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Messages - smurph

Galil / Re: Spindle Basic Setup
« on: January 11, 2011, 10:35:24 PM »

I hope you understand our situation.  We develop the Galil plugin and GIVE it away.  Kenny and I make no money what so ever with the Galil plugin.  It's is not part of Mach.  It is separate development effort that we did to use our Galil controllers with Mach.  And we decided to offer it freely to others that may benefit from it.

Kenny and I want to implement threading.  But it is not done nor will it be done anytime soon.  We both have day jobs that take priority.

If you cannot wait for us to implement threading into the plugin, then I would suggest going with a dspMC (Vital Systems) to run your servos.  His manual states that that threading is supported.  But I can't speak to it's ability as I have never run with the dspMC unit.  I would suggest contacting Vital systems to see if it will do what you need.

Otherwise, your threading options are limited to running stepper motors from the parallel port.


The special command files were put in version 4.3 before the release of v4.4 in an attempt to control a CNC sewing machine from Mach.  In fact, the Notify commands were put in at the same time and there is a reference to a Galil variable called SPI in the plugin documentation.  SPI stands for "stitches per inch".  :)  The Notify commands were fully tested, so that was added to the documentation.  But at the time of v4.4, the special command files were not tested and thus were not put in the documentation.  Since then, they have proved out very well though and I'll mention them if I think it will help someone.

I'm working on the 4.5 release right now.  It includes:

1. The plugin will work with either Smart Term or Galil Tools.  This should allow full Win 7 support with Galil Tools since the Smart Term PCI drivers won't work with Win 7.
2. Improved MPG functions.
3. Improved gantry slaving.
4. Improved support for the Accelera controllers making use of their performance features when possible.


Galil / Re: Which Galil motion controller?
« on: January 08, 2011, 01:42:24 PM »
That is indeed a feature of the Galil.  It's called Dual Loop and uses both encoder inputs to eliminate backlash.  However, it is not supported directly by the Galil plugin for Mach, meaning that there is no special configuration for it in the plugin config.

The Galil commands to implement it are CE and DV.  They are described on page 115 of the 40x0 user's manual.  Also, there is a tutorial video on Galil's website that explains Dual Loop and it's tuning.  It requires different KP, KI, and KD parameters than just an axis with one encoder.

The plugin does not change the values of KP, KI, KD, CE, or DV.  It assumes that these values are set and "burned" to the controller's NVRAM.  So you can configure dual loop with KP, KI, KD, CE, and DV and burn the values into NVRAM using the BN command.


Uh...  no, there is nothing in the GalilPluginIn.pdf file about GalilInit.txt.  It's a super secret file.  :) 

There are quite a few files that will do special things that are undocumented.  They will be documented on the next plugin release.


Galil / Re: Which Galil motion controller?
« on: January 07, 2011, 04:09:24 PM »
You don't necessarily need to control the spindle from the Galil.  It's just easiest to do so.  But what is required is an analog output to control the VFD.  So any device that has connectivity to Mach with an analog output can be used.  This could include any number of devices that have plugins or a ModBus capable device.  But then you will need to write brains to do some of the work amongst other configuration that make it a little bit complicated. 

So at ~$100.00 an axis on the Galil, it's actually pretty cheap.  An analog ModBus device would probably cost more.

One thing that can't be done (with any external motion plugin) is use the printer port.  So any printer port breakout boards that may have some spindle functionality just can't be used at all.


Galil / Re: Which Galil motion controller?
« on: January 07, 2011, 12:07:41 PM »
For the axes, you will want:
X, Y, Z, and a spindle.  That would be a 4 axis Galil controller.  Then, if you want an A rotary axis, add one for a total of 5.  And I would add another for your tool changer if you think that a servo will replace the existing tool changer motor for a total of 6 Galil axes.

It's important to remember that to control a spindle motor, not matter if it's a servo drive or a VFD drive, you will need a Galil axis for it.


Galil / Re: dro error after movement
« on: January 06, 2011, 12:45:50 PM »
No, I can't blame working late on this one.  Just a nut lose on the keyboard.  :)

Hmm...  You couldn't do a fine and a course, but you sure could move them together!  Geared to where the quill retracts and the knee drops to raise the Z and vise verse.  You could implement it all in the GalilInit.txt file that the plugin sends to the controller upon init.  This file should home the quill, home the knee, and then gear them together at a ratio where each reaches it's travel limit at the same time.  Brilliant Nosmo!  Mach and the plugin need not know a thing. 

GalilInit.txt file:  A file where, if it exists in the plugin directory, it's contents are sent to the Galil line by line upon plugin initialization (When Mach is started).


Galil / Re: Which Galil motion controller?
« on: January 05, 2011, 10:35:17 PM »
Galil is a great supplier of these.  :)  They have the pricing on their site.  If you get one from eBay, do your homework.  Some of the controllers on eBay are OEM spec controllers that Galil made for many different machine companies.  These can get quite custom and you may not get what you think you are getting.  And Galil will NOT support them.  For instance, I have seen a 5 axis controller with ABCD and F (skipping the E axis).  And I have also seen controllers with custom firmware that is so specialized that it will not work with the regular Galil command set.  So be careful.

The good deal days are gone on eBay.  Most of the time, you can get a brand new 41x3 controller for less money than people want for the older Optima controllers on eBay.  Becuase the Optima controllers used a very special and expensive interface cable that you just have to have and then you will also need an ICM2900 (Breakout board) to go along with it.  The new 41x3 econo controllers make use of cheap DB style connectors making it relatively easy to roll your own cables.

Every now and then there might be a good deal on eBay.  But it's always a risk.  

Don't just look at controller prices.  Make sure you account for everything that is needed.  


Galil / Re: Which Galil motion controller?
« on: January 05, 2011, 09:58:10 PM »
Good controllers are the DMC-21x3 and DMC-41x3 econo controllers.  However, if you need lots of I/O, then one of the DMC-40x0 controllers may be the ticket.  Or, you can run an econ0 controller for your motion and use another device (such as the CONTEC PIO cards) for I/O.  I have a plugin for the Mesa Anything I/O 5i20 cards that will provide 72 bits of I/O as well.