View Full Version : Total novice and lost

03-09-2010, 09:29 PM
Hello to all,

Having recently purchased a second hand cnc router the bits and pieces arrived by courier today.

Less than impressed by the state of the machine as bolts had worked there way loose etc in transit.

Attached are some images of the router but the main question I have is how do I connect the controller to the pc. The controller has a male connector and my pc also has a male connector.

Any help would be apprecited.

03-09-2010, 10:26 PM
Sounds like you might need a gender changer for the parallel port lead:

When you get going you might one some of these to tidy up the wiring:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/IGUS-ENERGY-CHAIN-16mm-X-15-mm-1800mm-long-71-/330466844541?pt=UK_BOI_Industrial_Automation_Contr ol_ET&hash=item4cf15bdf7d

Good luck with it all

John S
03-09-2010, 10:33 PM
Never seen a PC with a male Parallel port.

If it has holes in it then it's female, if it has sticky out pins than it's male.

Biology 101.

03-09-2010, 10:47 PM
You quite right, my pc is female and the controller is male. I guess I need to get a cable that is female/male?

03-09-2010, 10:53 PM
Yes, but make sure it is wired 1:1 and is not a serial cable. Something like this (http://www.pixmania.co.uk/uk/uk/1404714/art/cablestar/parallel-printer-cable-25.html) available in 1.5 to 10m lengths

03-09-2010, 10:56 PM
Snap, thats just what I was looking at!

John S
03-09-2010, 11:28 PM
Or this one 2.86 plus vat.


04-09-2010, 10:20 AM

Can anyone advise on how I connect the power supply as shown on the first photos? I assume that I need a fused plug and lead connected to the L, N and Earth thus providing 240v inout but which terminals do I then connect the L, N and Earth of the control unit as shown?

I thought all if this would have come assembled from the gent I purchased from but alas not!

Thanks to all in advance.

PS, I have now ordered a cable as suggested.

John S
04-09-2010, 10:45 AM
The photo's are not big enough or clear enough for anyone to help you safely.

04-09-2010, 11:00 AM
29202919John, hope this helps. Thanks

John S
04-09-2010, 11:09 AM
Clearly marked, the 3 on the left.
If you are not sure then please get help.

04-09-2010, 11:18 AM

Thanks, I know the first 3 are Live, Neutral and Earth, which I assume will take the power from the socket but what connectors do I link the controller 2? Any ideas?

John S
04-09-2010, 02:12 PM
any one of the commons and +VE
However you need to know the correct way round.

I'd seriously try to get some help on the job, if we are to help from a distance we need more information like what voltage the power supply puts out and where it goes inside the control box.

Sorry for being so vague but it only tales a millisecond of crossed wires to damage the drivers etc.

04-09-2010, 04:41 PM
Any COM and +V will give you the output voltage stated on the PSU, its like having 3x live and 3x Neg, so where COM is meaning - , and +v meaning + if you have a multimeter to hand to check polarity.. that would help if your unsure.

04-09-2010, 05:34 PM
Also for info, on the far right is a potentiometer which you can adjust with a screw driver. This will vary the voltage up a or down within a range, depending upon the spec of the supply. This might be set too high for the drivers so you need to check the output with a voltmeter as mentioned above. Assuming this is the right supply for this box then setting it low might be a good start point.

The white lead coming out of the main box is probably the power supply lead, but you need to know which is + and which is -. Is the control box easy to open, might be obvious which is + and - if you are able to peek inside. Might even state the max voltage on the board. Posting a photo of the inside might even show what make the bits are and lead to more detailed help.

You can use 'ring terminals' to make all the connections to the power supply - these crimp onto the end of the cable (remove a bit of the insulation first). Make sure they are good and tight by giving them a pull afterward. You can buy crimping tools to do this.

Once it is all working, obviously the mains terminals are dangerous (!) so you need to decide how to cover these, or place the unit somewhere safe. Mine is inside the overall control box, with a small fan (ignore the date, the camera is faulty):

07-09-2010, 12:23 AM

Lead to the PSU fitted, power on, 24v selected as per sellers email. Controller connected and on power up the fan starts and a hum/buzz from the x,y and z motors. The next issue is once connected to the computer via the parallel port, silence apart from the fan and no movements in mach3.

Where am I going wrong.

