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Messages - jallitt

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SmoothStepper USB / Re: LUV-N the ESS!!!
« on: April 25, 2012, 10:12:19 PM »
I just received an ESS from Homann Designs in Australia and swapped out the USB SS I had on a router. Everything seems to work as expected. I added a $10 ethernet card to the PC and setup is pretty simple.

Couple of things to watch out for.

I have a relay board on port 2 so had to set "port 2 pins 2-9" to "output" in the config screen since it defaults to "input"

For some reason it decided to home my X-axis the wrong way - easy fix in the limits/home settings though.

When trying to open some g-code I got an ESS timeout while the file browser was refreshing, PC was quite busy after rebooting and applying some updates so that could be why it was slow to refresh the file list. I extended the timeout to 3 seconds. Luckily the ESS seems to wake up afterwards.

General Mach Discussion / Re: how to change axis orientation
« on: November 21, 2011, 11:27:04 PM »
I'd just flip the "DIR low active" checkbox in the motor outputs. Then your DRO should count up and your axis should move the other way.

General Mach Discussion / Re: Mach3 vs NC-studio
« on: November 07, 2011, 04:17:38 AM »
The router has a simple breakout board with a 15 pin connector on it. The NC-studio PCI card just has 3 sets of step/dir signals, 3 outputs to control the VFD speed, and 3 limit switch inputs so I just traced the wiring and have the mach breakout board between the parallel port and a 15-pin connector like this:

I didn't want to start disconnecting wires in the machine until I was sure this would work. Wasn't 100% sure I'd be able to start the spindle the way the VFD is configured.

Now that I know where all the wires go I can replace the 15-pin BOB in the machine with the parallel port BOB.

General Mach Discussion / Mach3 vs NC-studio
« on: November 07, 2011, 12:32:52 AM »
seems like a lot of routers out of China come with NC-studio which uses a PCI card to control the machines via a 15 pin cable.

I just picked up a used 1200x1200 machine with the aforementioned NC-studio and got it running and did a test cut with the last tool path I ran on a smaller mach3 controlled 500x300 machine and it was quite disappointing - lots of dwell marks and odd lines in the surface - admittedly this was a 1/72 scale model plane part which isn't what the machine was designed for but I figured it should be able to do a bit better.

So I wired a Mach compatible breakout board to  some ribbon cable hooked up to a 15 pin D connector (so I didn't need to modify anything in the machine), set up and tuned the motors (7000mm/min rapids which is pretty good and maybe a bit fast) and re-ran the part. It's basically identical to the part made on my smaller machine.

Here's a comparison pic -

Mach/smoothstepper 500x300 machine on the left, Mach on the 1200x1200 machine in the middle, NC-studio on the 1200x1200 machine on the right.

The results speak for themselves and I'll be permanently wiring in the mach breakout board...

Interesting... I haven't been here for a while since my router hasn't been getting a lot of use and I thought I'd mostly solved my noise/smoothstepper lockup issues but I had a job fail twice after a couple of minutes of cutting on Monday (which is odd since it was running fine the previous day). My  router has a chinese vfd controlled, water cooled spindle which is quite noisy and it wouldn't run for more than 30 seconds before the smoothstepper would freeze with a "normal" usb cable.

Anyhoo - my original setup isolated the smoothstepper board with a shielded 5 meter usb extension cable (which actually has a 1port usb hub in the end). This was coiled up in the enclosure the smoothstepper was in and seemed to be 90% reliable.

After reading this thread I decided to try cutting the shield from the smoothstepper end of a 1m USB cable to see if it would "work" and, so far, it seems to be stable. I'll kick off a couple of real jobs tomorrow and see if it stays going...

SmoothStepper USB / Feed hold and SS
« on: June 13, 2009, 06:20:36 PM »
Was running a job yesterday and decided to swap a tool halfway through (for a sharper one) and hit feed hold, machine stops as expected. I jogged clear of the part, changed the tool and hit the auto tool zero button and nothing happened. Tried jogging and mach seemed very sluggish. I ended up hitting reset and rewind to be able to rezero the tool and had to start the job from the beginning.

I've also noticed that the "preparational move" dialog doesn't come up after you've jogged during a feed hold.

I'll run some tests a bit later (machine is busy right now)  but can anyone confirm that the SS doesn't respond to script generated motion commands during a feed hold?

SmoothStepper USB / Re: smoothstepper hangs mach3
« on: June 10, 2009, 05:03:12 PM »
A couple of observations based on my SS. The USB cable I originally tried had no continuity between the metal shells of the connectors - which suggests there was no shielding.  Also the onboard USB 1 ports in the PC didn't seem to work reliably at all.

The only way I could get stable results was to use a shielded 5m USB extension cable which has a hub integrated into the end. I now have that coiled up inside a metal enclosure, with a "normal" usb cable coiled up in the same box connected to the SS.

Aside from my x or y home inputs getting stuck on randomly - it seems to be performing as expected i.e I actually cut some parts with it and the machine is definitely running smoother.

Having said all that - the main source of interference I have is from the VFD/spindle, which, without a complete disassemble and rewire,  is going to be tricky to resolve.

I might have spoken too soon, tried running a job (aircuts only) and it failed after about 10 minutes. So I plugged a 5m USB extension cable into a PC on the other side of the shop and it ran fine for 4 hours straight.

So I swapped PCs, plugged the SS straight into the "other" PC and it failed as soon as the spindle started :(

Then I  plugged in the 5m extension cable and it worked. Turns out the 5m USB cable is heavily shielded and it actually has a USB hub in the plug at the end. So... I've swapped the PC's back and it seems to be working with the original PC and the 5m extension cable between the PC and SS (note that the SS and PC are still less than a meter from the spindle VFD).

OK - new USB 2.0 card did the trick. Spindle VFD isn't killing the SS and the mill seems much more responsive to jog commands (in fact it all seemed very sluggish via the old USB).

So, it seems like it's behaving like it did from parallel port control. Won't know for sure until I actually run a 4 hour job on it though ;)

So old onboard USB  =  bad, new USB card = good

Bob isn't opto isolated but stepper drivers are and the ouputs go through an 8 way relay board.

Turns out the cable from the VFD up to the router chassis isn't shielded though and getting the VFD out to rewire requires lifting the 250kg cast iron chassis off the base :/

I Just bought a USB 2.0 card  which has a USB connector on the inside - so I'll stick the SS inside the computer case, if that doesn't help I'll look at shielding the VFD cable. 

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