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Messages - ljwibb

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Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Jogging and DRO errors
« on: July 13, 2018, 04:28:31 AM »
A quick followup note.  Decided to try the above tests at much lower speeds.  Previously used G0 or G1 F100.  I've found that the DRO error disappears for feeds of 75mm/min or slower - so G54 G91 G1 Z-0.05 F75 gives the correct DRO change of -0.05mm, but using F76 gives only 0.03mm.

However still no luck with fine jogging, even with a jog speed down to 1%.


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Jogging and DRO errors
« on: July 13, 2018, 03:15:26 AM »
I have a similar problem, which is a pain for touching off manually.  Both the DRO's and actual machine movement is less than that commanded by either Gcode from the MDI or jog - so I don't believe it has anything to do with the controller.

Now running version  (but the problem also existed in versions from May and  Sept 2017)
Screenset:  stock wx4 from latest download, and in customized wx6 from ~Sept 2017

As this is bugging me, I've done some more tests today to quantify the problem.  The table below shows the error for 5 separate executes of a line of gcode via the MDI ie G54 G91 G0 Zstep.  For example, if Z0.001 is commanded 5x, the DRO and the machine move in uniform steps to 0.005 (so DRO/5X  = 1.000).  Same for 0.002mm, but not so for increment values from 0.002-0.098mm.  For step sizes above 0.098 mm everything is perfect.  Odd, especially as ridiculously small steps work OK.

(mm)         DRO @ 5X      DRO/5X

0.001   0.005   1.00
0.002   0.01           1.00
0.003   0.01           0.67
0.004   0.015   0.75
0.005   0.015   0.60
0.006   0.02           0.67
0.007   0.02           0.57
0.008   0.02           0.50
0.009   0.025   0.56
0.01           0.03           0.60
0.09           0.42           0.93
0.098   0.49           1.00
0.099   0.495   1.00
0.100    0.5            1.00

The jog command will not work at all for step sizes below around 0.05mm, meaning that I always have to use an MDI line of gcode to execute fine jogging.

Note that in all cases DRO changes are accurately reflected in axis movement (using a Z-setter, 0.01mm divisions).

I realise that 0.001mm movements are totally meaningless for machining, but my router/engraver will move 0.001mm on and off the 3D probe repeatedly (Z axis only - so no backlash issues) - despite the use of 1/25th microstepping.

Any ideas please?  This is really bugging me.

Best regards,

Peter, sorry to hear that your problem couldn't be sorted.  I confess to not really understanding what your problem is as all 4 XHC drivers used so far allow access via MachGUI.exe and with screen editing.  If it helps, happy to try and replicate your issue if you send me your config file and drivers (ljwibb@hotmail.com).  Louis

Bryanna - confirming that the new licence key worked perfectly, though as suspected the auto reply with the new key arrived as spam.  All good thanks!

A belated comment regarding the known issue with Mach4 swapping metric back to imperial units: It would be greatly appreciated if ArtSoft could actively advise users of known significant problems (an email to users each time a mission critical error is discovered for example), as this one caused several broken tools and crashes before I figured out there was a problem with Mach and not me or my pendant.  Finding out the hard way in CNC is certainly expensive.  Once knowing that I had an issue, I did search the web but did not find anything on-line, despite it being a known issue.  Guessing the right key words is random at best.  

Best regards,

Wow! thanks for the rapid response Bryanna,

I looks like I am able to lodge a ticket, but your responses are ending up somewhere else.  I'll check my spam and account settings in case I have screwed up.  I the meantime I will follow your prompts to get Mill Wizard reinstalled. Thanks again.  Really looking forward to using Mill Wizard!

Best regards,


Overall I would say yes - well worth the effort.  I know of major problems/lack of support with other boards/controllers, including dedicated controllers (Adtech in particular), so don't regard my experience the XHC controller as overly troublesome.  With regards to lack of support, I've actually had more issues with ArtSoft who refuses to acknowledge an issue/undocumented feature with Mach4 (I use metric, and if I go into config to check a value (ie not change anything), when I come out of config the units always revert to imperial even though G21 is active ... so a 10mm jog gives a 254mm travel!!   I need to exit and reopen every time opening config - despite claims to the contrary).  Not a major inconvenience once you know about it, but I did break a few tools until figuring out the glitch - which must surely affect others.  The other issue is with Mill Wizard.  Purchased last ~August, but unusable because it will not accept the key supplied.  I've given up trying to get a new key or advice on what to do.

With XHC, I actually tried to purchase this controller (the new 6 axis version for Mach4) before it had been properly released and was happy to wait a few weeks for the final debugging - so knew that I was one of the first to purchase.  In the event it arrived before my machine, so my first task when the machine arrived was to remove the Mach3 controller supplied and replace it with the XHC Mach4 version.  Although a complete novice with CNC, the install and Mach4 config was straight forward.  The XHC manual is very easy to follow.  The machine worked fine for the first few jobs, but then I started to get the occasional missed step accompanied by a grunt from the steppers.  The G31 macro was also not giving reproducible tool lengths.  XHC were initially quite dismissive of the controller having a problem, and instead insisted that the problem was my setup - reasonable given the vast array of setups possible and novice users like myself.  In the end I recorded the diagnostics screen whilst probing (using the screen record function in PowerPoint) and sent this to XHC.  They responded immediately, and we ended up having a couple of Skype and TeamViewer sessions with their software guy which showed problems with both the controller AND my computer (although its a high performance laptop, I was using an appropriate USB cable and had too much other junk running in the background which were causing USB timing issues).  XHC provided an updated driver for me to try within hours which together with my tidying up my hardware has solved my issues (almost).  My only gripe is that G31 is still not as consistent as my own step on-off-on.. probing macro.  It occasionally is 1 or 2 microsteps (0.00625mm or 0.00025" steps) out.  My macro is always spot on.  The simple solution is to only use G31 for the initial rapid probe to the guess length, then revert to my step method.  This is actually slightly quicker than running a G31 at a low feed rate for the last (say) 10mm.

I've tested the controller with a number of repetitive tasks and then checked to make sure that the actual final position is as commanded by Mach.  This included drilling a 2mm sieve plate.  All good.

My main recommendation to anyone having support issues is to obtain screen dumps or a short video of the problem to enable the vendor to make an informed comment.  "Occasionally missing steps" isn't very helpful as I soon found out.

Best regards,

All I purchased an early 6 axis version of this card last May and did have problems, especially with G31 and ocassional loss of steps.  However, Alex and his programmer spent a few hours with me using TeamViewer to access my machine on the job, and the main problem was the bloatware running on my laptop which was screwing up USB comms with the board (no surprises I guess).   I now use a dedicated user profile for Mach4 and disable any non-essentials manually, which together with the driver updates late last year solved my problems.  I don't know what the issue with the MachGUI and screen editing is.  As far as I can tell all of Machs functions work fine, including allowing me to heavily customise all of Mach4s screens.

I do intend buying a 2 more - a 6 axis for an IHI45 conversion, and a 3 axis one for a AL960B conversion.

Let me know what I am missing?

Best regards

Aegir - had the same problem.  In the m6 macro I just check the tool diameter in the tool table immediately before probing, and if its greater than 20 mm move the Y-axis by half the tool diameter from its normal position before probing.  As the move is separate to the initial axis moves over the tool setter, and made immediately before probing its easy to pick up errors.  It will also error if the tool diameter comes back zero.  I only need to make sure that a cutter tooth is on the side nearest the tool setter.  Pretty crude but works for me.

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