Any suggestions, within reason, welcomed.

07-09-2010, 07:25 AM
Hi sfallan,

Download the Mach3 manual and give it a read.

Also, I posted some Mach3 setup info which works for my system. Depends on your breakout board pins, but some are possibly similar:

You need to identify the port address, activate the axes, set up pins, set up motor calibration, velocity and acceleration, and set up hotkeys to do the movement.

Do you know what pins are used on your board?

07-09-2010, 08:10 AM
RouterCNC thanks for the info, which I have now tried and still nothing.

A question I still cannot answer is why the controller LED's light fully and the motors buzz before the PC is switched on and then nothing when it is? I would have expected all to be powered even when connected to the PC and only control configuratrion required?

Am I correct in my assumption?

John S
07-09-2010, 08:18 AM
Firstly are the motors free with no power on?
Then do the motors lock up when power to the driver box is switched on?
Are they still locked when the computer is switched on ?

Do you know what pins are used for each axis ?

07-09-2010, 08:29 AM

How would I check your questions?

07-09-2010, 08:55 AM

I have checked the following;

Motors rotate, using pliers, freely when no power. They lock when powered. Nothing when PC on, as in no noise from the motors at all and no LED's on the controller.

07-09-2010, 12:35 PM
Wonder if it is some kind of charge pump problem. This is a safety feature and needs to be either configured in the pins, or overriden on the board directly (to bypass).

On my system this is pin 1 (port1). In the ports and pins menu, if you scroll down one of them lists the charge pump. In this table you need to add the pin and port required.

As John has mentioned, if you know the pins required for this controller it would help with setting it up. Could you take the lid off and tell us the make of the parts inside? They are possibly off the shelf bits and will have pin outs listed.

07-09-2010, 12:59 PM
2950Hope this helps.

07-09-2010, 01:16 PM
Oo, looks like one of those TB6560 boards from ebay, better wait until someone can confirm this, but meanwhile...
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/3-Axis-CNC-Stepper-Motor-Driver-Board-Controller-TB6560-/180550760476?pt=UK_BOI_Industrial_Automation_Contr ol_ET&hash=item2a09a9f81c

you can find the set up document about 2/3 down the page, it's written for Mach3 :)

07-09-2010, 01:23 PM
I've got one of those TB6560 boards, attached is the user manual for it=> 2951 Hope this helps...it enabled me to set up mine which worked first time I powered it up...

07-09-2010, 02:53 PM

Thanks for your comments/advise. You may notice that the board is actually a 4 axis not 3 therefore i'm not sure how that would affect the settings suggested.

07-09-2010, 03:22 PM
Ahhh just looked more carefully...there is a thread http://www.mycncuk.com/forums/showthread.php/1600-manual-for-eBay-TB6560-Stepper-Motor-Driver-Boards started on here, may help?

07-09-2010, 03:34 PM
A-ha. So here is the 3 axis ebay listing, link to manual down the page...

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/3-Axis-CNC-Stepper-Motor-Driver-Board-Controller-TB6560-/180550760476?pt=UK_BOI_Industrial_Automation_Contr ol_ET&hash=item2a09a9f81c



07-09-2010, 06:02 PM
Following the instructions as per NJ's link I have movement in the Y axis only and only in 1 direction no matter which key is pressed. Any suggestions on how I can get it to move in the + direction?

A good start.

Thanks to all for the help so far.

07-09-2010, 06:24 PM
Sounds like you've got the 'step' set to the right one in Mach3 for the Y axis, but not the direction pin...try changing it.

07-09-2010, 07:00 PM
Jonathan, i've just run throught all the direction pin settings with no change.

07-09-2010, 07:08 PM
That doesn't sound good. I take it none of the other axis' moved when you were trying different pins?
Sounds like it might be a problem with the driver board itself but I don't think that that's that likely. [too many that's in that sentance!]

07-09-2010, 09:15 PM
whats do you think the problem could be? the board, then you say it couldnt be? im confused?

so far ive got 1 cable working on 1 axis in 1 direction.

i then changed the cable to test each motor, they worked again in 1 direction no matter which direction you pressed the only went 1 way.

one thing i noticed is the x axis (long axis in this case) was forcing the z axis to raise and lower as it moved, only by mm but noticable. wave like motion, what could this be.

i'm trying to establish if ive been sold a dud? does anyone know what rights i have to complain?

ive spent 2 hrs speaking with the guy who sold me the machine prior to actually getting 1 motor working, with him saying try this and try that.

again, thanks for all comments/suggestions.

