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Setup problem
« on: June 12, 2008, 01:05:12 AM »
Hi All,

I've searched the threads but haven't found a similar situation to what I'm encountering.

For the last 7 years or so I've been using CNCPro on an ancient laptop to drive my Dan Mouch Camtronics stepper controllers. I decided to upgrade to a real desktop so I could do CAD and CAM on the same machine.

I downloaded the Mach3 demo and set up the ports just as they were set up in CNCpro. I also went to Motor Control and set up the correct number of steps to match the CNCpro setup info. What I end up with is a Z-axis that works... kind of... sometimes..., and no X or Y axis. When I plug the serial cable back into my laptop, everything works fine.

One thing I noticed in the CNCpro settings was a setting for X Y and Z Positive Direction, either HIGH or LOW. I couldn't find an analog in Mach3... am I missing something? Also, why does only my Z axis work (very "chatter"y, but I think I can even out the motor via the settings) and I get nothing from X and Y? I've double checked my port assignments and they're all OK.

I must be missing something... any thoughts? I really want this to work... looks like a great CAM solution for my small hobby shop.


Offline jimpinder

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Re: Setup problem
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2008, 03:44:54 AM »
I think you are missing something -
Mach 3 does not work out of the serial port. It uses the 25 pin LPT1 parrallel printer port.
If you have not got one on your new computer (many new ones do not have a parrallel printer port, especially laptops), then you will have to invest in a Smooth Stepper card. This plugs into a USB socket on your computer and provides all the inputs and outputs necessary to run your machine.

Now I've read your post again - I am not sure which port you are using on your new computer. Give us some more detail - such as - printer port to so and so breakout board to so and so drivers etc.

Mach 3 is very configurable, in that nearly all combinations of pins, directions, speeds etc can be catered for, but until you give us an idea of what exactly your set-up is, we are at a bit of a loss.

I still think however, that Smooth Stepper might be the way for you to go.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2008, 03:51:31 AM by jimpinder »
Not me driving the engine - I'm better looking.
Re: Setup problem
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2008, 06:58:26 AM »
Whoops, my bad - I did mean parallel cable. I'll be happy to provide any other details, but as far as hardware there's not much more to it:
Dell Optiplex desktop (2.something GHz... not a speed demon but certainly capable)
Windoze XP
Parallel cable to stepper drivers
3X stepper drivers - Camtronics design, I put them together from kits
Drivers to Sanyo Denki steppers
Steppers attached to ballscrews on my own Mill/Drill conversion

I watched the video and assigned the correct Parallel port address (the default was OK) and Step and Direction pinouts for the parallel cable. These settings matched those in CNCpro. All ports for X Y and Z axis were set to "1"

As you said, the program looks highly configurable, so there's probably more I can set up, but I'm not having any luck yet. The fact that I get "something" from the Z-axis tells me that at least it's getting signals from the driver, I'm guessing I just need to tune the parameters to make it work correctly. Still though, with the exact same hardware, it's odd that X and Y don't work. In fact, if I plug the X motor into the Z driver, the X works fine.

Offline Hood

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Re: Setup problem
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2008, 07:01:33 AM »
Please attach your xml. You will need to rename it for the forum to accept jswayze.xml would be good.
Re: Setup problem
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2008, 08:58:30 PM »
Rich, thanks for the info, and the thread reference. Seeing as I spent not much over $200 for my Optiplex and monitor, it pains me to think about spending $155 on a card, and eventually another $155 on Mach3 (the latter being anticipated...) Heck, I've got an older tower that I could use, but like you I wanted the smaller form factor. I wished I had read your post before getting the Optiplex!

I'll give the Optiplex another hour or so, then see if I can't switch to my old tower. A SmoothStepper sounds like a viable solution, but my funds for this project are limited..


Offline jimpinder

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Re: Setup problem
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2008, 02:54:29 PM »
As far as Mach 3 is concerned - you do not need to rush in a buy the disc. (That will loose me some points)

Take it from me, as far as I can see, the download version (which I use) has ALL the features active, and the only drawback is that your program can only get to 500 lines of code. Well, thats quite enought for me.

Save your money for now, and try the SmoothStepper which apparently is the bees knees and get machining.
Not me driving the engine - I'm better looking.

Offline Chip

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Re: Setup problem
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2008, 12:02:58 AM »
Hi, Jeff

Read this topic it may help with your issues, http://www.machsupport.com/forum/index.php/topic,6837.10.html

Been tied up hear.

Thanks, Chip