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Need break out board suggestions
« on: March 16, 2012, 01:38:30 PM »
Hi, I have a CNC Shark Pro with a Xylotex 3525 3 axis board and an ncPod. The current set-up isn't Mach 3 friendly even with the firmware and driver changes and I'm wanting to get away from the ncPod altogether and put a break out board in it's place, which should add quite a bit of attachment capability and allow me to run my digitizing probe, add an E-Stop, a jog controller, etc. The Xylotex has a DB25 connector for input so I would need a break out with DB25 for interfacing with my computer and output to the Xylotex (DB25 on both ends, essentially).

Could someone make a low cost suggestion? I recently lost my job and trying to make a few bucks on the side (and possibly go fulltime) with the machine. I've seen the CNC4PC boards in the $100 range and they look very nice but I was hoping to find something much cheaper to get me back on my feet. I see all of the $30 boards on ebay but nothing has a DB25 output that will plug directly into the Xylotex. I am a novice so if there is a method of connectivity that I'm not aware of that would be essentially plug and play I would appreciate the guidance.

I would GREATLY APPRECIATE if a someone could help a brother out.

Thank you and God Bless!!!!
Chris

Offline ger21

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Re: Need break out board suggestions
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2012, 06:44:06 PM »
Posted this at CNC Zone too.
Just plug the Xylotex into the parallel port, and spend $5 at Mouser or Digikey for the Molex connector that plugs into the Xylotex an gives you access to the extra pins.
You don't really need a breakout board.
I have a SuperPID, hall effect home switches, and auto zero plates wired directly to my Xylotex. The only thing I had to do was add a pull up resistor for the auto zero plates.

For jogging, try an XBox 360 controller or a Shuttle Pro. Neither need the parallel port.
Gerry

2010 Screenset
http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

JointCAM Dovetail and Box Joint software
http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html
Re: Need break out board suggestions
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2012, 06:49:52 PM »
Thank you for the reply. Could you expand on it a little? I'm just slightly above "moron" on this and it went over my head a little. I'm not familiar with the connector and the pdf that I downloaded from Xylotex was pretty much useless

Offline ger21

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Re: Need break out board suggestions
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2012, 06:57:25 PM »
Actually, you don't need the connector. My Xylotex is 7 years old, and doesn't have screw terminals. You can connect your probe and E-Stop right to the Xylotex screw terminals.
There's a picture here showing how to wire switches to the Xylotex with a pull up resistor.
http://solsylva.com/cnc/limit_switches.shtml
Gerry

2010 Screenset
http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

JointCAM Dovetail and Box Joint software
http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html
Re: Need break out board suggestions
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2012, 07:09:17 PM »
I just looked at the link you gave me and that board is different than mine. I've attached a pic so you can see it (ncPOD that will be eliminated is on the right). My manual doesn't tell what the pins on the connector at the top are and the board isn't marked which pointed me to the BOB method. I'm also worried about my motherboard getting fried too as I've read some horror stories. Any ideas?

Offline ger21

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Re: Need break out board suggestions
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2012, 07:47:39 PM »
I think I've only read about 2 killed motherboards in the 9 years I've been reading cnc newsgroups and forums. A lot of people will try to scare you, but it's very unlikely to occur, and usually caused by applying 120V to the parallel port.

I think you're best bet would be to add a second parallel port to your PC, so that you can use any breakout board you want. It will also give you many more options, as all the pins will be available to you on the second port.
Gerry

2010 Screenset
http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

JointCAM Dovetail and Box Joint software
http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html
Re: Need break out board suggestions
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2012, 07:57:16 PM »
I'm not opposed to adding another parallel port to the computer, but how will the computer know to talk to pass information back and forth between a second installed parallel card going to the breakout board and the Xylotex on the original port? Would there be more software involved? I'm a definite moron on CNC electronics. LOL!!!!

Offline ger21

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Re: Need break out board suggestions
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2012, 08:19:48 PM »
You tell Mach3 the address of each  port, and assign the functions to both the pin # and port # (port 1 or port 2).

Nothing else is needed.
Gerry

2010 Screenset
http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

JointCAM Dovetail and Box Joint software
http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html
Re: Need break out board suggestions
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2012, 09:03:10 PM »
The Homann Designs (www.homanndesigns.com) breakout boards are dirt cheap (US$30), and work flawlessly.  I've got four of them, and never had a single problem.

Regards,
Ray L.
Regards,
Ray L.
Re: Need break out board suggestions
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2012, 12:44:40 AM »
Thanks Gerry!

Ray, I was looking on that site you linked to. Do you plug a DB-25 on both sides of that connector? Never seen one like that before. I see the board is $39 now. What was shipping like from Australia? What was the wait boxes? Also, are you running that breakout into another controller board like I would be or as a stand alone into separate driver boxes?