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Author Topic: Intermittent chokes with PMDX-411 and new Mach4/Win10 installation  (Read 303 times)

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Hi all! I'm fairly new to the CNC world, so please bear with me! I just installed Mach4Hobby on a brand new little mini PC with Windows 10 and using a SmartBOB PMDX-411 with a Gecko G540. After some head-against-a-wall moments (the biggest being that the "Enable" button in Mach4 turns RED when it's enabled.... Forgive my french, but what the flying ********* kind of logic is that??) I finally can job all 3 axis of my machine, but there is one big problem: The whole computer briefly hangs in 2 to 5 seconds bursts fairly randomly but consistently every 20-30 seconds or so. If you happen to be holding or clicking a jog button while this happens, the machine keeps moving until the hiccup is over AND you click the opposite jog button to stop it. Super dangerous!!

I think it has to do with the PMDX because if I start Mach4 with simulation mode, the program and PC never hiccups. As soon as I select the PMDX as the control, the spasms begin.

Here are the things I've tried:
1) Manually installing the 1.4 USB driver from PMDX by their instructions. When I open device manager I see the SmartBob Virtual Com Port (Com 3) under device manager/ Ports(Com&LPT).
2) Rebooting the computer several times
3) Trying a hardware USB keyboard and mouse just in case the wireless mouse/kb was causing an issue.

And still the problem persists.

ANY help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone!!
Re: Intermittent chokes with PMDX-411 and new Mach4/Win10 installation
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2020, 02:14:24 PM »
Looks like this might just be a CPU issue. I tried to turn off EVERYTHING extraneous in Windows 10 and ran Mach4 with the system monitor going. Idling, the Mach4 process uses about 35% of the poor little 2.4GHz Atom in simulation device, but when you turn on the PMDX Plugin, it goes up to 55-60% ! All of the other required processes for windows occasionally spike the processor to 100% and it stutters.

So, I guess I need a better PC for this job. :(
Re: Intermittent chokes with PMDX-411 and new Mach4/Win10 installation
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2020, 01:43:06 AM »
Picked up a used HP Z Workstation today for cheap...yep works fine. So, my experience is that Atom based PCs are not such a good bet for Mach4 with Smart BOB!
Re: Intermittent chokes with PMDX-411 and new Mach4/Win10 installation
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2020, 06:32:46 AM »
Hi,
I have a dual core Atom (with on chip graphics) running my machine in conjunction with an Ethernet SmoothStepper
and its run flawlessly for five years.

I don't know why Mach seems to consume that much CPU power, on my installation it seldom gets to 5% and I've never seen it go beyond 10%.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Intermittent chokes with PMDX-411 and new Mach4/Win10 installation
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2020, 11:29:58 AM »
Hi,
I have a dual core Atom (with on chip graphics) running my machine in conjunction with an Ethernet SmoothStepper
and its run flawlessly for five years.

I don't know why Mach seems to consume that much CPU power, on my installation it seldom gets to 5% and I've never seen it go beyond 10%.

Craig

Wow, that's nuts. What OS you on? I wonder why I would have such wildly different results? It was a brand new computer out of the box too, with virtually every extraneous thing I could turn off shut down in Win 10.
Re: Intermittent chokes with PMDX-411 and new Mach4/Win10 installation
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2020, 03:23:53 PM »
Hi,
Windows 7 Embedded (standard) 32 bit.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Intermittent chokes with PMDX-411 and new Mach4/Win10 installation
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2020, 03:28:21 PM »
Hi,
Windows 7 Embedded (standard) 32 bit.

Craig

Aha. That's probably the difference. This PC had Win 10 64bit. Came with the PC. Windows 10 is bloat city compared to 7, which was already bloated! But, 7 is also getting pretty old and not even supported by MS anymore.
Re: Intermittent chokes with PMDX-411 and new Mach4/Win10 installation
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2020, 10:28:01 PM »
Hi,
notice that I used Windows 7 Embedded and embedded OS's have very VERY much longer life cycles than retail Windows 7.

Additionally with embedded OS's you get to chose the modules that you want and/or need and not even load the junk that you don't want.
You can get a working Windows 7 OS without all the frilly bits for under 0.5G. If you chose the 'compatability module selection option', namely
a very close equivalent to retail Windows 7 that runs in at about 1.8G. All 64 bit versions are larger again.

My version, that I've been running for five years, without any updates, is an intermediate selection of about 1.2G. It runs Mach4 just fine.....so I leave it
alone.

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