussion / reproducable fault makes no sense to me
« on: November 29, 2016, 07:06:11 PM »
For many months I have been trying to debug Mach3 freezing while I manually control the X, Y, Z, or A axes. Never a problem using the keyboard arrow keys and never a problem when executing gcode. I replaced Mach3, the .dll related to xbox controller, and directX software. Still got random failures. Cleaned the xbox controller of swarf I found inside but still got random failures. Bought a new xbox controller and still got random failures.

Today I discovered that if I pulsed the X axis with the xbox controller I could get Mach3 to freeze in about 3 quick pulses (around 1/2 sec pulse). Power cycled, and repeated the test. Did this a total of 3 times. In all 3 test cycles, I got Mach3 to freeze in about 3 pulses.

They I tried something out of desperation: disconnected my ps2 keyboard and usb mouse. I pulsed the X axis about 30 times and no failures. Power cycled and plugged the keyboard back in. Got failure after 3 pulses.

Although not a 100% reliable test, it does imply that the keyboard causes the Xbox controller to lock up Mach3.

Has anyone else had this experience? Does anyone have a theory on how this could happen?

I took the keyboard apart and did not find any swarf inside. I'm in the process of soaking the plastic parts in soapy water right now just to be safe. I will rinse and dry before reassembling. I know these keyboards are low cost but want to learn as much as possible about the root cause and not just swap parts.

A side issue is that I found if I pulsed the x axis and pulsed the XZero button, I would eventually not be able to zero any axis. Easy to avoid this case but did see it as odd and possibly related to the main problem. However, I get this fault even with the keyboard removed.

All insights and wild speculation welcome.



General Mach Discussion / Re: what controls the A axis speed?
« on: October 03, 2016, 07:54:01 PM »
Wow! You nailed it. All works perfectly :-)

Thanks for the essential help.


General Mach Discussion / what controls the A axis speed?
« on: October 03, 2016, 10:01:23 AM »
I am doing engraving with code that passed through CNCWRAPPER. The letters come out perfect but the A axis turns very slowly. If I raise the IPM in the command line, any movement that does not involve the A axis goes too fast. I suspect that the slow speed is purely because A is slow so X must slow down too in order to correctly match the programmed path.

How do I increase the speed of the A axis? I tried changing the velocity, restarting the program, and testing the change. No perceived change from 50 to 2000 IPM.

My A axis is a modified rotary table with a 90:1 gear ratio.

If I do G0A90, for example, it runs very fast. But G1F1A90 is very slow.

Guidance most welcome!


General Mach Discussion / Fully removing X-Box Controller files
« on: October 01, 2016, 10:22:16 PM »
I have used my X-box controller with no problems for a long time. But in the last few months Mach3 randomly freezes. It only does this when I am using the X-box controller to move along an axis and then stop. If I unplug the controller and use the keyboard controls, all is fine.

Can someone tell me how to remove all associated files so I can do a clean install? Only replacing the .dll file did not solve the problem. Are their other programs that work with the controller that could be the source of my crashes? If so, how do I do a clean install of those programs?

Thanks in advance,


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