07-09-2010, 09:25 PM
Don't give up hope just yet. Can I just check that you are setting both the 'step pin' and 'direction pin', and the 'step port' and 'direction port'. I think the port ones are probably '0' by default, and should all be set to '1'.

Could you post a screenshot of your Mach3 menus:
Ports and pins > Port setup and configuration
Ports and pins > Motor outputs

Also, in Config > motor tuning, what are your 'steps per' , 'velocity' , 'acceleration', 'step pulse' and 'direction pulse' values for each axis?

07-09-2010, 09:37 PM
RouterCNC I will take screen shots as currently working and post these later.

Yes, I think the ports are set to 1 for direction, basically following advise from all corners and 1 motor/pin setting is working but only in one direction.

I'm sure is something simple but im now worried about the movement up and down when I tested the x axis motor. At least all the motors are working.

07-09-2010, 10:22 PM
295729562955295429532952A selection of screen shots as current. Comments welcomed. Note that the Y axis is working but in 1 direction only.

07-09-2010, 10:57 PM
Firstly I'd try putting the kernel speed down to 25Khz. I doubt that's causing a problem at the moment, but it may do later on. Do you really need it at 35Khz for the feedrate you anticipate?

Here's the manual for the 4 axis board...


If you trust the settings shown there, then yes I see no problem with how you've set it.

The only thing I can think of doing now is to trace the pins on the PCB. i.e. look at each pin on the parallel port connector on the PCB and see where it connects. You should be able to verify the step/dir settings quite easily doing this. I once did it for an unknown stepper driver board....

07-09-2010, 11:05 PM
are you 100% sure the parallel cable is ok? can you buzz it out and confirm its wired 1:1?

As Jonathan says the configuration looks basically ok, but can you bring up the motor tuning page for each axis and take a screen shot.

Another thing to try is swap X and Y axis.... so make X-step, X-dir 14 & 7 respectively... then try jogging X... which should cause Y to step. Incidentally I was led to believe that you must stop and restart MACH3 after making each change so that it saves and rereads the new configuration (I read this somewhere).

What test equipment (multimeter?) do you have at your disposal?

08-09-2010, 07:50 AM
Morning all,

I have a multi meter to hand and guidance on what i need test and how to test it would be apprecaited.

With regards the cable, there are 2, one connected to the PCB then one connected to that, an extension cable. This is due to the configuration of the box. I can try connecting direct without the extension.

How would I test2960 the cable as being 1:1, I purchased the one suggested by a member here however the one in the box was already there (found it when I opened up)2959

John S
08-09-2010, 09:24 AM
Have you tried the original cable ?

08-09-2010, 10:38 AM
Morning all,

I have a multi meter to hand and guidance on what i need test and how to test it would be apprecaited.

With regards the cable, there are 2, one connected to the PCB then one connected to that, an extension cable. This is due to the configuration of the box. I can try connecting direct without the extension.

How would I test the cable as being 1:1, I purchased the one suggested by a member here however the one in the box was already there (found it when I opened up)
To test the cable, use the multimeter on its continuity setting (so it beeps when the probes are touched together) to confirm that pin1 at one end is connected to pin1 at the other... pin2 -> pin2,etc...

08-09-2010, 11:58 AM

I've tested both cables for continuity and they are fine, beeping 1 on 1, 2 on 2 etc.

I also tried puting the values for STEP and DIRECTION on the X not the Y and the Y still moved, I assume that means the figures are starting the Y motor no matter if X, Y or Z has the value.

08-09-2010, 01:07 PM
It's starting to point to the board as the problem, but wonder if it is worth checking the output from the PC parallel port.

Can anyone tell me if sfallan is OK to try the following (without damage!):
Disconnect the parallel cable from the control board, and use a multimeter to check the state of the pins on the end of the parallel cable (other end connected to the PC). Place one of the probes on an earth pin, and the other on the pin you want to check.

For the direction pins set the multimeter to DC on a range of at least 5V. I think these will change between 0 and 5V or so when you use the keyboard to move that axis. For example left might be 0V and right 5V.

