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View Full Version : What may be the best way to convert my Denford compact router to mach 3?



suesi34e
26-04-2014, 09:05 PM
12230


12231

Hi Guys

What may be the best way to convert my Denford Compact Router to mach 3?

It was made in 2004 and I would like to get it going on mach 3.

Here is a link to the manual for it section 8 is the electrical section. http://www.denfordata.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=3675&sid=81ee33e232ce67280f949af69089a5a8
I have also attached two photos.

Many thanks for any help

Suesi

m_c
27-04-2014, 12:15 AM
Denford use 24V logic in all thier stuff, so ideally you'd use a BOB/controller that is 24V tolerant.
Basic option is to just replace the main control board (the board with the serial connector plugs, which sits on top/plugs into the board with the terminals), trace the terminals and solder into the headers on the terminal board.

More advanced option is replace that entire board, with a controller and 3 new stepper drivers.

For 24V controller, the three I can think of just now are CS-Lab, KFlop+Kanalog, and PLCM (Zapp sell them). CS-Lab and PLCM would require some form of step to analogue converter for the spindle control board. There may also be an issue with the homing sensors that Denford used (they used to use NAMUR output, but I think they swapped to something a bit more sensible at some point)

suesi34e
27-04-2014, 01:16 PM
Hi m_c

Many thanks for your valuable help once again. The info you have provided shouldgive me a good start on what to think about. Once I get time later I hope toget the back of the machine and see if I can identify the boards and see if Ican make some sense of things.

Some things I have been thinking about for a long time is that the router is a single speed so perhaps that may make things simpler. There is also an on off switch on the router so I am not sure if it could be turned on and off with M3 / M5 or just manually.

Anyhow thank you again for your advice which will be of help you have mentioned so much I did not know about.

All the best

suesi

m_c
28-04-2014, 12:19 AM
If the spindle is a simple on/off, then you won't need an analogue output.
However the top left board looks very like a KB drive of some form, and there are wires connected to the terminals that would normally have a speed potentiometer connected (they can be controlled either with a potentiometer, or via an isolated 0-10V feed). IIRC the ID/Model label would normally be on the face of the heatsink pointing towards the side of the case/opposite side of the bit where the SCRs are bolted on.

And having just checked the wiring diagrams ( Denford Software & Machines • View topic - MicroRouter Compact 2002 - 2004 Circuit Diagram (http://www.denfordata.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=2586) ), it does use a 0-10V analogue signal. The Baldor controllers that Denford use, are pretty good things and have quite a bit of Inputs and Outputs, including analogue. It's just a shame they cost so much. I think the cost of an upgrade from the model in your router, to the lastest USB version is over £1200. I happen to have the latest USB version in my Novamill, and I've got no plans to swap it as it just works with no issues, and I've just added a coolant relay with minimal hassle.

Another issue I notice in the wiring diagrams, is the micro routers don't have a 24V DC supply. They simply use 24V AC relays, and feed 24V AC into the Baldor, which has it's own onboard rectifier/regulators. Both my Novamill and Cyclone have linear supplies, so they must of gone for the cheaper option when doing the micro routers.
That creates the issue of getting a stable 24V DC supply for any new controller. Cheap option would be a 24V DC din rail switched mode supply, but the ideal option to minimise noise would be a 24V DC linear supply.
Rectifing the existing the 24V AC isn't that viable an option, as you would still need to regulate it down to a consistent 24V DC. AC stuff is usually far more tolerant of voltage variations than DC, which usually has pretty strict voltage tolerance.

cropwell
28-04-2014, 09:50 AM
Forgive me if I am talking bollox, but it is a feature of age :witless:.
.
It seems a pity that the easiest option to convert to Mach3 seems to be to rip out the electronics and replace them. The motion control board has serial input, and (later ones?) USB as well. There does not seem to be any easy bridge from Mach3, which is predominately LPT based with direct step and direction control, to the Baldor NextStep or NextMove board which is controlled by MINT, a motion control language.
.
I presume that the majority of Denford machines sold off by liquidators or schools don't have the original PC, software and dongle, which renders a well made machine useless without the original PC.
.
From a purely academic interest (I haven't got one of these machines), I would be keen to know if anyone has any info on the control protocols of the serial communication to the Motion Board, or if anyone makes an interface LPT to Mint(?).
.
This could be a Raspberry or Arduino project, but I need to know more before I can make up my mind.
.
Another thought - might LinuxCNC be an appropriate direction to explore ?

