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best supported controller?
« on: December 29, 2010, 12:00:48 PM »
Hi,

At the risk of starting a war of some kind, can anyone recommend a control board for me that is actually popular and well supported (in terms of advice, updates, etc) by both the manufacturer and cnc forums.

I'm fed up with the pace of progress getting my ncpod based machine running.

My pc has a parallel port, and I'm running 6 axes. Such things as backlash compensation, spindle speed control etc not necessary, but THC would be helpful (not obligatory, though; there's probably a way to work around the lack of it), and I need home/limit for all 6 axes, plus a few supplementary input and output pins.

Anyone any ideas? anyone tempted to sell me something they're not using?!

Rich B

Offline BR549

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Re: best supported controller?
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2010, 04:47:02 PM »
The original LPT version is hard to beat for form and function AND support.

2 lpt's would do the trick, (;-) TP
Re: best supported controller?
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2010, 06:05:12 PM »
Can you give me a link for that? It's a bit general for me to google...
Re: best supported controller?
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2010, 06:47:39 PM »
There are lots of options.  I've always used Gecko drives and have never had a reason to look at any other company.  I've been using the Sound Logic BOB, but I think I'll try the CNC4PC C35 next time.   The Gecko G540 is a great option if your motors draw less than 3.5A.  It is a complete 4 axis setup with built in BOB.  I've used two of them so far.

The THC would interface through the second PP.

Offline Hood

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Re: best supported controller?
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2010, 07:23:31 PM »
Can you give me a link for that? It's a bit general for me to google...

What Terry is meaning is use the parallel port and just add a second port to get extra I/O

I use the SmoothStepper on all my machines as I have servos with high count encoders and the parallel port would limit my rapids unless I used the drives electronic gearing. Personally I dislike electronic gearing so the SS has been a great benefit to me.


Hood
Re: best supported controller?
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2010, 08:21:23 PM »
Okay, thanks Hood. I was thinking smooth stepper, I just think there's a bit of a wait to get one now, and I'm impatient!

I'm also loath to give up on the ncPOD, but it's just more efficient to spend a day sorting a problem out by using the benefit of wide experience online, rather spend weeks redefining the problem to one support guy at oemtech. They are nice guys over there, but there are just too few of them! Time ticks away...

Do you find the smooth stepper people helpful? Is the support fairly prompt, and suitably competent? The documentation doesn't appear to have moved on in the last couple of years.

Anyway, thanks again

Rich B
Re: best supported controller?
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2010, 08:24:30 PM »
To rrc1962:

You mention that your controller is only 4 axis; is there something else in your system that makes it able to handle 6 axes?

Richard B

Offline Hood

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Re: best supported controller?
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2010, 08:28:59 PM »
The SS is really just a parallel port replacement in the respect that for the majority of things you just set up as you would the parallel port. Documentation hasnt changed but I think Jeff Birt has written a doc although I havent read it myself so not sure exactly whats in it.

The SS does most things but THC and Backlash are two it doesnt yet support, Backlash is being worked on and I suppose it has been for a year or so but Greg had other commitments so his time was stretched thin, hopefully it will get done soon for the guys that are waiting.

Dont think there is much of a wait for the SS but if Greg doesnt have one Jeff or even some of the others that sell them likely will have some in stock.
Hood
Re: best supported controller?
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2010, 08:30:41 PM »
Okay, thanks again.

I'll probably buy one.

Rich

Offline BR549

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Re: best supported controller?
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2010, 10:05:32 PM »
The thing the LPT version has going for it is it has the widest USER base, SUpport Base, Documentation base AND the cheapest overall solution for the average application.

Also as Art has always said Nothing beats the LPT for being able to do all Mach functions well.

(;-) TP