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martin54
14-12-2012, 02:09 PM
Anyone got any technical info on this machine or the AR400 please, just picked up a non working machine that was fitted with an AR400 motherboard & contriller, have contacted Spandex who use to sell & maintain the machines but no help from them so hoping someone else might have some service documentation.
Any info on stripping it & fitting modern electronics would also be appreciated as that's another option.

GEOFFREY
15-12-2012, 11:09 AM
Hi Martin,I looked into buying an ar 400 (newer version of the system 48, but more or less the same. I am afraid that I dont know much about them (perske spindle I seem to remember). I have an old who still has a couple for sale and will contact him to see if he has any documentation. These were intended for the sign making industry and were quite revolutionary at that time. Rumour has it that the fisrst dozen customers all became milionaires!!

I will contact later if I can re-establish contact.The control system, hardware and software is quite old now, so you might do better to moderise it anyway.


From what I remember the machine that I looked at really seemed to be mechanically fairly straight forward any, with the X & Y axis' being belt driven. Regards,G.

martin54
15-12-2012, 02:23 PM
Would appreciate that thanks Geofrey, it is fitted with the ar400 motherboard so any info on that would be helpful. Spandex were about as useful as a chocolate fire guard which surprised me, thought they would have some old service documents knocking about as there are still quite a few of these machines in use. If I can get it going without the expense of converting it I would rather do that if I can, it has an electrical fault of some description but trying to fault find without a schematic is way over my head.
The control system & software is quite old but that doesn't really bother me as long as I can use it to do what I want. The software & dongle was supplied with it & I already have an old computer that I use for some other old software that still does everything I need it to so have never upgraded.

GEOFFREY
15-12-2012, 02:30 PM
Have spoken to Allan, and he said that next time he visits his workshop he will look to see if he has any paperwork. He does bot visit the WS that often as he has had to take a day job to keep the wolves from the door. Will let you know the outcome, G

martin54
15-12-2012, 03:28 PM
Thanks for asking Geofrey, I'm not in a huge rush to try & get it up & running, there must be someone out there who has service/repair documentation for them, can't believe it has all been filed away in the bin even if they are an old machine.
From what I have been led to believe the motors are all good so if I can't sort it then the next thing will be to see what up to date electronics would best suit it.
Will keep me out of trouble for a while trying to sort it anyway.

GEOFFREY
15-12-2012, 08:53 PM
When speaking to Allen he mentioned that several have been converted to mac 3. He said that the mechanics were very reliable, but the electrics became a bit unreliable with age. The software was designed specifically for signs and is not too user friendly for general engineering work. will be in contact when I hear back.

Regards,G.

martin54
15-12-2012, 09:50 PM
When speaking to Allen he mentioned that several have been converted to mac 3. He said that the mechanics were very reliable, but the electrics became a bit unreliable with age. The software was designed specifically for signs and is not too user friendly for general engineering work. will be in contact when I hear back.

Regards,G.

I am a signmaker Geofrey lol. The machine I was looking to build & run using mach3 would have had all the design work done using signmaking software as I already have it & am familiar with it, never used the gerber software though & hate having to learn to use new software so that would be one tick in the convert it box lol.

Just didn't want to spend a lot of money converting it if I didn't have to, the fault seems to be on the controller board associated with the x axis. The z axis & Y axis seem to work ok from the buttons on the control panel but the gantry won't move backwards or forwards unless you give it a push to get it started, plus when the machine is switched on you can still move the gantry by hand which you shouldn't be able to do.
swapped the leads around for the X & Y axis & the fault shifts to the Y axis so it's not a problem with the motors. It must be getting some power as if you give it a push start the motor will continue to move it but you can stop it very easily by hand.

JAZZCNC
15-12-2012, 10:20 PM
Save your self some hassle.!!!. . . . Rip it's guts out replace with modern drive's with more power.

martin54
15-12-2012, 10:36 PM
Sounds like a plan Jazz but that would probably involve me not eating for a few weeks so I could afford the bits lol.

stuboy
29-01-2013, 05:35 PM
I might be able to help here, I have a system 48 that i have totally rebuilt with new electronics and motors, I can run reliably at 5.2m/minute now with a baby Kress1050 spindle, next step a Chinese 2.2 or 3 KW spindle unless i can get a an alternative!
Drop me a line if you need any help or advise :shame:

Cheers
Stuart

martin54
29-01-2013, 08:55 PM
Thanks Stuart, I was originally going to try & repair the machine but failed miserably when it came to getting my hands on schematics so took Jazz's advice & removed all the old electronics, the porter cable router didn't work either & as it was an obsolete model anyway I decided to fit a chinese 2.2kw water cooled spindle.
I had started to build a machine before the gerber came along & had already purchased all the electronics so these just got used. The motors I had were nema 23's plus they were a tad to long. At the moment the original motors are still fitted until I can get round to making an adapter & altering the machine frame so the new motors fit.
The drivers (AM882's) are wasted at the moment as the original motors are 36v max but when the new motors are fitted I can fit the 70v power supply. Long term I am not sure what I will do with it, the Z azis isn't great with unsupported rails & thin leadscrew so that is something that might get looked at. The rest depends on how it copes generally. Having problems setting up the spindle at the moment, once that is done I can try a few test cuts.

