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Author Topic: what computer for Mach3 - is "all in one" OK - is a parallel port mandatory?  (Read 9600 times)

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Hello all!

I almost finished my first CNC router, currently I still run the test version of Mach3 on a Lenovo Think Pad Yoga with touch screen.

The router is a Xzero Raptor and the controller is a Leadshine MX4660 with a USB motion controller from CNC drive, UC 100 CNC. So far I have only done some simple test runs for a couple of seconds and the system does fine, but no idea if that will be the same with some serious stuff that runs over much longer time.

Finally I would like to get a dedicated computer to run Mach3 but I am not sure what to buy. Meanwhile it is really kind of  difficult to get a computer with a parallel port and my question would be if that is really necessary. If not, I could pick from a much broader range of computers. My favorite would be something like an all in one touch screen computer, which seems to be convenient in terms of used space and ease of use. But is that really smart,  buy a computer without a parallel port?
Otherwise if I search for an inexpensive used slim size desktop computer they almost all have no parallel port. However there might be a way to upgrade them, which is likely not possible with the “all in one” computers. In addition, under Mach3 requirements is mentioned that the video card should be “non integrated”, I think this is really difficult to figure out, and especially in the “all in one” computers as well as in the slim desktops, that could certainly be the case due to the limited space.

Any thoughts experiences or recommendations, what works for you?



Offline ger21

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You don't need a parallel port if you're using a UC100.
And with that UC100, just about any PC should work fine, as the UC100 handles the timing critical operations.

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thank you for your answer!

OK, good to know. I was a little bit under the impression that it might be better to have one... but if everything works just as well with the UC100 USB controller then OK I don't need a parallel port.

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Going back a few years the ‘on board’ graphics were not that good, they were slow, lacked memory and took away much needed processor time so ‘non-integrated’ was the way to go. Also it was common to turn off the Toolpath Display when running long Gcode programs to avoid the graphics issues.

Technology has changed a lot (as it always does) with much increased graphics speed and memory (required for us big kid’s gaming activities). This, together with multi-core processors, has made the latest ‘all-in-one’ a very serious contender for dedicated machine control (using an external motion controller of course).

Hell all,

Technology has changed a lot .......

I thought so... however, I wasn't quite sure.  It was kinda hard to imagine that some G Code can bring modern computer to its limit that is able to run a flight sim or other graphics power demanding computer games, some of them even with on board graphics.
Some of the information out there should probably be updated    ;)

Hi there,
Mach3 requires very modest computing power, a single core 1GHz CPU will do the trick. In the days when everyone used parallel ports what was more
important was that the 'pulse engine' that handles timing runs undisturbed by other processes/threads running on the computer including graphics.
More recently with the advent of external motion controllers the ability of any given computer sucsessfully running Mach3 has increased dramatically.
As for the 32/64 bit question I have yet to see anyone claim that Mach3 benefits from 64 bit, aside of course not being able to run PP. It maybe that
graphics are improved with 64 bit and therefore not steal resources off Mach3 for a more reliable run but have not seen any evidence of it.
More recent versions of Windows have increasing levels of security code, internet, anti-virus, firewall and Ethernet checking. All have application in
a 'connected' PC which is our norm these days but a machine controller is best/ most reliable when not connected at all. All that extra security code
becomes an impediment rather than a help. My suggestion is that you don't 'connect' and do away with all the security junk.

My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Okay guys,  I bought a UC 100 because I have a windows 7 64 bit computer.  I bought the UC 100 and could not get it to work.  No matter how I installed it.   It was always the same answer.  No controller found. check connections. This was a $135 controller from Amazon and suppose to be Mach3 workable.
http://www.cncdrive.com/UC100.html .  I sent this driver back.  Now can any one give me a address for one that works or is it best to convert this computer to XP or windows 32 bit

thank you  Johnny
I am surprised that the UC100 didn't work, they have a good reputation and following.

I would recommend either the Ethernet SmoothStepper or one of the PMDX boards. They have been in the business of external
motion controllers forever. They both run Mach3 with a plugin but also have Mach4 plugins available, so if you update to Mach4
at some later date no need to buy new hardware just download the plugin and go for it. Both are pretty good value.

Another maker producing good value products is PoKeys . CSlabs and VitalSystems make good stuff and 'industrial' grade but somewhat
more expensive.

My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Craig,  I think I see the problem.  I needed a longer cable and with out even thinking, I go to Best Buy and buy a extension.  Thinking about it after reading  about  Model PMDX-411 SmartBOB-USB-DB25  where they advise no more than 15 feet but of a good quality cable.  I am betting the cable wasn't the proper gage cable so like men, all USB cables are not created equal

Okay guys,  I bought a UC 100 because I have a windows 7 64 bit computer.  I bought the UC 100 and could not get it to work.  No matter how I installed it.   It was always the same answer.  No controller found. check connections. This was a $135 controller from Amazon and suppose to be Mach3 workable.
http://www.cncdrive.com/UC100.html .  I sent this driver back.  Now can any one give me a address for one that works or is it best to convert this computer to XP or windows 32 bit

thank you  Johnny

I wish you e-mail us with your problem, I'm sure we could help you to resolve your problem.
The only case when we could not help is if it was a fake UC100.
I mean unfortunately some chinese company flooded the internet with fake UC100 devices, they used the popularity of the UC100 and named their own chinese "garbage" motion controller UC100,
when it has nothing to do with our UC100 device. If you got a fake device then unfortunately there is nothing we could do and then really the best is if you return the device and report the problem to amazon, ebay, banggood or what the shop was where you made your purchase.

So, I want to warn customers to please only buy UC100 controllers from known sources, from one of our listed distributors: http://www.cncdrive.com/distributors.html
And if anyone has any doubts about if a UC100 they want to purchase from an untrusted/unknown source is real or fake then please take the time and e-mail us before the purchase and we will be happy to help to verify that.

We do our best to fight these counterfreight criminals, but unfortunately shops like e-bay are no help in fighting fraud,
they not doing anything to protect their buyers from fraud. When we e-mailed them several times about the counterfreights they did nothing,
and so we guess that it does not matter for them as far as selling the fakes make them some profit.

Also please note that the fake devices are all packed into metal enclosures and they have no serial numbers printed on the side of the devices.
The real devices all have a unique serial number and our packed into plastic enclosures, so in most cases (I can't say in all of them) it is easy to identify the fakes.