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Author Topic: Mach 4 crashes within 3-5 minutes of starting a Gcode program  (Read 441 times)

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Mach 4 crashes within 3-5 minutes of starting a Gcode program
« on: February 11, 2019, 09:12:17 AM »
I just migrated from Mach 3 to Mach 4 and I am still running the demo version of the software. I understand the limitations of the demo timeout but I am fairly certain that the following issue is completely unrelated to the timeout. I wanted to ask here before I jump to conclusions and call it a bug.

System Setup:
Computer: Allen Bradley VersaView 5400 PC, 4 core Intel Atom E3845 chipset @ 1.90GHz, 4.0Gb of memory and runs Win 10.
Computer #2: HP Omen laptop, Intel i7 6700HQ 3.5GHz, 32Gb memory, running Win 10
Mach 4 version: 4.2.0.3804 Unlicensed
Warp 9 Tech ESS plugin version: 232 (1.0.1.232)

The issue I have run into over the weekend with Mach 4 is that it hangs after 3-5 minutes of running code. This is the demo version right now, but it is not the timeout (I have seen the timeout message and know what it looks like).  The machine will be running and BANG, all the servos stop dead but remain enabled. The software ESTOP does not shut them down (thankfully I also have a hardware ESTOP to kill drive power). The Mach 4 greys out and the cursor is the blue Win 10 waiting circle. I cannot click any on screen buttons and task manager lists the program as "not responding". This happens repeatably both running Artsoft sample GCode (roadrunner and outhouse) as well as a 2 hour long program I recently ran without issues on Mach 3. The program never recovers and has to be closed with task manager. The Smoothstepper remains waiting for Mach signals and won't reconnect when Mach opens leading to me having to power cycle the machine.

At first I thought that this was due to an underpowered computer. The VersaView 5400 computer that is on the machine runs on a 4 core Intel Atom E3845 chipset @ 1.90GHz. It has 4.0Gb of memory and runs Win 10. This is very much on the bottom edge of the system performance requirements for Mach 4 (especially the memory), but there are posts in MachSupport about people not having issues running mach on much less powerful computers without issues. During loading of Mach 4 the CPU is between 70-80%, at idle it is 30-40%, when loading a Gcode program 70-80% and while running the machine it holds quite steady at the mid 60's%. The memory utilization never got above 2.0Gb (50%). This all seems like the computer was doing just fine, but I was convinced that this computer just didn't have the guts to run Mach 4. Until...

To test the situation, I installed the same version of Mach 4 and ESS utilities onto my laptop (Intel i7 6700HQ 3.5GHz, 32Gb of memory, Win 10). I copied the configuration file from the CNC computer to my laptop and connected to the smoothstepper without issues. I ran the same test files and sure enough, Mach 4 crashed about 5 minutes into the code same as the other computer. I tried this several more times and had the same results. I then tried running the machine from Mach 3 on my laptop and it finished the 2 hour and 20 minute program with no issue whatsoever.

My experience is that once I start running code, within 5 minutes Mach 4 will crash and become unresponsive. This seems to not be related to the computer it is being run on, and so far doesn't seem like it is caused by an underpowered PC. I have gotten the demo timeout message while jogging the motors, but this is not what I'm used to seeing.

Any experience or thoughts would be greatly appreciated. My first impressions of Mach 4 were very good, but if I can't run my machine without the program crashing then I'll probably have to stay with Mach 3.

Edit: I remember testing mach 4 on this laptop a year ago without any other issues than the demo timeout. Is it possible that I am having issues with this specific build of Mach 4 or the ESS plugin?
« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 09:23:31 AM by mcardoso »
Re: Mach 4 crashes within 3-5 minutes of starting a Gcode program
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2019, 09:18:41 AM »
I should add that the installation of the Ethernet Smoothstepper is correct and proper industry accepted practice for grounding and bonding were followed throughout the electrical cabinet. I do not believe this is related to DC power quality (verified by an oscilloscope) or electrical noise. I saw another similar post to this on mach support so I wanted to clear this up ahead of time.