What have you done to your machine & how do you find it generally Stuart? What sort of work are you doing with it.

stuboy
29-01-2013, 09:45 PM
I make all our prototype speaker cabinets with it, MDF 12 to 25mm and Ply Wood. I also made a special attachment to enable us to dial gauge and mill the flats on the frame that the bed sits on, the Kress cut steal no problem with a carbide cutter and lots of water with quite a fine cut depth obviously! (The exciting video of it is on Kress 1050 Mill cutting steel on a wood router.avi - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rohX_Pg3nY), note the special jig i made in the video too :courage:) After doing that i then milled the bed back to flat with the same fitting, its accurate to about 0.15mm now, it was over 2.5mm out when we got it. I changed the X, Y motors to Astrosyn MY257's, David @ Astrosyn was extremely helpful finding me nearly exact equivalent, they are just twice as powerful and take half the current of the old ones, it was a pleasure to do business with them :thumsup:.
I re bearinged the gear assemblies and ultrasoniced the linear's, managed to find a nice chap in the states that can get replacements for the 1/2" linear's too. I'm missing my bellows and still looking to source something there (at a reasonable price) but no luck yet. Looking at a post today where a chap has used a 50mm slide bearing housing to hold a Chinese spindle as its exactly 80mm, that's genius, and Zapp the supplier is just up the road from where i did my apprenticeship many moons ago so will pop in and see them when I'm next down in Poole. My most recent addition is a dust hood made from industrial door strip 2mm polythene, I think a mark 2 of it will be required!
I want to make a vaccum bed of some sort for it soon too.

martin54
30-01-2013, 01:59 AM
Stuart, those motors are still a little on the small side for me at 1.4 Nm. The nema 23's I've got & will get round to fitting at some point are 3.1Nm. Original motors are 150oz which is just over 1Nm.
The chinese spindle I bought is mounted with one of those bearing housings, I asked on here about spindle mounts because I couldn't find a UK supplier & one of the replies was to use the housing. Haven't been able to cut anything yet but the spindle seems nice & secure. Just had to push the bearing out & cut a slot in the housing. I removed the original porter cable mount & fitted an aluminium plate in it's place & the bearing housing/mount is fitted to that.
Pretty lucky because all the bellows seem to be in good condition. Judging from the general condition of the machine I don't think it has had a really hard life, supported rails are in good condition but if I were to replace them at some point I would probably look at fitting something a bit bigger like maybe a 20mm rail.
Vacuum table might come further down the line but it would need to be fairly thin as there isn't a great deal of Z axis travel from what I can see.
For now to get me started I will just use the "T" slot clamps & see how I get on. Need to replace the acrylic strips on the bed as they are quite thin in places & as I want to resurface it to make sure it is flat I would probably be down to the aluminium in places lol.
I've got the original dust extraction fitting but not sure how good it will be, there was also a mist system for cutting but haven;t tried that yet either & not sure if I will be trying to re fit it or not at the moment.

GEOFFREY
30-01-2013, 10:11 AM
Martin, hanks for your pm. It sounds like you are well on the the way to breathing new life into your "beast". Well done.

I made my vac table using 2 sheets of pvc (20mm & 6mm) which works really well. It does need several spaced out fixings to ensure it is flat, but that would be no problem with your slatted table. It only took a couple of hours to design and rout out and is only 26mm thick.On my small machine it has made a world of difference to the finish (much less sanding etc.) as the material, mainly thin ply which is never flat, is sucked down tightly to the bed over its whole area, whereas before I was trying to push the material down close to where it was cutting. I cannot believe the difference the vac table has madeeven though I have lost a bit travel.

Look foreward to seeing some of your new signs posted here. G.

martin54
31-01-2013, 02:05 PM
Problem is that the gantry is already very low Geofrey, the bottom of the Z axis is only just over 50mm above the bed to start with. These machines were made to cut relatively thin substrates so no need for a high gantry. Have seen a clip on youtube where a guy had raised the gantry using a couple of aluminium blocks but it didn't look a great way to do it to me. First thing to do is get it up & running anyway, after that I can look at making changes if & when I need them.
Doubt it will get used a lot for any kind of signwork as I only work part time now & tend to do mostly vans these days.

great-dragon
05-04-2013, 06:58 AM
I'm trying to fix this very same machine so I can get a job running it for a sign company. I've found a blown stud type diode/rectifier. When I get a chance to remove them I hope I can find a replacement and I believe it'll start running. But I was wondering if y'all could post a BOM of the electronics and any other specs you might have. The machine it's self is in great shape, very clean. At the moment out of the 4 LEDs only the 5vdc lights up, the other 3, 2 of which are 24vdc and mill have not lite once thou it worked about 3 yrs ago. And according to the controller station manual I should be able to return to x, y 0, 0 but with no power no go. Pics and links would be great.

If y'all can help it would be greatly appreciated.
Thx Greg

martin54
05-04-2013, 01:04 PM
Greg, you won't find any help or support for these machines, when I bought mine it was spares or repair. Previous owner had spent quite a lot of money trying to fix it & had no joy. He had an engineer up looking at it but the guy was seriously struggling. After I bought it I spent quite a bit of time trying to find support for it, Spandex who sold & maintained them told me they had no technical documentation for them anymore even though I was prepared to buy it.
I'm sure it would have been a fairly simple fix as the machine was running properly on 2 axis but slowly on the third like it wasn't receiving enough power but with so little info it was just easier to remove all the electronics & replace them with modern day drivers & BOB.

Basically I've got no info on the machine at all but did take a lot of pictures before I ripped the controls out.

martin54
06-04-2013, 12:24 AM
As I was feeling a bit guilty about the lack of progress on this I have started to do some work on refurbishing the machine, had it stripped right down with the intention of repainting the frame but not going to bother with that now as it doesn't really need it.
Took me a few hours to clean the frame though, it was absolutely caked in swarf (aluminium & sawdust) mixed with a dried cutting fluid which I thought was an oil based fluid but with it being so dry I'm not sure.
Frame is now nice & clean which is how I know it doesn't really need a repaint, also stripped the old acrylic strips off the the aluminium "T" slot table bits as it was non existent in parts & generally quite thin having been resurfaced a number of times acording to the previous owner. , scrubbed them ready for new acrylic strips.
Didn't take any pictures of it stripped down but will try to remember to take some as I build it back up.

