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Can I convert to Mach 3
« on: July 19, 2010, 02:02:43 PM »
I have a Larken 2424 Camtool and it uses the Larken control box that came with the machine.
It has a 220v spindle with an AC Tech series mc spindle drive and a Perske 2hp spindle.

I use Vectric software to do gcode programming.

The axis control boards are in the Larken control box.

The control box is connected to a desktop computer via a parallel cable.

There is a small Larken CNC spooler program to operate the machine.

I don't care for the control software supplied by Larken to control the machine.

Can I some how convert this machine to run with Mach 3 software?

I am pretty good at mechanical stuff, but I am not great at software, electronics or computers.  

With some help I could likely get through it.

Do I need dedicated circuit boards to control axis motion?

Is this reasonably "doable"?

Leo
« Last Edit: July 19, 2010, 02:06:52 PM by Leo Voisine »

Offline Hood

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Re: Can I convert to Mach 3
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2010, 02:54:11 PM »
Do you have a link to any info on the setup?

Hood
Re: Can I convert to Mach 3
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2010, 03:24:57 PM »
Hood,

This is the machine

http://www.larkencnc.com/cam24/index.shtml

I am not sure what else you would be asking about?

This is the Larken main page

http://www.larkencnc.com/

Leo

Offline Hood

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Re: Can I convert to Mach 3
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2010, 03:39:06 PM »
Ah OK thats the guy that makes the viper and cobra drives.
Looks like yours will probably be stepper driven but even if not it should be no problem to convert to Mach and likely you will only need to configure Mach and wont need any hardware.
What you will need to find out is which pin is connected to Step and Dir for each axis and any limits, E-Stop etc. Spindle I am not sure about as I have not found any info on the speed controller yet but again likely will be possible to convert without any hardware.
Hood

Offline kf2qd

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Re: Can I convert to Mach 3
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2010, 03:39:45 PM »
Do you have any electrical diagrams? What would be important is the pinouts and description for the parallel cable. Also - can you look at any of the existing configuration information - especially port and pin info and steps per inch or millimeter. As long as it uses stepper motors and step/direction type control all it should require is a computer that will run Mach3 and a parallel port.

If you can document the signals at the parallel port mach 3 should be no problem.
Re: Can I convert to Mach 3
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2010, 05:03:02 PM »
I am not electronics savy - but also not afraid of anything.

If we dialog back and forth enough - we can probably work through all of it.  And I will learn a lot of stuff.

I can take pics and you can walk me through - I would imagine it will take a while.

The machine has stepper motors - I can give you the numbers and stuff like that.  I can get real good real close up pics and you can all help me through.  I am good at getting close up pics.

Schematics?  I truly believe we will be out of luck there.  Support from Larken is close to none.

The spindle is the Perske 2 hp with an AC Tech MC Series drive.  It is a variable frequency drive.  I have just downloaded the manual for it.  In the worst case - I can set the drive unit up as being independant, like, I can turn the spindle on and off via the AC Tech panel.  However, I would rather have it run via Mach 3.

In the Larken control box I can identify the axis control boards - and where the wires go to.  Each of the stepper motors has a 4 wire plug.  Each wire is a specific color.

OK - I am working on my truck also - so this is a bit of a side project.
Telling by the number of posts you have made - you are around here a lot.

Will we be able to go into this

What do I need to do first?

Offline Hood

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Re: Can I convert to Mach 3
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2010, 05:40:14 PM »
First thing to do is identify  which pin on the parallel cable goes to each of the motor inputs on the drives, should be easy enough with an Ohm meter.

Hood
Re: Can I convert to Mach 3
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2010, 08:59:47 PM »
I started to look at it earlier.

The parallel wire plugs into a card in the control box at the front end.  The wires coming out of the back of the board are in sets of three.  Each one of those groups of three wires goes to a plug on the individual axis drive boards.  I am not very well versed in electronic testing but I think I can back trace where those connections go

I will do that tomorrow morning.

I guess I should also download the Mach 3 software,

Leo

Offline Hood

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Re: Can I convert to Mach 3
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2010, 02:10:35 AM »
Yes download and install Mach. It sounds like all you will need to do is configure Mach to the correct pins and it will work.
Hood
Re: Can I convert to Mach 3
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2010, 09:35:57 AM »
Hood,

I am NOT an electronics person - I really don't know much about how to use an ohm meter but here is some information I was able to find

I don't know if I am calling the pins the correct thing put I start at the lower left corner as #1 and work my way around clockwise.



This is what the parallel board inside the Larken controller looks like



These are the 3 axis control boards as installed in the Larken controller - is also shows the end of the parallel port board



The parallel port board is at the front end of the board which is mounted to the front of the Larken control box.

On the back end of the board is three sets of 3 wires.  In each set is  One Green, One Purple, and One Gray.  There is one set of wires for  each axis control board.  I have ID'd each of those.

I also used my ohm meter

I had the meter set on 200k ohms
Like I said - I don't really know how to use this stuff.


I used a paper clip inserted into the plug that plugs into each axis drive drive board on each of the colored wires - and checked every pin on the parallel port pins.

This is what I got  

"0" means there is no connection at all
            

"X" Axis                     
                     
   Pin #      Wire color   Wire color   Wire color      Wire color
                     
         Green      Purple      Grey
                     
   1      71.8      0.8      72
   2      71.8      0.8      72
   3      71.8      0.8      72
   4      71.8      0.8      72
   5      71.8      0.8      72
   6      0      0      0
   7      0      0      0
   8      0      0      0
   9      0      0      0
   10      74.9      1      75
   11      0      0      0
   12      0      0      0
   13      0      0      0
   14      74.9      1      75
   15      74.9      0      75
   16      74.9      0      75
   17      74.9      0      75
   18      74.9      0      75
   19      0      0      0
   20      0      0      0
   21      0      0      0
   22      0      0      0
   23      0      129.2      0
   24      0      0      0
   25      0      0      0
   frame      71.9      0.8      77



Does any of this make any sense to you?

If it does I will do the other two axis's later today.



BTW ---- it there an easy way to insert a pic??

Leo