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Author Topic: Can I convert to Mach 3  (Read 10738 times)

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Re: Can I convert to Mach 3
« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2010, 06:08:23 PM »
Mike I am ALWAYS ALWAYS up for meeting new people and making new friends.

ESPECIALLY those who have any interest at all in woodworking - and in CNC.

My son lives in Bridgeport Ct.

I would LOVE to go visit Hood --- Scotland??  Beautiful country there!!!

Offline RICH

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Re: Can I convert to Mach 3
« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2010, 08:18:12 PM »
Not sure how your controller board works and have attached a picture of it from the Larken site.
I would only guess that there "may" be some info in the associated software.
Don't know what exactly the estop is doing on that board as i only guess that it is disengaging the drives and not killing the whole power supply.

So it seems like you have Starcam software board ( i will just call it a break out board / BOB) and for steppers they provided a choice of Starcam or Mach2.
Not sure Mach3 will work with the BOB. If the board is bypassed, and you got an xml file from them, then you would have pinouts, maybe.

The question you should ask Larken are:
 If you now want to use MACH do you need to bypass the board? ....or....
Can the board be used with any step and direction software?
Can they supply you with an xml for Mach2?

If you get nowhere.....Then i would try removing the estop wire from switch to the BOB. In mach i would assign say pin 10 and check the emulated in config.
Then i would disconnect the wires to the drives for y & z and start by trial and error for the x axis only to jog a small distance using pins 2-9 for step and direction.
2 x 9 = 18 x 2 ( high and low settings = 36 possibilities

We had to do this with a Chinese drive that had no known literature, the first axis was rather quickly done....then the others somewhat longer.

Hope this helps, I don't know of a shorter route if Larken won't respond to you. Hey they want to sell their own controlling program.......

RICH
Re: Can I convert to Mach 3
« Reply #22 on: July 20, 2010, 10:11:30 PM »
Whoa!!!  $1800 --- $2400

Way out of my league.

Larken did say he had a BOB for $169 - but I didn't know what that was.

I think I can go the $170 - but not $1800

Rich - you are talking a bit greek to me.

I understand about unplugging the estop but not about reassigning it to pin 10

I underatand about unplugging the "Y" and "Z" axis drives to experiment

I don't understand what you mean about xml files

I can keep trying with Larken - they do respond - but real slow.

In the meantime - I can still use the Larken software - and work at the Mach 3 setup.

Take me through slow - I can do it - but one step at a time.

I am mechanical - not electronic.

BTW - yes this is a starcam controller Mach3 not Mach2.  The steppers are upgraded to more powerful ones, not the standard ones.

Also - this machine has the AC Tech MC Series variable speed drive that I hope to operate through gcode programming.

I installed the Mach3 software tonight, but I did not try anything with it yet.

Leo

Larken I 

Offline RICH

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Re: Can I convert to Mach 3
« Reply #23 on: July 21, 2010, 09:58:02 AM »
Quote
I don't understand what you mean about xml files

When you configure Mach3 ,ie; you assign in CONFIG>PORTS & PINS which pins will be used for outputs and inputs to Mach3 along with other things and all that is saved in a named file.......like maybe .......LARKEN.XML.  So if you ask them for an xml file or their configuration for using Mach
you will not need to figure what pin is used for what.  On their site they only mentioned Mach2 so even a configuration from that old version would be a great help. So save yourself a lot of agrivation and ask them for it. 

Like I said that board may dedicated to their software, i don't know...., but if it works with the pulse out of a PC using  Mach then
life should easy.

RICH

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Re: Can I convert to Mach 3
« Reply #24 on: July 21, 2010, 10:36:41 AM »
Just a thought, since you have the laken software you can also just jog an axis, lets say X, and look to see what pin on the DB 25 cord is changing state via your meter, I will guess it's 2 to 9. So jog the axis with their software to make sure the board is working. That will tell you
what pin is assigned to the  wires going to the drives. Check that the cord is straight thru, ie pin 1 is pin1 on the on both sides.

BTW, Software sends a signal from PC to a particular PP pin, the signal   then goes to Larkens controller connection (DB25) which eventualy goes to the drive connection on that board. So using the larken software you will find out what you need to know.

RICH

Offline RICH

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Re: Can I convert to Mach 3
« Reply #25 on: July 21, 2010, 11:24:40 AM »
I went the "extra mile" for you and talked to Larken.  ;)

The break out board ( BOB) for StarCam will not work with Mach and you need a different BOB ( i kind of figured that).  :(
You will need a BOB, since you wish to have more control than say just moving the axes and homing. The drives are opto isolated
and you could bypass the Starcam board, but you will be limited.

Which BOB you purchase is up to you, Larken has one, PDMX comes to mind, but it's up to you. If you purchase a break out board form a third party i am sure Larken won't have much interest in helping you should there be a problem with a drive or use of the third party BOB.

I am sending a mail message off to Larken requesting info on their BOB and associated MACH configuration.
I will post the info when i get it and you can decide to go from there what you want to do.

I am assuming that you got this machine used? If that's the case you should at least confirm ,using their sofware, that the drives and controller work as they should. That could affect your decision on how you proceed if something is not right.

Till then,

RICH

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Re: Can I convert to Mach 3
« Reply #26 on: July 21, 2010, 07:03:41 PM »
I got a reply from Larken ( Larry ) , and they don't currrently have a BOB and would take a few weeks.
So just by pass the Larken board / remove it.
The drives are step and direction and the switches and estop are wired N/0.
That said buy a new BOB from whoever you choose, install it, configure Mach3, and you should be good to go provided
your drives are good.

RICH

« Last Edit: July 21, 2010, 07:05:34 PM by RICH »
Re: Can I convert to Mach 3
« Reply #27 on: July 26, 2010, 12:18:00 PM »
Rich, Mike, Hood,

Thank you,  I have also had communications with Larry at Larken.

He told me he had a BOB for the machine.

But before I bought it - I wanted to go through a little more troubleshooting on the machine to be sure I was not having mechanical problems instead.

I think after this discussion with you - THANK you - I am going to purchase the BOB from Larken.

Larry knows I bought the machine used and it is about 10 years old.  Even at the age it is - I KNOW it got just about NO usage at all.

The machine is pretty rugged.

I just went through a sample 3D cutting run, and noticed that the control is not moving the Z axis to the programmed position.

Larry told me that the older starcam boards had trouble processing direct gcode.

At this point, I am waiting on Larry to look at a couple of gcode programs I sent him, and to look at a detailed explanation of the Z axis problem I am having.

I am not dead in the water - the machine is functioning - it is just not performing in 3D modeling the way it should.  All the axis drives work - the spindle starts and stops fine.  It can do just about everything it is meant to do - it just has about .030 Z error over about 5" of XY travel.  I believe the problem is in the ability of the older starcam board to process direct gcode.

I am almost certain I will be converting to Mach3 and replacing the board.
I will certainly get the BOB from Larken - he deserves a sale from me, because of all the help he is offering up to me.
I don't mind a little waiting.  I don't do this for income - just for hobby and crafting.

Sorry, I am being idle for periods of time - as this is a "side line" in my shop right now.
I am also working on a different project.

AND -- thank you for such TREMENDOUS support

I will be needing more in the coming weeks  ----- I am sure.

Leo
« Last Edit: July 26, 2010, 12:30:43 PM by Leo Voisine »