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Mach4 General Discussion / Help Troubleshooting Z Axis issue w/ MB3 & ESS
« on: December 04, 2023, 04:08:19 PM »
Machine specifics.

ClearPath Servos X4: CPM-SDSK-3441P-ELS
Power Supplies X2 w/ two servos per PS: ClearPath  350/500 Watt DC Power Supply IPC-5
Controller: MB3 with ESS and Mach4
VFD: Fu Ling DZB300B002.2LSA Input 3PH 220V 50/60Hz Output 3PH 0-200V 0-60Hz 2.2KW 10.0A
Spindle: 3kw 220v 10A 400Hz
EMI Filter on power into control cabinet: CW4L2-20A-S 115/250v 60/50HZ
Large farad on power line to Spindle unknown specs it came with my original Chinese setup
Farads on all control lines leaving cabinet to servos.
Power and control wiring for the servos are all Teknic supplied wires EXCEPT I used shielded outdoor rated CAT6 wiring to go from the MB3 to the circular aviation connectors to connect to the panel (maybe a foot long with farads on them0.
Spindle wiring is grounded. It wasn’t originally but I opened it up and grounded it then to the machine. Each moving part of the machine is grounded to the next piece of the machine until it gets to the machine frame. Machine is grounded to the building ground rod about 3 feet from machine. The control cabinet is grounded to the wiring ground which eventually is grounded to the same outside rod.

Z Axis issues

I am having issues with my Z axis and can’t figure it out. I’m posting this in multiple forums since I don’t know which component is causing the problem.

Z will stop responding to Mach4 randomly. There are no errors and Mach4 thinks it is moving and shows the coordinates changing on the DRO even though it is stuck.

Restarting everything, Mach4, ESS with MB3, computer and the machine won’t usually get it working again. I have to unplug the power plug for the Z servo from the power supply side and plug it back in. Unplugging from the servo end doesn’t do it most of the time. There are no LED errors flashing on the power supply when this happens.

When the Z servo stops responding the green light is still flashing on the servo and the Z axis cannot be moved manually as the servo is engaged. As soon as power is removed from the servo, I can push the axis up and down no problem.

I know VFDs are horrible for noise and sometimes this would happen after running a cut but there have been more and more times when I haven’t even starting cutting anything so the VFD has not been running the spindle.
I have been trying to troubleshoot this and looking at the MB3 LEDs there are some strange things going on.

I have the HLFB+ outputs from the servos connected to the MB3 even though I have not set anything up in Mach4 to use them. I’m honestly a bit confused as to what all I can do with them but I connected them so they would be ready for the time I do figure them out. I’ve noticed the LEDs for their inputs sometimes are all lit, other times only some are and generally when the Z is not working only one of the Y axis servos (I have a dual gantry servo setup) will be lit.

Today as I was getting info together to write this, I noticed only three of the HLFB+ inputs were lit but all axes were responding properly. I have the outputs set to ASG-Position, w/Measured Torque in the ClearPath tuning software.

Before when the Z would stop responding this would be frustrating, but it wasn’t hurting anything because it only happened when not running the spindle but now it is.

I’m cutting a large sign from HDU (sign foam) I could tell static was building up on the dust collector line and then the Z started getting lower and lower and starting cutting completely through the bottom of the sign into my spoil board, but Mach4 DRO showed it cutting the correct depth. It was colder outside with lower humidity which added to it.

I stopped and grounded the dust collector line which seems to have helped a little but on my next clearing toolpath with a smaller bit I could tell the Z height was still off from where it should have been the further into the tool path it went.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I can do to troubleshoot and eliminate this issue?

I just updated to version 5125. I have an ESS and updated to the latest plugin for it. I renamed my old Mach4 installation and installed version 5125. Imported my backed up profile.

On the first start of my profile I get this error and Mach crashes

I uninstalled and reinstalled same thig.

Found the missing file in my old installation copied it over and things loaded.

In the old version every time I closed Mach4 it would crash and I would get the crash report that didn't help me. Same thing happens in 5125 but this time when I tried to start Mach4 and select my profile it would immediately crash. Mach4 will only start again if I select a stock profile to load, then close Mach4, restart it and select my profile but even that is a roll of the dice and sometimes rebooting the PC is the only way to get it to start.

I have changed back to a stock screenset hoping that would help but it doesn't.

Loading a stock profile has no issues with craching on close.

Any ideas? I really do not want to have to redo my entire profile and configuration.

Mach4 General Discussion / Touch Off UI Find Center Not Working
« on: April 28, 2023, 09:40:27 AM »
Probing works fine for one Axis. I can zero my Z, find the edge of X & Y but if I try using the "Find Center" in my center finding touchplate it will move to the X-, contact the plate, then make a small move in the X+ direction and then disables Mach.

This is what History shows.

"X axis is performing a touch move.
ESS starting Probe 0
ESS: Successful Probe0 Strike.  Probing finished.
ERROR: No contact with probe"

I have an ESS and have "Probing Failure Disables Mach" deselected. I have also tried with it enabled with no change in result.

