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artmin
09-01-2012, 03:30 PM
Hi everybody,

I recently purchased a second hand HME Technology router with an NEE AMC-E controller fitted. It came supplied with a PC with WinAMC installed and an RS232 cable but so far I have been unable to run it.

The guy who sold it had no knowledge of it as he never used the machine as it was purchased for a job that later fell through, but he assures me it was working when first installed.

When powered-up, the controller board has an array of green LEDs with just one red on in the lower right corner of the processor

5192

Once powered-up in this state there is no power to the steppers with the E-stops cleared. The control software is WinAMC but menu items such as 'options' & 'configurations' are greyed out. The machine functions such as jog & spindle are also greyed out. I have also noticed that in the bottom right hand corner the WinAMC screen there is a yellow triangle with an exclamation mark in it.

I don't know the setup of this machine, but I do wonder if the AMC controller requires a signal from WinAMC on the PC to fire up the steppers.

Thank you all in advance for any help you can give me.

Gavin

Swarfing
10-01-2012, 12:44 PM
Is it connect via serial (rs232) or the parallel port? I'm assuming this is HPGL control? if so a printer style driver will need to be loaded? also does the software require a dongle to work? Might be work giving them a call and just check?

Serial Communication

WinAMC® uses a proprietary communications protocol, designed to minimise serial problems between your PC and the AMC (http://www.burny.com/amc4.html). WinAMC® automatically detects the presence of an AMC machine control on the serial link and communicates with it at the maximum baud rate (up to 115,200 baud).

Any communication errors are automatically detected and corrected. This ensures that the AMC and WinAMC® are able to continuously communicate even in the noisiest of environments.

artmin
10-01-2012, 01:49 PM
Thanks for the reply!

It uses the RS232 port, and yes, I think it's an HPGL controller. I'm not sure about the printer driver but I downloaded serial port monitoring software & there seems to be attempts at communication at least.

I contacted ITT Burny who guided me towards HME Technology who apparently write their own firmware & software for this controller. I'm guessing this is done to hone the interface for students as it is a machine built for educational institutes. HME suggest the firmware might need 're-flashed' though I'm concerned how expensive this might be. It sounds like an engineer call out to me.

My concern is that it seems to be an obsolete model of controller (HME referred to it as being quite old (it's a 2000 year machine)) & I'm not sure how wise it would be to pump money into engineer call out fees now & in the future to fix. I do wonder if it would be better to strip out this controller & replace it with a new 3-axis stepper control & software I am familiar with :confused:

Swarfing
10-01-2012, 09:13 PM
Well don't get too carried away ripping stuff out as you may only need to replace the line driver part of the circuit boards with a breakout board? Could you put some more detailed pics of the control unit inside? it could be cheaper to upgrade than getting it fixed?

artmin
13-01-2012, 09:44 AM
Here are some better pictures of the control panel:

52185219

To be honest I don't know anything about these except that I'm pretty sure the second picture is the driver board & spindle control (red board). Would I be right in guessing the first board does the processing? Is the function of this board now being replaced by the PC & CNC software?

Thanks for your input :tup:

Gavin

JAZZCNC
13-01-2012, 04:35 PM
Personally I'd strip it out and replace with modern drives, Bob etc and control software like Mach3 or EMC.!

The time spent chasing how to get this working could be better spent cutting returning your investment quicker. . . . . Probably perform better as well with modern drives.?

Edit: What model router is it.? . . . . . These educational routers are full of safety feature interlocks etc and it could easily be one of these that's faulty and locking you out.?
I'd check out all safety switch's limit's, estop's, cabinet door switch's etc or for quicky elimination purpose's even look to tempory by-pass them. . . . Often it's the little things that shut the whole job down.!!

Jonathan
13-01-2012, 05:35 PM
If the existing stepper motor driver board takes step/direction signals then it's straightforward to get mach3/emc to work and you wont need the big board. However that's not immediately obvious from the photos. I doubt they'll be good drivers anyway - though that's not a problem if you're working within the original specification.
You could get 3 new stepper drivers and just forget the rest of it, except maybe the spindle board - looks like there's some writing/numbers you could look up to see if there's any info on that? Look what model number and/or ratings are printed on the stepper motors then so long as the datasheet is available we can work out which drivers will be suitable. Also check what voltage and VA (or approx dimensions to guess VA) the toroidal transformer is as you may be able to reuse that.

