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Offline BR549

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Re: Comments about Mach4 in Demo
« Reply #60 on: April 28, 2014, 10:01:04 PM »
Brian Actually Steve DID mention possibley NOT having a LPT version in this post. My opinion is Mach4 without a LPT driver would be a HUGE mistake in marketing BUT that is your call.

IF all the art explained about the LPT driver is good then a dedicated motion controller FUNTION is going to have to really be good to beat the lpt ver.

I do understand that with a OEM controller the burden of support goes to the OEM not artsoft as they only supply the Control CORE ??

BUT I would dare say there are probably MORE lpt users out there than all the  other types put together.

Just my opinion, you mileage may vary due to local conditions.

(;-) TP


When will we get a LPT plugin to use ??

(;-) TP
There might not be one.  Not decided yet.

Steve
Re: Comments about Mach4 in Demo
« Reply #61 on: April 28, 2014, 10:59:09 PM »
The parallel port has enjoyed a long and successful
life as the hardware interface of choice for many
control systems (CNC and otherwise) because it
could be manipulated directly from the control
application without interference from the operating
system.

Unfortunately direct access to hardware is a major
risk to system security in this day and age of virus
and malware programs. Because of this Microsoft is
doing everything in its power to restrict direct
access to the hardware. Art may succeed in making it
possible to run a parallel port with current versions
of Windows, but it will be a moving target and
Microsoft has an army of programmers and an almost
unlimited budget available to develop ways to "protect"
the system from unwanted access to the parallel port.
Soon the 32 bit versions of Windows that are needed to
run with direct access to the hardware may be eliminated
entirely as the consumer market transitions to 64 bit
systems entirely. It is already difficult to get 32
bit software from many off the shelf computer vendors.

At some point it becomes impractical for vendors like
Artsoft to expend large amounts of effort to circumvent
the protection measures that Microsoft creates. Artsoft
can offer us more and better software if they do not
have to focus on doing something that Microsoft does
not want them to be able to do in the first place.

Yes, we (PMDX) have a profit motive in selling alternatives
to the parallel port, but we also currently survive by
selling hardware that depends on the parallel port. We
have reluctantly concluded that the time has finally come
to figure out how to live without it in the future.

Nothing prevents users who like and depend on the parallel
port from using it along with Mach 3 and older versions
of Windows software to run systems based on the parallel
port, but this should not become a barrier to progress
for systems that do not run using parallel ports.

Regards,
Steve Stallings
PMDX
Steve Stallings
www.PMDX.com
For PMDX product support, please use PMDX forum or direct email for quickest response. We do not use this forum as our primary product support site.

Offline smurph

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Re: Comments about Mach4 in Demo
« Reply #62 on: April 28, 2014, 11:39:28 PM »
Well said Steve!

We do not control our own destiny with the parallel port.

I have already felt the sting of hardware obsolescence with the ISA Galils. I was NOT happy.

I'm not arguing with you Terry.  Just being realistic, honest, and frank.  You haven't even felt the pain yet.  But you will.  Get ready.  Its coming.  :(  Maybe we can prolong the inevitable one more time.  We shall see.

Steve

Offline Chaoticone

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Re: Comments about Mach4 in Demo
« Reply #63 on: April 29, 2014, 12:14:45 AM »
Hey, what else can you say about Steve Stallings? His logic is flawless in more ways than one.  :)  I just moved to Windows 7 this past November myself so I too hate change. The only thing in the universe more consistent than gravity is change.

Brett
;D If you could see the things I have in my head, you would be laughing too. ;D

My guard dog is not what you need to worry about!

Offline simpson36

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Re: Comments about Mach4 in Demo
« Reply #64 on: April 29, 2014, 06:47:30 AM »
On the topic of 'to be or not to be'  LPT port, has anyone considered targeting an address configurable LPT card?

Let's say an LPT card costs about 10 bucks. This is not going to impact any rational decision to purchase MACH4. Most new computers don't have LPT ports anyway, so purchasing an add-in card is pretty much a given.

Would it be possible to have MACH4 talk to the UART on an LPT card thru a specific address which is not recognized (and blocked) by the OS. i.e. just use the hardware on an LPT card as an 'interface' between MACH4 and existing LPT based systems. If the OS does not see the UART functioning as an LPT, theoretically it would not interfere. Many moons ago I was trying different LPT cards and several did not register with Windows as LPT ports. They had drivers that emulated the LPT and passed the data stream to the hardware on the card. Absent that driver, the OS pretty much ignored the card.

Alternately, a USB device to simply mimic the simple on/off behavior of the handful of LPT pins would not be complicated or expensive to produce. MACH4 could then just send words to the device to be decoded into the pin array that matches the LPT layout.

