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newbe help needed
« on: October 03, 2016, 03:34:02 PM »
I'm trying to get Mach3 working with my Chinese 3040T-DQ with ball slides. Running windows 7 32 bit. The controller is shown in the photo below, it has both a USB port and a parallel port.

The CNC works great using the included CNC-MILL software which uses the USB port. But with Mach3 using the parallel port I'm not getting any communication to the MILL. I've followed all the instructions for setting up the software, pin settings, input settings, output settings, motor tuning, etc. The coordanate numbers change as I jog with the keyboard arrow keys but the MILL doesn't move.

At this point I feel like the problem is there is no communication to the controller from the PC rather than a software setting.

What type of parallel port is best? Output only, Bi-directional, ECP, or EPP?  

Since the connectors on the PC and the CNC controller are both female I'm using a Belkin parallel DB25M to DB25M Switchbox Cable (f3d11106), is this a correct cable or should I use a common DB25M to DB25F parallel cable with a gender changer to make it a M-M?

Also does Mach4 use the USB port, perhaps I should be using Mach4?

Any help is appreceated.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2016, 03:47:01 PM by dgangstee »
Re: newbe help needed
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2016, 03:39:03 PM »
did you do the driver test?
Re: newbe help needed
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2016, 03:49:12 PM »
No, but I just found the drivertest.exe program, ran it and I get the message "No Driver sensed installed, Run DriverTest."

What do I do now?
« Last Edit: October 03, 2016, 04:03:40 PM by dgangstee »
Re: newbe help needed
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2016, 11:49:36 PM »
No, but I just found the drivertest.exe program, ran it and I get the message "No Driver sensed installed, Run DriverTest."

What do I do now?

I'm wondering if a Parallel Port card plugged into the PCI slot might work rather than using the on-board Parallel port. It is an Intel ITX MB so I feel confident that the on-board parallel port is fully compliant.
Re: newbe help needed
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2016, 02:30:22 AM »
Hi,
its my experience that the onboard parallel port is less troublesome than a PCI card.

You must install the Mach3 'pulse engine' in order for the parallel port to run.
It very much sounds that the driver has not installed itself.
The Artsoft website has some installation instructions, see if you cant find
Mach3Mill_Install_Config.pdf. It will help. Pay particular attention to the reboot required
part way through the setup. From what you've described I think that did not happen in your
case. If that is indeed true that part of the driver that has been installed is probably corrupt.
You're going to have to use Windows Control Panel and 'dig' it out. Then complete reinstall
of Mach3.

The 'pulse engine' is a VERY trick piece of code and resides at the lowest level of Windows
almost like a virus. If it does not install and run correctly the parallel port will not run, no exceptions!
Get it right then your humble PC becomes a realtime machine controller admitedly somewhat buggy
but at a fraction of the cost of FANUC,SIEMENS or .....

Depending on what you wish to achieve with Mach and how committed you are to CNC you may wish to
consider an external motion controller, there are a number of mature brands for Mach3 starting at around
$100 and an increasing selection of models that work with Mach4 starting for similar money. They have the
advantage that the trick 'pulse engine' not required and very good results can be had.

All my machining to date has been done with a parallel port so good results can be had with it but some
patience is required. Having said that I have bought a licence for Mach4 and the Smoothstepper motion
controller has today just passed through customs so hope to have it within a couple of days, cant wait!

Which ever way you choose to go there is quite a learning curve with Mach and CNC in general. If you stick
with hopefully the sense of satisfaction will out weigh the frustration encountered. The forum and those dedicated
experienced hands who contribute will undoubtedly be valued.

Welcome to the hobby/obsession.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: newbe help needed
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2016, 02:24:35 PM »

You must install the Mach3 'pulse engine' in order for the parallel port to run.
It very much sounds that the driver has not installed itself.
The Artsoft website has some installation instructions, see if you cant find
Mach3Mill_Install_Config.pdf. It will help. Pay particular attention to the reboot required
part way through the setup. From what you've described I think that did not happen in your
case. If that is indeed true that part of the driver that has been installed is probably corrupt.
You're going to have to use Windows Control Panel and 'dig' it out. Then complete reinstall
of Mach3.

The 'pulse engine' is a VERY trick piece of code and resides at the lowest level of Windows
almost like a virus. If it does not install and run correctly the parallel port will not run, no exceptions!
Get it right then your humble PC becomes a realtime machine controller admitedly somewhat buggy
but at a fraction of the cost of FANUC,SIEMENS or .....


Thank you Craig for your insight about the port driver.

I was finally able to get things going with version 3.042.020 as it forced a reboot during the installation. Interestlingly the later version 3.043.066 did not force a reboot and even though I manually rebooted I constantly got the BSOD. With an earlier version D1.90.038 which came with my 3040 and included a license file, a reboot was not asked for and there was no sign of a printer port driver being installed and no prompting for one.

With version 3.042.020 all installed as it should, a reboot was forced and the motors are turning.

One more thing. with my driver board having both a parallel port and a USB port, the parallel port doesn't function if the USB is plugged in, but the USB will function if the PP is connected. So on a hunch I unplugged the USB port and the motors now respond to jog input.


Thanks to all for your help!