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Messages - smurph

Galil / Re: Galil controller compatability (what works with the plugin)
« on: February 24, 2015, 04:18:17 PM »
Linear interpolation (the original way we did movement with the Galil) can be a bit of a problem.  Because the Galil profiler tries to do what it does, profile a move!  But we have already profiled the move in Mach.  So we must disable the Galil profiler by giving it insane acceleration values.  In other words, we just want the Galil to do what we say from Mach.  But there are a lot of tools like smoothing and vector time constant that may need to be tweaked to get the best operation, depending on the physics of the machine. 

The newer Contour mode basically does not try to profile the move at all.  It is 100% in Mach's control.  It is pure position over time (PT).  The older controllers had contour mode, but the queue was only 1 slot deep.  This made it impossible to use "over the wire".  Starting with the Accelera line of controllers, Galil increase the contour queue to 512 slots just like the linear interpolation queue.  With contour mode, we can get resolutions as low as .5 ms time slices where we could only get 4ms time slices with linear interpolation. 

Also, the Galil interface is a terminal.  So it takes ASCII commands on a command line type of thing.  The controllers have to take the ASCII command and interpret it before it processes the command.  On the older controllers, this could take quite a bit of time in the scheme of things.  A quarter of a millisecond!  That would equal 4 commands in 1 millisecond.  But...  you have to get the data record in that stream too.  So the real limit with some fudge factor was a 4ms time slice.  The newer controllers are far faster (4 nanoseconds per command) allowing for faster data rates and thus smaller time slices.

That is it in a nut shell.  :)

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: MACH4 - Modbus
« on: February 24, 2015, 03:48:38 PM »
I learned alot from this thread, thank you.

I have an additional Modbus Question, is there a way to 'shut off' modbus , and turn it back on from a button script ?

There is a register called "mbcntl/command" that can be used to control the modbus plugin. 
Code: [Select]

hReg = mc.mcRegGetHandle(inst, "mbcntl/command");
mc.mcRegSetValueString(hReg, "start"); -- start modbus
mc.mcRegSetValueString(hReg, "restart"); -- stop then start modbus
mc.mcRegSetValueString(hReg, "stop"); -- stop modbus

You can also see the status by reading "mbcntl/status"

Code: [Select]

hReg = mc.mcRegGetHandle(inst, "mbcntl/status");
local status = mc.mcRegGetValueString(hReg);

status will equal "RUNNING" or "STOPPED"

You can test this out in the regfile diagnostics dialog.  Just by changing the command register.


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: MACH4 - Modbus
« on: February 24, 2015, 02:51:23 PM »
There is an orphan node in the modubs settings (inside the profile's Machine.ini).  Choose "no" or "cancel" and try to use the modbug config dialogs to get rid of it or edit the Machine.ini file.


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« on: February 23, 2015, 08:12:42 PM »
I have no idea on the cost.  I don't get involved in that.

I can do the axis convert.


Galil / Re: Galil controller compatability (what works with the plugin)
« on: February 23, 2015, 08:09:13 PM »
The Mach 4 plugin is still in it's development stages.  Jeff, Kenny, and me have it running, but that is about it.  We are working the issues out a little at a time, but it is not to release into the wild yet.  If I could spend a week or two on it, it would be done.  But I'm working too much on Mach to give it any attention at this point. 

It will work with the Ethernet Optimas and the Ethernet Econos.  They just can't use Contour mode, which is much better than Linear mode. 

We don't know what the price will be at this point.  :(  I don't even know a ball park yet.


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« on: February 23, 2015, 06:50:09 PM »
gcEdit proposed licensed features:

Tool path back plot, DNC, and advanced editing features, and simple tools for common operations.

Advanced editing features:
Convert to Inch
Convert to Metric
Remove Spaces
Insert Spaces
Remove Zeros
Renumber N sequence numbers

Bolt hole pattern
Circular pocket
Spiral Mill Bore

DNC, Circular pocket, and renumber are not finished as yet.


