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Micro computer
« on: March 17, 2015, 03:43:04 AM »
Hi all

I'm building a new system for the wifes CNC quilt machine. (My system currently drives it, I want it back!)

I'm thinking about setting it up with a micro computer and drives all in a small case, nice, neat and compact. A few I've looked at run Android or win ce, will mach3 run on win ce?

Does anyone out there have experience with any of these micro computers that might be suitable?

Many thanks, Dave
Re: Micro computer
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2015, 01:57:27 PM »
The only thing I have seen work on the mini pc...AKA Raspberry Pi.... was linux cnc. There is a special version made for it. I have not tried it though.
Re: Micro computer
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2015, 02:36:43 AM »
Hi there,
I use a miniITX form factor single board computer based on a dual core Atom CPU and run Windows 7 Embedded as OS. It runs Mach3 a treat.

In order to run Windows (XP or otherwise) you will have to use an X86 platform (note: my assertion and maybe flawed!), ie Intel or AMD are the most

Mach3 does not require an 'ultra processor', indeed it seems from the number of posts that people who try to use the 'latest and greatest' come unstuck and have
problems with the PP driver. Intels Atom range does fine. I believe AMD's G series 'system on a chip' will work too but I haven't tried one....yet.

If you require parallel ports then the choice is somewhat restricted if you determine that you want a built in port on the mother board. I have seen about fifty or so
from various makers with such a port. Commonly such boards will have a PCI expansion slot which allows for a card for a second port. This is exactly what I have
done, no probs.

I chose to use Windows 7 Embedded (Standard) as OS because I wanted to be 'master' of my own system, lol, Windows is not that simple! The local (New Zealand)
supplier who sold me the board also sold me the runtime licence for the OS. As it turns out the supplier was not in fact correct to do so, the licencing of Windows
Embedded is not straight forward. I have seen a number of suppliers who will sell you a built up system with the OS installed. According to their agreement with
Microsoft they are precluded from selling Windows Embedded standalone. They charge about $140 US for the licence component of their system.

If you wish to use a smoothstepper setup the just about every board out there can accommodate that, they all have at least one Ethernet port and up to four USB ports
on the board without expansion cards.

The smallest boards I have seen that  include a PP port and a PCI slot are miniITX, 7"x7". If you don't require PP then look at the Minnowboard V2, about 4"x3".
My miniITX (UMG1 by Unigen in Taiwan) draws about 20W so I run fanless. In fact most Atoms or Gseries chips use less than 10W so fanless or a small fan is fine.
Most will run off a single 12V supply of a few amps. I use an ATX supply simply because I had a near new one lying around.
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Micro computer
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2015, 03:02:38 AM »
Hi there, (continued)
I chose to use Windows 7 Embedded Standard (WES7) as OS. The local  (New Zealand) supplier of my board sold me a runtime licence for WES7 which is indicated
by the little Microsoft sticker. It turns out the supplier was not following the rules quite right.

I have seen makers out there who will sell WES7 but ONLY as a part of a complete system. Their agreement with Microsoft means they can only sell WES7 as a part of
a complete system. They charge about $140US for the licence component.
I am a bit dubious that either Intel's Atom or AMD's Gseries will run XP because of lack of driver support. They will run Windows 7 32 bit and some will run 64 bit.
I personally cant be bothered with 64 bit and indeed cant use it and run PP's.

WinCE is a bit like WES7 in that you can select the bits you want and ignore the rest. CE based on XP had 15000 components to chose from, experienced developers
describe the process as 'character building'. I don't have any character and certainly don't bloody want one at my age!!! WES7 however has about 50 modules to choose from
and the installation software (IBW) has a checker arrangement to ensure that all your selected modules will work. Even for me it was not too bad to set up.
My recommendation would be WES7 or just plain Windows 7 retail and 32bit if you want PP. I have seen plenty of posts that Windows 7 is not to good with Mach3 but
I've' no bother.

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