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Messages - Sage

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Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach4 Printer Port Discussions
« on: November 17, 2017, 08:35:08 AM »
I won't beat a dead horse. If your done with it then so be it. The frequency is not the issue for me. When the signal is issued it works. (read previous post for full explanation) The problem is Darwin starts sending the signal out just until the screen is fully up then it quits. It requires a toggle of the enable / disable screen button to get it going again then it's fine. But if you hit a limit or something it drops out and requires the toggle again to get it going.
 I've concluded you are probably not receiving any complaints because nobody is using it. A shame really because except for this problem it works really well and got me going trying Mach4 well before any of the external motion controllers were working. But I needed to switch between 3/4 because of all the bugs (initially) with Mach4. But the charge pump was not acceptable. So I've just stuck with Mach3. It's been a couple of years now and I guess there are bug free (?) solutions available but...
 I wasn't expecting any more development. Just a bug fix.
Enough said. Back to work with Mach3.

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 and parallel port
« on: November 09, 2017, 07:12:35 AM »
Thanks Tweakie:
Quite some time ago I posted about this problem and a work-around was suggested for the charge pump. Basically it was to configure a second enabling signal for it.
Apparently it works but I never tried it in hopes that the real problem would be solved. I'll have to give it a try I guess.
As for the PWM problem, that's news to me. I presume you use that for motor speed? I don't have a motor speed control so I never ran into it. Just another brick in the wall.
Oh well. It is what it is I guess. To quote a recent email response from NFS concerning this issue  "I am not sure what you would expect for $25".  ???

Anyway, back to work - with Mach3. Eventually I'll break down and buy a motion controller. I'm in no rush.  :-\

Case closed I guess.

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 and parallel port
« on: November 08, 2017, 04:26:57 PM »
All good points. I can turn the charge pump off any time with the flip of a dip switch. It's just a matter of principle. I have no pressing need to go to Mach 4. I've been waiting a couple of years now for a finished Mach4 solution. I guess it's probably out there now. Just the same I'll wait and see what becomes of the USB ESS solution. If I buy anything it will probably be the PoKeys device. They seem to be the teachers pet with NFS. (Just my observation).

In the mean time I'm still wondering if there is anyone out the using the parallel port with Mach 4 (at all)

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 and parallel port
« on: November 07, 2017, 11:14:20 PM »
Joeaverage: I guess you're using the network ESS? Because I thought the USB ESS did not have a Mach 4 driver yet - right?
SO rather than spend more money. I'll hold out until they get the USB ESS working. Then I'll switch. OR I'll just turn off the charge pump and use Mach4 with the parallel port or stick with Mach3.

dude1: Exactly. You shouldn't have to fuss with it. That's why I'd like to see them fix the bug and present a finished product. Especially when they are charging extra for it.
But (as before) I'd still be interested in hearing from anyone using the parallel port with Mach4 with the charge pump.

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 and parallel port
« on: November 07, 2017, 08:32:42 PM »
So to be clear you are using which Mach version and Which Smooth stepper?

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 and parallel port
« on: November 07, 2017, 05:49:11 PM »
I bought it because it was cool I guess. ;)  I'm always tempted by new toys and it was supposed to be much better than the parallel port. But on my machine it wasn't that much better.
 Also it was about the time the rumors were abound that parallel ports would not be available on newer computers. But I happened upon a really fast old machine with XP and a parallel port so there was really no need to change machines. This machine runs Mach4 just fine. I also had visions of making a smaller footprint package with a new computer. Never got around to it. "If it ain't broke.....
 I have 1200oz/in steppers  and Gecko drives. It never loses steps and moves faster than the rigidity of the machine can handle.
As I mentioned I wanted to maintain my Mach3 machine and be able to switch to Mach4 for testing back when everyday there was a new and defective edition to be tried. It was a simple restart with different software. I have work to do with my machine so I stick with what works. (Mach3). But I still mess with Mach4 once in a while to see what's new. Seems very stable now.
One day I'll switch but it has to be such that I can switch back. I can't have a machine that gives me problems.

I'm still looking for someone that uses the parallel port with Mach4 - with the charge pump preferably.