Swarfing
06-04-2013, 01:15 AM
Sugar soap works well on that type of stuff and does not damage the paint :-)

martin54
06-04-2013, 02:36 AM
Sugar soap works well on that type of stuff and does not damage the paint :-)

Why couldn't you have told me that a couple of days ago lol, it's done now but I will keep that in mind for future reference thanks.

martin54
06-04-2013, 04:00 PM
Got a bit more done today & probably be up there latter on in the day but took a few pictures, started to rebuild frame after cleaning, gantry is on & moving nice & freely. New acrylic strips have been fitted, looks pretty good & you can't read the menu that was on the acrylic previously lol.

8670867186728673

GEOFFREY
06-04-2013, 06:35 PM
Looking good Martin, with all your new new found skills, are you going to make a nice plywood enclosure for it? G.

martin54
06-04-2013, 09:07 PM
I hadn't considered an enclosure Geoffrey but if I did make one I'm not sure what sort of size it would need to be. the machine will take a 10 x 5 sheet although the maximum width it can machine is just over 4 foot. The gerber software used to index long lengths & you just had to feed a bit more through every now & then, won't be running the gerber software with it running from mach3 but had still thought that would be possible with a bit of thought. Not that I have any plans to machine lots of long lengths but it's nice to have the option just in case.
It would also have to go somewhere in the que of work I need to get done for myself, once the router is up & running the next job is to wrap my car & respray the wheels. Then I have to make some cabinets for one of my daughters & an acrylic cake stand for the other, oh & then there is the electric fishing trolley that I need to re-design & manufacture. Sure there is other stuff as well just can't think of it just now lol.

great-dragon
06-04-2013, 09:23 PM
Looks great Martin!
Got a question for ya. The three leads hanging in the control box, are they 4 wire or 6? Cause it looks like the original motors and the one I'm working on has 6. Thou I haven't taken it apart as far as you cause it not mine. Are you going to be taking apart the Z axis and take some pics of that? If so I'd love to see that area as well.

I going to recommend the guy update the electronics. So I'm wondering when I do look for the boards, do I have to have both motor driver boards(3) and BOB(1)? I ask cause I've seen BOBs that seem like they don't need the motor board. Or is it just a better way to set things up having both?
I'm also looking at getting a hand controller with the BOB thou it may not be a need to have.
Does or will it make a difference where I buy the boards. I know people have their preferences, but I'm trying to save this guy money in hopes that he'll hold true to his word and give me a job. Then I can work on future upgrades.
As for power supply, I'm guessing I can get one larger then what I need for future upgrades? Or is that dictated by the motors and the boards? Cause for now I'd like to keep the motors i.e. future upgrades.

Sorry if I seem inexperienced by asking so many questions but I just want to cover all my bases. Plus it's not my money I'll be spending. At least not tell I can afford it for the small wood machine I build from plan I got online. LOL it works by hand but will be so much better with the electronics.

Thx! everyone for your Help and Info.

Greg

martin54
07-04-2013, 01:35 AM
The wiring is 4 wire the same as on most machines, motors come in 4, 6 or 8 wire to enable them to be wired differently for different applications. For CNC use generally only 4 of the 6 wires are used & on an 8 wire 2 wires will be joined giving you 4 connections. This thread will help explain it better than I could

http://www.mycncuk.com/forums/stepper-servo-motors/227-wire-connection-diagrams.html

The system 48 has nema 34 150oz 6 wire motors but the black & white are not connected leaving red, red/white, green, green/white to connect.

I;m not an expert when it comes to these sort of things but I have gone for 3 separate drivers & a BOB rather than a control box with it all built on to a board, reason for this was firstly I believe it's easier to upgrade if I want to at any stage & secondly I thought it might be less hastle if something needed replacing because of a fault. Pretty sure there was quite a low voltage limit on the control boards I looked at as well, something around the 30v mark I think although that might have changed or I could easily have missed something. No idea about hand controllers, don't have one & I doubt I will ever have need of one.
Power supply will be dependent on what motors you have or intend to fit. The original motors run off a 24v supply & the spindle from 115v ac. I already had a 36v power supply which will be stuck in but that's about the safe upper limit for the original motors. Long term they will be getting changed for nema 23's that I already have which will be operating at approx 68v from a power supply I built with some help from someone on the forum.
Motors, drivers & power supplies all really need to be matched to give you the best performance so before buying anything you need to decide what you want to do & what sort of budget you have.

Is the machine working ok at the moment? If it is them why change the electronics? I have done mine because I got the machine as spares or repair with a fault on the motherboard.
The other thing you need to think about if you are going to change the electronics is the software, That will need to be changed as well. The system 48 runs on gerbers own software which uses their own version of gcode. You would need to run something like mach3 or linuxcnc to control the machine & a cam package to create the gcode. If they are a sign company then they will already have a suitable vector based program for design work.

great-dragon
07-04-2013, 09:03 PM
Well it's not running right now due to a blown rectifier/diode, at least as far as I can tell, and from a couple others on different forums. Thou I understand I can replace the rectifier/diode and it should run. As for anything else blown/fried, I haven't taken my multimeter to test things yet. I meant to last week but forgot it at home (DOH!) so all I did was take pics. And the guy said it ran 3+yrs. ago, then the guy that ran it for him left. Weather he left on good terms I don't know. Other then the rectifier there are two wires not connected to a power strip but that may not matter.
Yeah the software I have the trial of Mach3 and Cambam for testing, if things work I'll buy the license, or he will. I don't plan on scraping the org. electronics but rather save them for my machine. It would be easier to test things at home then to have to go into town and have limited tool access. Only problem with that is getting the gerber software on one of my rigs, the license for the software is on the machine so hopefully that'll work. If not then I'll just trade out rigs with a spare I have at home. But that's just a idea, not sure how it'll work out.
There is a post here with the same machine and a pic of the board with it powered up and the 4 LEDs are lite. And this one only the +5vdc is, the 2 24vdc and mill aren't. The +5vdc lights up when I plug power into the control panel.

