Author Topic: Mach 4 / PMDX-422 Setup for Dummies  (Read 5459 times)

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Offline NeilD321

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Mach 4 / PMDX-422 Setup for Dummies
« on: February 27, 2015, 12:07:59 AM »
Hi Folks,

First time poster, newbie CNCer here.
I've finished building my CNC router. I've had a great time building it. Its a simple 3 axis stepper for wood only.
It has limit switches on all axis, no home switches and a spindle speed controller.
Motion controller is the new PMDX-422. I've installed MACH 4 and the SmartBob plugin. All is well.

My question. How do I configure MACH 4 correctly?
Everything I come across is about MACH 3, especially the videos.
I know there is a Mach 4 config guide. I've read it about 5 times now, but for someone on a steep learning curve it's like trying to read Klingon.

Is there a "MACH 4 Setup for Dummies" guide I can't find.

All/any help gratefully received.

Thanks
Neil.

Offline dude1

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Re: Mach 4 / PMDX-422 Setup for Dummies
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2015, 12:16:17 AM »
look up art`s youtube vid`s the selection`s in M4 is pretty much the same

Offline Steve Stallings

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Re: Mach 4 / PMDX-422 Setup for Dummies
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2015, 07:47:14 AM »
Art's video about configuring his Darwin parallel port driver is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6SU5JVTpik

Keep in mind that a large part of this video is specific to Darwin
plug-in configuration dialogs which will be different from those
for the PMDX-422. There is much more configuration in the Darwin
plug-in than in the PMDX-422 plug-in because Darwin has loads of
optional features.

The PMDX plug-in configuration philosophy is to not duplicate any
of the configuration setup that is available directly within Mach4
so there is no guessing who is in charge of a particular setting. In
the rare cases, such as motor reversal being the same thing
in reality as direction signal polarity, we make sure that the
selections made in either place show up in both places.

Mach4 setup has a more generalized concept of access to motors
and signals than was used in Mach3. Motors are identified by number
and then assigned to a plug-in and signal. Signal names are determined
by the plug-in and do not have to be in the old "port" and "pin"
style inherited from the parallel port model, though we still use
that model for the PMDX-422 since it mimics a parallel port.

The portion of Art's video which relates to selecting the Mach4
motion device and configuring things in Mach4 itself begin at about
16:30 in Art's video.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2015, 07:53:23 AM by Steve Stallings »
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 NeilD321

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Re: Mach 4 / PMDX-422 Setup for Dummies
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2015, 05:22:14 PM »
Thanks for the replies guys.

I've had a weekend to "play" with things and think I've started to understand what some of all this means.
But the big learning moment came when I realised, and this is the important bit, I didn't need to set ANY Inputs or Outputs.

I was worrying that if I didn't have everything configured perfectly then I blow something up somewhere when I turned it on for the first time.

Well, I'm here to say. Nope, just:
  • wire the SmartBobUSB to the stepper controllers
  • Install the SmartBob plugin (following Steve's doco)
  • Plug everything in and turn it on
  • Press the jog button


and all of my axis jogged about.

The only settings I had to muck about with were the motor parameters.

I have a leadscrew with a pitch of 5mm and a stepper with 200 steps per revolution and I've set my DIV268N-5A stepper controller step angle subdivision to 1/8.
Stepper to leadscrew is 1:1. Mach 4 is in metric units.

So I set Counts per Unit to (200*8)/5 = 320 (but only after I took ages to realise you had to click on a particular Motor to change it's values)

It was the Velocity that took a while. The Mach 4 manual states "Set a value of a max velocity that seems reasonable" and try it. But what on earth is "reasonable"? perhaps 0.8796. perhaps 9999. How would I know? It started on 31.0 (no idea why) but that meant the jog was so slow as to be almost unnoticeable. To cut a long story short, I ended up setting it to 1400 and now it seems to move about at a "reasonable" rate. At 31 it made lots of noise, at 2000 it squealed and SmartBob threw internal overrun errors. 1400 seems to work. Talk about trial and error  :o

Now I know that "Inputs" are only for EXTRA inputs that you MAY have wired up on your CNC (like my limit switches) and "Outputs" are for EXTRA things you would like to tell your CNC to do (like turn my spindle on) it's all making more sense.

So, on to working out why my Estop seems to be wired backwards, the limit switches don't do anything and I have no idea how to test the spindle on/off. Baby steps...


Offline NeilD321

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Re: Mach 4 / PMDX-422 Setup for Dummies
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2015, 10:30:18 PM »
E-Stop fixed by setting Active High.

Limit switches now working once I worked out that, on the Inputs tab, getting terminal 11 to be the X limit switch doesn't mean enabling Input #11. It means scrolling forever until you find "Motor 0 --" and enabling that, setting device to SmartBob and Input Name to Pin 11 (plus same for "Motor 0 ++"). Then much the same for Motor 1 and Motor 2.

Offline dude1

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Re: Mach 4 / PMDX-422 Setup for Dummies
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2015, 10:40:06 PM »
yer it confusing at first once you done it 10 x it`s ok

Offline NeilD321

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Re: Mach 4 / PMDX-422 Setup for Dummies
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2015, 11:07:48 PM »
I'm running on a laptop. Is it normal for the trackpad to disable when running MACH4? Mine does. But only if the SmartBobUSB is connected.

Offline bob_at_pmdx

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Re: Mach 4 / PMDX-422 Setup for Dummies
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2015, 09:47:29 AM »
I'm running on a laptop. Is it normal for the trackpad to disable when running MACH4? Mine does. But only if the SmartBobUSB is connected.

Hmmmm.... I haven't tried this on a laptop (yet :-).  Our plug-in does nothing that *should* disable the track pad (I presume this is what some people call a "touch pad" and is the thing you drag your finger across to move the cursor, right?).

Is this only when the device is *connected* to the PC, or only when you are running a Mach4 profile that uses the SmartBOB as the motion controller?  For example, with the SmartBOB plugged into the USB port, try running the Mach4Mill profile which uses the SIM plug-in as the motion device.  Do you have the same problem with the track pad?

Bob
PMDX

Offline NeilD321

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Re: Mach 4 / PMDX-422 Setup for Dummies
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2015, 04:27:43 PM »
Hi Bob,

yes, it's the "touch pad" ( trackpad must be Auzzie slang :-) )
It's only while Mach4 is open and SmartBob is connected AND the mill is powered.
If I leave the mill powered off the touchpad is fine.
It's also fine using the Mach4Mill profile as requested.
And occasionally the mouse stops as well until I touch the touchpad and then it starts up again. Weird.

Offline bob_at_pmdx

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Re: Mach 4 / PMDX-422 Setup for Dummies
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2015, 03:49:27 PM »
Well it is obviously because our firmware was written presuming northern hemisphere Coriolis forces  ;D

I have almost no idea.  When it worked running the Mach4Mill profile (with the SmartBOB plugged in), was the machine turned on?

I don't recall which SmartBOB you have.  If it is a PMDX-422 or PMDX-410, you can try changing jumper JP2 (the one right next to the USB connector).  This changes how the board is tied to the USB cable shield.  We ship the boards with the jumper in the "A" position, which connects a ferrite bead between the shield and our GND.  With the jumper in the "B" position, the shield is tied directly to our GND.  With the jumper off, the shield is connected to GND through a 1 Meg-ohm resistor.  See if either of those settings has any effect on the touch pad operation.

If not, I guess maybe try to move the PC and/or the SmartBOB (if possible) to see if that can decrease any interference.

Bob