Hello Guest it is November 21, 2019, 10:06:42 PM

Author Topic: Making sure I get the right control board  (Read 1222 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Making sure I get the right control board
« on: January 28, 2018, 01:28:18 AM »
Hey everyone, brand new to this. Building my first CNC. I've purchased 3 420 oz motors and drivers, but believe I need the controller board now. I'm  building a 3 axis CNC for the first version. Couple of questions ( I know NOTHING about electronics). 1. Does it have to be a 3 axis board, or can I get a 4 or 5 axis board and setup just 3 axis now and upgrade to 4 or 5 later? 2. Does the controller have to be "compatible" with the drivers, or are most able to work together. Will be using Mach3. Thanks for your patience with my lack of knowledge.

Offline Tweakie.CNC

*
  • *
  •  8,008 8,008
  • Super Kitty
    • View Profile
    • Tweakie.CNC
Re: Making sure I get the right control board
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2018, 01:53:47 AM »
Check out the Gecko G540 - it is not cheap but it is of high quality and has full customer support etc.
Also browse the Gecko site - there is a mine of information there.

http://www.geckodrive.com/geckodrive-step-motor-drives/g540.html


Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.
Re: Making sure I get the right control board
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2018, 02:02:03 AM »
Thanks Tweakie, I guess this is where my confusion starts. The link is for a driver. I already have 3 drivers for the 3 motors. Is the 540 what is also referred to as a breakout board?

Offline Tweakie.CNC

*
  • *
  •  8,008 8,008
  • Super Kitty
    • View Profile
    • Tweakie.CNC
Re: Making sure I get the right control board
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2018, 02:10:48 AM »
Quote
Is the 540 what is also referred to as a breakout board?

No.

Are you planning on using your PC's Parallel Port or USB or Ethernet connection to your CNC ?

Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.
Re: Making sure I get the right control board
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2018, 02:14:20 AM »
I have an OLD desktop that has a parallel port, but not sure what OS it's using. Was built many years ago. So will probably use laptop, so I'll say USB.
Re: Making sure I get the right control board
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2018, 02:25:42 AM »
Would you recommend parallel over USB?
Re: Making sure I get the right control board
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2018, 03:08:34 AM »
Hi,
Mach will run on a parallel port, that is a DB25 plug. The parallel port can be quite tricky to get to work. The PC HAS to be a 32bit OS Windows 7 or earlier.
Often you need to strip out all sorts of junk and optimize all sorts of settings to get it to run smooth. Even then if you try to run another program while running
Mach on a parallel port you'll probably stall or crash your machine.

There are still a lot of people who use it, it is free, all you need is a really simple breakout board and you can get started.

There are now lots of good external motion controllers, the cheapest about $100 and up into the thousands with $200 getting a useful hobby grade one. They plug into
your PC by USB or Ethernet. They tend to be faster and smoother. They are also very much less inclined to go cranky because something the PC did and you can run
just about any Windows OS.

I've used parallel port and it was pretty good but then I bought an Ethernet Smoothstepper and it goes real smooth and well. I won't be going back to parallel port.
All you have to do is decide if you want to spend the bucks.

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

Offline Tweakie.CNC

*
  • *
  •  8,008 8,008
  • Super Kitty
    • View Profile
    • Tweakie.CNC
Re: Making sure I get the right control board
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2018, 03:47:30 AM »
Perhaps power-up your old desktop, load Mach3 then run DriverTest.exe (from Mach3 folder) and see what results you get. If the results are OK then get a simple Breakout Board, connect everything up and get your CNC running using the parallel port.

If you find limitations or want to change to your laptop then you need to consider which motion controller to be buying. There are many to choose but as Craig has said the ESS is good.

Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.
Re: Making sure I get the right control board
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2018, 09:41:46 AM »
Great info guys, thank you. I've been doing a little research. Think i have a couple of my answers I needed. Again, I know very little about electronics so forgive this next question if it seems a bit simple. In researching smoothstepper boards, I see varying input voltage numbers. If my power supply has 36V output, do I need to find a voard with that input, or is there a converter I insert inline to reduce the output from the supply?

Will be firing up the old desktop today to test it out.

Offline Tweakie.CNC

*
  • *
  •  8,008 8,008
  • Super Kitty
    • View Profile
    • Tweakie.CNC
Re: Making sure I get the right control board
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2018, 10:51:20 AM »
You need to follow the advice from the manufacturer of the particular board you are considering.

The Warp9 ESS for example needs a 5Volt dc supply and this is best provided by a separate unit (such as a mobile phone charger etc.).

Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.