Hello Guest it is May 19, 2022, 09:23:59 PM

Author Topic: Help moving Mach 4 / CNC control to a new PC  (Read 1844 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Help moving Mach 4 / CNC control to a new PC
« on: January 05, 2019, 07:26:36 PM »
Hi All,

I bought a 3 axis CNC router off someone that built it himself. I recently moved to a new shop, and have been trying to get this thing running from a new/different PC.

After hooking the CNC back up, I can plug it into the original PC and it works fine.

I installed Mach 4 on the new one, exported my profile from the old one, and wasn't getting anywhere. I found the Ethernet Smooth Stepper setup and went through that, loaded that driver and plugin and went through running the SCU, which looks good. So my diagnostics look good seems good, I can ping the Ethernet Smooth Stepper and when I go to MDI, it *thinks* it is moving the CNC router around (the x,y,z positions change in mach4) but it doesn't move.

A lot of google searches lead to broken forum links here, and it seems the forum search isn't working (at least for me)

After spending about four hours on this, I think I'll just move the old PC which still works to the router, but I need to know how to set this thing up when this PC inevitably dies.

The "Configure" menu is still available on the new PC, and it seems like that is because the controller is not 'enabled' (according to the Mach 4  docs) On the old PC, which works, this menu is not available, so I can't compare it. The docs say this is because the software is 'locked' (preventing config changes) but how do you unlock it? I found the unlock icon, but clicking, shift clicking, ctrl clicking, nothing unlocks that and prompts for any password. It seems like at this point what I need to do is open up the config menu on the old PC, get all the settings, and match those in the new PC.

And of course move my license to the new PC, apparently, I need to contact the license reseller to do that.

Any help is much appreciated.

Re: Help moving Mach 4 / CNC control to a new PC
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2019, 08:29:01 PM »
this post should be on the Mach4 board for maximum exposure, no doubt Tweakie will transfer it in good time.

I can answer some of those questions.

First is that when you download and install a current build of Mach4 it comes with the Sim(ulator) plugin as motion controller.
Once you load the ESS plugin and its signature file in the Mac4Hobby Plugins folder open the Configure/Control/Plugins
screen and enable all the required plugins including the ESS. Note you will have to restart Mach for the changes to be flushed to the .ini file
and then be read and enacted at the next restart.

Next step is Configure/Select MotionDevice....if you have correctly enabled the ESS plugin it will appear in the list an available as a motion control device.
Restart mach.....again!

Note that without a proper licence file it will be in Demo, it will run for six minutes before you have to shut down an restart. Mach4 lincencing differs from
Mach3. In Mach4 each PC is licenced, up to a maximum of five. If you install another OS for instance the PC will have a new PCID and you will have to release the
licence of the previous PCID and get a new licence for the new PCID. NFS permit seven such licence transfers in a two year period.
You can do this yourself, NFS has a self-managed licence page on the website. Your re-seller should have a coupon or similar so you can set up your own
licence management account.

I'm surprised that Mach is locked, you have to lock it yourself, it doesn't do so unless you request it.
On the Operator tab check the Unlock button, if you have no password and you shouldn't unless you provide one earlier, just hit <return>.

Let us know how you get on.

My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Help moving Mach 4 / CNC control to a new PC
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2019, 01:09:41 AM »
Hi, thanks for your reply.

I did go through and setup the ESS plugin (ran the SCU, copied the plugin and signature, restarted multiple times, etc) and selected it as the motion device on the new PC.

I think it has something to do with this, at this point:
(from the Operational Manual.pdf)

"2.1.3 Configure Menu
The configure menu, figure 2-5, provides access to Mach and Plugins configurations. Configuration settings are disabled when Mach4 is enabled. To allow access to these settings, first disable the controller. More detailed information on these settings can be found in the Mach4 CNC Controller Configuration Manual."

So, on the working PC, the configuration menu is not there, so I assume that means 'Mach4 is enabled' (whatever that means!?) while on the non-working PC, the configuration menu *IS* there. It would make sense if that's the case, on the working PC 'Mach4 is enabled' the menu isn't there, and the CNC works. On the NON working PC, the config menu is there, but it's not working so.... 'March4 is *not* enabled'

In addition to that, it seems like I would want to match all the settings under
Configure \ Control
Configure \ Plugins \ ESS
between the old and new PC, but I can't open those dialogs on the old\working PC

Regarding the Lock, I was an idiot, the working PC is unlocked, I misread the icons. I thought a greyed out icon meant that was the current state, so you couldn't click on it, and the fact that the config menu isn't there on the working one, as well as "Note: If the software is locked the configuration settings may not be available. If the software is locked
non of the configuration dialogs will be available." from the Mach4 CNC Controller doc, mislead me. Instead it means that is the option that is available to click on.

Re: Help moving Mach 4 / CNC control to a new PC
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2019, 03:10:48 AM »

so I assume that means 'Mach4 is enabled' (whatever that means!?)

'Mach Enabled' OR 'Mach Disabled' is the Enable/Disable button at the lower left....same as the Reset button in Mach3.
It just means you cannot configure either Mach or any of the plugins with Mach enabled....more for safety I'd guess.

As to why your working copy should NOT have a Configure tab is a mystery......you should take it outside and shoot it...put it out of its misery!

Would please open up your working copy and tell us what screenset is in operation. I suspect that its not a .wx screen set but another more primitive
screen....I can't recall the name of, maybe .Lua screen, hoping Daz-the-Gaz or Smurph might be able to help.

The screen set in use is at the lower right of the screen.

My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Help moving Mach 4 / CNC control to a new PC
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2019, 03:45:22 AM »
Ah, that makes sense about the 'enabled' part and is apparently unrelated to why my config menu is gone.

Full screen cap:
I don't have that field you mentioned indicating which screen it is.

I saw numerous differences in the machine.ini under the "ESS" section, so being pretty sure it was just setting up the pins / signals / motor controls I opened the physical control box up and watched a few videos on configuring mach 4 with ESS.

With the help of this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftIE_M-NNLE I managed to get it to move on one axis with the onscreen jog control. So looks like it's all just configurationing from this point.

Still my life would be much easier if I could just open up that config menu on the old one. ???
Re: Help moving Mach 4 / CNC control to a new PC
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2019, 05:02:12 AM »
yes as I suspected, that screen you've linked to is the old pre-GUI screen. If you manage to crash your GUI you can under certain circumstances
get that screen to come up....it usually means you've screwed up BIGTIME! My original suggestion stands.....take it outside and shot it!

The .wx screensets are the real deal...how Mach is meant to be.

Still my life would be much easier if I could just open up that config menu on the old one. Huh

Because you can't compare the two setups you are having to learn to set up your new installation.....its not that life would be easier but rather you wouldn't
have to put the effort in to learn.

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