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View Full Version : LinuxCNC and Zapp Automation 3 axis kit - how to configure?



gr8fun
24-03-2013, 06:01 PM
Hi all

I've assembled my Zapp Automation 3 axis stepper kit as per their instructions, the image and additional help from a thread here and the downloads from Zapp and I've got green lights where I expect green lights and a single red one for the power on the BOB.
The driver is the PM542 model.
The BOB is the ZP5A-INT Breakout board
(It is not currently fixed to the plasma table I will be building..)

So I'm happy with the wiring.
I've installed LinuxCNC on a spare PC and connected it via the parallel port to the BOB.

I now need to create configuration file which has me stumped. I don't know if I should be using a sample one or setting up a new one and if it is a new one what are the settings required, if it is a sample one... which???

I'm sure some else has been down this path before, so I'm hoping for a little help rather than reinventing the wheel.. :pride:

Thanks

Danny

Ricardoco
24-03-2013, 06:20 PM
Hi all

I've assembled my Zapp Automation 3 axis stepper kit as per their instructions, the image and additional help from a thread here and the downloads from Zapp and I've got green lights where I expect green lights and a single red one for the power on the BOB.
The driver is the PM542 model.
The BOB is the ZP5A-INT Breakout board
(It is not currently fixed to the plasma table I will be building..)

So I'm happy with the wiring.
I've installed LinuxCNC on a spare PC and connected it via the parallel port to the BOB.

I now need to create configuration file which has me stumped. I don't know if I should be using a sample one or setting up a new one and if it is a new one what are the settings required, if it is a sample one... which???

I'm sure some else has been down this path before, so I'm hoping for a little help rather than reinventing the wheel.. :pride:

Thanks

DannyIm sure Gary (Zapp) will help if he can and if not then i know Jonathan is partial to Linux and between them well i think your problem will be solved..

Rick

Swarfing
24-03-2013, 06:33 PM
Just start a new configuration for a 3 axis machine, unless you've messed with you par port keep the defaults. The breakout board will give you the info for the step/ dir pin settings. Just work through until you get stuck :-)

I think it is easier to set up that mach. Jonathan was mr pro mach until he admitted he now prefers linux from his previous beliefs that mach was the only one. Horses for courses.

What you waiting for GET ON WITH it!

birchy
24-03-2013, 08:58 PM
Use the Stepconf Wizard, it's just a case of inserting the appropriate numbers. The main ones to get right are the step count (i.e. 800 steps if your drives are set to 800 steps on the dip switches) and the parallel port pin numbers.

As a heads up, have you ran the latency test yet? Because LinuxCNC uses a realtime kernel, it can be a bit fussy on hardware. Onboard graphics and WiFi cards are the main culprits. If you really need to use a wifi card, there's a possible solution (for geeks!) HERE (http://www.linuxcnc.org/index.php/english/forum/9-installing-linuxcnc/26068-latency-fix-wifi-driver-auto-loadunload).

gr8fun
25-03-2013, 10:29 AM
I think the main problem for me is the whole new dictionary of phrases etc that mean very little to me at the moment. The learning curve seemed more of a wall, I was hoping that someone had scaled it before ...
I know I will have to get to grips the all the terms and phrases very soon, I guess I was being a little impatient to see some computer generated movement on the stepper..:witless:

I'll take the time to read the documentation I have and work through it slowly - but understanding each bit.
On the subject of the latency test, yes I have run it, for about 3 hours, the first 10 minutes REALLY abusing it and I got a bunch of numbers... That I noted down... but so far I have not seen a button to press to transfer them to somewhere to store (as I would expect) nor a field into which I should input them.. I guess I have missed something along the way and will have to revisit the wizard.

Watch this space, I'll post my progress so anyone following me may have a "cheat sheet" to get going quickly.
Danny

birchy
25-03-2013, 07:24 PM
This is a good place to start: LinuxCNC Documentation - HTML version (http://linuxcnc.org/docs/html/)

And in particular, this: Stepper Quickstart (http://linuxcnc.org/docs/html/quickstart/stepper_quickstart.html)

gr8fun
26-03-2013, 09:35 AM
Cheers Birchy
I found it yesterday and spent much of the day reading it.
I've not done the stepper quick start yet but I have discovered where I went wrong AND the docs I needed for the pin assignments. So a huge step forward.!
I'll be reading the quick start docs a few seconds after hitting the "Post Quick Reply" button here :thumsup::thumsup::thumsup:

cheers

Danny

birchy
26-03-2013, 07:49 PM
At the end of the day, it's just a new piece of software and will take some time to get familiar with. It's no different to using Mach or Autocad or some other "technical" application, but we're always keen to get motors spinning and cut corners which isn't a wise thing to do.

Glad you're progressing. I find the LinuxCNC forums are very friendly and helpful.

gr8fun
09-04-2013, 01:02 PM
Hi guys
I finally managed to get some time to play and have got as far as I can.
I have a downloaded document from Zapp for the BOB that has the pin assignments as below. (The document is called "ZP5A-INT axis interface board manual.pdf")

http://www.windwhistle.co.uk/cnc/bobPins.jpg

This is what I have set up on the LinuxCNC.
http://www.windwhistle.co.uk/cnc/bobPins1.jpg

I'm unsure of pin 1 (there is no "enabled"), pin 9 (no "spindle motor" - is this the spindle for a router?), pin 4 & 17 (no "B" option - would "B" appear if I set it for a 5 axis board?),

WRT the second table, is that for use with the "joystick" type manual control - a totally separate connector?

Any advice\pointers greatly received.
Thanks

Danny

Swarfing
09-04-2013, 07:21 PM
Are you running two motors on 'X' if you are change 'A' settings to show 'X' (two motors for X running on different pins). Turn all those limit pins off for now, Spindle on is for the relay connection. Section 2 is for separate hand controller you can get for these boards.using four motors still only means a 3 axis machine.

Swarfing
09-04-2013, 07:26 PM
Sometimes you have to invert the pins for one of the motors if you use two on X, you can tell this if the motors go in opposite directions. Without checking there should be a pin for charge pump? would need to go and check my setup? if you need it then you can not test in the config wizard if i remember rightly. Somebody correct me if i'm wrong?

birchy
09-04-2013, 08:15 PM
Pin 1 is the charge pump (enable). Swarfing is correct, the "test axis" buttons in the config wizard don't work if your BOB needs the charge pump signal, however you can test in the software itself. HINT: you need to click the "power on" button and "toggle e-stop" in the software before you can run gcode. Then you can test each axis in the software using either the jog functions, entering gcode manually into the MDI tab or by importing and running a gcode file.

Longer term, I'd suggest you install DraftSight CAD and dxf2gcode. Then you can quickly create drawings, save them as dxf and then run the dxf2gcode program to create gcode. There are probably better ways to do that, but I'm also a LinuxCNC newby and that is the easiest way I've found so far...

gr8fun
10-04-2013, 10:11 AM
Thanks chaps.
I'm only using 3 motors as it will be a light weight system for plasma.
Currently motors are not mounted - I was just hoping for movement!!
If the test bit does not work I'll have to move on a little further and see if I can get it to run a simple bit of code. Cheers,

Danny