Mach 3 was able to run a 2 hour and 20 minute program on this same hardware without issues. So far my troubleshooting is pointing to Mach 4.
Re: Mach 4 crashes within 3-5 minutes of starting a Gcode program
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2019, 11:39:49 AM »
Hi,
whether you believe it or not it is Mach4 Demo timing out. Licence it.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Mach 4 crashes within 3-5 minutes of starting a Gcode program
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2019, 01:03:17 PM »
Craig,

That is my plan, but to play devil's advocate here... the demo is available to make sure Mach 4 can run your machine. What happens if I do buy a license and can't get the program to run without crashing?

In all fairness it very well might be related to the demo version. I am going to try an older release of mach to see if that fixes anything first.

Just was wondering if others have had similar issues.

Mike
Re: Mach 4 crashes within 3-5 minutes of starting a Gcode program
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2019, 11:16:57 PM »
Hi,
Mach4 Demo does run your machine but craps out after 3-5 minutes. That's what Demo does.

If you don't want it to crap out then buy a licence. If the Demo conditions were any more generous then NFS would
be giving it to you for free.

I notice that in another thread you support the call for better documentation for Mach4. NFS is a small company that
does not have the resources to employ the people necessary to keep up with the documentation, yet in this thread
you seem to demand even freer Demo terms denying NFS the resource to do anything, development, documentation
or even hosting this site.

If you buy Mach4 THEN you become a customer of NFS,  THEN you get the support of the ticket system. If you went all
out and paid for Mach4 Industrial you get priority service including phone support.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Mach 4 crashes within 3-5 minutes of starting a Gcode program
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2019, 09:14:31 AM »
I am a prospective customer of Newfangled Solutions, evaluating their software. In no way am I expecting to receive their software for free, nor am I complaining about their terms of the demonstration version of their software. In all honesty I am very impressed by how much you are allowed to do with the demo version. As part of my evaluation I was testing to make sure that my computer and controls were sufficient to run Mach 4. I ran into behavior which made me question whether or not the system was operating correctly.

Pre-sales support from Newfangled Solutions was able to confirm that the behavior that I am seeing is in fact the demo timeout. They went on to mention that at some point in Mach 4 development, a pop up message was no longer displayed indicating a demo timeout. This has led to confusion of more people than just myself.

The other thread calls for suggestions and requests. I made a suggestion that a more complete documentation set would compliment this product. NFS is under no obligation to take action on any suggestions made here in this forum. I merely made a small suggestion as one voice of many here on this forum. No where did I "demand even freer Demo terms". As stated above I am very happy with the functionality of their software as well as the capabilities enabled through the demo. I simply ran into an issue that I was concerned was caused by something other than the demo timeout. This has been resolved.

At this point I am convinced that Mach 4 is going to meet my control requirements and I am purchasing a license. If any other prospective Mach 4 customers find this post, it was confirmed to me by Newfangled Solutions that the end of the demo period will not generate a pop up message informing you of this, and rather the program will just hang.


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Re: Mach 4 crashes within 3-5 minutes of starting a Gcode program
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2019, 12:44:24 AM »
You get the message in the status history the next time you press Cycle Start.  On some older builds, it crashed completely when the timeout happened.  This was due to the timeout not being graceful at all, to put it mildly.  This was fix in later versions.  I'm not remembering which at the moment though... 

Steve
Re: Mach 4 crashes within 3-5 minutes of starting a Gcode program
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2019, 08:26:47 AM »
Smurph, Thanks for the info! Still seeing the crash in 3804 which I think is the latest? Can't click the Cycle Start button again because the whole program locks up. Anyways, Everything is looking good and I am buying a license. Thanks for all the help everyone.

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Re: Mach 4 crashes within 3-5 minutes of starting a Gcode program
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2019, 02:19:07 PM »
3804 was the last "official" release.  We are up to 4088 on the development builds at the moment.  So you can see 3804 is nowhere near the bleeding edge builds.  We are working on trying to get another official release out now. 

Steve
Re: Mach 4 crashes within 3-5 minutes of starting a Gcode program
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2019, 02:56:48 PM »
Oh wow! You guys work fast! Do you release beta builds or change logs for the public to test? That might be an obvious question but I didn't see anything out there.