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Mach3 VS Other motion controller for stability
« on: September 02, 2012, 02:56:07 PM »
Hi guys,
Long time since my last post. I need a suggestion from the experienced here (hello Hood)

Well, i have been using mach3 for the past 2 or 3 years on my DIY lathe (but it hardly ran for ~500 hours or a month if calculated precisely)
I love mach3 for its ease of use, simplicity and features except the stability (the unknown error triggers, system hangs etc)
but i am now going to make another CNC for commercial use and need a more stable control that won't crash or hang all the day long.
Should i go with some commercial CNC controls like Fagor or GSK (i want to keep the price low) or these new CNC lathe software + hardware combo are of any use? (planet cnc, USB cnc , Probotix USB CNC etc) They don't use Mach3 and have their own brains.
I want to know if you have any experiences with any of these (i was thinking about Mach3 + smoothstepper but i read that the setup is still not stable enough).
I contacted Mach3 support and the reply was "Mach3 is what it is for now".
I am double minded about this controller thing. Please put some light (i am afraid i will spend 2000$ on a commercial control and end up frying it's inputs and outputs maybe) I just need to control 2 axes and a turret. No fancy features are needed.

Jasminder Singh

Offline Hood

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Re: Mach3 VS Other motion controller for stability
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2012, 02:59:17 PM »
I have no experience with the controls you mention but also I have never experienced any of the problems with Mach that you mention. I can not remember the last time I had the computer freeze up etc.
Sounds to me like you have problems more with the computer than with Mach.

Hood
Re: Mach3 VS Other motion controller for stability
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2012, 03:05:10 PM »
I have no experience with the controls you mention but also I have never experienced any of the problems with Mach that you mention. I can not remember the last time I had the computer freeze up etc.
Sounds to me like you have problems more with the computer than with Mach.

Hood
I am even more confused when everybody says me that. Seems like i should try a faster computer than a P4.
Do you think that changing the kernel speed of the program should help improving the stability?
I always use 25khz.
200 pulse/rev steppers used at 1/4 stepping. Two axis only.

thanks for your help,
Jasminder singh

Offline Hood

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Re: Mach3 VS Other motion controller for stability
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2012, 03:13:37 PM »
I run two of my machines from via Pico motherboards which are only 1Gig CPUs. I do however use external controllers (Smoothstepper and Ethernet Smoothstepper) and that does take a lot of the stress away from the computer.
Using 25KHz should be the most stable but 1/4 stepping is probably not the best to use, I think 1/10 is optimum according the Gecko so as close to that the better. That however will make no difference to the computer so its not your problem.
Maybe your issues are power? Could your power be dirty and fluctuate a lot?

I am testing out a new external controller at the moment from CS Lab of Poland and so far it is looking very good, it also runs Mach but everyone I have seen so far that is using them seems to like them and no issues so far.
Hood
« Last Edit: September 02, 2012, 03:15:53 PM by Hood »

Offline Jeff_Birt

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Re: Mach3 VS Other motion controller for stability
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2012, 03:13:58 PM »
I have found most 'stability' problems are really problems related to how the machine was put together. Poor wiring practice often leads to incorrectly grounded machines that give the PC fits. Some types of components, like VFDs produce a LOT of electrical noise and if not installed properly (grounding, isolation, etc) then there is almost always problems.
Happy machining , Jeff Birt
 
Re: Mach3 VS Other motion controller for stability
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2012, 03:25:02 PM »
I run two of my machines from via Pico motherboards which are only 1Gig CPUs. I do however use external controllers (Smoothstepper and Ethernet Smoothstepper) and that does take a lot of the stress away from the computer.
Using 25KHz should be the most stable but 1/4 stepping is probably not the best to use, I think 1/10 is optimum according the Gecko so as close to that the better. That however will make no difference to the computer so its not your problem.
Maybe your issues are power? Could your power be dirty and fluctuate a lot?

I am testing out a new external controller at the moment from CS Lab of Poland and so far it is looking very good, it also runs needs Mach but everyone I have seen so far that is using them seems to like them and no issues so far.
Hood
Hmm, you could be right. I have a a second PC hooked up on my machine and i think that when a PC is just new, it works better. But after few months it starts creating problems. It could be the dust destroying the M-board possibly. Do you know a cost effective solution to keep the electronics and control cool while keeping air tight? I was thinking about using a small refrigerator and changing the thermostat with a 25-35 degrees or using a cheap closed loop temperature controller with the fridge(17$ on ebay). Panel coolers and heat exchangers are very expensive here. A used on on ebay i found for 300$. (a new small fridge cost here 100$). The idea seems funny but i guess it should work if i keep the temperature a bit high than the Dew point.

regards,
Jasminder singh
Re: Mach3 VS Other motion controller for stability
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2012, 03:29:12 PM »
I have found most 'stability' problems are really problems related to how the machine was put together. Poor wiring practice often leads to incorrectly grounded machines that give the PC fits. Some types of components, like VFDs produce a LOT of electrical noise and if not installed properly (grounding, isolation, etc) then there is almost always problems.
Dear jeff,

I will try grounding everything there is to be grounded.
The VFD ate my CRT monitor's display. Guess what it will be doing to the control. You are absolutely right.

regards,
jasminder singh
Re: Mach3 VS Other motion controller for stability
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2012, 03:31:32 PM »
I will post my experience after grounding the electronics.
thanks to Hood and jeff once again.

Offline Hood

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Re: Mach3 VS Other motion controller for stability
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2012, 03:42:53 PM »
Your idea of a fridge may not be too funny, I used to be into overclocking CPUs and I had Vapochill unit hooked up to my CPU, kept it at -10 deg C or below :)
The big problem with cooling things is condensation so you have to be careful of that, if you keep the fridge well above zero then it likely wont be an issue, certainly worth a try.

Dust and dirt however I am not sure about being a real problem, I have seen my workshops desktop computer that covered in muck that I can hardly make out components on the motherboard and it still works away fine.

I suppose I am lucky in that I live in a cool climate, maybe it is the heat that is the killer.

Hood
Re: Mach3 VS Other motion controller for stability
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2012, 04:43:49 AM »
Hmm,
I am glad to hear that the fridge idea can work. I am sure i can use a closed loop temp. controller to keep the temperature of the fridge a bit higher than the DEW point so i will surely give it a trial if i cannot get a panel air cooler for cheap price. For now i have 3 peltier plates (TEC) lying around and i want to try making a small AC with them but i am not sure if 3 of them are just enough to cool this cabinet (24X22X8 inches) :

http://s1186.photobucket.com/albums/z379/jasomkakad/?action=view&current=wiringenclosure.jpg

I have made this cabinet just and have not tried Mach3 after that. (does anybody see a wiring failure in the cabinet? Is the VFD going to effect the Mboard sitting a foot away from it?

But if i go for a commercial panel cooler/AC how much cooling capacity i need in the cooler?
Can anybody make a guess in BTU? from the picture (there is a 2HP 3ph VFD, 2 computer PSU, 1 Switching supply DC 20V 8A, Two stepper motors drivers)
please somebody make an estimate of the heat being produced in watts or BTU etc so that i can get an idea of the cooler type i need.

regards,
Jasminder singh