m_c
28-04-2014, 12:12 PM
Perfectly reasonable question.
Denford will still sell you a license for their software (about £250 IIRC), however the older RS232 only machines will only work with version 2 of their VR software, which has various limitations. But it still leaves the issue that RS232 is not much use if you're doing 3d work, as you run a high risk of buffering issues with not being able to get the required motion to the board quick enough.

The details for the MINT language can be found at http://www.baldormotion.com/products/mint/MINT.asp and I know Mad Professor was reverse engineering the serial protocol until he had to stop due to some personal issues.

cropwell
28-04-2014, 07:13 PM
The more I look at this, the more convinced I am that it is easier to go the conventional route with motor drivers and a BoB, control relays for coolant and spindle and proximity sensors for the home switching. Shame that such expensive and robust electronics will probably go to waste.
Thanks m_c for the info. It is good to be aware of the problems if buying a surplus Denford machine.

suesi34e
04-05-2014, 01:02 PM
Hi guys,

Hope the w-end is going well for you all.

Re the BOB for my little Denford micro router how would the one in the link do. I guess m_c may have an idea which would be great.

NEW 4 Axis TB6560 Stepper Motor Driver Board Controller + DEMO Mach3 + DB25 Cabl | eBay (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NEW-4-Axis-TB6560-Stepper-Motor-Driver-Board-Controller-DEMO-Mach3-DB25-Cabl-/390828668864?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_15&hash=item5aff3437c0)

Anyhow happy machining all the best and thanks in advance for any help

suesi

cropwell
04-05-2014, 02:28 PM
Suggest you search the posts for TB6560. It seems that the TB6560 is well discussed (with disgust). Apparently not a good choice it seems. Why are they all over eBay ?

m_c
05-05-2014, 12:12 AM
3 individual stepper drives, combined with a good BOB would be a far better option.
Recommendations would depend on budget, and if you wanted to keep the 24V logic, or swap to 5V.

Personally, I'd go for 24V as it's far more noise tolerant, however it does come at a price premium.

suesi34e
05-05-2014, 11:14 AM
Hi m_c many thanks for your view. I would like to do what you would do and go the 24V route. My steppers are 3 amps. If you come accross a BOB and drivers that you think would be good it would be great to know what they are and a guide on price that is a reasonable price to pay.

All the best

suesi

JAZZCNC
05-05-2014, 11:28 AM
The CSMIO/IP-M is a great bit of kit for motion control I use them all the time.
It's got 24V I/O, 2 x anologue 0-10v outputs for spindle control or feed rate via a pot at same time or any other thing that needs 0-10V, plenty of I/O's.
Best if all Doesn't require a BOB so takes another level of complexity and general pain in the arse away and mounts neatly on Din rail with very good termninal connections.
The quality of the CSlabs stuff is brilliant and you can really see it's been designed for industrial use, the software plug-in for Mach3 is first rate and they give regular updates if needed, which are not because it just works like it says on the tin.!! . . . 10/10 in my book.

Connect some Lead shine EM503 digital drives to it and you'll have a cracking system. (or slightly cheaper DM442 drives if on a budget)

suesi34e
05-05-2014, 11:56 AM
Hi JAZZCNC, thank you and wow this sounds good I havedownloaded the PDF manual. It is a comfort that you are so complimentary of thecontrol, it takes away the BOB and that it takes away the pain in the arseelement. I wonder just how easy or tricky it would be for a novice to set it upfor my router with all the other components in the back of the machine! Not toooften I here you say such good things about a product.
Thanks again
suesi

JAZZCNC
05-05-2014, 12:14 PM
The controller it's self is not difficult to setup at all even for a novice, thou it must be wired correctly otherwise it can be damaged just like any other device incorrectly wired.
As to connecting to your existing hardware then I don't know enough about your machine to comment. If just a case of Outputs to control things on/off and inputs to monitor things then I doubt you'll have a problem because the CSMIO uses 24V I/O's which are common on many bespoke control systems.
CSMIO range of controls are often used to retrofit large industrial machines, both lathe and milling/routers. The IP-M being the baby and only 4 axis with reduced features, with IP-S being the Daddy for Step/dir control and the IP-A being the Grandaddy for Older anologue machines so if you have any chance at all these will give you it I'm sure.

