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Author Topic: Use of Embeeded Widows OS - Good, Bad, or Ugly?  (Read 26439 times)

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Offline simpson36

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Re: Use of Embeeded Widows OS - Good, Bad, or Ugly?
« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2014, 06:12:55 AM »
Hi, guys, I know the thread got a bit tangled, but for those who see the subject line might be interested in seeing this site: http://www.project1a.com/cnc.html
Hope that it helps-

It does help to reinforce the notion that people use their 'CNC controller' to run more that just plain vanilla MACH3. The author of the linked article had success only to a point. He says:
 
"Specifically, I wanted to have Cambam installed because, even though I wouldn't do any major design work on this computer, it would sometimes be handy to be able to produce gcode for simple cases without moving to a different computer."

However, his progress is summed up thus:

"Unfortunately, my efforts at installing Cambam have been fruitless so far. I'll try again later. "

And so ends the article.

Surfing the web, watching YouTube or reading E-mail are arguably not realistic needs for a CNC computer, but Above is an example of a valid App to have available. Some others might be Feed Rate calculators, G-code viewers and/or editors, G-code generators and simple geometry editors *Vectrix CUT2D is one that I use, and I can go on and on.

The argument has been correctly made that these kind of satellite utilities CAN be run on a remote computer, however, I suspect that such arguments must come from  people who are running a simple stepper setup with the PP have therefor no need for servo configuration and diagnostic software.

Systems that employ industrial drives have the need to run such software, usually on the CNC host machine. These capabilities are filtering down to hobby level stuff as well with at least one hobby level servo drive vendor that provides servo config software that requires .NET to be installed on the host machine in order for the config software to run.

So, can the .NET package be installed on a particular Embedded Windows XP hardware?  It should be a simple question, but getting an answer seems all but impossible and is made more difficult by that vocal group of stepper users who insist it is not necessary, as if that is an answer.

In any case, the customer who I was doing this research for has now purchased a new PC with Windows 7  and the Tormach 'CNC controller' shall become a door stop. So far as I know this puts the score back to 100% as far as  my Tormach users ditching the sertup as delivered, so I have no further interest in the topic and this will be my last post.

In parting, I do want to make one last quote from this thread:

Quote
. . . . please feel free to sue me if anything I've said is incorrect. (or snipe back at me again - whichever lights your candle the brightest).

Clearly, the banter in this thread was by invitation. I do enjoy sparring with a challenging opponent, be it physical or verbal. Yeah, I have some moves, but I take my lumps too and I don't whine about it. However, I do no beat up 12 year old students, and it is never, and I will repeat never, my intention to be mean spirited and make an intentional verbal degredation of anyone. If I am swapping insults with someone, be sure of two things, 1) it is all in fun and 2) I think the opponent is capable of kicking my A$$. Now surely that would be fun to watch.  There are a number of well know rivalries here and on CNC zone that have nothing to do with me. I did not invent anything new. Some people watch a boxing match and then post that the winner is a mean person because he hit the other guy. Hello, its boxing. If you are afraid of getting bruised, don't get in the ring. If you can't stand the sight of blood, then don't watch. 

Personally I love competition, but I despise bullfighting . . so I don't watch bullfighting.  Its not complicated.

 Have a nice day . . . .

Offline budman68

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Re: Use of Embeeded Widows OS - Good, Bad, or Ugly?
« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2014, 10:33:35 AM »
A simple thank you, would have been fine......  ;D
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Just because I'm a Global Moderator, don't assume that I know anything !

Dave->    ;)
Re: Use of Embeeded Widows OS - Good, Bad, or Ugly?
« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2014, 07:41:42 AM »
Maybe this article/report only adds confusion to this discussion, but seemed appropriate.

http://www.infoworld.com/t/microsoft-windows/microsoft-pushes-windows-embedded-the-internet-of-things-235007

John Champlain

Offline BR549

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Re: Use of Embeeded Widows OS - Good, Bad, or Ugly?
« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2014, 10:17:30 PM »
HIYA Steve IF you are asking if a dedicated stripped down embedded version of WIN would be better. Testing proved YES it created a more stable OS for Mach3 to run in. AND no it did not fix Mach3 s timing issues, that is a software problem.

