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Author Topic: Ruminations on Computers for Mach  (Read 3194 times)

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Ruminations on Computers for Mach
« on: April 11, 2010, 06:52:39 PM »
I recently "upgraded" to an IBM ThinkCenter PC (1.5gig Pentium, 1g RAM, G-force video card, Windows XP) on my milling machine, and it has been missing occasional steps ever since. I've run through everything I could find on the forum (checking video settings in bios, optimizing services, motor tuning, pulse settings/speed, etc.) and it still misses a few steps every 30-45 seconds. (My ear has been well enough practiced that I can hear the faint "chirp" when it happens). When I recheck the position at the home switches after hearing the chirping, it seems to move a couple of thousandths of an inch each time. Swapping video cards/drivers had no effect.

After messing with it for a week or so, I took the PC from my old Mach controlled router (667MHz Pentium, 256 meg RAM, Windows 2000) that has run reliably for about 5 years. After transplanting the correct .xml file, it runs the milling machine perfectly...

Obviously, the solution is to replace the computer, which I plan to do. I'm really just curious if anyone has any thoughts on what in the world would cause a much "better" computer to not be able to run Mach?

Offline Hood

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Re: Ruminations on Computers for Mach
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2010, 01:58:56 AM »
Did you format the drive and install XP fresh?
Hood
Re: Ruminations on Computers for Mach
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2010, 09:42:19 AM »
Hood,

No, I didn't nuke the hard drive and re install XP. I guess it never occurred to me that re installing XP would help (although I did try a couple of versions of Mach along the way)...

Just prior to moving the PC out to the shop, I updated XP to the latest Service pack and installed all security updates, figuring that I should do that before XP support ends in few months. The updates installed without any problems.

Maybe I'll try a reformat and start over with XP, although it will be a kind of a pain - I don't have internet access in the shop, and I worry that the ID number on the computer may not be sufficient to "activate" the XP license (I don't have the original system disc, although I do have an XP disc).

Thanks,

SF

Offline Hood

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Re: Ruminations on Computers for Mach
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2010, 09:47:17 AM »
What I am thinking is there is likely to be some software installed that is screwing with the Port driver, Quicktime is a notorious one but could even be some IBM stuff if it was an original IBM install.

Hood
Re: Ruminations on Computers for Mach
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2010, 03:26:40 PM »
Hood,

The port driver interference makes sense. Do you think it would be worth installing a parallel port card and trying to run everything through it??

Thanks,

SF

Offline Hood

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Re: Ruminations on Computers for Mach
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2010, 04:54:17 PM »
What I am meaning by the Port Driver is Machs Pulsing Engine.
I think the first thing to try is do a format of the drive with a clean install of XP, that way you will know there is no software installed that is causing issues. If you still dont have joy then doing the optimisation steps outlined on the downloads page may help.
Obviously as you are unsure whether you can properly register XP on this computer you will have to decide whether its a chance worth taking.
Hood

Offline kf2qd

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Re: Ruminations on Computers for Mach
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2010, 11:10:31 AM »
Hit CTRL-ALT-DEL and bring up the task manager and take a look at the runing processes. Anything you don't recognize - do a search for that name on the web and determine what it does and if you need it. Some processes can be terminated without anything compailning,others refuse to ... Worst that can happen is that you need to reboot.
Re: Ruminations on Computers for Mach
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2010, 02:08:45 PM »
Thanks for the suggestion regarding terminating tasks.

I tried that a while back, and at first thought I might have found something significant - in spite of the fact it is a "clean machine" (Mach, and very little else), there were 4 copies of scvhost running. Although I know that various Windows processes run different copies of this, I though four was excessive. I found one that I could stop with shutting down windows, but doing so didn't affect the missed steps problem...

Thanks,

SF