Regardes the new drives and connecting then that is simple. If your wanting to use the existing drives then you'd need to check out what they require. Thou I suspect you'll get much better performance and easier conversion if you upgrade the drives.

m_c
05-05-2014, 12:43 PM
The CS-Lab option is probably the best option. The other options would be KFlop+Kanalog, which is a far more powerful option with a much higher price tag and complexity, or the PLCM controller with it's own BOB, but I'm not sure on how much support they are actually providing.

I've just had a quick scan through the wiring diagrams, and going by the Next-Step connection diagram (sheet 3 in the previous link), the machine should have the followingn connections-
Digital Inputs
X Datum
Y Datum
Z Datum (you need to double check what kind of datum switches are being used, as they may not be basic switches)
E-Stop circuit
Guard Contact
Analogue Inputs
Feedrate pot (might not be fitted, but denford still show full options in thier diagrams)
Digital Outputs
SGR relay (Spindle Guard Relay - when machine is active, I think this should be non-powered to lock the door and allow the spindle to start)
Stepper outputs (the Next-step has onboard drivers, so you'll need to allow for 3 x step/dir pairs and an enable signal)
Analogue Outputs
Spindle Speed

A few key points I've noticed-
You'll need a 24VDC supply. CS stuff should happily run using a 24VDC din rail switched mode supply (I personally use RS ones, but others are available!)
The existing steppers are designed to run from rectified 24V AC via the next-step on board rectifier, so you'll need an external bridge rectifier and suitable capacitor to supply whatever drives you buy.
The Z-axis stepper has a brake, which is supplied from a half-bridge rectifier setup when the estop circuit is active, so make sure you don't disconnect any part of that circuit.
The timer seems to be used to hold the guard locked for a period after the SGR relay has been de-activated.
The SGR is a 12V relay, being powered from the 12V output of the Next-Step board. You'll need to check to see if the SGR relay will work on 24V (doubtful!) and if not, either swap it for a 24V version, or add a 12VDC power supply.

m_c
05-05-2014, 12:50 PM
If your wanting to use the existing drives then you'd need to check out what they require. Thou I suspect you'll get much better performance and easier conversion if you upgrade the drives.
The existing drivers are built into what is essentially the Next-Step BOB. The Next-Step control board itself sits above and is connected by two large pin headers to a connection board with three stepper drivers and required power supplies built in. You can use the existing drivers by simply patching into the pin headers, but they're pretty basic drivers, although they're good enough for the machines they're fitted to. You will get better performance by fitting new drives though.

suesi34e
07-05-2014, 11:04 PM
Hi m_c

Thanks ever so much for having a look at the wiring diagrams for me and goinginto so much detail. You have been a big help to me and the good news is I amnot bothered about the lock on the door so I may bypass that. If I understandwhat your saying it is that I can use all of the hardware in the machinewithout the need of the control box by patching some wires into the pinheaders.

Thanks ever so much for all the help

Kind regards

suesi

suesi34e
07-05-2014, 11:05 PM
Hi JAZZCNC

Thanks for the info on this. I am yet to read about the controller in anydetail but it sounds good. I am also glad you say it is not difficult to setupfor a novice. I am still getting to grips with the mill I have, G-code and Ihaven't even started on CAM software!

Thanks

suesi

paul_m
01-01-2015, 10:12 PM
Hello Suesi, im new onto here and ive rushed a bit prematurely into a Denford Microrouter compact. did you get this completed and running reliably? i would be very interested in whatthe outcome was and how much its cost to convert too.

thanks, Paul

suesi34e
01-01-2015, 10:58 PM
Hi Paul, just sent you a PM.

paul_m
18-03-2015, 10:26 PM
Hello Suesi, im new onto here and ive rushed a bit prematurely into a Denford Microrouter compact. did you get this completed and running reliably? i would be very interested in whatthe outcome was and how much its cost to convert too.

thanks, Paul


All done and running now :)

suesi34e
18-03-2015, 10:58 PM
That is great Paul. I hope that you start making cool parts and having fun soon.

