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Author Topic: Looking for Suggestions  (Read 762 times)

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Looking for Suggestions
« on: September 08, 2018, 06:14:06 PM »
Hi Guys

I've had Mach3 for a very long time. My mill is a little Sherline and is controlled by a parallel port attached Xylotex 4 axis controller in a plastic case that I purchased around 11 years ago. I hardly ever use it and it seems everytime I do want to there is some issue in getting it all going.

The suggested removal of Windows 7 updates and memory patches and changes to the registery to get it all working hasn't been very successful.

I am sure others have been through this pain and looking for suggestions in getting my gear up and running again without spending a billion dollars. Should I persist with my Xylotex box and go for Mach4 - maybe with a new PC. Should I go for an external motion controller - I guess this means to ditch the Xylotex box. Will my steppers still work?

Not sure what to do, it's purely hobby level with almost no use. Maybe if it was working and easier to use then maybe I would utilise the CNC milling a little more. I have a whole cupboard of Sherline accessories I've collected over the years - all still brand new.....

Look forward to some comments.

I even tried rolling back my Windows to a restore point I created last time I got it all working. You know what, Windows came back and said that that restore point ws no longer any good and deleted it after a failed attempt to restore to that snapshot. Just my luck.

Regards
Roland

Offline ger21

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Re: Looking for Suggestions
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2018, 08:02:40 PM »
If you go with Mach4, then you'll need a motion controller.
If you go with a motion controller like a UC100 or PMDX 411, your Xylotex box should plug right into it.
Gerry

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

JointCAM Dovetail and Box Joint software
http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html
Re: Looking for Suggestions
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2018, 09:34:39 PM »
Hi,
Gerry is right, Mach4 and an external controller such as he has mentioned are sort of 'native' to each other.

Mach4 does have a parallel port option called Darwin. There is a $25 fee to use it. It also has the same restrictions that applied to the
parallel port of Mach3, namely Windows 7 32 bit or earlier. Given that your problem comes from Windows 7 updates then Darwin
is probably no closer to a reliable solution.

I use an Ethernet SmoothStepper, it costs an extra $60 odd than a UC100 or PMDX-411 but it has three output ports for much increased
numbers of inputs and outputs. If all you require is to get your Sherline working with the existing Xylotex driver then the extra ports
(and expense) are of no importance to you, unless you wanted to expand your Sherline and therefore required more IO.

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

Offline ger21

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Re: Looking for Suggestions
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2018, 10:24:38 PM »
Quote
Mach4 does have a parallel port option called Darwin. There is a $25 fee to use it. It also has the same restrictions that applied to the
parallel port of Mach3

It actually has a lot more restrictions. Darwin only supports a limited amount of Mach4's functionality.
Gerry

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

JointCAM Dovetail and Box Joint software
http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html
Re: Looking for Suggestions
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2018, 01:39:37 AM »
If you go with Mach4, then you'll need a motion controller.
If you go with a motion controller like a UC100 or PMDX 411, your Xylotex box should plug right into it.

So the motion controller doesn't drive the steppers? I thought being a "motion controller" it replaced the Xylotex. OK, that's OK then - so really a USB to Parallel Port adapter :)
« Last Edit: September 09, 2018, 01:43:14 AM by roland »
Re: Looking for Suggestions
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2018, 02:02:00 AM »
Hi,

Quote
so really a USB to Parallel Port adapter
Inside the motion controller is an FPGA IC that generates all the pulse streams for the motors. That makes it way WAY too clever to be a USB to parallel
adapter. None the less that is exactly how it behaves. You have to be aware that there is a world of difference between the two, if you get an adapter it
won't work.

Just as an aside there are a whole bunch of Chinese rippoff UC100's on sale on Ebay and Amazon and the like. They don't work like the real thing.
Buy direct from the manufacturer or their nominated distributor or you'll get ripped off.

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

Offline ger21

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Re: Looking for Suggestions
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2018, 07:22:08 AM »
The "motion controller" is actually a pulse generator. It generates the step and direction signals instead of the parallel port. It doesn't replace stepper drives.
Gerry

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

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