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Author Topic: new computer can't jog faster than 50 ipm?  (Read 16749 times)

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new computer can't jog faster than 50 ipm?
« on: April 04, 2009, 10:52:46 PM »
Greetings,

I've been running a Fireball V90 using Probotix motors and controllers for about 6 months now.  The computer was a fossil (Athlon XP2200+) that I literally couldn't GIVE away about a year ago.  Nevertheless, it ran fine, and would jog at 220 ipm for X and Y, though I generally kept it set at 100 ipm max.  I recently needed to replace the machine, because it wouldn't run some other software that I needed to run.  

The new machine was a pretty cheap build, consisting of a Gigabyte GA-G31M-ES2L mother board (on-board parallel port, and video), 4GB RAM, 2.8 GHz Core2-duo, and a single SATA HDD.  Much to my dismay, the new computer won't run the X and Y motors faster than about 50 ipm.  It runs fine at that speed, and I could certainly use it, but I just can't accept that my old POS computer was running at 220 ipm, and the new one can only manage 50 ipm.  I certainly can't deny it though, because I still have the old computer running, and can move the cable back and forth between the two.  

Both systems are XP-Pro, and neither has much else loaded on it.  The configuration files were copied straight over from old to new, so I know the settings are all the same.  It would be easier to list the things I haven't done, than everything I have done.  I'll take a shot at it though:
-Everything on the Mach3 optimization recommendations has been tried, except for loading XP without ACPI, since it's too late for that.  I did change it to "standard PC" (loses one CPU core), and "multiprocessor PC".  
-I've tried every combination of parallel port type, and two different addresses.
-I tried every pulse frequency for the port.  
-I upgraded to the latest version of Mach3
-I changed everything in Windows that I could find to help, though of course none of this was don't on the old computer.  
-I changed every setting in BIOS that could have any effect.
-I scoped the step and direction pulses using both computers, and while they're hard to see, they seem very close to the same voltage.  
-probably some other stuff I can't think of at the moment, but a total of 14 hours worth of work with nothing to show.  

I ran the driver test, and it says it's "excellent", though there is a small, fairly regular pulse.  About every other screen, there's a very large pulse.  I compared this to the old computer, and it also has the large pulses, though not as many of the smaller pulses.  I had nice screen captures of these, but they got written over when I restored the backup image for about the 5th time today.  

What I have not done is try a PCI-e video card, rather than using the on-board video. I do have one, but the on-board video was one of the reasons I got this mobo.  I could also order a PCI parallel port adapter, but see previous comment about the reason I got his mobo.  Of course if they work, I'd do either or both in a heartbeat.  

If anyone can think of something I've missed, I'd love to hear it.  

Thanks,
Rusty (tired and depressed)
Re: new computer can't jog faster than 50 ipm?
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2009, 11:28:39 PM »
What was the kernel speed on the OLD PC ?
Just in case....did you shut down and restart when changing the Kernel on the new one ?
You can CHECK CONFIG and it will tell you if the K speed is wrong too.

I know.....it's not much but it's all I can think of right off.
Good luck,
RC

Offline ger21

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Re: new computer can't jog faster than 50 ipm?
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2009, 11:29:16 PM »
 
-I changed every setting in BIOS that could have any effect.


Make sure you disable C1E and EIST (dependent on CPU chosen) in the
board's BIOS.
Gerry

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Re: new computer can't jog faster than 50 ipm?
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2009, 11:55:38 PM »
What was the kernel speed on the OLD PC ?
Just in case....did you shut down and restart when changing the Kernel on the new one ?
You can CHECK CONFIG and it will tell you if the K speed is wrong too.

I know.....it's not much but it's all I can think of right off.
Good luck,
RC

Thanks for the reply.  The old computer was set to 25k, as is the new computer.  I've tried other settings, but always put it back to 25k when it didn't help.  I did see the note about restarting the app when changing speeds, so I've been doing that.

The check config is something that I haven't looked at, but it found no errors.  When I set the Kernal speed above 25k, it complains that I have it set above what is required, and it tells me to put it back to 25k. 

BTW, I should have described the problem a little better.  When I try to jog at 100 ipm, it moves some, at least until the acceleration is nearly complete.  Sometimes, it moves almost the entire distance across the router before it stalls.  Most often, it's lucky to move a half inch at 100 ipm. 

Thanks,
Rusty
Re: new computer can't jog faster than 50 ipm?
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2009, 11:58:08 PM »
 
-I changed every setting in BIOS that could have any effect.


Make sure you disable C1E and EIST (dependent on CPU chosen) in the
board's BIOS.

