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No communication between computer and controller box.
« on: December 06, 2016, 07:54:07 PM »
Hello this my first post  please help my hair is nearly gone.

No communication between computer and controller box.
win xp, installed mach3 and configured it. says driver installed correct.
pt port numbers are the same
hobby cnc control board with power supply  motors hum a little
nothing on the diagnostic board after hooked up. no safety switch readings.
how can i verify if the computer is communicating with the control box?

Any suggestions....??
Re: No communication between computer and controller box.
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2016, 10:56:29 PM »
Hi captainleeward,
hair is an overated accessory for the vain!

I assume that you are trying to use a parallel port, PP in the jargon?

If that's the case don't worry about hooking up the machine just yet, the probability of it working out of the box is just about nill.

Just to make sure, if you are using PP then your operating system (OS) must be 32bit, Windows 7 or earlier, with XP/SP3 the common standard.

In the Mach3 folder, usually c:\Mach3, is a program DriverTest.exe Run it and see what happens. It should open a window and tell you it's taking over in 3,2,1...
seconds. Then it will give you some useful info about itself and how well your PC might run the PP. If it doesn't do this you've got trouble.

When you installed the driver did you shutdown and restart? If you didn't that's what's wrong. The driver gets screwy if you don't.
There is a document on the Artsoft website:
       Mach3 CNC Controller Software Installation and Configuration

It covers this situation well, I know because I did exactly the same thing back when I had hair!

You'll have to use the Device Manager to dig the old driver out by the roots and start again.

Then when you run the DriverTest it will install a fresh copy, remember to shut down and the re start and you should start getting results.
While setting up and getting used to Mach3 its a good idea to make a shortcut for DriverTest and put it on the desktop.

Let us know how you get on.


BTW--- I always give the inside boat buoy-room, its no good arguing later when you've got two crunched boats.

My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: No communication between computer and controller box.
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2016, 10:41:43 AM »
Hello Craig, and fair weather to you-------yes I crashed the program in the beginning like hitting a shoal in a storm.  anyway I am on the hunt for the answers... 8:00 thusrsday will return by 12:00 or earlier today.  I gluing my hair back on now.  thank you kind sir....
Re: No communication between computer and controller box.
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2016, 12:21:46 PM »
Hello Craig, here's the info so far...

1. Windows XP service pack 3  32 bit
2. Uses Printer Port  LPT-1 for driver-0378
3. Driver is windows driver according to device manager?
4. Mach3 driver compatibility test-system under mach3 control and system excellent. mach3 prgm says driver successfully installed.
I have a program called sign lab which controls a cnc vinyl cutter machine for making signs this software uses the LPT-1 port to communicate with the vinyl cutter.
  If I have  to change drivers in  Ltp-1 will that effect my connection to the vinyl cutter and if so do I need another 25 pin connection? or can they be shared? the ink printer and vinyl cutter share the same port.
Thanks for your support...standing by....you can see the cnc machine in the photo section (captainleeward)
Re: No communication between computer and controller box.
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2016, 01:34:07 PM »
Hi captainleeward,
if I remember correctly when the Mach PP driver is installed it shows in the device manager as a piece of hardware, named
something like 'M3 Pulse Engine' or 'Pulser' or....I have recently upgraded to Mach4 so no longer have a machine with a PP installed.

As I discovered when taking up this hobby (read obsession) that the pulse engine is a very trick piece of code. It has been described
'a bit like a virus', in order to do its job it has to live along side the Windows kernel and in fact shoulders Windows aside when running.
Anything which disturbs it like Windows getting bolshie and the pulse stream you are relying on to drive your motors falters or outright
fails. Even if it comes online again only a few milliseconds later its too late, your motors have stalled and often the job ruined.

The advice I was given, and unlike me to actually follow, is remove and or disable everything in your PC that does not have to be there
to run your machine. A long time CNCer described it 'its is no longer a PC but a machine controller that happens to use Windows'.

I don't know whether your existing sign machine will still work once the Mach driver is installed, actually controlling the pins of the port
is small beer when compared to running an interrupt driven timer as the pulse engine does. Its possible that if Mach is not running some
other application, your sign making program for instance, will run and be able to control the port. Given what I said in the previous
paragraph I wouldn't even try, a Mach3 PC is a machine controller and should do NOTHING else.

From what you've described the pulse engine is running so the next step is to see whether it can drive the parallel port pins. I you have an
oscilloscope and a steady hand to probe it then that's the way to go. Next best bet is to hook up your breakout board, BOB in the jargon.
Many of them have LEDs on the outputs so you can see at a glance if a particular output is changing. Do you have any documentation
on the BOB and/or pics?