Swarfing
13-01-2012, 05:56 PM
Well you have choices?

The stepper driver is an all in one affair and as Jazz says, it could take a while to find out what is what?
If they were individual drivers it would have been easier?
Buying, drivers and a BOB (breakout board) will be quickest

You can reuse all the switches etc so would be very straight forward.

can you give us a pic of the whole machine and some dimensions? Also what markings/ how many wires etc are on the steppers?

artmin
13-01-2012, 07:15 PM
Thanks for all the replies guys!

This is the machine, but no model number anywhere:

5220 A floor print of 6' x 4' x 5 1/2' tall. I haven't fully stroked the drives as I was scared of sending a reverse voltage through the driver board, but I'm estimating 600x600x200mm.

So far HME haven't come back to me, but I'm thinking along the same lines as you guys. As Jazz says, it is crawling with safety interlocks that I will disconnect to save my sanity, but I have gone through the safety circuitry & it is all in place. When all contacts are closed the driver board axes all light up green.

The steppers are Astrosyn L281 & they sent me this data sheet: http://www.slideshare.net/v8wgm/astrosyn-l281-stepper-motor

The transformer is an Intron 25647 but I think I'll need to contact the maker for a data sheet.

I already have a Heiz High-Z S-1000/T router running with Heiz's own Zero2 controller & Win PC-NC. The steppers on the Heiz machine are Sanyo Denki StepSyn NEMA 23's. I was wondering, if compatible, I could purchase another Zero2 controller from them & another seat of Win PC-NC to standardise things, as I'd be keen on another Heiz machine in the future.
The manual for the controller is here: http://www.slideshare.net/v8wgm/heiz-controller-zero2

I asked Heiz what they thought and got the response 'I think your stepper-motor have only 1,7A and our controller have 2,2A.You must try it and check how it works.' If the current supply is higher, is that normally not OK? I'm not sure if I want to risk experimenting with the controller off the Heiz in case I end up with both machines down :eek:

I hope the links work OK.

Gavin

artmin
13-01-2012, 07:22 PM
I forgot about the spindle board!

This is it, an Ashe Controls FX1500

5222

The current spindle is a 500W Bosch which looks like the back end of a 4" grinder. Does this board allow for spindle speed control? If it does, that is a feature my Heiz doesn't have with the Kress 1050 motor.

Swarfing
13-01-2012, 08:32 PM
You do have speed control with that board. The info sheet implies your steppers are 2.4amp per phase and look like nema 34's. From the pics we can not get a good sense of the wiring so difficult to tell if it is possible to just drop the HPGL driver board for a normal bob? is there a parts manual for this at all? Bob's are cheap these days so worth a go before buying drivers i would say?

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/260867187208?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649

JAZZCNC
13-01-2012, 10:27 PM
I asked Heiz what they thought and got the response 'I think your stepper-motor have only 1,7A and our controller have 2,2A.You must try it and check how it works.' If the current supply is higher, is that normally not OK? I'm not sure if I want to risk experimenting with the controller off the Heiz in case I end up with both machines down :eek:


No this will be ok, if it was the other way round then it wouldn't work so good because your motors under full load would demand more current than the board could supply but your motors will only draw 1.7A max and the board can supply 2.2 if needed.

Edit: No scrap that I've just spotted there 2.4A wired Bi-parallel so your on dodgy ground.!!


Regards the motors they are 5 phase motors and ripping out the control would probably mean new motors as well because most modern drives only work with 2 or 4 phase motors.? . . . Luckly motors are cheap.!

JAZZCNC
13-01-2012, 10:37 PM
2e0poz Can you please change your avitar.?? . . .She gives me a stiffy with every bounce. .:yahoo:

Swarfing
13-01-2012, 10:46 PM
Sorry mate no can do....i just love my Nissan :dance:

Swarfing
13-01-2012, 10:51 PM
Jazz check the specs again, i count 8 wires unless i'm missing something?

Bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce....Brum brum................

JAZZCNC
13-01-2012, 11:06 PM
Jazz check the specs again, i count 8 wires unless i'm missing something?

Bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce....Brum brum................

Didn't really look at the specs close just read 5 phase in the document transcript.!! . . . Best he checks the motors.? . . . .Artmin do the motors have 8 or 10 wires.?

Swarfing
13-01-2012, 11:12 PM
Didn't really look at the specs close just read 5 phase in the document transcript.!! . . . Best he checks the motors.? . . . .Artmin do the motors have 8 or 10 wires.?


Thats cus you were toooooooooooooo busy looking at my avatar:lol:

artmin
13-01-2012, 11:32 PM
Funny that, I never noticed the Nissan before. Guess I couldn't see the wood for the trees :lol:

A few beers in me now, but I can only count eight wires from each motor. Would that still make the Heiz controller dodgy?

Cheers,

Gavin

artmin
13-01-2012, 11:38 PM
You do have speed control with that board. The info sheet implies your steppers are 2.4amp per phase and look like nema 34's. From the pics we can not get a good sense of the wiring so difficult to tell if it is possible to just drop the HPGL driver board for a normal bob? is there a parts manual for this at all? Bob's are cheap these days so worth a go before buying drivers i would say?

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/260867187208?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649

Wow, I had opened your link in another tab and have just seen it. I see what you mean, if that would do the job & connect to the driver board somehow I'd be flying!

Is there certain software needed to feed these boards or would the likes of Win PC-NC software do it? http://www.lewetz.de/download/hbwin2ecoe.pdf

Jonathan
13-01-2012, 11:39 PM
Thats cus you were toooooooooooooo busy looking at my avatar:lol:

It is rather distracting.

Those motors don't have much torque (1.5Nm) for nema 34. The datasheet only mentions A and B phases and 8 wires so looks like it's 2 phase. Standard 5-phase stepper motors are 0.72° step angle, whereas this one says 1.8° which is standard for 2-phase 200 step/rev. I've got a fairly big Nema 34 stepper motor lying around somewhere. You can get stepper drivers for them on eBay, but I just made a simple unipolar drive for it and it works. Never actually used it - one day I'll make a proper bipolar drive for it. It's a good candidate for my lathe I reckon...

artmin
13-01-2012, 11:50 PM
Just checked the motor wiring & they are in the Bi-Polar Drive - Parallel format

8 wires running to 4 terminals

JAZZCNC
13-01-2012, 11:51 PM
Thats cus you were toooooooooooooo busy looking at my avatar:lol:

Just looked again she still gives me a stiffy..!!! . . Errr errr . . No I mean I've just looked at the sheet again and realised I miss read the document transcript.! It reads like 5 phase motors but it relates to 5 step angle. . .Doh

Swarfing
13-01-2012, 11:54 PM
Artmin

Personally i would spend some time seeing where the wires go to for your boards before doing anything. At least at a minimum you will get to understand what drives your machine. that board is just a typical bog standard bob, if it could be exchanged over for the line driver part of your HPGL controller then it would do fine. It's a big ask but could you do a vid of your boards going over all the wires at a nice slow pace so that we can see what connects to what?

Not familiar with the software but Mach3 is cheap and EMC2 is free so i would not fret about that too much. It looks like it has interpreters for most types of code so you should be fine and it expects to see a parallel port from the off.

JAZZCNC
14-01-2012, 12:16 AM
A few beers in me now, but I can only count eight wires from each motor. Would that still make the Heiz controller dodgy?


Gavin if you wanted to just run the machine and check motors etc then the Heiz controller would probably work ok just don't push the motors to hard. There's only 0.2a difference and it's very unlikely you'll come near that just jogging it around. Just make sure the Heiz is set for parallel wired motors.

Jonathan
14-01-2012, 12:54 AM
just don't push the motors to hard. There's only 0.2a difference and it's very unlikely you'll come near that just jogging it around.

