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Author Topic: Going from Parallel to USB or Ether...  (Read 987 times)

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Going from Parallel to USB or Ether...
« on: August 05, 2017, 11:42:55 AM »
It's time to work on converting my control box, It's an older K2 CNC (which still runs great), using parallel with a custom hand wired controller connected to the parallel port. Inside are three G320 motor controls, running three DAEHWA TC9 Motors (output 60W, 24VDC, RPM 800, Current 3.5A).

I want to keep costs minimal and upgrade over time in steps, I'm running Mach3 at the moment, and want to fix the Parallel problem first, then move to Mach 4, then see about the drives.

So with all that, what are some good choices for a controller board?, when I switch do I have to re-calibrate the machine? I'm wondering how hard this is going to be. I have some experience with electronics, but I've never tinkered with the CNC's electronics, and I don't want to break something...

Advice??
Thanks
-Paul-
-Paul-

Paul Davis
Luthier
Patriot Guitars
Re: Going from Parallel to USB or Ether...
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2017, 04:53:34 PM »
Hi,
my personal preference is an Ethernet Smoothstepper made by Warp9.

It has an Ethernet connection (fast!) to the PC and has lower latency compared to USB connected controllers. The ESS has three 'ports'
worth of outputs. Note you will need a BoB for each 'port' you wish to use, a simple machine can be run quite handily on one port only
which requires only one Bob, which you already have.

The ESS has plugins for both Mach3 and Mach4 so you can update without having to buy anything new.

As for how easy it is to change to an external controller...it can be confusing to start with but Warp9 have excellent instructions, videos and a forum.
You should not really have to fiddle with any electronics I don't think...if you can use you existing BoB.

Please note that this is my preference, there are other manufacturers, PMDX and PoKeys who both do great external motion control boards both
Mach3 and Mach4 capable for similar sort of money. You might like to look at Hicon from VitalSystems, great board but entry level is $600.

If you want simple and cheap then consider UC100, PMDX-411 or PoKeys 57CNCd25, they are USB connected to the PC with one ports worth
of output, a familiar d25 plug which would probably go straight into your existing BoB. All of these devices have Mach4 plugins. The three
companies have been in the business for years and have great reputations for backup.

If you see cheap Chinese made controllers do your research on the forum BEFORE you buy, there are hundreds if not thousands of posts about them
not working.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Going from Parallel to USB or Ether...
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2017, 10:11:55 PM »
Thank You for the info...

I'll go do some digging...

Just got the new computer, it's 32 bit at the moment. But once I get all this working, I'll upgrade to 64 bit.

-Paul-
-Paul-

Paul Davis
Luthier
Patriot Guitars
Re: Going from Parallel to USB or Ether...
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2017, 10:42:54 PM »
Hi,
quite frankly 32 or 64 bit is totally irrelevant to Mach, it runs either just as well. It would make a difference to some CAD/CAM software
but really they should not be on your machine controller platform anyway.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Going from Parallel to USB or Ether...
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2017, 11:15:15 PM »
Your right, but I really don't want to deal with MS suddenly dropping support for Windows 7 32. They where so aggressive with the Windows 10 update, that I worry they will hose my machine. If I do this then I'm idiot proof from the next time they force people to upgrade without their consent.

-Paul-
-Paul-

Paul Davis
Luthier
Patriot Guitars
Re: Going from Parallel to USB or Ether...
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2017, 05:52:43 AM »
Hi,
that's nonsense. MS stopped XP support years ago and yet its still with us...32 bit Windows7 has been embedded into ATMs, digital signage, kiosks of
all types and the list goes on. 32 bit Windows7 will be around for a decade minimum.

If you want to spend money with MS....go for your life, they'll take your money and give you a 64bit OS that you don't need. If you have software
that must run 64 bit then buy a laptop or similar to run it. Mach doesn't require it and certainly should not be co-installed with any other software that does
so save your money.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!