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Author Topic: Mach4 and PMDX-422 motion controller released  (Read 17286 times)

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Mach4 and PMDX-422 motion controller released
« on: October 31, 2014, 04:37:18 PM »
Nothing spooky about it!  This is the real thing!

PMDX is now shipping Mach4Hobby licenses and our
new PMDX-422 SmartBOB-USB motion controller.

www.pmdx.com/PMDX-422

Our first production run of boards is built and Mach4
software build #2067 is ready to go.

PMDX is an authorized distributor of Mach4 and orders
may now be placed on our web site.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Steve Stallings
www.PMDX.com
« Last Edit: October 31, 2014, 04:46:13 PM by morestuff »
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 poppabear

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Re: Mach4 and PMDX-422 motion controller released
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2014, 06:46:56 AM »
Nice Job Steve!!!
Looking forward to the Ethernet version!!  :)

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: Mach4 and PMDX-422 motion controller released
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2014, 08:31:11 AM »
Is there, or will there be a MACH3 plug-in for this board?

The reason for that question is that I am adding CNC to a surface grinder and would like to use MACH4 in order to get started with an actual (but non-critical) application, BUT, I do not want to rely totally on MACH4 in case there are unresolved problems that effect the application.

Is there an ETA on the Ethernet version of this board?

Thanks!

Offline simpson36

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Re: Mach4 and PMDX-422 motion controller released
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2014, 08:47:50 AM »
Another Q please:

It appears from the Quick Start that the board supports 4 axis.

Will the board eventually support 6 axis?

Reason for this question is that I need 5 axis for milling machine applications.

Will the Industrial Ethernet version support 6 axis?
Re: Mach4 and PMDX-422 motion controller released
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2014, 11:40:40 AM »
Hello simpson36,

Because Mach3 is expected to become a legacy product, we are concentrating our
efforts on developing for Mach4. The plug-in interface for Mach3 is significantly
different from the interface for Mach4 and there will not be a plug-in for Mach3.

Ethernet support will arrive with the SmartBOB-PRO, aka the PMDX-426. This board
is expected to become available in January 2015 or sooner if possible. Most of this
time lag will be due to development of software support for its added features. We
have already gotten Ethernet communications with Mach4 running on a very early
prototype.

The SmartBOB-USB, aka the PMDX-422, will only support 4 axes. There are no plans
to expand on this.

The PMDX-426 will support 6 axes of motion and a host of other new features
including on-board spindle control, one MPG, one high speed encoder, MODBUS,
external status panel, external I/O expansion, and universal power input from
110 to 240 VAC.

Meanwhile we have the PMDX-410 and PMDX-407 development in process. The
PMDX-410 is a variation of the PMDX-422 without the relay and screw terminals. It
is intended for use with machines that have an existing parallel port based breakout
board and offers an easy upgrade path to use Mach4. The PMDX-407 is a basic VFD
interface for spindle control from the PMDX-410 or PMDX-422.

Steve Stallings
www.PMDX.com

« Last Edit: November 08, 2014, 11:42:52 AM by morestuff »
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 simpson36

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Re: Mach4 and PMDX-422 motion controller released
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2014, 07:55:05 PM »
Thank you for the prompt and thorough response.

I will have to wait for the pro version as I need 5 axis and also Modbus.

My only foray into MACH4 thus far was very soon after the demo release and I was able to get Ethernet Modbus working on MACH4

Thread here: http://www.machsupport.com/forum/index.php/topic,27158.0.html

It is not clear to me how you can implement Modbus on a motion control board, but the January time frame works well for me and I will check back again in that time frame and see what the status is.

I have a couple of Ethernet products for MACH and I am looking for a MACH4 solution to recommend to my customers. My initial objective is compatibility testing to see if the Ethernet motion control board and my Ethernet motor controller can play in the same sandbox.

Given there will be no MACH3 plug-in for the new boards, do you have another board that is compatible with MACH3 that would have a similar Ethernet interface and feature set that a customer could use with MACH3 and then upgrade to the PDMX426 if and when they choose to move to MACH4? These boards are not expensive and purchasing a new board to work with MACH4 is reasonable in my view, so long as the interface and features are similar enough to make the swap transparent to the user.

- Steve

- Steve  
Re: Mach4 and PMDX-422 motion controller released
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2014, 09:41:38 PM »
Our intention is to provide what is called a gateway function so that RS-485
MODBUS devices can be connected to the PMDX-426 without needing a
separate serial port connection to the host computer. Grand idea, but it is
as yet unproven.

I have seen Mach4 running multiple Ethernet devices at the same time, and
likewise seen it run our PMDX-422 at the same time that it ran Ethernet
devices.

