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Author Topic: Buying a laptop for Mach 3  (Read 2659 times)

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Offline AMS

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Buying a laptop for Mach 3
« on: August 17, 2010, 01:37:22 PM »
I was reading about Mach 3's minimum requirements and saw that Mach 3 is notorious for not running well (or not running period) for laptops. I will need to use a laptop if I'm to be able to operate my mill in the shop environment I work in. I did a quick search on the forum here and saw that indeed it is possible to use a laptop to run Mach 3, but just very tricky. I'll be purchasing a used laptop and I was wondering what would be the big requirements to use Mach 3 on a laptop without much trouble? I understand the power saving features on laptops would for sure be a problem, and that since laptops virtually always have video cards built into the motherboard it can cause some issues as well, but are there any other big things I need to watch out for?

Online Tweakie.CNC

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Re: Buying a laptop for Mach 3
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2010, 03:23:45 AM »
Just curious, but why can't you use a PC in your shop environment ?

As you are aware the problem with laptops is that some work and some don't and there is no sure fire way of telling which is which. Even the same type and model may have bios / firmware revisions which make one work and the other not.

Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.

Offline AMS

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Re: Buying a laptop for Mach 3
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2010, 11:12:31 AM »
After I got home last night I actually decided against the laptop idea because of the complete shot in the dark it would wind up being.

Thanks ;)
Re: Buying a laptop for Mach 3
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2010, 11:51:04 AM »
Hi!
I use an old Thinkpad R40 under XP Sp3 without problems. Be careful with Parallel Port voltage. I use DIY bob with 74245 buffers
Thinkpads with dockstation ( like X24 ) don't work.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2010, 11:52:40 AM by wdumay »

Offline Jeff_Birt

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Re: Buying a laptop for Mach 3
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2010, 03:43:46 PM »
Most laptops will work is you are using a SmoothStepper instead of the parallel port. Even though I use/recommend the SS and use my laptop quite often when testing things, I also recommend a dedicated PC for the CNC control as it prevents problems with other software form interfering with Mach. I do have customers that use the laptop and SS as their only means to control machine(s) but they know to be careful about what they install on the laptop to avoid problems.
Happy machining , Jeff Birt