That makes a lot of sense getting separate motor drivers and a BOB. That's why I asked. I was thinking along the same line of thought, if one thing goes out or needs to be upgraded, just swap out the needed component/s.

Power supply I thought if it had a range from 12v-36v or higher then it wouldn't matter as the motor will only draw what it needs or how things get wired up with respect to the motor/s.

Kool at least now I have a better idea of the motors in the machine. Only difference is my colors are not the same, I have blue, green, orange, red, black, white. I figure the blue, green and the red, orange are the ones I'll need to use.

Here's a few pics
8684
8683
8682

If you happen to still have the rectifier/diode from yours in the first pic could you share with me the numbers on it if there are any. I was told to try a TV repair shop and well I took the pic and told me he couldn't get them (or he didn't want to I don't know) but gave me the name of a place that may have um or can get, but it's about 45mins. north of me so its inconvenient thou I'd have part in hand.

Thx again

Greg

GEOFFREY
07-04-2013, 11:40 PM
Martin, I was joking, just meant about your skills with your plywood cnc. I would guess that any enclosure for a system 48 would be called a SHED!!! G.

martin54
08-04-2013, 01:09 AM
Greg, I would see if you can get the machine running as it is rather than start ripping it to bits to be honest, if it is a simple fix as is then it will save you a lot of time & the guy money. You would need to buy quite a bit to convert it to run with modern electronics. It's not just a case of fitting a BOB & 3 new drivers. There are other things you need to take into account like some sort of control system for limit stops, e stop etc etc.
Not quite sure why you would want to take the original stuff either, it is 30 year old technology & you need it all not just one or two bits & pieces
For the gerber software to run you would also need the dongle as well as the software installed & registered. Won't run without the dongle plugged into the machine it's operating from.
I can certainly have a look for any sort of reference or part numbers for you, will do that when I'm up the unit next.
Trust me you have the same colour wires fitted in that machine as I had in mine. The cable wire colours are different from the motor wire colours. You will be able to see that if you look at both sides of the plastic push together connector on the Z axis.
I wouldn't be thinking about changing the electronics until I knew what the problem was & how easy a fix that would be. First thing to do would be to check you have power where your suppose to have it which means doing nothing until you have a metre to hand.

Geoffrey lol, sorry I've got about a million things on my mind at the moment trying to get some of these projects up to date & I'm not getting any younger !! Can't think of the guys name but the member who rebuilt his strike cnc machine had a rather natty looking enclosure & I don't think that was to small a machine.

GEOFFREY
08-04-2013, 10:10 AM
Your'e right Martin, that "strike rejuvenated" certainly looks very good in its new clothing. G.

martin54
08-04-2013, 07:21 PM
Got some more done today, think this might just be up & running quicker than I thought. All the aluminium slats for the table are now back in place. The old acrylic menu that I used to cover the slats wasn't quite long enough so half the slats have a little blue bit at one end lol. Won't make any difference to the machine as it doesn't cut that far but even if it did after surfacing it wouldn't have mattered.
The bellows are all pretty clean having had a long steep in a hot bath & a scrub, one of the perks of not having a " She who must be obeyed" anymore. Will update the photos latter on as I left the camera up at the unit.

86958696

great-dragon
09-04-2013, 12:15 AM
Well I finally got back to the guys shop and removed the rectifier. Ended up going to the next big town and stop at a supply house and picked up two of them for 16$, $8ea. so not to bad. Now all I got to do is get back there tomorrow and resolder them in and replace a couple of the wires and connectors that are corroded.

Then cross my fingers and hope that's all it needed.

Thanks again Martin! I'll let y'all know sometime around noon what if anything happens. Hoping for those other LEDs to light up.

Here's a better shot of the blown rectifier.

martin54
09-04-2013, 03:28 AM
Best of luck with it Greg, remember to take your test metre with you this time lol, if it fires up all you need to do then is get your head round the software which shouldn't be to difficult as your only dealing with one program. As I said before gerber used their own version of gcode but as far as I am aware using gerber advantage you will be able to design something to machine, create the code & then cut it all from the same program.
I say as far as I am aware because that is what I was told, I've never actually used the software myself because the machine wasn't working when I got it & as it's now been upgraded it won't be able to run it as it did before. I would also have had to sort out an older computer because the guy said that version 6 which is what I got with it wouldn't run on anything latter than windows 98.

great-dragon
09-04-2013, 05:50 AM
Thank You Martin! and Everyone else!
LOL! Yeah the meter is in my truck. LOL! Not going to forget it again.

Just want to say I wasn't trying to highjack your thread. I was just looking for as much help as I could get. I'll be following your work regardless and may, more likely then not looking for more advice from you and everyone. Just wish I had a better net connect, LOL what should only take a minute or two takes me about 30. (Smartphone tether with crappy provider)

I don't see the software being a problem, I taught my self how to run around in AutoCad, thou I'm no expert. Just wish I had a way to throw Gerber's software on my laptop so I could play with it, but the whole Win98 thing kinda throws a wrench in the gears. Now I've got some old rigs but nothing that runs 98. LOL I knew I should have saved one of them.

I'm still interested in what electronics you used in your upgrade/update. I would think in the long run it might be a good idea for the company. Thou I don't work there yet. And I definitely need to know where to get the acrylics cause the aluminum slats need resurfacing.

Anyways Thx All!
Can't wait to see how things turn out for you martin.

Greg

martin54
09-04-2013, 01:19 PM
No problem Greg, it was all related to the same make machine so I don't really see it as a hijack & if it's helped you at all then all worth it.
Worth keeping up with the forum anyway Greg if cnc is something your interested in, there are some very knowledgeable people on the forum who will help with just about anything.
My design computer runs on an AMD phenon x6 (blackbox) with 16 gig DDR3 & it runs windows 7, XP pro & windows 98 & all have been very stable. I use something called vmware player which creates virtual machines. People in the know say it is better than any of the microsoft virtual machines although I have never tried them myself.
Reason for that is down to software that I run. Inspire pro won't run above windows 98, adobe cs1 won't run above xp & I can't get drivers for my printer beyond xp.
Inspire has a parallel dongle which is recognised by the program when using the 98 virtual machine so gerber advantage may well work the same.

As for acrylic well they are a sign company so they will know where to get it or may already have it. What I used for my table was an old take away menu that came from a shop I did the signs for. The old menu was a board on the wall with external lighting, the new owners wanted a lightbox instead so the old board couldn't be reused in the shop.

great-dragon
10-04-2013, 12:58 AM
Well good news, I replaced one of the rectifiers and low an behold the 2 24vdc LEDs lit up :yahoo: but not the mill on one. But I still can't control the X,Y with the control panel. Also I'm probably doing something wrong when I try to push a design to the machine even thou the panel says start ready. But there is some bad news as well there are a couple semiconductors with cracks, would it be worth trying to replace them? Pics below.

8705
8706
8707
8704

Is there a way to test the contactor?

Also I figured out what the unconnected wires went to, went to a plug on the side rail under the machine. I'm guessing to plug the power supply in for the control panel. Thou the plug isn't a standard US AC outlet.
Martin Just out of curiosity what do you plan on doing with all the left over (original) parts? Other then the motors.

Greg

Swarfing
10-04-2013, 01:19 AM
Apply 24v to the coil and see if it slams shut? Contactors are not that expensive these days so maybe worth swapping out anyway. Being the way this thing seems to have popped all over the place, check for any leaking caps.

martin54
10-04-2013, 01:41 AM
Ok just guessing here but the mill light might be for the router itself which will be either a porter cable or a perske spindle. These are 115v supplied so although you have now sorted the 24v transformer you will need to see if you have a 115v supply.
Pretty sure the operators manual doesn't cover stuff like this & I was unable to get anything from spandex in the UK but you might have more luck across the pond. Spandex sold & maintained these machines.
To be honest I haven't really spent any time looking at the operating manual other than look to see if it had any technical info, will see what it says about operating. To be honest I hadn't thought to much about what came out of it although I did put it away rather than throwing it out as I knew there were still a lot of these machines being used.
If it's the side the control box is mounted to then yes there was a gland plug on my machine, can't remember what ran through it but sure as well as something to the control box there were wires to the emergency stop/power on switch.

great-dragon
10-04-2013, 02:31 AM
Apply 24v to the coil and see if it slams shut? Contactors are not that expensive these days so maybe worth swapping out anyway. Being the way this thing seems to have popped all over the place, check for any leaking caps.

I'm not sure on your definition is for inexpensive,but I just checked Allied Elec. and they want $119, which may not be that much but it's been replaced once already. That was a pic of the old one setting off to the side. So now I just need 24v to test it. Thou when I was tracing the wires, the routers power ties into it and well the router should be 115v ac.
I'll be there tomorrow so I'll retrace the wires.
Also I should be able to test the power going to the motors right, the A+,A- etc.

great-dragon
10-04-2013, 02:43 AM
Apply 24v to the coil and see if it slams shut? Contactors are not that expensive these days so maybe worth swapping out anyway. Being the way this thing seems to have popped all over the place, check for any leaking caps.

I'm not sure on your definition is for inexpensive, cause I have no idea what they would normally cost, but I just checked Allied Elec. and they want $119, which may not be that much but it's been replaced once already. That was a pic of the old one setting off to the side. So now I just need 24v to test it. Thou when I was tracing the wires, the routers power ties into it and well the router should be 115v ac.
I'll be there tomorrow so I'll retrace the wires.
Also I should be able to test the power going to the motors right, the A+,A- etc.

irving2008
10-04-2013, 08:39 AM
well the TIP transistors are only a few pence so its only time n effort to swap them out. however that's a pretty catastrophic failure so cant help wondering what else has died... law of diminishing returns applies...

Swarfing
10-04-2013, 08:55 AM
$119 sounds a bit expensive to me, you should be able to just replace the coil on it's own if your lucky?

great-dragon
10-04-2013, 09:11 AM
well the TIP transistors are only a few pence so its only time n effort to swap them out. however that's a pretty catastrophic failure so cant help wondering what else has died... law of diminishing returns applies...

Point well taken. And well I was thinking the same thing thou I wish I would have seen that before I replaced the rectifier.
Short of removing the PCB and looking at the back for burn marks or incomplete paths, everything looked ok.
Just wondering if there's a chance it'll still run with that one cracked as bad as it is, or if it's a must replace to keep testing.
Or just recommend an electronics update. I've looked into gecko stuff and thou its more of a top end product (I'm assuming) I've looked at xories stuff and thou its cheaper I've read good reviews. But it may be just hit or miss. Don't think the software would be a prob cause he mentioned that before I had a chance too.

For what its worth I have a crappy net connection, tethering through a G network sux wouldn't be bad if it was 3G, so researching some things take forever. But reading forums ain't bad cause its mostly text. But when I can I go to a friends and use his net...

Anyways Thx any and all info is greatly appreciated.
Greg

irving2008
10-04-2013, 09:17 AM
Point well taken. And well I was thinking the same thing thou I wish I would have seen that before I replaced the rectifier.
Short of removing the PCB and looking at the back for burn marks or incomplete paths, everything looked ok.
Just wondering if there's a chance it'll still run with that one cracked as bad as it is, or if it's a must replace to keep testing.
Or just recommend an electronics update. I've looked into gecko stuff and thou its more of a top end product (I'm assuming) I've looked at xories stuff and thou its cheaper I've read good reviews. But it may be just hit or miss. Don't think the software would be a prob cause he mentioned that before I had a chance too.

For what its worth I have a crappy net connection, tethering through a G network sux wouldn't be bad if it was 3G, so researching some things take forever. But reading forums ain't bad cause its mostly text. But when I can I go to a friends and use his net...

Anyways Thx any and all info is greatly appreciated.
Greg

Sadly cracks like that are a result of vapourised internals so will need replacing, no option I'm afraid...

great-dragon
10-04-2013, 09:28 AM
$119 sounds a bit expensive to me, you should be able to just replace the coil on it's own if your lucky?

I'm guess by that you mean a repair kit. I did see that as an option at one site.

great-dragon
10-04-2013, 09:31 AM
Sadly cracks like that are a result of vapourised internals so will need replacing, no option I'm afraid...

Understood. Guess I'm heading back to the supply house. LOL I so need a fuel efficient vehicle.

martin54
10-04-2013, 11:30 AM
Like Irving has said a failure like that could have caused all sorts of other damage, if your still thinking about a complete change out then why not sit down & work out the cost & put that to the owner as an option, you will need a BOB, 3 x drivers, power supply, software licence for mach3 that you already know of then a small safety type circuit, got the layout for mine from on the forum & didn't cost much to build, few relays an estop & some wiring basically. You could use the machines existing estop for this so that helps reduce the bill, I built my control box before I got the gerber for something else I had started before it came up & it was all built into an old computer case.
Original motors are superior electrics slo syn can't remember model but they are 1.8v, 4.7A 6 wire nema 34. If you intend to use the original mators then you need a 36v power supply & drivers to match. I will eventually fit nema 23 motors that will handle a higher voltage so the drivers I have fitted are wasted just now as they are capable of a lot more but until I can make some adapter plates for the motors I'm limited to 36v.
If your looking for info on step & direction then I would need to double check this & my notebook is at the unit but I think it goes
Green A
Blue A-
red B
Org B-

Black & white are centre taps, black for red, red/white & white for green, green/white

Like I say don't take that as written & go applying any external power but should be ok for testing.
will update that latter after I have been up at the unit. Might not be the best idea to buy the cheapest drivers you can find, remember this will be a production machine for a business if plans go well & could be doing a lot of hours running.

Swarfing
10-04-2013, 07:00 PM
I'm guess by that you mean a repair kit

They may do a repair kit? The energiser coil is where you apply power to the contactor and it closes it, so that your mains power then runs through the unit. Most contactors allow this to be swapped out as it wears out quicker than the unit. A good one will work at a much lower voltage, you could try a 12v supply just to see if the contactor moves? no guarantees

martin54
10-04-2013, 09:08 PM
I don't want to put a jinx on myself but things seem to be going pretty well just now, got the electronics all hooked up & the gantry moving about, was going to do a little video but wasn't sure how to put my camera into video mode lol.
Not quite sure what to do long term at the moment, I was going to put all the new electronics in the old control box with connections running out for things like power, parallel cable, usb cable etc but now I am thinking that the box is quite big so might be just as easy to fit a motherboard & hard drive in there as well so it is pretty much a self contained unit, Sure there would be somewhere it wouldn't be to difficult to fit a small flat screen monitor

YawString
11-04-2013, 01:28 AM
Hi everyone this is my first post on mycncuk.

I have really enjoyed reading the posts on this thread

I really wish I had seen this thread a few years ago. I have been running an old gerber system 48 / ar400 for about 5 years.. In that time I have spent many a frustrated hour testing and diagnosing electrical problems, replacing resister packs, and trying source obsolete transistors etc etc...

Anyway, I now have use of two all singing and dancing axyz's
The little gerber is gathering dust in the corner and looking for a good home if anyone's interested... I am about to put a post in the for sale section of the forum but thought I'd say hello in here first.

I have no idea what these machines are worth these days...

After reading the previous posts I'm almost inspired to keep the gerber and refit her with new electronics but I am so pushed for space...

martin54
11-04-2013, 04:52 AM
Being pretty new to all this CNC stuff I wish I had bought a machine to refit or built my own machine 5 years ago, well longer than that really lol. I've got an industrial unit so I have placed it in a spot where I can get round it & it has enough space to allow me to fit a full size sheet on for cutting should I need to because it's not going to get moved about lol
I can see from the solid construction of my machine why people in the sign industry thought they were so good, don't think the machine I bought originally to try & repair had done a great deal of work in it's life to be honest, it really was in good condition but then maybe the layers of caked on cutting fluid mixed with aluminium swarf & sawdust helped protect it lol.
Having read your post about the time spent diagnosing & fixing electrical problems maybe it is just as well I couldn't find any technical info on the machine & was talked into refitting it. My only concern is that the gantry height might be a bit low & if this were the case then I would look at ways to raise it a bit rather than part with the machine.
Still has the original motors fitted at the moment but I have some nema 23 3.1nm motors that will get fitted once it is up & running, need the machine to make the adapter plate so the motors fit as originals are nema 34 & frame size is different. Once the motors are fitted then the 70v power supply will go in & I will then get much better performance from the AM882 drivers that are fitted.
I had the electronics already because I was collecting parts to build a machine when this one came up but I would probably have got round to fitting something like that anyway, might just have taken a bit longer lol. The porter cable spindle was suppose to work when I got it but it didn't & when I stripped it it was pretty bad. With spares for it being almost impossible to obtain the machine now has a Chinese 2.2kw spindle fitted which will be quieter than the porter cable if nothing else lol.

great-dragon
12-04-2013, 02:52 AM
YawString have you come up with a price? Cause i'd be interested but probably can't afford, and it depends on where your at.

martin54
13-04-2013, 08:37 PM
Well still haven't figured out how to use my camera to do video, must find the manual for it lol.
Shame really because I wanted a bit of film of it actually cutting something, nothing complicated, just started with a rectangle in a bit of scrap plywood to make sure it was doing what it was suppose to. Can see I have a lot to learn using mach3 as I had all sorts of problems trying to use soft limits, need to spend time on the mach forum I think.
Also need to spend some time figuring out how the spindle is controlled, it's not being done by mach3 just manually so need to sort out how to change the speed.

The other important thing I have learnt today is that if you don't start the spindle before hitting start in mach3 the cutter breaks lol, lucky for me I was just trying with an old 3mm bit just in case.

Still got some tidying up to do but at least the machine is running & I now need to learn how to use it. Once I have had a play & feel a bit more confident then I will make the adapters for the nema 23 motors so I can fit them.

great-dragon
13-04-2013, 09:08 PM
Should just be a icon that looks like a camcorder, flip it and push button to record. My best guess.I'd use my phone myself.
I was also trying to run around in mach3 with the manual as it tries to explain things but it don't like Vista. It says to try things with out a machine connected but doesn't act like the manual says.

martin54
13-04-2013, 09:49 PM
Think I need to select video mode in one of the menu's, never thought about using my phone lol, might try that next time I am up there. I read somewhere that mach3 doesn't like vista (who does) so it is running on a machine with xp pro. The machine is never going to be connected to the net so I'm not bothered about support for xp ending.
Not got a lot of software installed on that machine, was just going to install mach3 & use it purely to drive the router but have ended up putting the cam software on it plus a vector based program for designing. Also got the drivers for my plotter installed so it will drive the plotter as well as the router.

martin54
03-05-2013, 11:34 AM
Having tested the machine & got it all working pretty well except for the VFD plugin which I will get round to sorting but doesn't stop me using the machine I thought it was time to tidy things up a bit, I wanted it to be a self contained unit when I started so having made sure everything was working OK it was time to put everything inside the original control box.

Sorted out an old motherboard (pentium 4) Installed Mach3 & deleted pretty much everything else, mounted the motherboard in the old box & connected it all back up only to find it now doesn't work at all. Have run the driver test for mach3 & there doesn't seem to be any pulse signal at all so I am guessing that the PP is defective in some way. Get no movement at all either from the machine or on the screen when I try to move an axis. Mach3 is set up exactly the same way it is on the other computer & will load & reset. If I run the driver test for mach3 it tells me it has successfully taken over the poet but I get no pulse line on the screen.

martin54
29-05-2013, 03:51 PM
Progressing slowly as & when I get time, the old control box for the machine now houses the computer, power supplies, drivers etc. The VFD is mounted on one of the machine legs, thought it best not to try & fit this in the control box with the other electronics. Bought an old flat screen monitor which I still need to fit to the side of the machine but once that is done it will be pretty much stand alone. Will do all the design work on another machine & just upload the gcode to it via usb. Only program installed is mach3 keeping everything to a minimum having read that mach3 likes it best that way.
One thing that did confuse me though was that when I tried to cut text it was cutting backwards, quick look at the mach support forum told me I had to reverse which ever axis was cutting the wrong way. I expected to have to reverse both the X & Y axis but only had to reverse one of them. Not sure if I have everything set up right now but it seems to work ok, is it usual to have to reverse just one axis ?

poppa jock
29-07-2013, 06:31 PM
Best of luck with it Greg, remember to take your test metre with you this time lol, if it fires up all you need to do then is get your head round the software which shouldn't be to difficult as your only dealing with one program. As I said before gerber used their own version of gcode but as far as I am aware using gerber advantage you will be able to design something to machine, create the code & then cut it all from the same program.
I say as far as I am aware because that is what I was told, I've never actually used the software myself because the machine wasn't working when I got it & as it's now been upgraded it won't be able to run it as it did before. I would also have had to sort out an older computer because the guy said that version 6 which is what I got with it wouldn't run on anything latter than windows 98.
Hi, I am a new member and could use some help please.
I have a Gerber system 48 plus router which was running off of my Gateway 2000 466 computer for over 25years.
Well, the computer crashed and because of the Dongle and it's card
I was old to have this dinosaur rebuilt.
So I did. I have the Graphic Advantage CD installed using windows 95 as my operating system.
I am able to use the composer program, however, when I try to use the Artpath program I get an error message
(Router not connected). Can you help me?

martin54
29-07-2013, 06:54 PM
Ok so what exactly have you had done? Did you get the router rebuilt & if you did is it now running upto date drivers & motors? If that's the case then you can chuck your gerber software in the bucket as it won't work anymore. If the machine has been rebuilt then the old gerber control system will have gone which is probably why you are getting a "Router not connected message"
I replaced all the original electronics & now run the machine using mach3 for the control software.