Good thought, and I saw it on a search earlier.  Unfortunately, those were among the settings I disabled earlier.  There was a 3rd in the same group, but I don't recall what it was at the moment. 

Offline ger21

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Re: new computer can't jog faster than 50 ipm?
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2009, 07:40:20 AM »
It might be the parallel port on the new PC. Maybe try a PCI parallel port card?
Gerry

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Offline Jeff_Birt

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Re: new computer can't jog faster than 50 ipm?
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2009, 10:47:05 AM »
The first thing that jumped out at me is that you are running 4gB of RAM on XP. As XP can't address more than 3 gB, more memory than that can actually cause performance problems. I'm not sure that it is responsible for your lack of speed issue though as that sounds more like a HW limitation of the on-board LPT or perhaps the high precision HW timer that mach uses. If you have an O-Scope it might be worthwhile to look at the stability of the pulse stream generated.

As other have said you can try a PCI parallel port card or my personal preference upgrade to a SmoothStepper! The SmoothStepper moves the pulse generation to a dedicated motion controller giving you rock solid pulse streams and a faster pulse rate than the LPT could ever do. However if you use backlash compensation with the LPT you should be aware that it is not incorporated on the SS yet. Take a look at the SmoothStepper section of this forum or the Warp9TD forum or give me a call for more SS info.
Happy machining , Jeff Birt
 
Re: new computer can't jog faster than 50 ipm?
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2009, 11:20:46 AM »
Thanks for the additional comments.  I mentioned the option of trying a PCI parallel port in the original post.  If I don't get anywhere with today's testing, I'll certainly order one to try. 

I've scoped the parallel signals, but they're really hard to capture.  Today, I'll capture the X step and dir signals with a Saleae Logic device.  Maybe there will be a clue there. 

I'll also try the PCI video card, to eliminate the on-board video as a possibility.  While I'm in there, I'll pull one of the 2GB memory cards as well.  I've run 4GB on my main computer for years with XP Pro.  Each mobo has it's own way of handling the memory over 3GB, and the Abit board gives XP 3.25 GB, where the Gigabyte only reports 2.99 GB.  It's certainly possible that this could be causing a problem, so it's well worth trying. 

As for the smoothstepper, I haven't followed it that closely, but I did look into it a bit yesterday.  I'll be considering this a last resort, since the parallel port can, and should work fine. 

Stay tuned as I waste another weekend day on this. 

Rusty
   

Offline RICH

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Re: new computer can't jog faster than 50 ipm?
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2009, 11:56:23 AM »
Rusty,
I think what you are seeing is the difference in the quality of the step and direction pulse out of the new computer. To see that difference you need a good scope.The pulse is generated and will carry right thru the PP. So don't think a new PP card will help.
Now using a video card instead of the on-board video may help. The above comment is from trying a number of PC's. I use a SS on my DELL GX520, has on board video, and no matter what ( video card for it is not cheap so never tried ) the stepper speed suffered dramaticaly but they run great with the SS and the increase was 2 to 4x.
Never know what you can end up with until it's tried. So my recommendation is that you buy a PC with the undestanding from where it is beinig purchased that if unstisfactory for intended use 100% refund
and if they can't agree .......walk away! The savings may not be worth the agrEvation and time spent on the bargin!
BEEN THERE ........DONE THAT,
RICH

RICH
BTW, still use the old "dead dog laptop" via PP and its use is rock solid !  ;)
« Last Edit: April 05, 2009, 12:00:11 PM by RICH »

Offline Jeff_Birt

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Re: new computer can't jog faster than 50 ipm?
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2009, 12:27:33 PM »
Quote
As for the smoothstepper, I haven't followed it that closely, but I did look into it a bit yesterday.  I'll be considering this a last resort, since the parallel port can, and should work fine.


The way I look at it is the the PC does many things very well. It can crunch number, show pretty graphics, access lot of memory, lots of different types of I/O etc. What it does not do really well is real-time I/O. Art has done amazing things with the LPT driver but in the end the bottleneck is still the underlying PC architecture; it was not designed for real time I/O. Motion control cards also do some things very well. Mainly they do all the time critical stuff VERY well. So, by marrying the two you get the best of both worlds. You free up a great deal of the PC processor by not trying to make it generate the pulse streams for the steppers and you get the faster/steadier pulse stream from the SmoothStepper.

I agree that you 'probably' can get the LPT to work. Each motherboard is different and some folks have found that some simply will not work. One caveat on the video card is that some built in video chip-sets can't be disabled, so make sure your's can before buying another video card. Good luck.

If all else fails give me a holler for a SmoothStepper  :)
Happy machining , Jeff Birt