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Mach3 issues with new computer
« on: December 03, 2017, 05:48:11 PM »
In short, for the past 7 years I've been running an CNC dedicated old Windows XP computer with mach 3 with no anti-virus, no anti malware, no internet connections. I have always had intermittent problems with loosing steps. I have changed driver boards, I've increased the size of my motors to more then double original, I've rewired it a couple times, changed the LPT cable, but would still loose steps at random times.

My last few projects have been between 300,000 and 400,000 lines of code (8-10 hours of cut time), so fairly large files. After ruining about $200 in wood and unknown number of hours from these lost steps, I decided to try upgrading to a USB breakout board and individual motor drivers. It didn't change, on my current project the first attempt lost steps around line 90,000 (about 2-1/2 hours in), the second attempt lost some at 20,000 (only 30 mins into program), a third attempt lost some around line 177,000 (about 5 hours of cut time), the forth attempt ran the whole program (8-3/4 hours) without any program issues.

Now I'm trying to repeat this project with no luck, again it started randomly loosing steps. Because I now have a USB board, I tried hooking up my laptop (running windows 7, Celeron Dual-Core 1.90 GHz 4.00 GB RAM on a 32 bit operating system) to see if it was the old computer is having some type of glitch that was interrupting the steps even thou the USB board was suppose to eliminate that. The laptop jogs everything perfectly, full speed, nice and smooth, but when I tried to run this program, it jogged from home to its starting point flawlessly, but then it started cutting. It was pulsating the stepper motors. Very noticeable on a slight z axis incline, the Y axis motor speeds up, then slows down, then speed up then slows down. These "pulses" and the uneven speeds of all the axis is taking the program almost twice as long to run. So I thought maybe my laptop just wasn't quite big enough, fast enough or plain not capable of running the CNC.

So, I grabbed my one office computers (windows 10) and temporarily hooked that one up, turned off everything that didn't need to be running and it does the same exact thing as my laptop. This computer is an Intel Core i7-2600 @ 3.40GHz with 8GB of RAM with a 64 bit processor, custom built, usually runs 3 screens and ANY multiple programs at the same time including AutoCad and 3D software while being on the internet. Way bigger and faster then I should ever need to run this CNC, but it won't run it efficiently. I've checked and double checked all my setting, I've tried changing as many settings that I know of to try to solve this problem with no luck.

ANY suggestion are welcome!!!

Offline ger21

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Re: Mach3 issues with new computer
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2017, 05:57:27 PM »
What USB board do you have?
Gerry

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Re: Mach3 issues with new computer
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2017, 06:11:20 PM »
SainSmart 4 Axis Mach3 USB CNC Motion Controller Card Interface Breakout Board with 3 SainSmart TB6600 CNC Micro-Stepping Stepper Motor Driver 4.5A

Offline ger21

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Re: Mach3 issues with new computer
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2017, 06:55:54 PM »
I'm not familiar with that card, and have really not heard of an issue like that with a motion controller.

Here's what I'd recommend.
Use Mach3 3.043.062
Make sure you have the latest plugin for your board.
Try turning off the toolpath display.
Gerry

2010 Screenset
http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

JointCAM Dovetail and Box Joint software
http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html
Re: Mach3 issues with new computer
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2017, 07:05:24 PM »
I'm willing to try anything at this point thank you, The CNC is hooked back up on the old XP computer right now, I'm at 200,000 lines and good so far. That's the frustrating part, it is completely random with the XP computer, but the new computer won't run it smoothly, again that doesn't make any sense to me, why would an old computer work fine (other then loosing steps) but neither new ones work with the new technology breakout boards and drivers?????
Re: Mach3 issues with new computer
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2017, 01:14:14 PM »
My best suggestion would be to get a motion controller that is well known.  I would recommend a UC100 motion controller.  I have setup several of them and I personally own and use 2 ESS and 3 UC products.  I prefer the UC line.
I would then go with a new cheap windows 7, 8 10 computer and a clean fresh install and setup the machine again from scratch.  As Ger21 said, the .062 version seems to be the best one.
http://www.machsupport.com/forum/index.php/topic,36095.0.html
That is how I would approach what you are dealing with right now. 

Offline ger21

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Re: Mach3 issues with new computer
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2017, 01:59:10 PM »
If you are going to switch motion controllers, I'd get a UC400ETH.
It seems like any low cost made in china controllers are a roll of the dice.
Gerry

2010 Screenset
http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

JointCAM Dovetail and Box Joint software
http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html
Re: Mach3 issues with new computer
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2017, 08:05:34 PM »
For the newer computers, I'd recommend the following, since Windows computers are intended for dedicated real time services:

1 Remove (uninstall) One Drive.

2 Change MACH3 short cut start up to run in ABoveNormal priority

DETAILS:
    cmd.exe /c start "MACH3" /AboveNormal  "C:\Mach3\Mach3.exe" /p CNC_Router

Where CNC_Router should be replaced with your actual profile name.   

3 Disable unused network protocols on the ethernet port, leaving only TCP/IPv4, if using ESS.

4 PC and Screen set to NEVER go into sleep mode.

5 Turn off "Shared Experiences" and "Share across devices".

6 Disable Cortana using the Local Group Policy editor.

7 Turn off Windows Update service.  This will require PERIODIC PC MAINTENANCE for updates.

This can apparently cause some difficulty in installing .NET Framework 3.5, etc, so may need to turn on for service, and then turn off again.

To turn Windows Update back on for an update, or turn off again:
     A. Open "Administrative Tools" in Control Panel
     B. Double Click "Services."  Admin permission required here.
     C. Click Name column to reverse the entries.
     D. Find Windows Update Service and right click, and select Properties.
     E. On the General tab, next to start up, insure Automatic is select to start it (Disable, otherwise).
     F. If starting Windows Update, click "Start" if it's not already running.

Offline Iawa

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Re: Mach3 issues with new computer
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2017, 04:35:13 AM »
Hi,
 I've been having a similar problem, from what I've read here, my problem could lay with the breakout board, where can i pick up a cheap but decent one? my current one is a Chinese Parallel one, no idea what the brand is, all i know is its Chinese

Thanks,
Alex
Re: Mach3 issues with new computer
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2017, 05:27:15 AM »
Hi,
a parallel port breakout board is really only a buffer/amplifier and a place to hook up wires, it doesn't really do anything. Its not impossible
that a poorly designed breakout board could make Mach go screwy but its much more likely that its Machs parallel port driver, that is to say
the software driver running at kernel level on your CPU almost in defiance of Windows that's screwy.

If you want a good board I suggest one from the experienced players and an external motion controller not a parallel port breakout board at all.

https://warp9td.com/
https://www.pmdx.com/
https://www.poscope.com/
https://www.cncdrive.com/
http://www.vitalsystem.com/portal/index.php
http://en.cs-lab.eu/
http://www.galilmc.com/

Don't buy cheap Chinese knock-offs, they abound on EBay, buy direct or from the manufacturers nominated distributor. If you try to buy cheap elsewhere you
will come to grief.

Note that all of these manufacturers have either USB or Ethernet boards or both, and all have Mach4 plugins in addition to Mach3, some more developed than
others, but Mach4 ready none-the-less.

With any of these external motion controllers you will be able to use any Windows OS including 64 bit so the choice of PCs to run Mach just became huge
and even more importantly they run Mach a lot smoother and way way WAY less faults than a parallel port.

A lot of Mach users depend on a parallel port and vigourously defend its use, I used to do the same until I bought an Ethernet Smooth Stepper, now I wouldn't
go back to a parallel port if you paid me!

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