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Author Topic: PoKeys57CNC vs SmoothStepper  (Read 5038 times)

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PoKeys57CNC vs SmoothStepper
« on: September 02, 2016, 03:54:35 AM »
Hi guys,

I have been working with a cheap cnc machine for the last 4 years and now its time to step up so, I am going to build a bigger and more robust and more precise machine.
After seeking for CNC controllers, I found the Smoothstepper and the PoKeys57CNC among others.
My biggest question is, which one of these two you would recommend? Keeping in mind that I want a stable and precise system as I mill aluminium.

In terms of motors, I'll jump into servo motors with encoders but I'll keep my chinese VFD / spindle for now.

Thank you

Regards.

Offline dude1

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Re: PoKeys57CNC vs SmoothStepper
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2016, 04:16:40 AM »
57CNC it's a bit ahead of the ESS

Offline GerdS

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Re: PoKeys57CNC vs SmoothStepper
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2016, 06:40:52 PM »
I have two CNC Machines.
A Bf20 Mill with an Ethernet Smoothstepper Board, Mach3 and a Closed Loop stepper system.
A Chinese Lathe with a Pokeys CNC Board, Mach4 and a Cloose Loop stepper system.
I would prefer the Pokeys Board but only with Mach4.
The Smoothstepper board is poorly dokumented, the Software updates very rare and if you want to connect a MPG the puffer lag is very stressfull.
The Pokeys Guys always try to improve the Board and bugs will be fixed very soon.
If i have time, i going to convert the Mill also to Pokeys and Mach4.

Offline Dan13

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Re: PoKeys57CNC vs SmoothStepper
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2016, 07:25:16 AM »
I think that Pokeys57CNC isn't documented well either. Want to use the Poblocks to do a simple program, but there is nowhere a list of all the pin numbers. For instane, I would like to access the relay - what pin number is it? Need to access the step pin of an axis - what pin number is it? Want to access the SSR - what pin number should I choose in the poblocks? Spent two days searching some kind of document - NOTHING!

Dan

Offline dude1

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Re: PoKeys57CNC vs SmoothStepper
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2016, 03:40:41 PM »
the 57cnc you just connect up it's plug and go oc1 -oc5  the step pin is the 3rd in from bottom left
Re: PoKeys57CNC vs SmoothStepper
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2016, 04:22:17 PM »
I have both now.  Just getting into the Pokeys stuff and from what I have seen thus far Pokeys has a major superiority over the smooth stepper. 

I would never go back to the Smooth Stepper.

- Connectivity to Mach3 is much easier in Pokeys

- Motion control I cant comment on yet as I am waiting for the release of the 5th and 6th axis control. 

- Pokeys blows the smooth stepper away on i/o capacity along with isolated I/O's dedicated I/O's and built in relays and ssr outputs.

- Support from the Pokeys team is fast and friendly.  Which is remarkable considering they are on the other side of the globe from U.S. customers.

- Constantly updating firmware and Mach3 plugin from the Pokeys team.

- Poblocks and the shared ports are the best feature of the Pokeys products.  Having an on board MCU to run in parallel was a game changer for my needs.  Now this can be done in other ways (arduino) but the method used in Poblocks and Mach3 is just so seamless.


"I think that Pokeys57CNC isn't documented well either. Want to use the Poblocks to do a simple program, but there is nowhere a list of all the pin numbers. For instane, I would like to access the relay - what pin number is it? Need to access the step pin of an axis - what pin number is it? Want to access the SSR - what pin number should I choose in the poblocks? Spent two days searching some kind of document - NOTHING!"


I would challenge this statement, a bit.  The documentation on both the Mach3 plugin and Poblocks is fairly extensive.  What is lacking are some examples.  I can also understand how some info could be a bit misleading/confusing to a new user.  That being said, when comparing the Pokeys manuals to a lot of other cnc products on the market I think they have one of the better documentation sources.  And if I have any questions they are very quick to respond to their tech support ticketing system.

Offline thosj

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Re: PoKeys57CNC vs SmoothStepper
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2016, 06:55:02 PM »
Can you guys tell me exactly what a Pokeys57CNC is?

I currently have a PMDX-126. an Ethernet Smoothstepper, and a Pokeys 55 (?). What does the Pokeys57CNC actually "replace", the Smoothstepper, or the Smoothstepper and the old Pokeys55, or the Smoothstepper, the old Pokeys55, AND the PMDX-126? I can't seem to figure it out reading the docs!!

I'm wanting to rebuild my control box, losing Gecko G320/320X drives for CNCDrive DG4S-16035 drives, cleaning up wiring that's "evolved" over the years, etc. So this is the opportunity to "upgrade" anything else that wants upgrading. Can't figure out what a PoKeys57CNC IS.
Re: PoKeys57CNC vs SmoothStepper
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2016, 01:33:07 PM »
In short and basic form it does what all three of those items you listed but in one board.  Its not exactly an apples to apples with your current setup but for what you using now you can use the 57cnc for.

I would classify it as a breakout board with dedicated input/output functions, Ethernet/USB, integrated relays (2) and SSR outputs (2), dedicated limit and home ports, dedicated plug ports for pendants and other peripheral and more.

As mentioned in my other post on this topic.  The best feature (for me) was the incorporated microcontroller that can share data with Mach in real time.  The 57cnc board paired with Mach would likely be all you need to accomplish any standard type feature/function needed for you machine.  The "shared data ports" and the microcontroller allow you to do some really creative stuff (machine functions) if ever needed.

The program used of programing the mcu (called Poblocks) is free but proprietary as is the language behind.  That being said its easy to learn because it uses a drag and drop block function setup vs a programing language like VB or LUA.  I haven't hit much re: limitations in creating a program when compared to say programing an Arduino.