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Esab Vision 500
« on: October 13, 2016, 01:47:48 PM »
I have an ESAB Shadow plasma table with non-working Vision 500 controller.  I would like retrofit with Mach 3 and Geckos,  I think.  Any help or push in the right direction would be great.
Re: Esab Vision 500
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2016, 02:27:43 AM »
many people use Mach3 for plasma tables so conversion shouldn't be overly difficult.

Your post suggests using Gekos, I presume then your table has steppers?

I would suggest that you get a demo version of Mach3, no cost and start experimenting.
One question you will have to decide is whether you wish to use a parallel port/ports
or use an external motion controller.

The parallel port option can be somewhat tricky to get working on some PCs but is
free if your PC has a built in port and less than $20 if you need either a second port
or require it as your primary port if one is not built in to your PC. Note that you MUST use
a 32 bit OS to use a parallel port, ie Window7 32bit or earlier with XP as the common
standard. If you want to moan about not having 64bit support go right ahead, many have
but none have succeeded, parallel port=32bit OS, no exceptions.

If you wish to use 64bit you must use an external motion controller, the UC100 is
widely used at about $100 and many excellent controllers from different makers
for around $200 and up.

Many new users make the mistake of assuming that the 'latest greatest PC' will work best.
Its not the case, Mach3 has fairly modest computing requirements but does need a platform
which is largely uninterrupted by other apps or OS tasks. The recommendation is use a modest
PC for your controller unencumbered with other programs/internet/network/antivirus/firewall
in fact any other software than is required to run your table. Great results can be had from
cheap as chips recycled XP pcs, don't get a laptop.

Whether you choose parallel port or external controller you will probably want a breakout
board or BOB in the jargon. A BOB is a small isolating board which allows you to connect
to stepper drivers, home switches and so on without possibly damaging the rather more
sensitive port electronics. Most of them have LEDs on the output which really really help
when setting up. They can be had very cheaply but would recommend staying away from
the very cheapest, they fail and you wont get support from Chinese suppliers. I use BOBs
from Homan Designs in Austrailia but as I live in New Zealand they are 'local'. Any search
of the forum will yield a number of makers/suppliers just make sure they have those LEDs.
About $50 should do it.

Don't bother with stepper drivers or stepper motors or any expensive stuff to start with,
just a second hand XP PC and a BOB, demo Mach3 and you can make a start and for $100
or less.

My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Esab Vision 500
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2016, 08:18:51 AM »
Howdy .  No on the motors being  steppers , they are Burny DC servo Model MT2630-141AF   and also the encoder P.N.  X2826681.  Both were built or sold by Cleveland Motion Controls. The Gecko 320X was recommended by Gecko.  I have a PC with XP and a parallel port that can be used only for the plasma. After reading some on the net, the  PMDX-122 BOB seems to be well liked. So with the Mach 3 and a break-out board , do I still need something between the board and the motors and encoders?  Thanks very much for your input  .


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Re: Esab Vision 500
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2016, 02:33:01 PM »
If the motors and drives are ok then it is likely they take a +/- 10v command signal. If that is the case then I would keep them and get a controller that can output analogue commands.
The one I use is the CSMIO/IP-A but others are available, one being the DSPMC