Best of luck

Suesi

Artificer59
19-05-2015, 07:28 PM
@paul_m, suesi34e

Hi, I have a Denford microrouter which I would like to upgrade. Please could you tell me what route you chaps went for with this. Many thanks.

JAZZCNC
21-05-2015, 12:14 AM
@paul_m, suesi34e

Hi, I have a Denford microrouter which I would like to upgrade. Please could you tell me what route you chaps went for with this. Many thanks.

I can answer this for you because it was me that converted the machine. Which actually started life with Suesi34e then went to Paul.

Bascily it was gutted with the exception of the DC speed controller. New 50V Digital drives/psu and CSlabs ip-M motion control card where used.
This was a high quality convertion which cost more than some would have spent but it shows in the end result. The old machine setup could only dream about performing like it does now.

It's possible to hack one of the exisitng boards so the old drives can be used but IMO they are low quailty and old technology so not worth the trouble.
You'll have much better machine if you use modern digital drives and run with higher voltage than the standard 36v. Connect them to a decent motion control card rather than the parallel port and you'll have nice machine that is reliable and performs like it never did before.

paul_m
21-05-2015, 04:17 PM
Sorry for my delay in reply,
Firstly thanks to JAZZCNC for the conversion, an excellent amazing job which was far superior to anything i could have achieved.
I will confirm that i did pay more than i could have been done for, but i wanted the best components and the best reliability option. This was so that any problems or issues were all down to my ability and not the machine or control of it. But i dad state that only use components you would be willing to use on your own systems.
The unit its absolutely exceptional for such a small package.
My learning has been fun and annoying equally, but i do know that all the problems hit have been down to human error and not the machine.
The enclosed cabinet makes it very quiet and minimises dust massively.
Mach3 is relatively easy to use once set up (again thanks JAZZ) although i do have a screen size/resolution issue now (its shrunk).

Unfortunately this package will be up for sale soon as i think i may be ready for something with a larger working surface.

Paul

Artificer59
21-05-2015, 06:40 PM
Thanks for your replies. I've had the machine for quite a while and it functions ok on the old software. Rather slow but ok for hobby use. I'd really like to have a more up to date system but I'm going to have to think about this some more as I'm not sure I want to commit that kind of money to this machine when I would really like something bigger myself.

JAZZCNC
21-05-2015, 07:45 PM
I'm going to have to think about this some more as I'm not sure I want to commit that kind of money to this machine when I would really like something bigger myself.

Like Said it could be done cheaper but with lot more messing around and no where near the same level of performance and reliabilty. End of the day you get what you pay for. It's just a case of justifying the Cost and if it don't suit then just accept what it will do and live with it or move on.

Personally unless you have specific needs for an quite enclosed machine like Paul did then I couldn't justify the costs and would move on and build one or have built a machine that suits your needs better.
I wouldn't convert one of these machines half hearted. It would be all or nothing and to me they are an excellent toy for learning but they are still a toy in real routing terms.

paul_m
21-05-2015, 09:05 PM
Like Said it could be done cheaper but with lot more messing around and no where near the same level of performance and reliabilty. End of the day you get what you pay for. It's just a case of justifying the Cost and if it don't suit then just accept what it will do and live with it or move on.

Personally unless you have specific needs for an quite enclosed machine like Paul did then I couldn't justify the costs and would move on and build one or have built a machine that suits your needs better.
I wouldn't convert one of these machines half hearted. It would be all or nothing and to me they are an excellent toy for learning but they are still a toy in real routing terms.

i think i may need to pop to see you to start planning phase 2 of this learning cycle.. more so.. the costings :thumsup:
and obviously the wife not finding out.

JAZZCNC
21-05-2015, 09:51 PM
and obviously the wife not finding out.

Erm the old trouble and strife.!! . . . I'm about as poplular as dose of Thrush and Piles together with those things.! Maybe if I designed cloths and hair machines they'd be more pleased to see me.!!. . Lol

You know where to find me.!!