In order to observe any outputs the BOB has to be enabled, in lots of cases by a charge pump, really need to know if your board is enabled that

My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: No communication between computer and controller box.
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2016, 02:48:33 PM »
Hello Craig,
Yes the Mach3 driver is located in the keyboard section of the device manager and says its working.
The BOB is a kit which i built it has no leds ect on the board  it is a EZ  3 AXIS Hobby cnc BOB.
3 axis ez chopper driver board kit. Specifications
3 axis unipolar chopper control,individual or simultaneous control of 2/4
phase stepper motors.
accepts 5,6,or 8 wire motors  36 volts volts dc maxium voltage 3.0 amps
max per phase.  1/1,1/2,1/4,1/81/16th step micro stepping. step and direction control.
connections for home and limit switches with 10 k pull up resistor.
does this help?
Re: No communication between computer and controller box.
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2016, 04:57:34 PM »
I have decided to buy a used xp sp3 from a guy here in town so as not to get conflicting problems with my other cnc  cutter.
I will post here when I am up and running.... thanks see ya in a day or so.
Re: No communication between computer and controller box.
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2016, 03:37:01 PM »
Hello Craig, happy holidays to you and yours....
set up the dell computer  I just bought, mach3 is loaded just fine hooked it up to the BOB no action tried motor tuning nothing ran roadrunner gecode pgm motors started making squealing noises in order of the program different moves motors still not running, stopped at that point. any suggestions?  Cap.
Re: No communication between computer and controller box.
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2016, 03:53:20 AM »
Hi captainleeward,
the fact that its starting to makes noises is a good sign. I suspect your motor tuning is out of whack somehow.

Rather than trying to run a file concentrate on issuing manual commands. If you don't know G-code its time to learn!
Just to make sure  on the Config/Select Native Units page confirm that they are set to your machine. Note that these are the units
you will do the calculations with to set the motors and will be the means of Mach3 doing its internal stuff. Once you set it don't
change it. If you want to run a job in mm for instance use G21 and when you finish use G20 to go back to inches if that's whats
comfortable to you.

I assume you've assigned ports and pins otherwise nothing would happen. Go to the motor tuning page, what values have you set?
My native units are mm and my steppers/ballscrews advance 1um per pulse or 1000 pulses are required to move 1mm. Ergo I've set
my Steps Per at 1000. What you set there will depend largely on the microstepping you select and the leadscrews you've got.
Don't go overboard with microstepping, while it sounds great 'my machine can make one step of a millionth of an inch' its horse s...t!
The machine accuracy is largely determined by its leadscrews, the quality of it ways and its rigidity, no amount of fiddling with a computer
will change that. Microstepping does make for smooth running tho. What does the manufacturer recommend?

If your native units are mm then Steps Per are around the 1000-2000, if inches 8000 or more.

The next thing to set is the speed, start slow and as you get used to things speed it up. Steppers stall if you try to go too fast, they just make
a squealing sound, you get used to listening for it. While not ideal it doesn't really do any harm either. My machine has planetary gear drives
and is quite slow, its set at 1200 mm/min or 60 inch. I don't imagine your machine has reducers so start at say 100 in/min or 2500 mm/min.

The next one is the acceleration, Motors can't go to max speed in an instant, they will stall EVERY time you try. Start really really slow until
you find the limits. A good starting point is 10% of your max speed. Once you've set them make sure you save them. Just experiment with on one
axis to start with, say X, once you've got the hang of it the rest will be easy.

On the MDI page on the input line enter G0 X4 <enter>. With any sort of luck the table will take off to the right 4 inches. Use G0 X100 if in mm.
A G0 X0 should take it back to where you started. G0 means 'go as fast as you can' or rapid traverse in the jargon. Its unlikely you'll want to cut
at that speed, for cutting use G1 F********* where ********* is the speed (upto the max) you want to go, the feed rate.

Try it out and let me know how you get on.

My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: No communication between computer and controller box.
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2016, 08:37:34 AM »
Hello Craig, I'M using inches.Thanks for the  8000 steps for minutes as the videos only show steps in MM  I just realized that the pots on the bob were turned down as not to over ramp at start up.
I have a 1/2 inch number 1 lead screw on all axis.The actual cutting area is 18"x and y is 28". First thing  I have to recheck the wiring on the limit switches today then I will proceed.
you can see MY machine  on homemadetools.net click the builders word and look for captainleeward # 1 click on  that to see my machine. My machine is home built from scratch with guilty materials. Thank you sooo much good stuff will give you up date soon.  Ward.