Dude1: The charge pump can be made to work. It's just that it drops out a bit after startup. Once you toggle the enable / disable button your good to go. But I think it also requires a double toggle of the enable / disable if it ever gets disabled. This leads to forgetting to do so and then you go to move and nothing moves and the DRO's are off the actual position and a re-cal is required. It's just a pain. Again: because I wanted to be able to switch between Mach3 and Mach4 the config had to be one way or the other on my breakout board. Yes I could turn it off for both but it's a matter of principle. The driver is defective and I guess I'm crazy to think NFS should fix it.

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 and parallel port
« on: November 07, 2017, 01:41:29 PM »
Yeah. I know all about it. If you go over to the Parallel port discussion thread you'll see I was working with Art on testing it. I don't know the arrangement but NFS appears to claim ownership for it now (in so far as they are selling and supporting it at least) and I've been back and forth with support quite a bit. They can duplicate the issue but say there is no financial incentive to work on it. Also apparently Art no longer has a machine with a parallel port to take a look at it. (at least the way I interpret emails anyway). A shame they continue to sell a (less than perfect) parallel port driver.
I guess the parallel port really is dead. (unless you work around it). A shame really because it works well.

But. I still like to hear from ANYONE that has it working with the charge pump activated.

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 and parallel port
« on: November 07, 2017, 12:58:58 PM »

One last question about the charge pump....have you ever had the charge pump shut down and prevent an immanent runaway?


Nope. But most fighter pilots have never used their parachute either.  ;)
It's there, I expect it to work. But I guess if NFS has no interest in fixing it (for whatever reason) There's nothing I can do about it except bypass it.

So. back to the original question.

Does anyone have Mach4 working with the parallel port and the charge pump??   - OR -  Lets start simple. Is anyone using the parallel port at all with Mach4?
Because it works well except for the bug. Why should I throw more money away on a motion controller. I've been waiting for years to get something to show for the money I threw away on the USB Smooth Stepper.

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 and parallel port
« on: November 07, 2017, 07:13:09 AM »
Thanks for all the comments on why I should or shouldn't switch to a motion controller but my original question was whether anyone has the parallel port working WITH the charge pump. So I'd rather stay on topic. But to answer your comments:
 The charge pump is an important safety feature. If the software goes into the weeds - in theory - the charge pump signal should also fail and will shut down the drive.
We all know how flakey Mach4 (and even Mach3) has been throughout development so I figured it was probably a good safety feature to keep. Besides that I was always switching back and forth between Mach3 and Mach4 to test it for NFS because I have an older XP machine. It was a simple software switch to test, identify problems and then get back to work. No hardware changes required. I was hoping NFS would stand behind the product that I paid extra for and at least fix the bug. I guess not. I'm not expecting them to do any further development on it.
Darwin works fine on my mill other than this problem.The charge pump works. It's just that it comes up and then fails after program startup.
Joeaverage: You mention that the Smooth stepper works in Mach4 - the USB version???. I didn't think so. I have one of those. Brand new - on the shelf - never used - never needed. As far as I'm aware it's a dead product and was a waste of money on my part. But I don't keep up to date on their work so maybe I stand corrected - let me know.
So back to the question. Does anyone have the parallel port working in Mach4 WITH the charge pump. Maybe I missed something in the (very) convoluted configuration.

Mach4 General Discussion / Mach 4 and parallel port
« on: November 06, 2017, 10:57:00 PM »
I posted the following in the parallel port discussion topic with no response.

Does anyone have the parallel port working with Mach4. Specifically with the charge pump activated? I'd be interested in comparing configurations.
I have been in contact (for several months) with NFS support and they have confirmed that (as I observed) the charge pump signal from Darwin initially comes up and then fails just after Mach4 startup. It requires a toggle of the enable / disable screen button to get it going again. This would not be a big problem except that when if fails the DRO's still change but the axis' do not move because the lack of charge pump signal has disabled the drives. So then the disable/enable trick has to be done and a re-calibrate is required.
 In my latest exchange with support they have indicated that they have no (financial) interest in working further to correct the issue and suggest I purchase a motion controller instead. Fair enough I guess but it makes me wonder why they continue to sell the parallel port plug-in (Darwin) when it has this bug. Then it makes me wonder - if they have sold more than the one I have - what have others done to make it work. Maybe I've missed something.
 So, Is the parallel port finally dead?


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