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Move Mach 4 to a new computer
« on: July 07, 2018, 11:17:34 AM »
Howdy All,

We have heard rumors that control software needs to be on it's own computer. All by itself. Apparently things like anti-virus, updates and notices can affect a job outcome. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? If we should move, how can we get the software from one computer to another w/o contacting support?

Thank you,

Re: Move Mach 4 to a new computer
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2018, 03:10:20 PM »
it has always been recommended that Mach run on its own PC. Someone described it that 'once a PC is hooked to and controlling a machine....it is
no longer a PC.....but a machine controller that happens to use Windows OS'

Mach's origins start with the parallel port driver. It is a very clever piece of code that lives at the kernel level of the PC. I works remarkably well
but is subject to interference by other software running on the PC, including anti-virus and a firewall. If you eliminate those programs then it
makes sense to keep it off the Net.

In more recent years external motion controllers have become popular, maybe half of all users. They relieve  the PC of the need for realtime
communication with the machine that is required by the parallel port driver and therefore Mach is very much less prone to interference from
other software. It is still recommended that the PC be for machine control only but many users ignore that and use the PC for all sorts of other
things as well, not usually when the machine is in operation!

I have a dual core Atom single board PC with on chip graphics, its a very low powered PC, less than most recommendations. I installed Windows 7
32 bit. I  ran Mach3 and two parallel ports for three years very successfully. I have since stepped up to Mach4 with a SmoothStepper motion control
board on the same little teeny-tiny PC, again very successfully.

The upshot is that you don't need a powerful PC to run Mach, you need a PC that sticks to running Mach and not much else, if Mach gets interrupted
when machining bad things happen!

If you want to get into CNC cheaply then an old XP clunker and Mach3 with a parallel port is the way to go. All development on Mach3 ceased five years ago
and its possible that changes in PC's and OS's will render Mach3 obsolete eventually. Mach4 is actively being developed and is ready for router/mill/lathe
applications. While there is a parallel port plugin (a $25.00 fee applies) for Mach4 called Darwin, it works well but it doesn't have features like
lathe threading or THC, nor will it ever. As a consequence Mach4 all but requires you use an external motion controller like a SmoothStepper.
There are six manufacturers of such boards from about $120 to $600 depending on features and requirements. My Ethernet Smooth Stepper cost $180
for instance.

There are a number of good videos on YouTube about Mach.

You can download and run (in demo) both Mach3 and Mach4 free of charge and for as long as you like.

My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Move Mach 4 to a new computer
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2018, 03:54:56 PM »
Thanks so much, Craig. Any thoughts on re-downloading Mach 4 onto a different machine or do we need to contact support?
Re: Move Mach 4 to a new computer
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2018, 04:13:03 PM »
no, just download and run. If you use the Sim(ulator) motion plugin Mach4 runs continuously without limit. If you select
another motion control plugin as active then Mach4 runs for about six minutes before it needs resetting. Enough to wet your toes.

If you decide you want to licence  then you can buy online. You then have an account with NFS that you can mange your licence
online. As a hobbyist you may have up to five licenced PC's active. If you replace a PC you deactivate the old one and licence the new
one. You are permitted seven such transactions in two years.

If you are a business then you are expected to have a distinct licence for each machine. If you wish top level backup from NFS then buy
Mach4Industrial....you go to the top of the list supportwise.

My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Move Mach 4 to a new computer
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2018, 04:19:55 PM »
as an example, I have two licenced copies of Mach4Hobby.

One is on my machine PC and the other is on my laptop. Clearly my machine copy needs to be licenced so I can use the machine
for longer than six minutes. My laptop copy is for development and so I could use the Sim plugin without limit. I like to have
my ESS (Ethernet Smooth Stepper) plugin on my PC so I can work with it and I have on the odd occasion plugged my laptop
into my machine and used it as the primary controller. For this reason I licenced it as well.

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