If you need Ethernet now for Mach3, my suggestion is that you use an
Ethernet SmoothStepper. It does require a breakout board to work with
it, but it is a mature product and is also expected to support Mach4 in the
future.
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 simpson36

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Re: Mach4 and PMDX-422 motion controller released
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2014, 04:47:07 AM »
Our intention is to provide what is called a gateway function so that RS-485
MODBUS devices can be connected to the PMDX-426 without needing a
separate serial port connection to the host computer. Grand idea, but it is
as yet unproven.

Modbus is Master/Slave. I was unaware that there was any intermediate pathway in the spec. From your description, it sounds like the board is providing an interface between topologies and is not acting as the Master.  Interesting concept.

Quote
I have seen Mach4 running multiple Ethernet devices at the same time, and
likewise seen it run our PMDX-422 at the same time that it ran Ethernet
devices.

I have not tried to run Ethernet Modbus over a network with MACH4 yet, but devices (or plug-ins) that have hard coded IP would potentially require a second NIC in a computer that is already on a network, adding to complexity and cost. I *think* that will be the case with the PDMX 426, but it is too early to really dig into it as it will be a couple of months before I can tackle the project that is driving the need for Ethernet motion controllers for MACH.

Quote
If you need Ethernet now for Mach3, my suggestion is that you use an
Ethernet SmoothStepper. It does require a breakout board to work with
it, but it is a mature product and is also expected to support Mach4 in the
future.

I use a different board for my own systems and I'm not looking for a solution for myself.  I don't know anything about PDMX at this point except that I see the name a lot.  However, I need to have compatibility with popular MACH devices that will be sharing resources with my own products, so if indeed the PDMX 426 becomes a popular device, then I would still need to acquire one for testing. I purchased a USB smoothstepper and PoKeys for the same reason, just to cite a couple of examples. Plus my product includes a screen set so that adds another layer of fun to the compatibility effort.

ESS is a popular product in the MACH community and I read a lot of the early comments and 'reviews' when it was introduced.  By all accounts it is stable and does not suffer from any of the anomalies of its predecessor. I have no problem recommending it provided the user purchases it from a source that can support the device, because I can not. I read early on that ESS would support MACH4, so it provides the pathway needed for the many thousands of MACH3 users who may be reluctant to put all of their eggs in the MACH4 basket. Not every user is hobby level and for those who need to get parts made, having a fallback to MACH3 is not an option, in my opinion. Something for you to consider, perhaps.

My current motor controller uses USB interface, so there is no conflict now, but that will change with the next major upgrade when the device moves over to Ethernet. It would be very difficult to produce and support both a USB and Ethernet version, so I am looking at any and every device that it is reasonable to assume will be encountered in the field. 

Thanks for the prompt responses and information. I will poke my head back in here in a couple of months and see where things stand.


Offline BR549

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Re: Mach4 and PMDX-422 motion controller released
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2014, 10:50:06 PM »
HAYA Steve S, Do you have list of the things that your motion card CAN and Cannot do ?

Probing ?

Protected mode for probing?

Spindle encoder sync  (rigid tapping)

Home to encoder index signal ?

A list would be helpfull.

Thanks (;-) TP
Re: Mach4 and PMDX-422 motion controller released
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2014, 11:25:47 PM »
It is a bit early to be asking most of these questions.

They are realistic questions for a mature high end product.

The PMDX-422 is not a high end product, and it was released only a week ago.

Currently our expectations are:

1) Probing will be supported. It is not ready yet, but will be a free firmware
upgrade when is becomes available. Upgrades are downloadable from our
web site and installed using a dialog box on our plug-in configuration page.

2) Not quite sure what you mean by protected mode probing. The PMDX-422
will stop motion when the probe is triggered. It does not depend on Mach4
to read the signal and then request a stop.

3) Spindle encoder sync will be possible in the future. This will come for lathe
threading first, then we can consider rigid tapping. The Mach4 G-code manual
for milling lists a G84.2 for rigid tapping, but I am not sure if Mach4 actually
addresses this yet.

4) The PMDX-422 will not home to an encoder index signal. There simply is not
enough I/O available on the PMDX-422 to provide for all the signals needed. Our
forthcoming high end product, the PMDX-426, will have industrial features including
encoder assisted homing. Price and schedule for the PMDX-426 are still to be determined.

Try reading the Quick Start Guide for the PMDX-422 here:

http://www.pmdx.com/Doc/PMDX-422_Quick_Start_Rev0_2.pdf

While it is still preliminary, it will answer a lot of questions about the board.
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.