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Messages - mrprecise44

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General Mach Discussion / Re: Wiring Wild Horse Econo Probe
« on: December 01, 2014, 08:50:36 PM »
Hi fortdick:

The forum is for all of us. I am just a machine shop guy who uses Mach3, and far from an expert in such things.
It is not that the LED uses too much power; it is just a visual signal the probe circuit has opened. Study the schematics, and
make sure the wires you are playing with are the right ones.
All of the things on the CNC4PC schematics are correct, and the probe correct functioning is one of the big-time Mach3 problems
constantly befuddling members.

There is a good write-up on the web site for Mach Standard Mill, or the MSM Screen set; http://www.calypsoventures.com/forums/.
Dave Bagby is the author of the MSM screen, and is extremely knowledgeable, and thorough with his explanation about the probing problems. He has an extensive write-up on his forum, with sketches of the circuit, and makes it his business to get probing working, as it is integral to his screen set.

In regard to your question about the LED circuit, the LED is not "IN" the circuit with the probe contacts closed. When the probe contacts
open (only one of three points of the probe can be open, depending on the direction of force on the probe), the voltage still has a path to ground, through the LED+resistor, which is now the only path remaining  to ground, and that tiny current flowing through the LED, still has a voltage with respect to ground. So, the circuit is not at 0v yet; close to 0v, but not 0v.

The above referred to site has a good diagram showing this. Dave also mentions that he has smashed lots of probes, and tips
getting to the solutions.

Mach3 helps build patience.


General Mach Discussion / Re: Wiring Wild Horse Econo Probe
« on: December 01, 2014, 06:33:27 PM »
I will try to make some sense out of the probe logic.

The signal the probe circuit sees is either a Hi, or Low. It was designed to work with a touch plate
for tool setting. A "Tool Setting" touch plate is insulated from the machine table, and wired to the
probe input pin. Its overall thickness is measured, and entered into the probe program set-up box.

A special tool is used to set-up the Z0 position of a job. This tool is usually an edge finder, or some
other type tool that does not get changed, or used to cut metal. All tool offsets are relative to this
first tool.

1.  When the G31 signal is received by Mach3, the spindle starts moving down.
2.  The tool in the spindle touches the insulated metal touch plate;
3.  The probe circuit immediately changes from an active HI (+5 volts) to a Low (0 volts) because the
    tool bit is at "Ground";
4.  Mach3 immediately stops.
5.  The program reads the Z axis position, and enters it into a parameter;
6.  The touch plate thickness has previously been entered into the probe "set-up";
7.  The probe program adds the touch plate thickness to the Z position parameter;
8.  This new calculated number becomes the "Tool Height offset" for the tool in the spindle.
9.  This value is usually put into the tool offset table, by the program, which requires a tool# before
    each probing cycle.

Now, the probe is entirely different. Instead of a signal going from a Hi (+5v) to a Low (0v), by
grounding the tool bit,  it must go from a closed circuit, that conducts +5v, to an open circuit 0v.
This would work OK, except for the LED in the circuit. The LED is wired across the probe circuitry, with
a 1K resistor in series. The LED can only take a tiny amount of current to light up. A full 5v would
burn it out.

So the probe circuit is seeing a solid 5v, and the LED does nothing because the voltage goes past it,
because the probe contacts are closed. The LED does not turn on, because the +5v is going right around it.

Now, the probe makes contact, and the probe circuit opens; Instead of the probe circuit going to 0v,
a tiny bit of voltage is now going through the LED circuit, and the probe circuit. Because of this small
current, there is a tiny voltage, maybe 1 or 1.5v and about 20 milliamps flowing in the circuit.

As far as the probe program and Mach3 are concerned (Mach3 does think, you know), the probe has not yet
made contact!

Since the circuit is still not 0 volts, it requires pull-up, or pull-down resistors to trigger the probe

There are better explanations than this one, and a diagram helps a bunch.

Lots of people have wrecked their probe contact tips getting everything working OK. Certainly NOT a
"Plug and Play" operation.

