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This never used to happen. However, since I updated to 4612, it's now a problem.
I think this is connected with the horrible sluggish response that we now get with Mach4 when doing anything that used to be nice and snappy. I get the impression that it's to do with a buffer being filled and emptied.
In this case, the contents of the buffer seems to be getting dumped! I've just clocked up the job again, and it lost 0.61mm in the X-axis!!!

To be honest, I'm sick of the problems that have been introduced... the Single block, the sluggish response and now lost position. It used to be a much more stable platform, and now I can't trust it.

Please don't tell me that I shouldn't hit Stop while it's running. That always worked and it's something you can do on any CNC machine. It's up to the CNC control to deal with it or disallow it, not the user.

I've ordered a KFLOP and KANALOG board from Dynamotion so I can get a machine that I can rely upon to repond correctly to the user commands. It's a pity, because Mach4 has so much promise. However, endless tinkering and messing up basic functions that worked fine for years is not acceptable.

Mach4 General Discussion / Mach4 hogging CPU time
« on: April 07, 2021, 08:02:03 AM »
I see that Mach4GUI.exe is hogging anything between 40-50% of the CPU time on my PC when booted and idle. The drives aren't even enabled.

Can anyone tell me why this is happening? Surely it should be idle, taking next to no processing power if it's not executing a program?

Out of interest I changed the priority of the process to see how much difference that makes. It still takes over 30% of the CPU time.

Clearly it's very busy doing something, but it's slowing down the PC unnecessarily as far as I can see.

My system is as follows...

Mach4 which currently uses an Ethernet Smoothstepper to drive the AC Servos.
SureServo AC Servos resolving to 1 micron up to 3000mm/min using differential Step/Direction inputs.

I'm currently using Mach 4 with backlash compensation, but want to get away from that.

My machine has Newall Linear scales fitted on all three axes but I've never been able to use them. It seems crazy to have them and not to be able to take advantage of the additional accuracy they will offer. However, the only options I've seen so far are outrageously expensive, but KFLOP may just provide the answer.

So the key questions are these...

1) Can I use the 1 micron Linear scales with the KFLOP controller?
2) Will it output the necessary Step/Direction outputs?
3) Will it cope with the very high resolution at 3000mm/min, and is there enough bandwidth on the USB2 connector so service that?
4) What breakout boards do you have to enable the unit to be hooked up to my existing wiring?
5) My spindle uses an analog 0-10V output. Do you have a way of connecting that up?
6) Is there a plugin for this motion controller?

I've posted a similar set of questions to KFLOP, but I'd like to hear what people on this side of the implementation have to say about it.

Any help would be very much appreciated.

I upgraded to  ESS V270 from  V4.2.0.3804 ESS V231 and now have this issue.

I've attached the debug report which gets generated every time I close the program.
The ESS configuration stays mostly intact, but the Input pins get wiped out so the machine won't home until I fill them in again.

If I re-assign the Input pins in the ESS pluging, then exit the program I get the error. However, if I go straight back in and check , the assignments are still there. However, yet again, I've come back to the machine this morning and powered it up only to find that they've been lost again.

I don't know if these two things are connected or not. What I don't understand is how these are being corrupted and lost? Warp9 tell me that the ESS pluging writes any necessary changes on exit, but since nothing is being changed, I don't know why it would do that.

Can someone please look into this? I also have the Single Step issue reported separately. We seem to be going backwards rather than forwards with upgrades.

Mach4 General Discussion / Spindle RPM runaway
« on: February 18, 2021, 03:11:39 PM »
Has anyone experienced this? I've got two separate spindle that I can use on my mill, each with their own frequency converter.

In recent weeks I've had both run up to maximim RPM while running a program, even though there's no speed change in the program. That's oversped and destroyed three spindles now that I'm going to have to re-bearing. I can't afford for this to keep happening?

Is this unique to my setup? Any ideas what might be causing it?

You may well argue that it shouldn't be -ve, but the fact remains that after it's plunged the tool at speed into the work, the Stop button ought to stop it!

What happens is that the Spindle does stop, but the cycle continues to the end. No amount of pressing Stop will make it stop. All you can do is hit the Emergency stop.

This may also be true for G81, but I haven't tried it.