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« on: February 22, 2015, 07:59:42 PM »
Yeah, if there is something that will break the plugin interface, we give the offending release to the plugin writers first and give them a chance to prepare a bit.

But the API changes that break the interface are few and far between now.  I hope that soon we just won't have that anymore.  But nothing is forever, so I will never be one to say that it just won't happen in the future. 

Cost of a plugin...  well...  it is rather difficult to pinpoint that.  What with the old 80/20 rule.  80% can probably be done real fast but the last 20% is the killer.  Paying a programmer to do it will probably cost in the order of 5 to 10K.  But probably a lot more by the time it gets production ready.  So ROI on it at $25.00 a license (guessing?) is going to take a while.  Even if the plugin takes off like wild fire, it would take a bit to recoup the investment.  The only way out of that is to raise the price.  But it would really be a hard sell to have a plugin reach the cost of Mach to begin with! 

Take Darwin, for instance.  Art will never see any break even line on that.  He did it because he is Art and that was enough for him.  He did it for the love!  :)


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« on: February 22, 2015, 05:03:39 AM »
Not hungry.  Just setting the record straight.  We are making a lot of people happy with Mach4.  And that is what it is all about!  Some will never be happy though and that's ok.  I know we can't make everyone happy and I can live with that. 

Here is the scoop on Mesa:

The reason Mesa is not interested in Mach3 or Mach4 is that they don't have the staff to support it.  They build motion controllers, not software.  And his target market doesn't require him to have a software team.  Mesa sells tons of boards to the Silicon Valley area companies.  And they enjoy a good LinuxCNC market as well.  But that market has "free" programmers that made the Mesa work with LinuxCNC and they keep it up and support it.  So Mesa doesn't really have to. 

I like the Mesa boards.  A while back (10 years?), I wrote a C API library for the Mesa SoftDMC firmware that a few of Mesa's customers use.  I gave it to them because I liked their stuff so much.  And Peter Wallace is a good guy.  And I actually wrote a Mesa plugin for Mach3 but never released it because I didn't have the time to support it.  So if there is a Mesa plugin for Mach 4, it will be supported by Mach (or maybe someone else?).  The downside is that it will not be free because someone will have to pay for the development.  This is in stark contrast to the motion boards that are built and supported buy their manufacturers.  ESS, PMDX, HiCON, DSPMC, etc...  They write the plugins for their boards because Mach is their market. 

Anyone want to step up and write the Mesa plugin and support it?  I'm completely serious.  It deserves a good go.  But it would have to be supported where people wouldn't be left out on an island with hardware that won't work after a Mach update.  We don't want that at all! 

Why am I up late?  Man...  I don't know!  I guess it is my quiet time when I can get on forums and stuff.  It seems there is not enough time in the day for me otherwise. 


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« on: February 22, 2015, 12:33:56 AM »
Yeah, you can buy a license for gcedit and it turns on tool paths and some other features. 

I'm trying to think of a reason to use notepad instead of gcEdit and I just can't.  LOL  But waaaaaaay down on my list is making the editor changeable. 


Rather vague. Are the feature I specifically referenced 'turned on' in the pro version?whatever the fee is for a 'pro' or equiv version of gcedit, but only if it has the features that I want.

As to comparing gcedit and Notepad . .  nobrainer. On the other hand compare Notepad++ to gcedit . . .  once again  . no brainer . . just in the other direction.

Incidentally, I tried the hack mentioned by PATTON, except with Notepad ++ and it worked. More then just the primary .exe is needed and I don't know exactly what as I just copied the whole Notepad ++ directory and it worked fine after that. 

One last comment that will probably get me in trouble .  as usual . . is that sarcastic responses to users who are providing feedback as to what is needed in MACH is not going to win you any champions. Judging by recent developments at Tormach, you can't afford to loose to many more.

Whether you like the comments or not, people still spent their time to provide them and some respect for that time would be appropriate, methinks.

But that's just me . . . .   >:(

I was not vague.  Some of the other features are not finished yet.  The tool path is done.  But we really haven't promoted it at this point yet because we don't know what all we will add.  So if vague being that "I don't know what else at this point" then I guess so.