This is the one I'm less sure of - for the step pins set the multimeter to AC on a range of at least 5V. I think this will change between 0V when not moving an axis and some other RMS value of the pulse train when you use the keyboard to move that axis. For example not moving that axis would be 0V and moving that axis would be say 2V RMS. I don't know what this value would be other than probably not 0V. Values will depend upon your 'steps per . . ' setting and 'velocity' setting in Mach3.

If you can show that the PC outputs are OK, and you document this, it may give you some recourse with the original supplier.

If you want to then check the board and you have access to a function generator which can create a 5V square of varying frequency you can connect this to a step pin on the board and operate the motors directly. Appreciate not everyone has one of these.

08-09-2010, 04:10 PM

Something of interest, well maybe.

Having the suggestion of testing the parallel port on my PC I downloaded Parallel Port Viewer and installed, so I dont know what the pins do or mean my a couple of point of interest.

Without selecting anything and with Mach3 running I pressed the X+ key (left arrow) to see pin 1 change to on and off when X- (right arrow) was selected. So I thought this was giving an actual account of what the pins were doing.

Also when C5 was selected in the PPV screen (screenshot shown) then all the motors buzzed louder, engaged type noise. I dont know it this is significant. Also with C5 (1) C3 (0) C2 (1) C1 (0) and C0 (1) all 6 LEDs i on the board were lite. Again I dont know the significance of the LED's.2961

08-09-2010, 04:58 PM
been down this road myself not so long ago, you might need to change your pin XYZ settings in motor outputs try them on X 2-3, Y4-5, Z6-7 if they dont work reverse them X 3-2, Y 5-4, Z 7-6.
Red cross all outputs for now.
Inputs all red other than E-stop green port 1 pin 0 for now.
motor tuning to start with try from left to right 1200, 200, 20. this is slow so you should not get into trouble, step pulse/dir pulse both 0 after try 1-1 up to 5-5

Try it let us know how it goes


08-09-2010, 05:13 PM
forgot to say when you have tried this go into Diagnostics you should see three green leds on Port 1 pins current state, and no red output signals.


09-09-2010, 07:08 AM
Suceess at last!

Further to some comments/advice about the possibility that my Parallel Port may not be sending the correct signals and testing it via the Parallel Port Viewer I borrowed an old, simply machine from my father in-law as a test.

Plugged it in, loaded the software, entered the values as suggested and movement! A little slow and jerky but all axis move as requested by the key board and test g-code.

A big thank you to everyone.

A couple of things now come to mind. My machine was a very high spec 10 years ago with fire wire, 1mb or ram etc, the machine was built for rendering back then, a specific build for me, also the machine has a trial version of Mach3 installed before I got the router. My thought are now that I must have a conflict somewhere in the system which is preventing Mach3 working. The first thing I will now do is format the machine, install Mach3 and test with the settings I am currently using, if this still fails then a PCI Parallel Port maybe required as an option.

The next thing is now to improve the movements and replace the lead screw that seems to be bent as the x-axis when moving is causing the gantry to bump along. How easy is it to replace?

09-09-2010, 07:31 AM
Hi sfallan,

Great news, well done. A fresh windows install, followed by only adding vital software is never a bad thing where Mach3 is concerned.

If the leadscrews are ballscrews then you need a piece of tube to roll the ballnut onto when you remove the thread, otherwise the ball bearings will fall out. If they are ACME threads with nuts (e.g. Delrin) then you are OK. To remove these you just need some basic tools, and from post #1 it looks straightforward. When you buy the new leadscrew, the end will need machining to match the bearings and motor coupling. You'll see this when you remove the old one.

If you are not sure, strip the leadscrew out and post a photo.

10-09-2010, 10:35 AM
Morning gents,

I tried my old PC again with fresh windows install, mach3 only but still didnt work so I've reverted to my father-in-laws PC. Everything is powers and movement. Waiting on the new lead screw to arrive and everything should be fine.

Whilst this is being made for me, can anyone advise on router cutters/bits?

The collet in the router is 1/4inch and I read a thread about 'cutweltools' as a supplier. I am looking to do some test cuts etc. I have sourced some 12mm MDF and 3mm mirrored di-bond for cutting. At this point I have no cutters and would like to order some for delivery.

Any advise would be appreciated.