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Author Topic: Add-on PCI card or another type of connection?  (Read 3454 times)

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Add-on PCI card or another type of connection?
« on: November 24, 2014, 05:36:30 PM »
Hello, I`m trying to control new 3 axes router with Mach3 and Win XP

My motherboard is ASUS P5Q PRO. It does not have built-in parallel port. So I installed add-on card to one of the PCI ports.
The card is Moschip Semiconductor mcs9865. It has 2 serial and 1 parallel ports. From device manager I saw the PCI Parallel port adress: first value in i/o range is EC00. Of course, I changed the default adress  0x378 with this one EC00 in mach3.

With drivertest.exe I saw continious unstable signal from 35 000 up to 44 000.

In fact, the PC does not send any signals to the parallel port.
In the diagnostics tab on mach3, I don`t see any leds blinking whatever I do. I see only few parameters - Time in int. (changing really fast from 2.6 to 3.7) and Input signal current state = 24 112

I don`t know what to do. I guess this add-on card sucks.

Do you have any suggestion for reliable COMPUTER-TO-LPT (Parallel port) connection?

« Last Edit: November 24, 2014, 05:42:29 PM by dimitar »
Re: Add-on PCI card or another type of connection?
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2014, 03:17:37 PM »
A card that has worked for me is:
Syba PCI Low Profile Single Port Parallel Card, model # SD-LP-MCS1P
purchased from: Newegg, about $20.00
Re: Add-on PCI card or another type of connection?
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2014, 04:48:27 AM »
Thanks for your help. After 3 days digging deep in that PC, I decided to buy another one with integrated LPT port - I found Dell optiplex g620 in perfect condition for 45 euro. This is real plug-and-play device for mach3.

I found an interesting article for desktop computers and mach3 - http://www.tormach.com/engineering_tmc.html

Advanced users know, but I did not know - most computers meet big difficulties handling mach3 signals to the parallel port.
So if you are looking for suitable PC, then you need some desktop PC, produced in the period 2000-2007. If it is newer, then you will have headache.
Mach3 is an old software, parallel port is ancient technology and win XP is in the hystory as well, so in order to build reliable configuration, you definitely need PC produced in those times.  
Re: Add-on PCI card or another type of connection?
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2014, 03:38:18 PM »
Hi dimitar:

Read up on external controllers. The original Mach3 was implemented on the  parallel port. Art Fenerty has written quite extensively about why an older computer with the parallel port and Win XP was preferable.

Very interesting to read his explanation. The XP was the best version for modifying the inner works of windows. You can do a search for his many posts to read it.

However, for several years now, there are external controllers that run Mach3, (and the soon to be "Mach4") that get the signals from the computer through the ethernet port, or a USB port. This negates the need for an older computer with a parallel port, and using XP. It will now run on Win7, and Win8 (according to the Warp9 site) computers that have no parallel port.

The external controllers do the critical timing externally. There are quite a few; the Pokeys, the Smooth Stepper, the dspmc, the CSMIO, and others. They are more costly than a simple parallel port cable, but have many advantages.

Re: Add-on PCI card or another type of connection?
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2014, 07:44:55 PM »
Hi Dimitar,
I believe there are other possibilities than using an older PC. I bought an industrial single board computer based on an ATOM CPU and used Windows 7 Embedded
as OS. I am delighted with the results.
A google search for 'industrial single board computer' will reveal dozens of different manufacturers each with a range of products. When I searched I was interested
in boards that offered a PP and at least one PCI slot. Even with that thinning of results there were still plenty of choices. It seems that all offer multiple USB, RS232,
SVGA, HDMI and so on... Most offer alternate power supplies as well, the model I selected has an ATI supply socket and a 12VDC input. If you can't find a combination
that suits it because you can't wade thru the confusion!
The advantage that these products offer is that they are new and commonly use high speced components for reliability, they are after all meant to be embedded into
kiosks, industrial machines and similar where reliability is very important.
In interests of reliability these devices use an embedded OS, you don't want a user accessing the internet on your photo printing kiosk for instance. The Tormach  link
in this thread is well placed. They use Windows XP embedded and mention 15000 components to be managed/included, quite a mission, but a worthy result, namely
a robust OS suited to the task. Windows 7 Embedded Standard is a more recent variation of the same theme and is much easier to author and was therefore my choice.
You can choose 'compatibility mode' and end up with what appears to be a complete Windows 7 OS that you might buy off the shelf or you may choose some minimal
install suited to a controller. The authoring tools are very useful and with a little practice very flexible. Many of the options are for automating production when a
manufacturer is producing thousands of devices and can be ignored by you and I.
My computer has a 64G SSD, I like it, quick and reliable. I use the built in PP and the exact PCI card you mention in the PCI slot with no problems. The drivertest
and oscilloscope show that my controller board is at least five times better than I could ever coax out of my old XP machine. By better I mean reduction in timing
I spent about $1200 NZD, say 720 Euro on this setup so its not cheap. Looking back over the purchases I made I realize I could have done much better price wise
seeking out 2nd hand etc on EBAY and depending on how sneaky/dishonest you are with Microsoft! In relation to the amount I've spent on quality components for
my mill it is not to bad.

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