How 'hard' you run the motors will make little difference as they'll actually draw the most current when stationary, unless the driver reduces the current there in which case it'll be at very low speed.

Either way, if it gets hot switch it off. Simples...

artmin
14-01-2012, 09:18 AM
Thanks guys :tup:

I wasn't sure where you were getting the 2.4A/phase from but I see it now. I think the Heiz controller is 500 Euro + delivery & I see on the website they state the phase current as up to 2.1A. Maybe I'd be better spending the money in a different way.

I'll pull the machine out in the garage to get some good light & take a video of the controllers. I'll also contact ITT/Burny again & ask them to send me the spec. sheets for the driver board, as surely that has to be standard. Initially they told me that they wouldn't be of use to me as HME wrote their own software, but I now understand that must be for the HPGL board. I'm looking forward to ripping that one out :naughty:

If mating breakout to the driver was going to be difficult, would I be better with something like this?

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/CNC-Router-DIY-Kit-5-Axis-Breakout-Board-3x-M542-Stepper-Motor-Driver-1-0A-4-5A-/120832447679?pt=UK_BOI_Industrial_Automation_Contr ol_ET&hash=item1c222cd4bf

or this?

http://www.routoutcnc.com/lpkits.html

Jonathan
14-01-2012, 12:04 PM
The first link, M542 drivers, is ideal. Not sure if it's the cheapest - just look for 3 drivers with 542 in the part number and a suitable breakout board and you'll be fine.

The second link is pretty poor as the driver only goes up to 30V and the motor torque (and therefore feedrate) is proportional to the applied voltage. Plus you'd be running very close to the maximum current for those drivers.

Again if you can check the rectified voltage from the transformer with a multimeter and it's less than 50V, but significantly less then you can keep it as long as it can deliver enough power. Could you measure the diameter and height of the transformer so we can estimate the output current?

artmin
14-01-2012, 01:09 PM
I pulled the transformer out of the panel hoping to find some specs. printed on it, but unfortunately nothing.

It turns out to be Lintron & from there website I have the following specs: 160VA with an OD of 115 & height of 45. Weight 2Kg

The AMC driver board has +37VD printed on it beside a fuse along with +5VD in other places, so I'd guess a tapped voltage of +37V. Current I don't know.

I'm starting to think that as I'm not 100% sure what I'm doing (more like 50/50 at the mo. :lol:) it might be best for time versus cost, to go for a one box solution.

Trawling through other parts of the forum I see Roy at DIYCNC has a good name. What about this as a 1 box solution?
http://www.diycnc.co.uk/html/cnc_systems.html The 3 axis System without motors Code SYS43CFK £252. I see the supply voltage is 27V though when the steppers will take up to 90V :confused:.

I hadn't clicked that the supply voltage was proportional to motor speed & torque. Holding torque would be more important to me than travel speed. I aim to be cutting hardwoods, MDF & plastics in this machine but I don't know what kind of torque I need. The spindle power is usually my limiting factor as I will probably install a Kress 1050 unless someone can suggest an alternative. The Kress can burn through brushes rightly with a 6mm cutter :twisted:. With the Kress speed control for me would be unimportant as I normally set it manually at the start of each process. I just need an output that I can use to switch the spindle.

Jonathan
14-01-2012, 07:14 PM
Since the existing driver uses 37 volts (odd number) you don't want to go below that as then you wouldn't be able to run the machine at the original feedrates. I'd want to use a higher voltage to get better acceleration, particularly as those are Nema 34 motors which will be slow on that voltage.

If you're after a '1-box' solution I could make one for a similar price to the one from DIYCNC, except with the 4.2A, 50V drivers and just under 50V power supply (or the 70V drivers). Plus including whatever else you need, spindle control etc. PM me if your interested.

Why do you say holding torque would be more important than feedrate? The forces on the cutter / machine are tiny when it's not moving! Alternatives to the Kress are the 1.5kW and 2.2kW water cooled spindles on eBay. Not cheap, but you get what you pay for in my opinion ... see recent discussion in other threads.