No one noticed the "LOL" in the comment?  Or was it just you?  It was not sarcasm for the sake of anything.  It was a joke.  That is how I am.  I like to joke around.  I'm a happy guy.  And I refuse to walk around on eggs shells just to keep from accidentally pissing someone off.  I will be the first to tell you that I'm not politically correct in any shape, form, or fashion.  It is not worth my time.  We have precious few minutes to live on this Earth to be wasting them on that kind of stuff. 

And I was trying to be honest too.  I have that "editor change feature" on my list.  But it is way down the list at the moment.  Nothing else meant at all. 

And now I find myself getting a lecture (on my birthday of all days) from someone that doesn't even bother to look at the editors and see if the other feature that you "specifically referenced" but are being "vague" about (by not mentioning it again) has been implemented.  It seems that you would rather just open up a forum and post Negative Nancy comments.  Thanks, but no thanks.  Just so as not to be vague, I'll throw it out there...  Printing.  It needed to be done.  It took me three weeks to get it in there.  I won't get paid a penny for it either as gcEdit is freely available in the Demo.  You are welcome!

For the rest of you that post constructive things, I want you to know that I spend MY time trying to make this software the best that it can possibly be.  I spend 12 or more hours every day doing that.  We listen to your requests and we try to get every one of them in there somehow within reason.  We are not going to cater to the 1% on anything though.  We are not going to write one person custom software that does EVERYTHING he wants it to do in a niche environment.  But yeah...  if it is something everyone will benefit from, we try to get it in there.  It just takes time.  Lots of it. 

Terry, to the point of the EMC source code ( a brief history ) :

LinuxCNC is nice.  It came from the original EMC code that National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) did.  NIST is a government agency that used our tax dollars for the project.  The code is public domain.  Meaning anyone could use/change it without having to give away the changes (Edin, planet CNC, etc...).  Public domain is like that.  That is why none of those OEMs, companies, or whatever do not have to release their source code.

Now, somehow someone decided to slap the GPL license on it at a later date.  How they could "re-license" something that had already been in the public domain is a point to ponder!!!  Personally, I don't think it was legal.  I have the original sources from NIST and it is clearly stated in the code that anyone can use it and that it is public domain.  This has been stripped and replaced with the GPL in the "new" zip file of the code.   The NIST code, not the LinuxCNC code.

Mach3 was derived from that original NIST code.  Many changes had to be made in order for it to work on the Windows platform.  One would be hard pressed to see any resemblance between the two code bases.  The interpreter would be recognizable and that is about it.   And the heart of Mach 3 was the parallel port code that was solely Art's baby.  Oh and let's not forget about the user interface, which was 100% Art.  And let me tell you that is the hardest part.  If it were easy, LinuxCNC would have the same thing already!  We don't use any of the NIST code anymore in Mach 4.

I had a machine running LinuxCNC.  I liked it.  But I'm a computer nerd.  And I also have the skills to change it and make it do my bidding.  Try asking the LinuxCNC group for a feature and see how far that gets you.  There is absolutely NO motivation to do it unless one of the LinuxCNC programmers wants to add it because it is useful for him/her.  That is the way of the open source world.  I know, as I used to program for OpenBSD.  Only we gave the code away completely!  No GPL.  OpenBSD license.  Much like the MIT license.  Free as in free and no strings attached.  Code that I worked on is swimming around in so many commercial products that I can't even begin to fathom how many companies use it.  My reward?  I know that my work has made many people's lives better.  Our motivation for adding needed features in Mach is being able to eat.  Yeah...  we are dirty capitalist that have families that have an affinity for food.  (There I go joking again...)

So for the people that are not C/C++ programmers, we offer Mach.  It is your choice on what to use. 


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« on: February 21, 2015, 02:19:42 PM »
Yeah, you can buy a license for gcEdit and it turns on tool paths and some other features. 

I'm trying to think of a reason to use notepad instead of gcEdit and I just can't.  LOL  But waaaaaaay down on my list is making the editor changeable.