My grounding of the system is very good and have no noise issues.  I did try adding noise filtering in the ESS configs but there was not change. If it was noise I would also think I would have issues with other touch probe functions but all work for a single function.

I've looked at all the topics I can find and I may have missed the answer so if anyone can help I would greatly appreciate it.

I have my clearpath servos set to home to hard stops when they are enabled by Mach4 for the 1st time after powering them up. I like this function but of course since I have added limit switches they will triggered.

Is there a way to keep the limit switches from being enabled until AFTER the home to hard stops is complete? I know I can have the HLFB output from the servo tell Mach4 several different things so I'm thinking there might be a way to tell Mach to keep the limits disabled until the input tells Mach it is done and ready to go to work.

Every time Mach4 starts I have this in the history even though they have not been touched:

Home switch Y Home tripped!
Home switch Y Home tripped!
Home switch Z Home tripped!

And ever time I run the homing sequence I get these warnings over and over:

!!!!WARNING: A motor seems to be stuck backing off of a home switch! Check the diagnostics tab to see if the Home switch indicator is active when the switch is not!

But no motors are stuck and everything references fine.

Any ideas?

Lastly how do I chance how far the axis will back off of the home switch? My Y axis clears it but the X & Z tend to stay just enough on them to keep them triggered.

I apologize if this has been asked and answered but searching did't turn up what I was looking for.

I just physically hooked up a laser cross hair to my machine and it is connected to the output port 32 on my controller.

Using ger21's 2010 screenset there is a button for using the cross-hair but I'm still new enough at this I have no clue which output  this button is trying to use.

When i looked in the ports and pins setup I obviously have many choices to map the pin to under outputs but want to make sure I choose the one I need the button to power.

Actually now that I'm thinking it through as I type I'm guessing the cross-hair button only tells Mach3 to reset the DRO's to the coordinates of where the laser cross-hair is pointed so I need to figure out how to map turning it on and off to a key but I've no clue.

It is currently mapped to Output5 .

Thanks in advance and thank you so much for all the help you guys give on this forum.


Nothing has changed in my hardware setup. I was having weird glitches in macros so uninstalled Mach3 .066 (deleted folders and even cleaned the registry to be safe) and reinstalled. I re-did my entire configuration from scratch from screenshots I took of all menus so no corrupt xml file to mess me up.

When I turn Mach3 off my machine does the "clunk" so I know it is getting power from the controller card.

Sergey at KSILabs has been trying to help me work through it and nothing he's suggested has worked.

Hardware was working just fine before and I swear I didn't touch it.

Have switched inputs from active low to not just in case and no joy.

I've even uninstalled and re-installed drivers and the PCI card.

Sergey even suggested going back to .062, which is what I started with when I first got my CENTIPEDE controller and it just worked then.

I'm at my wits end. Does anyone have a suggestion? I'm attaching my newly created xml file.

I found the mastercam post processor and overall things are working much better with code MasterCAM puts out but on some files it will start to do my tool change, it will go to the correct X,Y position for the tool change, then I hit cycle start, it will go to the correct X,Y position for the fixed tool check plate and start to descend but a second later will stop descending with t ding sounding from Mach3 and sit there showing Probing for Z Zero... but nothing happens until I hit either stop, at which point it will flash "Error on line 147 - Application defined or object defined (and then I can't see the rest of the error)" or if I hit Cycle start again it will start descending but will try and push through to the center of the earth.

It will do this with some of the cut files I create but not others but they are all created using the same settings in the post processor file; at least I think so.

Any ideas?

Hello Everyone. I am absolutely loving ger21's screenset and being able to do tool changes but in my first larger cut I'm having weird issues.

I'm using MasterCAM x5 to create the code and I know there are a few quarks like I have to change the very first G90 in the code to G91.1 to make it not error upon loading in Mach3.

The other issue I had was there was an M01 call right before the 1st real tool change (yes there is an M6 at the start but that works flawlessly) and Mach just stopped at that. So I removed the M01 and it seemed to work. Since the spindle was 44" away it came back to the front, let me change the bit, did it's re-zero to the fixed tool change touchplate then went all the way back to the far end of the piece where it was.

Then instead of starting back up a strange menu popped up with a bunch of check-boxes and things about starting the spindle and getting up to feed rate so I hit ok (this wasn't the usuall just hit cycle start again to get going).

Did that and then the spindle came all the way back to the front and didn't do anything.

I'm guessing it is something in MasterCAM's creating the gcode causing this but I'm not sure what.

Could someone take a look and let me know what I need to fix? It's probably the lines around 150

General Mach Discussion / Ideas for a jig to do Set Steps Per Axis?
« on: September 17, 2013, 12:36:30 AM »
I find my X axis gets off ever so slightly when doing large cuts and I try changing cutters so I want to do a long distance auto setup of the X axis using the "Set Steps Per Axis" button on the Settings screen but I'm having trouble figuring out a good way to do this. I did it when I first got my machine but with only 6" or so. My machine is 11' long so I have a lot of distance I can play with. Does anyone have pictures or even a good explanation of what they used for a jig etc to accomplish this?

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