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Messages - Steve Stallings

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: PMDX-416 USB Can't Connect
« on: January 08, 2023, 10:01:26 AM »
It seems strange that the PMDX-416 works OK if it is found but Mach4 has problems finding the PMDX-416 when starting. This could be a software problem related to the configuration on your computer or Mach4.

With Mach4 not running, try unplugging and replugging the PMDX-416 several times. Give it a couple of seconds for Windows to react. You should get a sound or other notifications from Windows each time you plug or unplug the PMDX-416 just like those you get when plugging and unplugging a mouse. You can use this as a test case (not involving Mach4) for trying it on different ports, different cables, or even different computers.

Next, test the PMDX-416 with only the USB cable connected. You can easily disconnect the PMDX-416 from all other wiring by unplugging the terminal strips without unscrewing your wiring harness connections.

If the PMDX-416 fails to connect reliably in these isolated tests, please return it for warranty repair.

Sometimes with USB there can be problems with a "ground loop" between the computer ground and the machine ground. If you find that the PMDX-416 can be made to work if the only thing wired to it is the USB cable, and all other terminal blocks unplugged, then suspect a ground loop. If you do see this situation there are two things that you can try. First make sure that the computer's power and the safety ground at the machine are coming from the same power outlet. Second, you can add a heavy wire (like 18 gauge lamp cord) between the metal chassis of the computer case and the "GND" terminal of J7 on the PMDX-416. This will shunt the "ground loop" leakage current through the heavy wire instead of through the shield wire of the USB cable.

I do not have any experience with trying an Ethernet to USB adapter, but such configurations do involve extra layers of software that can make configuration more complicated.

Steve Stallings

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: G53 will only go one direction
« on: December 04, 2022, 08:57:58 AM »
Found at least one answer.

G53 is not actually a move command by itself. Examples that show it on a line by itself are relying on there being a G0 move prior to it, thus leaving the machine in G0 mode if nothing else cancels the modal state.

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: G53 will only go one direction
« on: December 04, 2022, 08:26:22 AM »
Not sure, but I think the problem is having the G0 on the same line as the G53.

A G53 command IS a move command, no G0 is required.

The presence of both a G0 and a G53 in the same line raises the question of which the parser will try to execute.

Even if both were to try to execute, where does the G53 get its X,Y, and Z values?

Update edit on above: After digging out my copy of Peter Smid's "CNC Programming Handbook", I do see examples of G53 and G0 on the same line. Now I am confused. He does state that G53 does not cancel work offsets but only ignores them and tool offsets for itself and only for the one line that included the G53, i.e. G53 is non-modal.

He also states that G53 is always absolute mode.

Not that I know about. Our SmartBOBs seem to be happy.

I have not carefully investigated the change log to see if there were any new features that would not work without an update.

Steve Stallings

On 17 November 2022 the next stable/production release of Mach4 became available. It is version 2.0.5000 and you can download it here:


This replaces the previous 2.0.4612 stable/production version which was issued in February 2021.

There have been many updates made available in beta versions available from the FTP site between these two versions, but many people prefer not to run beta versions.

If you have followed the beta versions you will know that there have been a large number of bug fixes and enhancements issued since the last stable/production release.

The new 2.0.5000 received extensive testing both by public beta versions and by product testing arranged by Mach staff.

While many of the updates may seem minor to most users, there has been one major upgrade in my opinion. The way that the trajectory planner handles look-ahead has been revamped. The old method was based on tracking how many lines of G-code should be considered. The new method is based on how much run time should be considered. This method works around many difficult to handle issues. You can expect improved Feed Hold, Feed Rate Override, and Single Block operation.

Many thanks to the Mach4 team for continuing to improve the system.

Steve Stallings

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Editing loaded GCode???
« on: September 28, 2022, 09:08:19 AM »
On the standard screen sets look in the lower right corner for the Ops panel. Select the File Ops tab and select the Edit G-code button in the left column.

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Question on upgrade
« on: September 17, 2022, 03:54:59 PM »
Version 2 has been out for several years and you almost certainly are running it already.

If you go to >Help >About you will get a screen that shows Version 4.2.0. x x x x where
the 4 means means the product is Mach4, the 2 means version 2 in the Mach4 series,
0 is the sub-version, and x x x x is the build number of the software that you are running.

If you are not having any problems, there is no need to update your software.

There are production releases that are available on the Download page for Mach4, and
also beta versions on a separate FTP server.

There are normally no update charges for Mach software within a product series,
i.e. product 4 for Mach4.

Note: Mach4GUIR.exe is part of the standard Mach4 install and will be found in the regular Mach4Hobby folder.

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mech4 Velocity Calibration
« on: August 29, 2022, 06:40:59 PM »
The Velocity and Acceleration parameters on your Motors page are for adjusting the maximum velocity and acceleration that Mach4 will attempt to utilize while running your motors. Changing these would affect your feed rate only if the maximum allowed here was less than the feed rate requested by your G code. Feedrate also changes dynamically to keep the acceleration within the requested maximum.

Feed rate itself does not need calibration as it is computed automatically using the other parameters provided to Mach4. If you have the steps per unit calibrated correctly, Mach4 will produce accurate feed rates. Before evaluating feed rates, make sure the steps per unit are correct.

There are three other things that can affect the actual feed rate that occurs.

1) G0 commands are "rapid" move commands and ignore the F word in G code for setting feed rate. G1 commands should be used when needing controlled feed rate.

2) The user GUI has a provision for feed rate override. This is in the lower left area of the screens supplied with Mach4 and is labeled "FRO%". If the value is other than 100% the actual feed rate will be affected accordingly.

3) Feed rate control in G code is understood to be the vector sum of the feed rate of the individual axes and can cause the speed of individual axes to be reduced when the vector sum would exceed the requested rate.

Also be sure that your CAM software is inserting meaningful F words in the G code that it produces.

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: what is wrong with this g code
« on: August 17, 2022, 08:56:06 AM »
He already did. See the link to a zip file in the first message.