Swarfing
14-01-2012, 07:20 PM
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/260929862130?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649

Try that if he will deliver as in the UK.

Jonathan
14-01-2012, 07:41 PM
His feedback is rather interesting isn't it. Got a negative because he didn't want to accept Paypal. It says he now does accept paypal but is that true? I'd be a bit wary.

artmin
14-01-2012, 08:08 PM
Why do you say holding torque would be more important than feedrate? The forces on the cutter / machine are tiny when it's not moving!

Just my ignorance! I assumed that when stationary, the motors would be maxxed out to prevent any movement :redface:.



Thanks for that link 2e0poz, but he hasn't had a good start on the 'bay. Mind you, ebay can treat sellers like dirt :mad:


I'll send you a PM Jonathan

Jonathan
14-01-2012, 08:34 PM
Just my ignorance! I assumed that when stationary, the motors would be maxxed out to prevent any movement :redface:.

When stationary is the only time the motors will deliver their rated torque, so 1.5Nm. To calculate the holding force you need to know the pitch of the ballscrew and the diameter. For example if it's a standard 16mm ballscrew with 5mm pitch and direct drive gives holding force of about 1880N with your motor, plenty!
(Formula is F=2*T*pi/p where T is torque and p is pitch if anyone's interested)

Swarfing
14-01-2012, 08:46 PM
Personally i would just use Gary at Zapp for this sort of thing, a no messing sort of guy.

artmin
20-01-2012, 09:27 PM
Ok guys, I'm having a crack at this myself. I've got to learn sometime :naughty:

I received a few bits through the post today, namely an EP002 power supply, 3 PM542 drivers & a 5 axis breakout board. I do have a few questions though if anybody can help please.

1. On the EP002, do I connect the two 43V O/Ps together in parallel (12 to 14 to driver+ & 20 to 22 to driver-) or is this totally wrong?
5256
2. Do I need to connect the ENA+/- on the drivers to anything?

3. With my 8 lead, bi-parallel connected, 1.7A unipolar motors, do I set my Driver O/Ps to 3.31A?

4. What rating of fuse do I need to connect before each driver? I'm a bit confused whether I need to use 240v fuses & at what current.

Many thanks in advance!

Gavin

Swarfing
20-01-2012, 11:10 PM
Gavin

Just use either of the spades for + / - on the supply, they are connected together anyway. What motors are they? better to check the spec of them first but if you have no info then better to be just under the current rating and see how they perform. As for fuses i did not use any on mine so won't comment on that but i'm sure one of the others will?

Jonathan
20-01-2012, 11:17 PM
1,3) As 2e0poz said, but probably 2.4A as bipolar parallel current is 1.4 times unipolar current.
2) No, floating is fine.
4) Do not put fuses between the PSU and the stepper drivers as a break in connection between them could damage the driver. They have internal protection, so just put a fuse on the mains input.

artmin
20-01-2012, 11:35 PM
Thanks guys. Just laying the hardware out at the moment. Hope to get it wired over the next few days :)

artmin
24-01-2012, 07:17 PM
Well I got it running last night :tongue:

I had to install EMC2 as I couldn't find anywhere in WinPC-NC to configure the port pins for the motors. I/P & O/Ps yes, but I have a hunch that my version is setup for Heiz machines only. Anyway, I'm finding EMC2 great! It's running, homing, backlash is dialled out of X & Y (0.04mm) & my VCarve pro EMC2 post processor is working great with it. Now I need a spindle. I am thinking about one of the water cooled Chinese ones but I'll order a Kress 1050-1 in the meantime as it will be a backup for the Heiz. My Original Kress has thousands of hours on it with about 6 changes of brushes, so I think it would be a wise move. It'll give me time to think what I'm going to make in this machine :lol:.

Many, many thanks to you all who helped me out on this project :clap: Such a great forum!

Now I understand (a bit) how these things work I feel a 4th axis project coming on.

Cheers,

Gavin

Swarfing
24-01-2012, 10:29 PM
Gavin good to hear you up and running and having fun :toot: