View Full Version : Moschip Semiconductor MCS9865 Printer Port Cards

Mad Professor
08-05-2012, 02:04 PM
Good day all.

Does any one happen to know if a list of known PCI or PCI-Express printer port cards, that will work with Mach3 and or Linuxcnc.

I ask as I have a PCI duel printer port card based on the Moschip Semiconductor MCS9865IV-AA Chip.

I am trying to use this card on my cnc computer, as the motherboard does not have an onboard printer port.

The card will install and work under both windows or linux, but it does not matter if I run Mach3 or LinuxCNC, I keep getting missed steps.

I have tried linux, windows xp, and windows 7, all give me ramdom missing steps.

So I used an Arduino UNO as a step pulse generator, ramping up to 1245rpm, I can not feel or hear any missing steps.

So I can only think that there is something wrong with this PCI printer port card, or that it is just not upto the job.

Does anyone here have any ideas?

Thanks for your time.

Best Regards.

08-05-2012, 08:25 PM
Supposedly on the mach forum is a list of cards and there suitability. Might be good to start there. Hope this helps.


09-05-2012, 06:06 PM
Try changing them to ECP or EPP or something different to see if that makes any difference?

09-05-2012, 07:00 PM
I am trying to use this card on my cnc computer, as the motherboard does not have an onboard printer port.

Are you 100% sure because some MB don't have the PP socket but they do have a PP pin header on the mainboard so you can add your own PP header.?

If the bios supports PP IE: ECP EPP etc then I would suspect there will be a header on the MB.

The reason you could be losing steps is because lots of after market PP use usb bus and do some trickery to turn into PP and it's the USB thats the problem.? For things like printers etc then it's fine has they don't need time critical pulses but USB on it's own is not fast enough for Mach so steps get lost.?

Mad Professor
09-05-2012, 07:36 PM
The motherboard in question is a ASUS Commando (http://uk.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_775/Commando/) <Click link for details.
As far as I can see there are no printer port headers, and I can not see anything in the bios to hint that there is a printer port.

As for the Moschip Semiconductor MCS9865 Printer Port Card, within windows it is seen as a ECP port, and the only way for it to change mode SPP/EPP/ECP is for the port to handshake with a device, but you are able to manual adjust the port mode within dos or linux.

09-05-2012, 09:14 PM
If it is configured for ECP then it should be fine anyway. if it is all auto detect functionality then it may be tripping over itself by running too fast? If it helps i have only found cards that contain netmos chips to work without problem. most of these cards have been very cheap off the bay, may be worth trying another card

09-05-2012, 10:08 PM
The card I use came from Maplin - not the cheapest, but the local branch has an excellent returns policy.

PCI-E, 2 serial ports on the main bracket, 1 printer port on a flying bracket, Moschip MCS9901CV chip. Linux auto-detected it without any problems iirc and it has worked fine. Unfortunately the Maplin web site now lists a different card, different chip, different bracket, ymmv.

My card is a ST-LAB I-292.

The much easier to find StarTech PEX2S5531P looks a little different but claims to use the same chip. Maybe worth a try?

Mad Professor
11-05-2012, 02:39 PM
I have now tried 4 socket 775 motherboards with on board printer ports, 1 socket 775 motherboard without on board printer port (using PCI card), and dell laptop with built in printer port.

None of thease systems would work Mach3, without missing some steps, but by far the best was the dell laptop, witch I found strange.

Is there something with modern computers that makes them not work with Mach3 / LinuxCNC?

It looks like I am going to be forced to go USB or Ethernet.

11-05-2012, 04:46 PM
From my limited experience there are 3 motherboard features that will upset the CNC apple cart:

1) Power saving
2) On board graphics
3) Latency

1) Power saving features. Turn them OFF, all of them. You can experiment with them later if you wish but for now they go.

2) It is totally possible to make at least some on board graphics implementations work with Mach/LinuxCNC but the quick and easy answer is DO NOT use on board graphics. Plug in a dedicated graphics card, anything made in the last 10 years will probably be better than any on board solution more than 3 years old. This is especially relevant to portables or MBs designed for low power consumption applications.

3) Latency. What's that then?
In this case it is the time between the SW saying something needs to done and the actual signals to accomplish the task leaving the PC. Not quite that simple but close enough for now. Latency is inherent to the chipset though the SW and OS also play their part.

What are your latency values? LinuxCNC has a test that returns some big number, Mach has some similar test but it's so long since I used it I forget the what and where.

The operating system also plays a big role when it comes to running CNC and doing other stuff at the same time (and Windows is always doing other stuff). When I set up my first MB, a Jetway J7F2 http://www.jetwaycomputer.com/J7F2.html , I could get Mach working fine, until that is I moved the mouse! No kidding, move mouse = missed steps. Under LinuxCNC that problem went away and I was able to file share and run remote access. In general and especially with underpowered HW, LinuxCNC yields much more predictable and consistent results, the copy of Linux that comes with LinuxCNC is specially built for real time control, out the box Windows is not. Even so, the Jetway board very soon went away.

So, latency?