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Messages - smurph

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 Bug Reports
« on: July 13, 2014, 12:21:50 PM »
The next step is to put a switch in the Mach 4 config to disable the advanced tool path.  Then you guys can have a Mach 3 like tool path.

Yes, try bumping the screen refresh rate up to like 75ms.  Or 100ms (which was what Mach 3 was).


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Re: Mach 4 and Galil
« on: July 12, 2014, 02:12:37 PM »

That is how the plugin works right now!  If you enable debug file logging, you will see LOTS of LI commands.  It will be no different for Mach 4.


Galil / Re: Plugin DLL Defective.Reload.
« on: July 12, 2014, 02:04:02 PM »
Galil.m3p is just a DLL renamed with the m3p extension.  It has the m3p extension so that Mach can associate that extension with the Windows shell and make it install when you double click it.   Nothing other than that!  You can simply rename Galil.m3p to Galil.dll and copy it to the plugins directory.

It never helps to uninstall and re-install Mach to get a Galil running.  People seem to do this all of the time though.  Sometimes the registered action for the m3p extension gets messed up in Windows and re-installing Mach fixes the m3p extension association.  But I can assure you that deleting Mach, re-installing, deleting registry keys, etc...  does nothing for the Galil plugin.  It is just a DLL.

If your Galil is configured with an IP address on your local network, then all you really need to do is copy Galil.m3p to the plugins directory and rename it to Galil.dll.  There should be no other Galil plugin in the plugins directory.  Then start Mach and choose the Galil plugin as the motion plugin.  Then configure the Galil plugin and select your controller from the drop down list.  If your controller is not seen in the drop down list, then suspect that the controller's IP address is not correct and/or missing.

Setting the IP address on the controller requires that you either let the controller get an IP address from DHCP or making a serial connection to the controller with Smart Term/Galil Tools/Galil Suites.  Then enter the IP address with the IA command.  e.g.  IA 192,168,1,10 <enter>.  Then you need to save the IP address with the BN command.  That way the IP address will "stick".


Galil / Re: Mach3/Galil DMC-2160 initial set up
« on: July 12, 2014, 12:49:51 AM »

The limits are a bit complicated.  This is because they can be wired as sourcing or sinking.  Meaning either + or - to LSCOM.  This will change the way the limits are "seen".  Wired one way, the limits will be seen as low active.  Wired the other way, the limits will be seen as high active.  So you task is to figure out what your system is and set CN appropriately.  CN is set in the plugin config with "Limits active low" check box.  The quickest way to resolve this is to see what works in the Galil Tools/Suites terminal while looking at the limit switches in the watch window.


Galil / Re: galil DMC-4123 setup
« on: July 12, 2014, 12:43:35 AM »
First, do not use USB to communicate to the Galil under Mach.  It is just a virtual com port and you are limited to com port speeds.  It is not fast enough.  Use the Ethernet port on the Galil.  USB is fine for setting up the controller, but it is not going to cut it for high speed streaming of position data. 

The ports and pins are listed in the Galil plugin PDF document.


Galil / Re: Plugin DLL Defective.Reload.
« on: July 12, 2014, 12:40:27 AM »
This means that the Smart Term drivers are not installed.  Galil-st.dll uses Smart Term.  Galil.dll uses a built in communication library and requires no Galil software to run Ethernet controllers.

If you don't have Smart Term AND the V7 drivers installed (usually all in the Smart Term installer), then do not put Galil-st.dll in the plugins directory.  Galil-st.dll and Galil.dll are mutually exclusive.


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 Bug Reports
« on: July 10, 2014, 01:12:45 AM »
Build 1888 will be out on the MachSupport download site soon.  All of you guys with video issues should check it out and see if that got any better. 


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 Bug Reports
« on: July 04, 2014, 01:34:23 PM »
Delete all *.mcc files from your profile's macro directory.  Then restart Mach.  It will pop the error up again.  Then run some G code file or MDI (pressing cycle start will recompile all of the scripts).  At this point, you should have a mcLua.mcc file in you profile's macro directory.  and you should not get the error again.


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 Bug Reports
« on: July 02, 2014, 11:56:02 AM »
We are not programming any differently than we have in the past.  The computers that you guys are buying are changing.  We cannot help that the manufacturers are putting this stuff in them. 

It quickly becomes something that is out of our control.  If a user loads a file that creates a tool path that is larger than what the dedicated memory his video subsystem has, then there is GOING to be a performance issue.  I think it is absolutely horrid that my 7 year old clunker of a computer can run a large file better than the bran new hot off the shelf computer.  It's ridiculous!  What WAS normal for a computer is now not so normal. 

Mach 4 is not programmed for a defined specification other than OS >= XP and we we would like something that has at least OpenGL 1.5 capabilities to run the tool path.  If it doesn't, we simply switch to the older, yet slower, method of rendering the tool path.  The problem comes in where the video device says that it can do OpenGL > 1.5 but does it poorly.  We have no way of knowing this.  Mach 4 does take more memory though and that is a product of being different that Mach 3 (new GUI with more controls, etc...).

We have done a lot of things inside the software to allow it to run on older systems.  For example, you can change the screen refresh rates to better match the capabilities of older hardware.  But the one thing we cannot do is account for the fact that Mach 4 does require more memory.

So let me assure you guys that we are not intentionally doing anything to hold a spec other than what I described.  We are just programming the way we always have.  And we are finding some of this stuff out for the first time.  And not just with Mach 4.  I installed Mach 3 on a new computer that runs an Ethernet Galil.  Imagine my surprise when it would not run a smooth part that the old computer that it replaced had no problem with!!!  The crappy little RealTek on-board Ethernet would not stream data to the Galil reliably!  It had huge receive capabilities but chump for send.  A whopping 64K TX buffers vs. the 2048 that the old computer with the on-board Intel Pro-100 Ethernet had.  Was I pissed?  Yes.  But not at Mach 3.  I was pissed that the new computer was not nearly as capable as the old one.  Lesson learned.  New means new.  New does not mean good.

So "Modern" doesn't mean squat, IMHO.  I bought a "modern" plastic float and valve assembly for one of my toilets they other day that is simply awful as compared to the brass one that was in it.

Like I said, most of these new consumer grade computers are designed for the average person that wants to get on-line, surf the internet, do the face book thing, maybe a few forums here and there, and do some email.  And they do that well.  Because it is their target market.  We simply cannot help that they don't do Mach 3 and 4 well.  We are not the ones putting the hardware in those computers.  So please don't shoot the messenger.

Can you still buy a computer that works well?  Yes.  But you have to look for them.  So now you have to look at the specs other than the processor.  I bought a new notebook about a year ago.  (It's not so new any more).  I knew I was going to be doing some CAD work on it so I looked at the video chip sets that the various models came with.  The base model T420 came with the Intel GMA4500 (popular because it is cheap).  But for only $20.00 more, I could get that same model T420 with the ATI dedicated graphics chip set.  I went with the the ATI and have been pleased. 

What I find truly shameful is that it is just about impossible for a normal end user to buy something good without becoming an absolute computer nerd!  I knew what to look for because I knew what to look for based on past experience.  I used to be a corporate IT manager in a past life.  It was my business to look at these things and make sure that I didn't end up purchasing 300 plus computers that would not get the job done.  But even I was caught with the crappy Ethernet on my machine with the Galil.  It won't happen a second time though.

Meanwhile, we will be working on ways to deal with the issues in software as well.  If the computer says that it will do OpenGL 3.0 but does it poorly, we might have to put in a switch in the config somewhere that toggles the use of the newer OpenGL features off manually.  We will do what we can. 

Graham, try running on your old XP machine.  And let me know what the results are.  As for your current Mach 4 computer, I'm suspecting that the only way to resolve your issue is with that "manual" switch I was talking about.  :(  Unless we can figure a way to get the video card manufacturer and switch it automatically.  But the problem is more severe than that.  Because SOME computers with GMA4500 chip sets work ok.  I think it has to do with how they are implemented on the hardware. 


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 Bug Reports
« on: July 02, 2014, 12:21:57 AM »
I should say graphic device.  The stuff I'm talking about is the "on-board" integrated GPU that has to use the CPU to move video data and use system RAM as video memory.  In stark contrast to a GPU with dedicated DRAM2/3/4 memory for video, on-board or otherwise.  A lot of the newer PCs are built to a price point.  Also, some integrated Ethernet devices are all bunk too.  They will stream data down to the PC fine but they have very little, if any, ability to stream data from the PC.  What you get is a PC that will surf the web really well but suffers doing other tasks.  Which is fine for most people's computer needs these days. 

I was working with a guy today on a similar issue.  Same Intel GMA4500 integrated GPU with a really nice I3 processor.  A "modern" computer as compared to my old clunker.  He could load a fairly large Gcode file and run well with it.  But then he loaded a Solid Cam high speed tool path that consisted of 38,000 lines and the CPU went from 2-3% to 25% and the user interface got clunky.  Why?  Because the CPU was having to shuffle data in the system RAM to the video card because the tool path got larger than it's 128 MB dedicated memory buffer.  Now, contrast that to my 7 year old PC with ATI video cards with real dedicated memory where I loaded a 138,211 line G code file and ran like butter with 1-2% CPU load.  His computer's got 5 time the CPU power I do but it performed much worse!

So be wary of the computers you purchase if you intend to do anything other than web surfing, word processing, and email.  Computers are a lot like cars.  And these new ones have fire breathing CPUs (engines) in them for sure.  But if the rest of the components don't match up (bad exhaust or intake), then there will be a bottle neck.