You can get XP down to about 350 MB  and W2K down to about 250MB.  THe trick is to Research and test as to WHAT you can get rid of and still have Mach3 running correctly and that will depend of what you expect out of the PC and its uses.

Using it for JUST a controller there is a TON of stuff that Mach3 will never use but it still remains running in the background.

Most COmmercial Machines have there own OS and it is dedicated strictly to do business as a machine controller and nothing else. Many run more that 1or2 processors some up to 8 to take care of business.

Just a thought, (;-) TP
Re: Use of Embeeded Widows OS - Good, Bad, or Ugly?
« Reply #24 on: May 20, 2014, 06:25:26 AM »
I have just bought an Atom based single board computer an a Windows 7 Embedded Standard (WE7S) license. Have yet to receive it so have yet to establish whether it is a good idea.

I would have preferred XP Embedded but the supplier told me that the Atom graphics unit was better under WE7S. XP Em. can be made shrunk down to a smaller footprint than WE7S, really tho storage is not much of an issue these days, I selected a 64G SSD and 4G DDR3 800Mhz, more than enuf for even a fullblown OS.

WE7S does have better configuration/authoring tools than XP and given I'm no geek that will be important. One issue that concerned me is that so many software components depend on yet other components some of which are mutually exclusive. One piece of the configuration suite (trial free 180 days) explicitly highlights those dependencies and resolves them prior to deployment. Another of the suite allows additional modules to be added/deleted/modified on the target machine. The distribution share supplied has both 32 and 64 bit options, I will concentrate on 32 bit.

As the previous responder has suggested it really comes down to what you can leave out and still have Mach3 run. If anyone has any suggestions I'm all ears. For instance .NET support
from level 2 to 3.5 (I think) is offered and can be included. As to whether Mach3 requires .NET support I have no idea. Certainly other useful programs do use it and I have yet to decide whether to try them. The question is what modules I can include without 'stealing' too many resources from Mach3.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Use of Embeeded Widows OS - Good, Bad, or Ugly?
« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2014, 04:08:18 AM »
Steve,
what research I have done that you can choose to include .NET functionality in an embedded OS. In the case of Windows 7 Embedded Standard you can choose the level of .NET support from level 2 thru level 3.5
Exactly what is included in each level is available from Microsoft but much of it is foreign to me.
The bigger question is what functionality is required by any particular app. It would appear there is no definitive list of what is required by Mach3. This is a shame, I would certainly like such a list. In fact I don't recall seeing any app which specifically listed its OS requirements, maybe I'm looking in the wrong places.
One idea suggests that including all functionality available in the distribution share available with your version OS. It may happen tho that some inclusions represent a processing load that could lead to Mach3 failure. The other alternative is exclude all functionality not required for Mach3. It would limit what other app's you could run but at least the choice is yours.
My previous posts both in this thread and others indicate that I mean to find out, either by asking others who might know or failing that by experiment.
I will post anything that I find that may be of use.
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!

Offline derek

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Re: Use of Embeeded Widows OS - Good, Bad, or Ugly?
« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2014, 06:00:05 AM »
I think you will run into .net requirements depending on what motion controller you're using. My UC-100 and 300 need .net 2.

Derek

Offline simpson36

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Re: Use of Embeeded Widows OS - Good, Bad, or Ugly?
« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2014, 06:57:56 AM »
Steve,
what research I have done that you can choose to include .NET functionality in an embedded OS. .
I will post anything that I find that may be of use.

Just to clarify, nothing will be of use to myself as my conclusion was and is that there is no practical reason to use an embedded OS with MACH. Others may reach a different conclusion and your research may benefit them, but I have no interest in and see no reason for anyone to voluntarily use an embedded OS in their own fully equipped PC.

I did not research .NET compatibility. It was merely an example of a required extension ( and a huge one at that) but the point is moot to me as I would not use an embedded OS unless I was designing a Kiosk for the mall, a hand held instrument of some kind, a 'smart' security system,  or trying to run a general purpose windowed environment on an AtMel or PIC development board.

