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Author Topic: Mach 4 and parallel port  (Read 4644 times)

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Offline Sage

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Re: Mach 4 and parallel port
« Reply #20 on: November 07, 2017, 11:14:20 PM »
Joeaverage: I guess you're using the network ESS? Because I thought the USB ESS did not have a Mach 4 driver yet - right?
SO rather than spend more money. I'll hold out until they get the USB ESS working. Then I'll switch. OR I'll just turn off the charge pump and use Mach4 with the parallel port or stick with Mach3.

dude1: Exactly. You shouldn't have to fuss with it. That's why I'd like to see them fix the bug and present a finished product. Especially when they are charging extra for it.
But (as before) I'd still be interested in hearing from anyone using the parallel port with Mach4 with the charge pump.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2017, 11:18:14 PM by Sage »
Re: Mach 4 and parallel port
« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2017, 01:33:44 AM »
yes that's correct, the ESS is Ethernet Smooth Stepper. The Ethernet offers measurably less latency than USB. USB still works pretty damn well, latency
or not.

When I made the decision to switch to Mach4 my intention was to use a parallel port, after all I'd had plenty of success with Mach3 and dual PP. But then
it occurred to me that despite buying secondhand off Ebay I paid an average of $200 each for my Vexta drivers over $200 for my steppers with low backlash
planetary gearboxes, over $1000 for a German made spindle....and the list goes on. Why would I pinch pennies after spending lots for the best I could afford
for everything else?

I have found myself in similar situations before where I come on all righteous about spending a sum of money when I have blithely done exactly that for
another item which may have less overall impact than the item in question. That's how the ESS is, a smallish investment in the overall scale of what I've
put into my mill and yet it has probably the most impact on how it will perform. So I bought it. It has proven to be money well spent. Its not magic by
any stretch of the imagination but I have smoother and more reliable motion as a result. In addition I've had to learn a whole bunch about Ethernet
comm protocols, the internals of motion controls and so on. Any and all learning is a positive outcome for our hobby.

I think your strategy is fine. Quite frankly worrying about the charge pump I think is a waste of energy and I don't think anyone in NFS or Art F have any interest
is such an arcane fault. I never had a charge pump with Mach3 and don't need one with Mach4 either. The parallel port still works pretty damn well. Art has
said right from the get go that Darwin will never have all the features that the Mach3 PP had, like single point lathe threading and so on. When you exhaust the
possibilities of Darwin there are a number of external motion controllers around the $200 mark.

The question is best placed on the Warp9 forum but the USB Smooth Stepper has a smaller FPGA IC in it than the Ethernet Smooth Stepper. There is a question
whether there is enough silicon real estate in the smaller FPGA to achieve all that has been accomplished with the ESS. It seems the answer is....probably....
but until Andy actually tries it no one knows for sure.

Either way I suspect that over a period of time you'll become addicted to the flexibility of Mach4 and quietly Mach3 will drop out of sight. I've never really fiddled with
Modbus in Mach3 until recently, trying to help someone else, and it made me realise that the Mach4 Modbus plugin is JUST SO MUCH BETTER!!! This is just the
latest realisation of what amounts to quite a list of powerful and flexible features built into Mach4s structure.

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

Offline Sage

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Re: Mach 4 and parallel port
« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2017, 04:26:57 PM »
All good points. I can turn the charge pump off any time with the flip of a dip switch. It's just a matter of principle. I have no pressing need to go to Mach 4. I've been waiting a couple of years now for a finished Mach4 solution. I guess it's probably out there now. Just the same I'll wait and see what becomes of the USB ESS solution. If I buy anything it will probably be the PoKeys device. They seem to be the teachers pet with NFS. (Just my observation).

In the mean time I'm still wondering if there is anyone out the using the parallel port with Mach 4 (at all)

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: Mach 4 and parallel port
« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2017, 02:48:28 AM »
Hi Sage,

If it’s any help…

I did use the parallel port plugin with Mach4 for some while but I never could get the charge pump to work and also had some problems with the PWM range of values.
I switched to using the ESS with Mach4 (the USS plugin may be some while catching up) although I only use Mach4 for testing / experimentation – all serious production work is still done with Mach3.
I recently purchased the Pokeys 57CNC (to use with Auggie) but have yet to try it with Mach4.


Offline Sage

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Re: Mach 4 and parallel port
« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2017, 07:12:35 AM »
Thanks Tweakie:
Quite some time ago I posted about this problem and a work-around was suggested for the charge pump. Basically it was to configure a second enabling signal for it.
Apparently it works but I never tried it in hopes that the real problem would be solved. I'll have to give it a try I guess.
As for the PWM problem, that's news to me. I presume you use that for motor speed? I don't have a motor speed control so I never ran into it. Just another brick in the wall.
Oh well. It is what it is I guess. To quote a recent email response from NFS concerning this issue  "I am not sure what you would expect for $25".  ???

Anyway, back to work - with Mach3. Eventually I'll break down and buy a motion controller. I'm in no rush.  :-\

Case closed I guess.