There are a  lot of ways to skin this cat, but the overall idea would be to have an alternative to a full motion control solution (Kflop, Smoothstepper, etc) at a low cost that would simply mimic an LPT port. If outside the OS, the valid arguments about Microsoft unexpectedly mucking things up would be eliminated.

Just thinking out loud . . . 

Re: Comments about Mach4 in Demo
« Reply #65 on: April 29, 2014, 08:06:47 AM »
Brian Actually Steve DID mention possibley NOT having a LPT version in this post. My opinion is Mach4 without a LPT driver would be a HUGE mistake in marketing BUT that is your call.

IF all the art explained about the LPT driver is good then a dedicated motion controller FUNTION is going to have to really be good to beat the lpt ver.

I do understand that with a OEM controller the burden of support goes to the OEM not artsoft as they only supply the Control CORE ??

BUT I would dare say there are probably MORE lpt users out there than all the  other types put together.

Just my opinion, you mileage may vary due to local conditions.

(;-) TP


When will we get a LPT plugin to use ??

(;-) TP
There might not be one.  Not decided yet.

Steve

Steve only knew what we had talked about at Cabin Fever. I talked to Art and made sure he was willing to do the P Port.. So don't get upset at him,  He told you what he knew at that time. The P port is going to be done but we expect it to have a very short life..
Fixing problems one post at a time ;)

www.newfangledsolutions.com
www.machsupport.com

Offline Jeff_Birt

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Re: Comments about Mach4 in Demo
« Reply #66 on: April 29, 2014, 08:19:33 AM »
I'm wondering if all you guys who are in love with the LPT still use 5.25" or 3.5" floppy discs. How about 40 column wide dot matrix printers? All of these items were great in their day but have long since been surpassed by much better technology. The parallel port was once all we had and Art really did the impossible with the parallel port driver (He did the impossible and that made him mighty, ten points if you know the sci-fi reference :) ) For the past 5-6 years we have had better choices. I was talking with a customer yesterday who upgraded his router tale with a Ethernet SmoothStepper, he was able to double his speeds because the pulse stream is much more stable. If his PC ever dies it is a simple matter to plug the ESS into a new PC and copy over his XML, no farting about trying to find a PC with a parallel port that will work.

All hardware will be obsolete at some point in time. At some point you have to quit beating a dead horse. I still have a few things that are parallel port controlled, they are working OK now but when the PC dies they will get upgraded to an external motion control like the 99.99% of the systems I have built for other people over the last 5 years.
Happy machining , Jeff Birt
 

Offline poppabear

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Re: Comments about Mach4 in Demo
« Reply #67 on: April 29, 2014, 08:30:28 AM »
Steve Stallings...........   Preach on it my brother.

Scott
Commercial Mach3 & Mach 4, Design/Build/Retrofit CNC and Industrial machines.
http://www.ss-systems-llc.com/

Offline simpson36

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Re: Comments about Mach4 in Demo
« Reply #68 on: April 29, 2014, 10:00:56 AM »
I'm wondering if all you guys who are in love with the LPT still use 5.25" or 3.5" floppy discs.

Jeff,

I don't think it is a question of what is the best solution. My assumption is that the entire LPT  topic is alive only because of the many hundreds (or thousands) of existing systems that run on LPT and would move to Mach4 if and only if they could do so without also making a simultaneous leap to a complex and potentially troublesome motion control board.

Smoothstepper has a very spotty reputation and Kflop is definitely not a product for a novice user. Everything else (that I am aware of ) is very expensive.

If MACH4 is all it is hyped to be, and it comes in a 'hobby' version, then why penalize the masses who do not choose (or are understandable afraid of) moving to a motion control solution?

One point is inarguable; for Newfangled, a $200 sale is a $200 sale. It would be an extreme blunder (in my opinion) for them not to provide an inexpensive 'no brainer' solution for their many hundreds of potential buyers using LPT, regardless of how primitive it may be.

Rather than dwelling on the downside, perhaps an enterprising individual with the resources and talent might come up with an inexpensive and bulletproof solution as I described in an earlier post. Personally I have neither, but I'd wager there are more than a few in the MACH community that do.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2014, 10:06:02 AM by simpson36 »

Offline BR549

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Re: Comments about Mach4 in Demo
« Reply #69 on: April 29, 2014, 10:05:46 AM »
I UNDERSTAND your points BUT (;-)

Why would you want to leave ALL those LPTers stranded in the desert. All their hardware is going to work as long as thier PCs still functions(not dead) and they can still find parts to fix the PCs. AND they are still the CORE of Mach users.

I am NOT saying not to move on as everyone else in the modern world HAS moved to a motion control card.

(;-) TP
« Last Edit: April 29, 2014, 10:08:04 AM by BR549 »