While you are working out the bugs, get it working without driving the fragile probe tip up against
a solid object with the machine axis motors. Just move the probe by hand, and watch the probe activity light
on the Mach3 screen.


Hi Lisa:

Welcome to the Mach3 forum.

You need to post more information about your controller; 3040 is only a generic reference to the table size.
Brand name of the Controller box;
Model #;
Driver type and #;
Motor #;
and anything printed on the Mother board inside the control box.
Also, you might try going onto Ebay, and/or Google to locate the same machine. One of the vendors might have the user manual available for download.

There a lot of 3040 router/engraver machines out there, so someone with the same machine may read your post, and fill in the blanks. It is just a matter of Mach3 having the right pin numbers for step/direction for each axis, plus getting the motor tuning right.

While waiting, you could guess at the pin numbers, and see if anything moves. I have the Manual and pinouts for a TB6600HG 4-axis controller; the X step is 2, X dir is 3; Y step is 4, Y dir is 5; Z step is 6, Z dir is 7; A step is 8, A dir is 9;  EN is 1; PWM is 16, Spindle relay is 14.

All the port #'s will be 1.



General Mach Discussion / Re: Wiring Wild Horse Econo Probe
« on: November 30, 2014, 04:17:17 PM »
Hi fortdick:

If you log in to www.cnc4pc.com, and go the the section "Touchprobe(4)" Arturo has very clear schematics on wiring your probe.


General Mach Discussion / Re: Mach3 / UC100 Connection lost?
« on: November 28, 2014, 04:02:44 PM »
Hi Snfrwly:

Always nice to hear a suggestion helped, and problem solved. Thanks for posting.


Hi dimitar:

Read up on external controllers. The original Mach3 was implemented on the  parallel port. Art Fenerty has written quite extensively about why an older computer with the parallel port and Win XP was preferable.

Very interesting to read his explanation. The XP was the best version for modifying the inner works of windows. You can do a search for his many posts to read it.

However, for several years now, there are external controllers that run Mach3, (and the soon to be "Mach4") that get the signals from the computer through the ethernet port, or a USB port. This negates the need for an older computer with a parallel port, and using XP. It will now run on Win7, and Win8 (according to the Warp9 site) computers that have no parallel port.

The external controllers do the critical timing externally. There are quite a few; the Pokeys, the Smooth Stepper, the dspmc, the CSMIO, and others. They are more costly than a simple parallel port cable, but have many advantages.


A card that has worked for me is:
Syba PCI Low Profile Single Port Parallel Card, model # SD-LP-MCS1P
purchased from: Newegg, about $20.00

General Mach Discussion / Re: Position confirmation or tracking
« on: November 23, 2014, 11:50:28 PM »
If your stepper motors are tuned correctly, and are not being overloaded for the job at hand, they are very reliable. Missing steps can result from poor tuning, electrical noise, or not up to the task for the load on the cutter.

However, if things are set-up right, you could mount a 1" travel dial indicator at the extreme left or right X position of your job, and set it to zero. Then put an M1 in the program when the axis reaches that "0" point, and the program will stop and wait for you to hit cycle start to continue.

There are Hybrid Stepper systems, and there are Servo systems with encoders. It all depends upon your wallet, and needs for the job.

The newer digital stepper drivers have motor tuning capability through a software program in real time, that offer the best stepper tuning possible. The program is called "Protune", and shows a graphic on a program screen, connected to the driver by a RJ45 connector and an XP computer serial port.  Look on the Leadshine site, or CNC4Pc site for more info.


General Mach Discussion / Re: USB to serial port.
« on: October 31, 2014, 08:53:31 PM »
The company "CommFRONT" makes usb to serial adapters and also has free and licensed programs to monitor the serial data. They have a wealth of information available.

I have been using their usb<>serial adapter for several years with my Cubloc Modbus and Mach3,


General Mach Discussion / Re: Mach3 / UC100 Connection lost?
« on: October 30, 2014, 04:44:51 PM »
Here is a detailed look at how to ground electronics, by Randy at Texas Microcircuits. Although it is for a Plasma table, the principles apply to all electronics.


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