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Mach3 on Parallel Vs UC100
« on: December 20, 2017, 05:39:57 PM »
I am new here but not to CNC, have owned and operated several machines and refurbed a Milling machine.

Question I have a Chinese router 6040 and its pretty darn nicely built and it worked out of the box.  Right now Mach3 Mill with some changes to the setup file and I ran about an hour long gcode out of VCarve with lots of movements and Z activity.  Its running on a parallel port but I am getting only about 14,000 / 15,0000 pulse rate. Windows XP 32 bit with ALL the power saving, updating, wireless and the like turned off. Gcode file ran without issues, Homing and the like flawless.  

Ok would I gain anything by installing a UC100?  More pulses equal better???  Or should I just count my blessings and get on with it.

Oh windows Task Manager never shows over 30% CPU usage even when I Over Ride the Feed Rate to 200%
« Last Edit: December 20, 2017, 05:54:51 PM by wmgeorge »
Retired Master Electrician, Commercial HVAC/R Service and lots of Hobbys.
Re: Mach3 on Parallel Vs UC100
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2017, 05:54:17 PM »
Hi,
the number of pulses is those that are required to move an axis a given distance. If you used a UC100 it will produce
exactly the same number of pulses to go the same distance. In short if your parallel port is working then you will
notice NO difference to a UC100.

Where external motion controllers come into their own is if the PC has other software running, the UC100 is much
less susecptable to stalling or stuttering and can also be run on a much much wider range of PCs including 64 bit which can't
be done with a parallel port.

External motion controllers are able to produce very stable accurately timed pulse streams which stepper motors like, they
seem to run smoother and cooler even if not a great deal faster.

Craig

If you can do what you need with a parallel port then carry on. If you want to run a little smoother or use a late model
PC and OS then get an external controller. The UC100 is good but has only 'one ports worth' of IO, have a look at the
UC300 from the same company , its got 5 ports worth....inputs and outputs for Africa!
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Mach3 on Parallel Vs UC100
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2017, 05:58:20 PM »
Thanks Joe for the reply, I just added a bit to the OEM post about Task Manager only showing 30% CPU usage even when I bumped the Feed Rate up to 200%.   The Tool Database in VCarve has the same feeds and speeds that I used on my Servo driven router machine a few years back.
Retired Master Electrician, Commercial HVAC/R Service and lots of Hobbys.
Re: Mach3 on Parallel Vs UC100
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2017, 06:23:08 PM »
Hi,
Mach is not a hugely CPU thirsty program. What Mach requires is CONTINUOUS CPU service, if the CPU for whatever
reason stops to do something else then Mach will stall and usually stop.

External motion controllers are better for maintaining continuous service than a parallel port.

If you have a servo with a 10,000 count encoder, the current entry level incremental encoder, and you want the servo to
do 50 revs/sec max, that is 3000 rpm, then Mach would have to issue 50 x 10,000=500k pulses per second.
Machs parallel port is commonly capable of 25k and if you push it might get some PCs to produce 100k, not particularly
reliably but still 100k. This is still FIVE times short of whats required to drive a decent servo at max speed and max resolution.
Some external motion controllers can manage that speed but would absolutely require differential signalling. Be careful for
what you wish for....more pulses can also mean more headaches.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Mach3 on Parallel Vs UC100
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2017, 06:30:40 PM »
Well for now I will just use the Parallel port as its working and I have proved that.  I see the improved motion controllers on the market but most seem to be almost there, but I still see issues.  Actually Mach3 has a lot of features, and since its been in use for a long time much support as here and other sites.  Thanks again Craig for taking the time to reply.
Retired Master Electrician, Commercial HVAC/R Service and lots of Hobbys.

Offline ger21

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Re: Mach3 on Parallel Vs UC100
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2017, 07:31:01 PM »
Quote
Its running on a parallel port but I am getting only about 14,000 / 15,0000 pulse rate.

Run Drivertest.exe in the Mach3 folder, and see what the pulse rate is there. If the Kernel speed is set to 25Khz, then it should be very close to 25,000.
If it's only 15,000, then I wouldn't use the parallel port, as you're PC is not running Mach3 correctly. One thing you can try is to make sure the PC is in Standard mode, and not ACPI mode.
Gerry

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

JointCAM Dovetail and Box Joint software
http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html
Re: Mach3 on Parallel Vs UC100
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2017, 08:50:57 PM »
Quote
Its running on a parallel port but I am getting only about 14,000 / 15,0000 pulse rate.

Run Drivertest.exe in the Mach3 folder, and see what the pulse rate is there. If the Kernel speed is set to 25Khz, then it should be very close to 25,000.
If it's only 15,000, then I wouldn't use the parallel port, as you're PC is not running Mach3 correctly. One thing you can try is to make sure the PC is in Standard mode, and not ACPI mode.

Did that before I even started. Very solid test results.  This is a CNC router it can only run so fast before you either start burning wood or bits up. High speed not really needed, must be reliable.  Yes I need to switch over to the Standard mode.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2017, 08:59:06 PM by wmgeorge »
Retired Master Electrician, Commercial HVAC/R Service and lots of Hobbys.

Offline ger21

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Re: Mach3 on Parallel Vs UC100
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2017, 08:58:22 PM »
No, you don't understand. If you are seeing a pulse speed of 15,000, then Mach3 is only running at half speed. It is not working correctly, and I seriously doubt that it will be reliable.

In Config > Ports and Pins, do you have Sherline 1/2 Pulse Mode checked?
Gerry

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

JointCAM Dovetail and Box Joint software
http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html
Re: Mach3 on Parallel Vs UC100
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2017, 09:18:50 PM »
No, you don't understand. If you are seeing a pulse speed of 15,000, then Mach3 is only running at half speed. It is not working correctly, and I seriously doubt that it will be reliable.

In Config > Ports and Pins, do you have Sherline 1/2 Pulse Mode checked?

So would going to the UC100 be a quick easy fix and solve the pulse rate issues,  since I now have all my settings working and tested?
Retired Master Electrician, Commercial HVAC/R Service and lots of Hobbys.

Offline ger21

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Re: Mach3 on Parallel Vs UC100
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2017, 09:25:03 PM »
Yes, but you may need to make changes to some or many of your settings.
And I'd recommend a UC400ETH over a UC100. It's about $25 more, but is newer, has more features, and has better noise immunity.
Gerry

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

JointCAM Dovetail and Box Joint software
http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html