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Mach3 with ITX motherboards
« on: January 13, 2008, 11:25:57 AM »
Hi
After my initial struggle getting my motors running and then running smoothly, I discovered my laptop was pretty useless at running Mach3 and that a desktop was the way to go.
Well the space available for my milling activities is pretty small and using a huge desktop box, monitor, keyboard and mouse is very restrictive.
The idea of using an itx based motherboard appears to be the way forward.
The Intel D201GLY 1.3GHz with 1GB of Ram seems to be a good start.
Has anyone tried this board (or similar) and have they had any success.

Clive

Offline Hood

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Re: Mach3 with ITX motherboards
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2008, 12:03:55 PM »
I am at the moment testing out a pico board, it doesnt have a parallel port but as I am Beta testing the smooth stepper I am hoping they will be the perfect pair. I dont have it hooked up to any motors or anything at the moment as the mill I will be putting it on is still only half retrofitted. However I have had them running together and had a scope on the outputs and the pulses are very nice and smooth, even at 2MHz (will try 4MHz next) :)
 The board I am using is just 100mm (4 inch) by 72mm (3 inch) it has a 1Gig embedded CPU and I have 1Gig ram on it. Below is a pic of it on a bracket I made up, my HDD will sit underneath the sockets so it should end up a very compact computer :) I have a full size HDD at the moment but I am toying with the idea of getting a SATA Laptop HDD.
 You will find info on the mobo here http://linitx.com/viewproduct.php?prodid=11693
« Last Edit: January 13, 2008, 12:06:08 PM by Hood »
Re: Mach3 with ITX motherboards
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2008, 05:12:21 PM »
I saw the pico boards, but they dont have a parallel connector, so how do you connect it?

Clive

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Re: Mach3 with ITX motherboards
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2008, 05:20:37 PM »
The smoothstepper is a USB device. It does away with the need for the parallel port but also it does away with the software pulse engine. This makes for a really clean pulse and at the moment it is at a Max of 4MHz, but I believe it possibly may be more in the future if needed. As I said I am one of the Beta testers of the SmoothStepper board and so far there have been a few problems but they have all been fixed, Greg still has a few things to add to the SmoothStepper such as spindle synchronisation but that should be done shortly.
 The beauty of the SmoothStepper is it will allow people with LapTops etc to run Mach, as an example I tried this Pico board with the Mach DriveTest and although the pulse was very clean it crashed after about 30 seconds, with the smoothstepper the pulse is created outside the computer so there is no problem, even up to the 4MHz mentioned above.

Hood
Re: Mach3 with ITX motherboards
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2008, 12:32:12 PM »
Thanks Hood for the info.
So having tickled my interest, where,when,how big and how much? I am really a sucker for gadgets.
Also in a roundabout way you have answered my question on the suitability of the itx boards (I think).

Clive
Re: Mach3 with ITX motherboards
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2008, 02:01:35 PM »
Hood, that's really cool.
Is this all that is needed to run a machine with Mach ?

Pico
Smooth Stepper
HDD
PC Power Supply
And of course ..keybd, monitor, drives, etc.
That really could be made-up in a small package.
Keep us posted, I LIKE IT !
RC

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Re: Mach3 with ITX motherboards
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2008, 02:03:20 PM »
You will get info about them here http://www.warp9td.com/ you may need to join the forum to get more info.
 It is slightly smaller than the pico board coming in at 90mm x 70mm I think.
I think Greg was talking the  middle to end of next month for the production boards to start apearing and I think they are to be priced around about $150.
 One neat feature is if you currently have a parallel port system you can just get the correct connectors to suit and you can then plug your parallel port cables directly to the Smooth Stepper. During the Beta testing I have been swapping back and forth on my Mill and it takes about 10 seconds to change from the parallel port to using the SmoothStepper.
Hood

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Re: Mach3 with ITX motherboards
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2008, 02:05:03 PM »
RC
To be totally safe you could still do with breakouts but as with the parallel port setup now you could choose to do without.
Hood

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Re: Mach3 with ITX motherboards
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2008, 10:15:56 AM »
Well guys, connected the Pico and SmoothStepper up to my Mill a while ago and have been cutting air with a 3D file, its been looping the file which is about an hour long and its on its third pass, no problems whatsoever :)


Hood
Re: Mach3 with ITX motherboards
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2008, 10:27:56 AM »
EXCELLENT !
Are you going to market your hardware package ?
At least the dxf of your mount ?
Thanks Hood,
RC