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Topics - Clive McCarthy

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General Mach Discussion / erratic pulse train fix?
« on: June 10, 2013, 03:17:26 AM »
I have MACH3 hooked up to a Gecko 540 but the power and fault (charge pump) lights both rapidly flash and the steppers vibrate. I suspect the timing pulses are erratic.

I've read the MACH3 manual entry that describes running the DriverTest program:

You can ignore all the boxes with the exception of the Pulses Per Second. It should be fairly steady
around your chosen kernel pulse frequency (25,000 Hz, 35,000 Hz, etc.). Your pulse rate may vary,
however, even quite wildly. This is because Mach3 uses the Windows clock to calibrate its pulse timer
and, over a short time scale, the Windows clock can be affected by other processes loading the com-
puter. So you may actually be using an “unreliable” clock (the Windows one) to check Mach3 and so
get the false impression that Mach3's timer is unsteady.

DriverTest evaluates the pulse stream and displays a Pulse Rating below the Timer Variations graph.
In Figure 2-4, the pulse rating is Excellent. If your system has more variation, the pulse rating may be
good, fair, or poor. If you see a screen similar to Figure 2-4, with only small spikes on the Timer Vari-
ations graph, a steady number of pulses per second, and a good or excellent rating, everything is work-
ing well. Close the DriverTest program and proceed to Section 2.3 describing Mach3 Profiles, below.
If you have problems with the installation, refer to Section 2.4, Installation Problems.



But section 2.4 doesn't explain what to do if the pulse rate is poor. How bad does it have to be? The DriverTest shows me results that sometimes say "Excellent" but at other times "Too Slow" or "Too fast". Is this the normal variation simply caused by the Windows clock measuring approach? I have a 1.6GHz Athlon processor on an old motherboard. The parallel port is fine. I've set the Bios to EPP for bidirectional signals etc. I have a 'fresh' installation of XP and nothing else running. What should I do? Switch to another junky computer? Is there a list of computers that have been tested with MACH3? Is there a list of BAD computers?

What set of computers are used by ArtSoft for their regression tests?



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