This topic is driven primarily by misconceptions, in my view. The primary one being that the long list of windows services are 'running' in the background. They are not 'running', they are 'loaded'. The vast majority just take up space until they are called. Non essential services can be disabled. Explorer is now used for file management, but you have control over which 'enhancers' (i.e. cycle gobblers or interrupt hogs) are active, so just disable them. You can set priority and affinity and so on and so on.

PC memory is so cheap now, that unless your time has practically no value at all, it makes no sense to spend it trying to 'strip down' an OS to make it fit in some tiny space when a few bucks gets you enough space to store the full OS many times over.  I see a lot of advice to use a Jurassic PC as if that is actually a solution, when in my view it is the opposite. Modern multi  processor systems also have modern support chips (North Bridge South Bridge, etc) that do most of the system processing that used to involve (and interrupt) the processor. Some of these chips even include dedicated graphics processors now.

An interesting thing about advice is that it tends to take on a life of its own and once rooted and fed, it thrives on its own far past it's useful life.

ex:

Instead of using a modern computer with a string of processors just waiting around to do high order math or predict branching while dedicated chips run the machinery in the basement, lets rewind back to a PC where the processor spent half of its time providing DMA services for the hard disk drive and trying to make pretty graphics on the screen. Then jump thru innumerable hoops getting the OS a tiny as possible in the (mistaken) hope that it will be easier for what's left of the processor's power to run 'reliably'.

 Oh Yeah, that's a good plan. ::)


I did discover two practical reasons that a vendor might use an embedded OS in a PC (as opposed to a device for which embedded OS is intended according to MS) that they SELL to the General Public. . Those are A) cost savings (embedded OS is cheaper) and B) to intentionally restrict what their customers can do with the PC with the intent of reducing and/or 'dumbing down' their support requirement. Supporting a product is a lot easier if you don't let people use it. Not a complicated formula.

If one of those two objectives is the primary driver of the choice od OS, then an Embedded OS makes sense, otherwise, it is just the Emperor's new clothes. That is the conclusion reached by my research into this topic. Your mileage may vary.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2014, 07:02:21 AM by simpson36 »
Re: Use of Embeeded Widows OS - Good, Bad, or Ugly?
« Reply #28 on: May 23, 2014, 07:38:42 PM »
Steve,
I think your points are well made. Storage is that cheap that cutting away code for size sakes makes no sense at least in the hobby environment.

My inclination in this project/undertaking is to take advantage of the current offerings of industrial computing solutions available. The systems I have reviewed and am interested in are rugged and reliable. Additionally the manufacturers claim that support for these devices will be available for years to come, appropriate to industrial/commercial life cycles. These systems may be cheaper for vendors whom produce thousands of these things but are not in fact cheap to a low volume user like me. The laptop I just bought for general use (i7 core, 1TB, 16G..... etc) cost less than the industrial board I have bought for my controller.

My choice may seem weird to many but it reflects my own inclination to 'buy the best I can afford'. As an example I some months ago bought a commercial washing machine for home, the kind you would see in a Laundromat. I paid $500 for it, second hand. A new domestic machine sells in New Zealand for around $750, I certainly didn't save much money but hope it will outlast the domestic machine life cycle of 5 years or so. Parts supply for my commercial machine, an established design and longstanding manufacturer, is superb. Call we weird and I will take that on the chin!

Most functional components in Windows are only running when called as you point out however some of the underpinning code does run constantly. What the components are and if they are required for MY installation is the subject of research. 
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Use of Embeeded Widows OS - Good, Bad, or Ugly?
« Reply #29 on: July 02, 2014, 05:14:25 AM »
Have taken delivery of my single board computer and installed 32bit Windows Embedded Standard 7 (WES7) and Mach3. Its running well. better than my old XP
machine anyway.
Whether it was worth the extra money and time, well probably not. I have learnt a lot on the way which I regard as worthwhile.
I believe I have ended up with a more stable platform to run Mach3 from software and crispy new hardware point of view.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!