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Messages - rustyolddog

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VB and the development of wizards / Programming question
« on: August 20, 2016, 12:08:52 PM »
I've been a long time licensed Mach3 user. I recently ran into an application where I need control from a piece of software but without the Mach GUI. I'm wanting to use my USB SmootherSteeper to drive the motion control board. The software I'll be using hands off the motion commands in the form of .bat files to the motion control software, waits for the motion to be complete then continues. Is there a way to accomplish this with Mach? I primarily need to operate a rotary axis.

The manual for the software I'm referring to can be found here page 99 (5-98) the section on the PLUS version


My question to them was: Are there any alternatives to using Indexer LPT & a LPT  port? Specifically something USB?

Their reply:
Yes, most of my OEM customers have set up other control methods, many using USB indexers.  This way of control cost a lot more money than LPT Indexer.  American LaserWare dosnt get involved with that end of a system, the integrator handles that.  ProLase provides a general interface in which ProLase will call an external program (written by the integrator) and pass this program the name of each axis and the position ProLase wants each axis to go to.  The external program takes this axis ID and position information and forms movement commands in the language of the specific controller and sends those commands over the USB port.  The external program then checks the status of the indexer until all axis are finished moving, then quits, which returns control to ProLase.  After ProLase calls the external program it simply waits until the program finishes before continuing.  ProLase will call this program every time it wants to move one or more axis.  This general interface can be used to control almost any kind of motion control system including stepper and servo. Usually this program can be written very quickly (its quite simple, sometimes just a BAT file) and for a relatively low cost.  The reason we do it this way is because there are hundreds of control systems, all having there own command set.  Some call the Axis XYZ, some ABC, and others 123.  Some use commands like MOVE, FEED, GOTO and others use "G" codes.  We don't want to write drivers for hundreds of different controllers, this general interface will work with all of them.

Going to do a clean install on a new old computer, no i'net access or network. Dedicated to Mach 3 only. Should I use the original pre service pack XP which is fast & unbloated or should I go to SP3 and install all the latest updates? It's a P4 2gHz 2GB RAM

In my opinion...

If it's a PC which is dedicated to the machine then just install XP and forget about any updates. If you are going to be running the later Mach3 plugins (such as Klaus's video screen) then you may need to install the SP3 but again forget about the updates.


I do want to use the video camera center finder at some point, and I have a Vistacnc MPG that I haven't installed. .

Going to do a clean install on a new old computer, no i'net access or network. Dedicated to Mach 3 only. Should I use the original pre service pack XP which is fast & unbloated or should I go to SP3 and install all the latest updates? It's a P4 2gHz 2GB RAM

General Mach Discussion / Re: DRO glass scales and Mach
« on: May 01, 2014, 09:43:10 PM »
Looks like I need to study up on servos & drives in general. I'm wondering now whether I can feed a Gecko G320X wth the linear scales instead of a rotary encoder on the servo.

General Mach Discussion / DRO glass scales and Mach
« on: April 29, 2014, 10:29:40 PM »
Is there any way to feed the quadrature  output of the typical DRO scale into a BOB or similar interface so that it can be used as an absolute encoder for Mach? I would presume it would be possible since servos use an encoder.

I finally FINALLY ran down the problem. First I used the FTDI uninstall utility to remove the smoothstepper drivers. That had no effect. Next I used USBDeview to remove all the USB devices that had ever been connected. That made no difference. I knew it was USB related since without the thumb drive I got the pulsing too fast error.  I went into the System Hardware menu and in Device Manager I selected Universal Serial Bus controllers. Looking at each of the USB Root Hubs there was a power management tab, selecting it and the un-ticking "allow computer to turn off this device to save power" after doing this, the pulsing too fast ceased. It bounces between system stable and system excellent. With the thumb drive plugged in, it's a steady system excellent. Hope this helps another laptop user.

So the problem showed up again. But I finally nailed down what causes it but I don't know how to fix it. @25kHz kernel speed I get pulsing too fast errors, motor stalling. If I run the driver test and try 45kHz kernel speed, I get a System Excellent for the duration of the test, likewise if I choose 45kHz in Mach on the config page, the machine operates normally.

What I discovered was if I have my USB thumb drive that I use for my Gcode files plugged in, everything works as it should at 25kHz. If I unplug the thumb drive, I get the pulsing too fast, alternating with good pulses. It's almost as if the computer is polling the USB port resulting in errors. But yet with it unplugged, I can get it to function at 45kHz kernel speed.

The BIOS has an option for USB Legacy support Enabled or Disabled, I've tried it both ways but it made no difference.

Anyone have any thoughts? I'm going to run USB deview tomorrow and delete all the USB devices that show up.

Anyone know if SmoothStepper installs any kind of Windows drivers other than the Mach driver in the Mach folder? I tested a SmoothStepper board on this computer but haven't used one. I removed the SS driver file from the Mach folder.

It appears that the issue is related to the video driver. When I uninstalled the ATI Radeon 7500 driver package and let windows default to a VGA driver, it solved the problem. I have a SmoothStepper but I haven't had time to put it in service.

My old HP laptop running mach2 died and I had to set up a newer, faster Compac EVO 610c and Mach 3 Win XP. The last time I ran it, it seemed fine. Today when I went to jog it upon start up, the motors would stall and miss steps. Ran the driver test and it bounced between pulsing too fast & normal, I tried disabling various unused hardware items like the IR port etc. Uninstalling software, etc. no luck. Installed the various drivers related to the laptop & uninstalled them.

 All this at 25kHz kernal speed. On a whim I tried selecting the different kernal speeds during the driver test and as I increased, the display smoothed out an stabilized  for all but the top kernal speed. I went back to Mach and changed the kernal speed in the setup and it seems to jog just fine now but I don't want to risk a crash or stall.  Anyone have any insight into this issue? I seem to recall having the problem initially upon installing Mach 3 but when I installed the sound card driver, everything worked. It's not an issue with the printer port voltage, I drive a breakout card with it to get proper port levels to the controller. Help!

Feature Requests / Interrupt Button Please
« on: February 12, 2014, 04:02:57 PM »
I haven't had a chance to search the board in depth to see if this feature is already available. On my big machine, a Hurco VM1, I have a Interrupt button on the console. When pushed while the machine is running, it stops running code, shuts down the spindle, turns off the coolant and retracts the Z axis. It allows you to stop in the middle of a job, clear chips, inspect the finish, whatever you need to do. When you're done, you hit Auto and it resumes where it left off. When running Mach and had to interrupt it, I hit Pause on a Z retract, jog out of the way etc. 

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