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Mach 4 xml for gecko g540
« on: December 21, 2018, 12:17:53 AM »
Hi guys if anyone has this worked out please share.  I'm stuck.
Re: Mach 4 xml for gecko g540
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2018, 01:46:21 AM »
Hi,
there are a few differences between Mach3 and Mach4, one is that Mach4 does not have an .xml file, it does have however an initialization file
with the suffix .ini which serves the same purpose.

The Gecko540 is a parallel input Bob/stepper driver.

Do you have your Mach4 installation/PC setup with a Darwin parallel port?

Th same restrictions apply to the Mach4 Darwin parallel port as the Mach3 parallel port, namely the PC must be a desktop machine running a
32 bit Windows7 or earlier. Note also that Art Fennerty wrote the Darwin parallel port driver, he was also the inventor of the original Mach parallel port.
As such a $25 is payable for use of the Darwin parallel port. Art also makes plain the the Darwin parallel port will NEVER be fully featured as the Mach3
parallel port became.

Thus if you expect to be able to use Mach4 with a parallel port you will not get backlash compensation, lathe threading, THC support etc. Art wrote it so
people could experiment with mach4 without having to buy an external motion controller like a SmoothStepper or a Hicon Integra.

You might say that Mach4 is native with an external motion controller. There are people using Darwin but most have an external motion controller.

The simplest you can get that would work with a G540 is a UC100, a PMDX-411 or a 57CNCdb5b, all about $120. These are all USB connected motion controllers
with a single parallel output port (DB25). Don't get ripped by buying off Ebay or Amazon, the Chinese have flooded the market with UC100 look-alikes,
buy direct from CNCDrive or their nominated distributor. You don't want a Chinese knock-off, they just don't work as well, if at all!

If you want more inputs/outputs than a single parallel port consider the Ethernet SmootStepper  by Warp9, the UC300 by CNCDrive, the 57CNC by PoKeys,
the PMDX-424 by PMDX or the Hicon Integra by Vital Systems. Note that there is one Chinese company (XHC) which claim that their controller works with
Mach4....rubbish....it doesn't work.....avoid like the plague!

When you decide on either Darwin OR an external controller and what that controller is, report back and we can help you get your .ini file in shape.
It can be confusing to start with but once you become familiar with Mach4's modular structure and how the different files all gel together I think you'll
find it a lot easier to understand than Mach3.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Mach 4 xml for gecko g540
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2018, 12:52:57 AM »
Hi Craig,
Thank you for replying. I have a warp9 ethernet smoothstepper by warp9. any help you can provide is greatly apprecitated
Re: Mach 4 xml for gecko g540
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2018, 02:09:52 AM »
Hi,
I also have an ESS and that should make it somewhat easier to generate a profile.

First you need to settle on a template or approximate template for your machine. I have a homebuilt three axis bed mill
and so the wx4.set screenset was appropriate for me. Thus when I fired up Mach I made a copy of the built in Mach4Mill
profile and named it ESSMill. I nominated the wx4.set screenset to be used.

Note later in the setup I will recommend you make a copy of your preferred screenset and give it an individualized name also.
I doesn't matter to start with......but it will in a few months when you download the latest Mach4 build from NFS.

You will have to put the Warp9 ESS plugin file (Warp9Mach4.m4pw) and its signature file (Warp9Mach4.sig) in the Plugins folder
of your Mach4Hobby directorty.

Now open your Mach4 profile (whatever you called it) and go to Configure/Control/Plugin tab and enable all the plugins you require.
Note that Mach will insist that you shut down then retstart, it will happen a lot while you are setting up your profile. A shut down
casues the new settings you have made to be flushed to your .ini file and a restart causes Mach to read all those new settings and cause
the various modules/fragments to be activated.

The next step is to open Configure/Select Motion Dev... and select the ESS as your motion device. It will occur in the list of options only if the
motion plugin is present (including its signature file) and has been previously enabled.

You now have to follow the setup instructions from Warp9 to ensure that Mach4 can communicate with the ESS. I found this somewhat of a battle
as the Warp9 provided ESS setup software file refused to work on my machine, I had to do it manually and it took a few days to get all the bits
lined up. As it turns out my problems were largely self induced, I had overlooked some of the firewall settings....hence my PC rejected some of the
setup procedures.

Once you have got the ESS to communicate with Mach4 the you can start populating the .ini file. Daz-the Gaz has some good videos about setting up the ESS
the first time in the video section of this board.

The thing to understand about the setting up the ESS plugin is that a lot of the settings you make will automatically be duplicated by corresponding
setups in the Mach4 (Control) plugin. I found this confusing to start with, I would set an input in the ESS plugin and then go to the Mach4 plugin
expecting to have to make a complimentary setting but it had already been done......I came along and stuffed it up. You need to be aware that
about 75% of the settings you make in the ESS plugin are automatically propagated to the Mach4 plugin. Of course that leaves 25% which are not....
which ones you ask......I can't bloody remember! If I recall motor tuning and motor assignment is strictly a Mach4 plugin setting whereas input signals
and output signals need only be set in the ESS plugin.

The first and most important settings you will make in the ESS plugin are the Pins Config. Your G540 has a particular layout of its pins and because you will
be plugging the G540 into port 1 of the ESS you MUST set the pins in the ESS plugin to MATCH the G540. For instance according to the G540 manual pin 2
of the DB25 connector is X-AXIS-STEP thus your setting in Pins Config port1 pin2 will X_Axis_Step or some other convenient alias. Now in the ESS Outputs Signals
page Motor0 Step  will be port1 pin2 or X_Axis_Step or whatever other alias you decided on.

To start with I would assign only the Estop (pin 15 of the DB25) and the X axis step/direction signals (pins 2 &3 of the DB25).You should be able to jog
the X axis. Most people try to set everything up at once and come unstuck and horribly confused. Just start by getting the Estop and one axis to work,
once you've mastered that the chances are the rest will come easy.

Let us know how you get on.

Craig
« Last Edit: December 23, 2018, 02:11:45 AM by joeaverage »
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Mach 4 xml for gecko g540
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2018, 11:07:10 AM »
Craig,
you have been extremely helpful!!! I an AE for a machine tool builder and I'm learning the difference between CNC at home and work. There are a ton of differences. I'm use to parameters and ladders and this is nothing like that. I may be back for more questions lol