Tommy
10-01-2017, 01:44 PM
Denford use 24V logic in all thier stuff, so ideally you'd use a BOB/controller that is 24V tolerant.
Basic option is to just replace the main control board (the board with the serial connector plugs, which sits on top/plugs into the board with the terminals), trace the terminals and solder into the headers on the terminal board.

More advanced option is replace that entire board, with a controller and 3 new stepper drivers.

For 24V controller, the three I can think of just now are CS-Lab, KFlop+Kanalog, and PLCM (Zapp sell them). CS-Lab and PLCM would require some form of step to analogue converter for the spindle control board. There may also be an issue with the homing sensors that Denford used (they used to use NAMUR output, but I think they swapped to something a bit more sensible at some point)

Hi, Do you have “baldor D281 motion control card for a triac P. C. (denford), red 7-segment LED display type. The firmware is ESMINT 3.28 V1.6H/S - JD5.”

ihulston79
22-03-2017, 12:08 PM
Hello Suesi34e, Paul_m and JAZZCNC

I am new onto here.. I have been reading through this thread as I recently purchased a Denford Microrouter V5 PRO NS for a price I couldn't resist... I've was looking at building something like and oozenest system but now this has come along id like to stick with and upgrade it to mach 3 thus removing the need to use the Denford software and the RS232 connection... By the looks of it you have completed a similar upgrade and they're running reliably :-) could you please let me know what you used for the conversion and how you did it? Any information would be greatly appreciated :-)

thank you for all you help!!

Ian

m_c
22-03-2017, 06:06 PM
Hello Suesi34e, Paul_m and JAZZCNC

I am new onto here.. I have been reading through this thread as I recently purchased a Denford Microrouter V5 PRO NS for a price I couldn't resist... I've was looking at building something like and oozenest system but now this has come along id like to stick with and upgrade it to mach 3 thus removing the need to use the Denford software and the RS232 connection... By the looks of it you have completed a similar upgrade and they're running reliably :-) could you please let me know what you used for the conversion and how you did it? Any information would be greatly appreciated :-)

thank you for all you help!!

Ian

Hi Ian,

the big questions will be, how much are you willing to spend, what performance are you looking for, and how good are you with electrics/electronics?

The conversion can vary from a minimum budget cheap BOB and some wiring/possible soldering using the original stepper motor drives, through to a complete new motion controller, stepper drives, and stepper motors.
Off course, you can change things gradually, as the cheapest option may work perfectly well for you, and then upgrade later if you feel you need some extra performance.

ihulston79
23-03-2017, 09:02 AM
Thank you for the reply

I would like to have a good robust system, simple to use that I can do anything from detailed carving to cutting aluminium with. basically I bought my Microrouter direct from a school, it had just had a new Porter Cable fitted and I could have it for £200, so theres definitely room in the pot to upgrade, and anything I do add will hopefully add value to it.

I've been intouch with Denford and by the time I've brought a licence for their operating system etc i'm already £700 in so don't want to be limited to that option plus it will have its current performance still...

I'm not the best with electronics, I have dabbled in the past.. I can do basics, soldering etc etc... I need directing in the best direction, what to buy etc...

Thank you for your help

m_c
23-03-2017, 12:18 PM
Thank you for the reply

I would like to have a good robust system, simple to use that I can do anything from detailed carving to cutting aluminium with. basically I bought my Microrouter direct from a school, it had just had a new Porter Cable fitted and I could have it for £200, so theres definitely room in the pot to upgrade, and anything I do add will hopefully add value to it.

I've been intouch with Denford and by the time I've brought a licence for their operating system etc i'm already £700 in so don't want to be limited to that option plus it will have its current performance still...

I'm not the best with electronics, I have dabbled in the past.. I can do basics, soldering etc etc... I need directing in the best direction, what to buy etc...

Thank you for your help

Ian, probably best to start your own thread, and if you could post up some photos of the control cabinet internals, that would help us provided some suggestions.

ihulston79
28-03-2017, 09:24 AM
thank you

New thread started :-)

http://www.mycncuk.com/threads/10809-Whats-the-best-way-to-convert-my-Denford-Microrouter-V5-PRO-NS-to-Mach-3