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Messages - smurph

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.


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 Bug Reports
« on: July 01, 2014, 09:32:28 PM »

It looks like you are suffering from shared memory video card syndrome.  :(  Do this for me...  open task manager and see what your computer uses, memory wise, while idling.  No programs loaded.  And let me know what it is.  

Here is what I think is happening:  You have a 64 bit OS that is attempting to run on 3 Gig of memory.  If it idles at 2 Gig (not uncommon) that leaves only less than a Gig of memory to run a program AND process video.  It may simply not have enough memory to do the job.  So something gets culled.  

It could also be a driver issue as well.  Check and see if there is an updated video driver from Intel.

Shared memory video cards are always a compromise.  But that is what they seem to be putting in computers these days.  I bet if you look at your Windows Experience Index that the video is what is keeping you at a 3.3 WEI.


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Re: Mach 4 and Galil
« on: June 30, 2014, 06:54:00 PM »
If you are running an Ethernet controller, then no Galil software is required and you use the regular Galil plugin (not Galil-st).  Smart Term can be installed and it will co-exists fine.  Only use Galil-st plugin if you are running an older bus based controller.


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Re: Mach 4 and Galil
« on: June 30, 2014, 06:35:35 PM »
Mach 3 runs fine for me.  Once I got it all setup and quit messing with it, the combo is very stable.  Mach 4 has smoother motion and eventually will have more features.  For instance, Mach 4 has a version that has Fanuc Custom Macro B where Mach 3 will never have that.  But if you want a machine running now or yesterday, then Mach 3 is what I would use.  Simply because the Galil plugin for Mach 4 is still in development.


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Re: Mach 4 and Galil
« on: June 30, 2014, 05:39:55 PM »
The output from Mach to external controllers is the same be it Mach 3 or Mach 4.  It is not pulse and direction.  It is position over time, or just PT for short.  Mach 4 will add velocity to that output as well (PVT).  But plain old PT matches up well with Galil's Linear Interpolation mode and it is perfect for Contour mode.  The newer Galils have PVT mode as well.

The parallel port is operating the same way.  It gets the PT values from Mach and then makes the signals to the pins to provide pulse and direction.  But the internal method of motion planning is really the same.


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 Bug Reports
« on: June 30, 2014, 05:28:36 PM »

As far as the tool path not showing in the other window, it may be a video card or driver issue.  We only use 1 vertex buffer to display ALL tool paths.  If it not displaying in all tool paths, it is probably something to to with your video card's OpenGL implementation.

Let me know your machine specs.  video card manufacturer, memory, OS, etc...

Blanks lines and single block:  Right now, each line is a line regardless of if it contains G code or otherwise.  I will try and see if I can make it loop through the blank lines.

Also, when asking about a previous post, if you would quote it that would be awesome.  It will help make sure I'm actually answering the right question.


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach4 - COM Object
« on: June 30, 2014, 05:18:44 PM »
It is not LUA based.  However, one could use LUA.  It is basically a library that implements the regular C API via IPC.  So to make a remote application, all one needs to do is link with the MachIPC lib instead of the MachAPI lib.  The function calls are identical.  In fact, the mcLuaEditor is using it.  That is how it calls Mach API functions when debugging LUA scripts.  When the scripts are run in the context of Mach, they are using the direct API.


Galil / Re: Help with general inputs
« on: June 19, 2014, 12:05:47 AM »
The pin assignments are in the Galil plugin doc pdf that can be downloaded from the Mach website.


The basic controller is OK.  Not the best.  A 41x3 or 40x0 are preferred.  But the  SDM-20640 & SDM-20242 ICMs on that 2183 are not good for external amps.  I would continue looking.  And I would also consider using a controller other than a Galil if you have step/dir amps.  Like Ethernet Smooth Stepper or HiCON. 

Unless you have analog command amps, using the Galil is just plain not needed.  It is like buying a dump truck to carry a few bags of groceries from the local store.  Hugely more expensive and not worth the effort.


No.  The 1423 is a two axis controller.  If you want to us step/dir, there are a lot of cheaper and less complicated controllers to use.  Or did you mean 4123?  Even so, that is a two axis controller that can be expanded to 4 axes.  The fact that it has 4 D sub connectors is not going to give to 4 axes.

41x3.  The x is the number of axes available on the controller.  However, it can be upgraded to 4 axes.  Just send it to Galil.  They will charge $200 for the mod plus $100 per axis added.  So The bill would be $400.00 plus shipping to get that controller in the provided link to be 4 axes.

It pays to know what you are buying on eBay.  Because unscrupulous or ignorant sellers can misrepresent the controller.  The fact that the TOP stickers says 4123 MEANS is is a 2 axis controller.  Also, the controller that is linked has amps in it.  There are two square Molex connectors that are present and there are two that are not present.  Another clue that this is indeed a 2 axis controller.  For external drives/amps, that ICM style in not preferred.  The I200 ICM is the one for external amps.  So from Galil, the part number for a 4 axis controller would be DMC-4143-I200.  That is what you want.