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Author Topic: CNC4PC Boards  (Read 7432 times)

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CNC4PC Boards
« on: March 21, 2006, 08:59:13 PM »
OK, so before I get started with my retrobuild. I need to understand what I may getting into
with the boards I bought from CNC4PC. I see a few posts that are cautioning against their use.
Are these true mfgr issues, or user error?

What I bought are:

1 C10 bi directional breakout board
1 C3 index pulse card
1 C4 Safety charge pump
1 C6 Variable speed control board
1 C9 DC Relay board

Any conclusive info as to their reliability and ease of integration with Mach3 would be greatly appreciated.

Re: CNC4PC Boards
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2006, 05:30:22 AM »
I have not used them but there are people that have them running in there machines... So you know you are not the first one :)
Fixing problems one post at a time ;)

Re: CNC4PC Boards
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2006, 08:26:17 AM »
I use their breakout board, safety charge pump, and dc relay boards with a Xylotex controller and the cnc4pc stuff works just fine. The PCBs look homemade, but the layouts are simple, and the through hole connections are perfectly solid. I don't think you will have quality issues. The company was very responsive to any questions I asked and was always willing to help out. The only thing I had to mess around with was adding 10k pull-up resistors on the step output pins or my steppers would spasm when the charge pump shut the breakout board down.
Re: CNC4PC Boards
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2006, 10:33:44 AM »
Hi, and thanks for info. Re; CNC4PC boards there's another post stating:

"Please be carefull with the CNC4pc board it can at times draw power from the PC and energize itself and make things work when you are not looking or expecting it to.  I would suggest a board from Bob Campbell to be on the safe side."

I worry when I read this stuff because I can't afford to chase down this kind of problem. I'll be busy with problems I create on my own.

Re breakout board, Im wondering if I'm better off getting a GRex instead? I hadn't really looked at it, but it seems much better. I'd be willing to spend the $ in leu of less hassle.

Re: CNC4PC Boards
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2006, 12:31:53 PM »
For some reason I thought you already purchases the 4cnc stuff. If cost is not the major concern, I would definitely go with Campbell - I don't know much about Grex, but Campbell has a great reputation. I also think he has a more thorough isolation scheme. There is a lot more on the Campbell board, which makes mounting logistics and box design easier. Campbell has all the power supplies and the charge pump on board.  I also doubt I would have needed the pull up modification if I went with Campbell. If I had it to do over, I would probably go with something more like the Campbell. I wish it had room for another parallel port, however.

The 4cnc stuff worked for me, and I just wanted to give the other side of the coin before you dismissed them out of hand.
Re: CNC4PC Boards
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2006, 01:56:00 PM »
Yeah, I did already buy the CNC4PC gear mentioned in the first post, I'm just inquiring before I do the install. I figure it's easy to do the best thing
As I see it with the GRex board, it has ethernet built in instead of parrallel. Even if this arguable as to being better, It'll be a better comm route as I'm already networked.

The Grex also provides for a feedback loop for Steppers. I hadn't considered that when I first started purchasing gear. I'm switching out my old steppers with new ones.
and probably won't add the feedback loop now, but I guess it's nice to know I can upgrade there in the future.

I'll look at the Bob Campbell stuff though, thanks.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2006, 03:27:00 PM by bpmufx »
Re: CNC4PC Boards
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2006, 09:32:24 PM »
I checked out the GRex - looks like a nice piece of work, but I would worry about it at this early stage of distribution. One thing is obvious - it is very powerful, and flexible, which is not always a good thing in a new product. There seems to be a lot of control logic and programming of the microprocessor. The block diagram looks quite complex to me. I know the gecko folks have loads of great experience in this area, but there are so many moving parts between the control software and the board, and then the board and the servo or stepper control, that I have my doubts that this is going to be a hassle free path. It's clearly the "bleeding edge." Still, it is an intrigueing piece of technology.
Re: CNC4PC Boards
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2006, 02:52:47 AM »
Well that's just dandy! Now I feel like a kid in a candy store. Too many choices. On one hand got a nifty new package with ethernet comm, feedback for steppers vs Campbells combo board (I saw it today, cool) with spindle feed & 4 relays.

Either way, I like the factory integration of components. But then again, blowing an individual component is cheaper to replace
(ie CNC4PC boards).

I think I'll post a poll between the two vendors.

Re: CNC4PC Boards
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2006, 11:14:30 PM »
I used a cnc4pc board (c10) and it works, especially after I sorted out my cable problem.
What I notice, is that even though it has a separate 5v supply it does draw power from the pc somehow. My 38 vdc power to the servos/controllers is isolated by a pair of relays  and a momentary switch  - because I can be forgetful about turning off things (especially after a breaker goes or whatever). However, sometimes the relay trips as soon as I light up the AC main and the motors lock.
It scares me a bit because there is no consistancy to the event and things have happened that made me jump. The relay setup worked perfectly with stepper systems I built using different breakout boards.
I also wonder what effect this draw will have on the computer after a while.
I'm no electrical whiz and I sure don't like surprises. The cnc4pc may be more suitable for the grizzled veterans, not people like me.
I've ordered a board from Campbell due to the high esteem everyone seems to have for him and the board. I've got enough scars as it is.
That's my take on things for what it's worth.
Re: CNC4PC Boards
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2006, 11:43:24 PM »
Lindsay- Thats interesting you use a relay and switch for motor V. I had my motors on a separate circuit with a switch also.
My reasons had to do with little kids. I just wanted my last defense again an accident up high and out of the way.
Thanks for the comment re CNC4PC board. If you'll check out my other post (poll) I finally reached a decision to try it.
Since where I'd like to go is with the GRex, it's just not a package ready to go yet. So instead of dropping the bank on
yet anthor board from Campbell, I'll bite the bullet & see what kind of trouble I can create for myself.

Can describe in detail what your cable problem was? or did you already in another thread?
« Last Edit: March 24, 2006, 11:45:07 PM by bpmufx »