Mach4 Plugins / Fine jogging of A-axis issue
« on: September 17, 2020, 05:04:58 PM »
I've created a Jogging panel which has radio buttons for selecting 1mm, 0.1mm, 0.01mm and 0.001mm increments as well as one for Continuous.
I've been using this for well over a year and it works fine in X,Y & Z
However, I've now fitted an A-axis and it only jogs when I select the 1mm and 0.1mm radio buttons. 1mm represents 1 degree etc.

The Issue is that it should jog to a resolution of 0.01mm (0.01 degrees) because I've got 10,000 steps/revolution and a 3.6:1 reduction on the belt drive. That means 100 steps for 1 degree which is what I get when I command the A-axis to 360degrees and it comes back to the start.

I've just tried a series of program moves at 0.01degrees and it's happy to execute those moves.

The jog increments are set using the Left Up Script of the radio buttons
This is what I do for each button...

local inst = mc.mcGetInstance()
local rc

rc = mc.mcJogSetInc(inst, mc.X_AXIS, 0.01)

It's interesting that you don't need to set the Y or Z axis, they all seem to use the same one. I can replace that line with A-AXIS and the X,Y and Z all increment 0.01 but the A-AXIS doesn't move.

The actual jog is triggered by the Left Down Action Event of the A+ jog button being set to Jog A+. Clearly this correctly hooked up else it wouldn't work on the 1mm and 0.1mm jog increments.

So it looks to me like there's a bug that's preventing the A-AXIS responding to the higher resolutions. Something is different about the way it's handling those.

There must be a shared variable somewhere that's being set to the increment used by the Jog X+ and Jog A+ buttons. That's clearly being set correctly because when I select the 0.01mm radio button, the X,Y & Z axes increment correctly, but not the A axis.

Any ideas? It looks like a bug to me.

Mach4 Plugins / Galil plugin compatibility
« on: July 19, 2019, 02:39:04 PM »
I've had an email exchange with Galil about what motion controller they could supply to allow me to use my Linear Scales on my 4-axis mill. Currently the system uses a SmoothStepper and backlash compensation driving AC Servos.

They suggest using their DMC 41x3 motion controller but they don't know if this is compatible with a Mach4 plugin.

So the question is whether there is a Mach4 plugin that will work with this unit? If there isn't, would someone be willing to update the Mach4 plugin so this could be made to work?

I've done a fair bit of research, and I can't find any motion control product that close the loop with linear encoders and Mach4. Maybe someone knows different? My current setup with AC servos closes the loop with the leadscrew, but that's only half an answer. What's needed is a proper solution to this more tricky but much more satisfactory solution to dealing with backlash.

HiCON Motion Controller / Linear scales in dual loop feedback system
« on: July 19, 2019, 09:42:10 AM »
I posed this question directly to VitalSystems but got no reply....

"I have a system running Mach4 connected to a CM106ESS Smoothstepper breakout board via LAN with SureServo AC Servos using Step & Direction pulses, as if they were Stepper motors. However, I have Linear scales on all three axes and I'd like to close the loop with those instead of just having the closed loop on the leadscrew.
Do you have a solution that would allow me to take the output from Mach4 and feedback from the Linear encoders and feed the AC Servos with Step & Direction pulses or Modbus?

So to recap, the PC talks to the CM106ESS board which handles the I/O for the drives, spindle and limit switches. The SureServo AC servo takes the Step & Direction pulses and closes the loop with the rotary encoder which is integral to the drive motor.
I have Newall microsyn 1micron linear scales on each of the 3 axes but these are currently unused.

The aim is to use the linear scales to overcome the backlash issues which limit the accuracy of the current setup, even though backlash compensation is enabled.

I've attached the manuals of the components mentioned above so you can see in more detail what I'm currently running. (note:- I can't include these here because they're too big for the Forum)

Ideally I'd just plug a board in place of the CM106ESS which would take the commands from Mach4 via Ethernet and allow me to connect the AC Servos via Step & Direction or Modbus as well as the Linear encoders to close the position loop.

Perhaps you can tell me if this is feasible and what I would need to buy to implement it."

I've been communicating with the suppliers of the Galil motion controller and that does look like they might be able to help, but it's mighty expensive. Their solution involves controlling the SureServo using +/-10V analogue signals so they can control each element of the control loop without the SureServo controlling the motor position. In other words, the SureServo would be a torque control system, with the position being controlled by the outer loop and the linear scales.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated

This has happened several times recently. I don't know if this is a Plugin issue with the ESS or whether it's an issue with Mach4. Perhaps this is somehow related to a watchdog not being refreshed during the regeneration?

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