If the router was working fine & you were happy with it then your best bet would have been to source a really old computer & just reinstalled all the programs you had on your old machine on that. Would probably have cost you next to nothing to pick up a computer that old.

poppa jock
29-07-2013, 07:10 PM
Ok so what exactly have you had done? Did you get the router rebuilt & if you did is it now running upto date drivers & motors? If that's the case then you can chuck your gerber software in the bucket as it won't work anymore. If the machine has been rebuilt then the old gerber control system will have gone which is probably why you are getting a "Router not connected message"
I replaced all the original electronics & now run the machine using mach3 for the control software.

If the router was working fine & you were happy with it then your best bet would have been to source a really old computer & just reinstalled all the programs you had on your old machine on that. Would probably have cost you next to nothing to pick up a computer that old.

No problem with the router, just had the PC rebuilt and know i have a problem communicating with the router.
Do you have your old software for installation?

poppa jock
29-07-2013, 10:08 PM
Ok so what exactly have you had done? Did you get the router rebuilt & if you did is it now running upto date drivers & motors? If that's the case then you can chuck your gerber software in the bucket as it won't work anymore. If the machine has been rebuilt then the old gerber control system will have gone which is probably why you are getting a "Router not connected message"
I replaced all the original electronics & now run the machine using mach3 for the control software.

If the router was working fine & you were happy with it then your best bet would have been to source a really old computer & just reinstalled all the programs you had on your old machine on that. Would probably have cost you next to nothing to pick up a computer that old.
I have no problem with the router it was the PC that crashed.
I installed the latest disk I have and the composer and other programs work. When I try to open Artpath I receive an error message stating " no router installed use GSP setup.
I go to GSP setup and follow the install. Yet, when i go to Artpath I get the same message. I reboot the computer to help.
No luck.

martin54
30-07-2013, 12:50 AM
Sorry picked you up wrongly, thought you meant that when the computer died you got the router upgraded, lets face it they are old lol.
So what is the spec of the computer you have it running on now?
How have you got the router connected to the computer & how have you got the dongle connected?
Think I still have the manuals for the system 48 at the unit somewhere, will have a hunt for them.

poppa jock
30-07-2013, 04:38 PM
Sorry picked you up wrongly, thought you meant that when the computer died you got the router upgraded, lets face it they are old lol.
So what is the spec of the computer you have it running on now?
How have you got the router connected to the computer & how have you got the dongle connected?
Think I still have the manuals for the system 48 at the unit somewhere, will have a hunt for them.

I am running windows 95 the same as the before the crash.
I have the dongles in place and the router cable is connected to Com port 1 exactly the same as before.
The CD with GA release 6.0- Rev.E was installed and all the programs are working. I design on composer then send to Artpath. Instantly I receive an error message-No Router installed, use GSP Setup.
I do that and still the same reply.
I can not get my router installed. Gerber tells me they don't support this product any more. I asked for software help.
I figured that should be in their library. Yet, no help at all.
I have a ton of work backed up and I am at wits end.

Clive S
30-07-2013, 05:13 PM
Perhaps the software is looking at Com 2 instead of Com 1. Sorry can't help more that that. Clive

poppa jock
30-07-2013, 05:19 PM
Perhaps the software is looking at Com 2 instead of Com 1. Sorry can't help more that that. Clive

No problem, I thank you for your feedback and concern.
I am speaking with a gentleman from The plotter Doctor in California and he said he has my solution. Thanks again.

martin54
30-07-2013, 08:09 PM
Hope he has, nothing worse than having work piling up because of machinery problems. Have you checked that the com port is set up correctly?
Unfortunately I never ran the machine as it was intended for use as it had a faulty motherboard when I bought it.
If the guy in the states can't help then hopefully the manual will have some troubleshooting info.
I had the same problem with Gerber to be honest, like you I was looking for a bit of info as originally I was going to see if I could fix the machine rather than just rip out all the original electronics. Absolutely no help what so ever which has now put me off ever buying anything with their name on it.

poppa jock
30-07-2013, 08:52 PM
Hope he has, nothing worse than having work piling up because of machinery problems. Have you checked that the com port is set up correctly?
Unfortunately I never ran the machine as it was intended for use as it had a faulty motherboard when I bought it.
If the guy in the states can't help then hopefully the manual will have some troubleshooting info.
I had the same problem with Gerber to be honest, like you I was looking for a bit of info as originally I was going to see if I could fix the machine rather than just rip out all the original electronics. Absolutely no help what so ever which has now put me off ever buying anything with their name on it.

It was so easy to rectify, when you know what to do. I had installed the router as SYSTEM 48 plus. When actually, it should be entered as AR-400 because we up graded in 1997 to be able to run the router from our PC instead of the 48 system.

whospete
11-09-2013, 09:57 PM
It was so easy to rectify, when you know what to do. I had installed the router as SYSTEM 48 plus. When actually, it should be entered as AR-400 because we up graded in 1997 to be able to run the router from our PC instead of the 48 system.

Hi Poppa,

I have the same issue. PC went pop, replaced it and now I get the "no router installed" problem. Is the AR-400 solution a general fix or was it just for your machine? I would really appreciate any help you could give me. Many Thanks.

stuboy
13-09-2013, 01:35 PM
The diode pic posted earlier in this thread is a general purpose 400v 35A diode so anything with 35A or more current rating will be fine, (I don't think you need 400v as its a 35v power supply so 100v rating should be fine, 400v are just more common) I think I still have them in my PSU which is still running my machine :-)
Regards
Stuart