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Leadhead
02-10-2015, 10:35 AM
I have been building my desktop router and have been screaming with frustration trying to get my steppers to run smoothly. I have three XP PC boxes all working and cleaned of trash proggrammes. All three give ragged pulses to my steppers? A chance conversation with Angeltec revealed that around 50% of his old XP PC`s will not run Mach3 successfully? Following that I tried my system with a PC already running my old Mach3 router and "bobs your uncle" every thing worked perfectly?

So is this a common problem?? If so are these other three PC`s able to be adapted in some way.

magicniner
02-10-2015, 11:23 AM
I've been using HP Compaq ex-business desktops and all the models I've tried have good parallel ports for BOB/Mach3 control, right up to the point where the PP was discontinued.
For later models I'm now faced with testing PP cards to find one which is compatible, if you can disable the onboard PP and can find a compatible card then that ought to get you going,
Regards,
Nick

Leadhead
02-10-2015, 11:49 AM
I've been using HP Compaq ex-business desktops and all the models I've tried have good parallel ports for BOB/Mach3 control, right up to the point where the PP was discontinued.
For later models I'm now faced with testing PP cards to find one which is compatible, if you can disable the onboard PP and can find a compatible card then that ought to get you going,
Regards,
Nick

Leadhead
02-10-2015, 11:54 AM
Nick - Thanks I also have two redundant HP Compaq`s and they are two of the three that will not play ball.
Had a brand new PP card here. Just tried it but "of course" it does not fit in the bus slot.
Will persevere!!!

cropwell
02-10-2015, 01:03 PM
Unfortunately the parallel port is an outmoded feature and it was very much adapted to cope with the two way conversation required by external devices such as data backup boxes etc... Mach3 jumped on the bandwagon and all was fine to begin with, but the PP was already sick and dying for printing purposes and USB, Ethernet and Wifi were taking over. My recommendation is to go forward to Ethernet or sideways to USB.

PP at first used TTL logic levels and 5v with low data rates meant most 'printing' didn't come out garbled, but with CMOS and longer cables your chances diminish and Mach3 may squirt out the right pulses, but your BoB won't get enough to process properly and reliably.

Keep your printer cables as short as possible - it won't do any harm.

Cheers

Rob

Neale
02-10-2015, 03:00 PM
I bought a one of these (http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components/controllercards/serialandparallel/m252.html) a year or so back as I had to replace a motherboard (as it happens, in an old HP PC) and cheap motherboards don't have parallel ports. I'm using LinuxCNC at the moment so wanted to avoid the external motion controller route as there isn't much choice anyway. This PCI card has been working fine under Linux with a cheap BOB on the end of the parallel cable, but I can't speak for Mach3 use. I have built the PC as dual-boot and have Mach3 demo on the Windows half - I really should test it!

Tenson
02-10-2015, 03:20 PM
I've got an HP Compaq Pentium 4 box sitting here with XP. It works pretty well for Mach 3. Anyone can have it for free if you collect from Kent, DA11. Only PC box, no monitor or keyboard etc..

Edit: Just like this one - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/HP-Compaq-DC5000-Pentium-4-HT-3Ghz-3GB-RAM-40GB-HDD-XP-DESKTOP-COMPUTER-PC-/291396533615?hash=item43d8963d6f

cropwell
02-10-2015, 05:07 PM
I have got a Netmos 2 parallel port adapter and a BoB sitting in a box (somewhere in my shitheap of an office). It was intended for my new build, but Zapp had such a good deal on a CSLabs controller that I decided not to use the PP solution, for the reasons so ably discussed in this thread.

Let me warn anyone thinking of using a PCI PP card that unless you get a driver disk with it, you will have a hunt for the driver for XP as both PCI and XP are obsolete, but I found them on the net at one time and I have a disk with some suitable drivers for this type of card.

Best of Luck,

Rob

magicniner
03-10-2015, 10:21 AM
It's lucky that we're not stuck with XP and that Mach3 works perfectly well on Windows 7, which finds good drivers for a huge range of hardware, new and old.

- Nick

cropwell
03-10-2015, 12:23 PM
Hi Nick,

The PC I use for CNC is an old (ish) machine running XP. I have stripped out everything in the system that I don't need, Games, Networking etc and have disabled devices in the BIOS so that drivers it doesn't need are not loaded. As a result, the system is very stable and loads in <20 seconds as it has a SSD in it.

I tried the PP card on a Win7 machine with little success but did not pursue the matter as it was not mission critical.

It was fun getting into Mach3 and I am impressed with the range of customisation possible.

I am not a fan of Win7 and its successors, but that is because my understanding of the OS, as complexity increases, lessens. I was happy with Win95 - I understood it more (I must just be a reactionary old fart :distrust:).


Cheers

Rob

magicniner
03-10-2015, 01:26 PM
(I must just be a reactionary old fart :distrust:).


Rob,
I don't think that's the case, everyone is best sticking with what they're happy with.

Windows 7 simply gives access to several later generations of PC hardware,
Regards,
Nick

Clive S
03-10-2015, 06:19 PM
It also depends if it is 32bit or 64 bit syatem

magicniner
03-10-2015, 08:51 PM
It also depends if it is 32bit or 64 bit syatem

Given that parallel ports are not supported under 64 bit then external motion controllers would be the only option in 64 bit, Mach3 still works under 64 bit though

- Nick

Robin Hewitt
03-10-2015, 10:36 PM
Takes me back...

C:\>debug
-d40:0
0040:0000 F8 03 00 00 00 00 00 00 - 78 03 00 00 00 0B 02
-q
C:\>

Meaning one serial port at 03f8h and one parallel port at 0378h so if you wrote to 0378h your data would be on the pins in microseconds if not faster.

Of course you were supposed to access it via the BIOS, not that that would slow it down much.

It only really goes tits up when writing to 0378h causes an interrupt that will join the queue to sort the mess out at some nebulous time in the future.

Tenson
03-10-2015, 11:23 PM
I also don't like Windows 8 and 10. My wife just got a Win 8 'Surface Pro' from work. I can't make heads nor tails of it on first use. I'm very comfortable with win 7 and predecessors.

i2i
03-10-2015, 11:44 PM
this p/port computer problem is not down to a specific model or make of computer. I have 8 dell computers that are exactly the same, four of them work, four of them don't. They all have the same setup and were completely wiped before installation of xp.

magicniner
04-10-2015, 12:29 AM
It's about the parallel port spec, not PC model, Dell were known for swapping things on boards during the life of a model, if you got a replacement board under warranty it might or might not even support the OS install on the existing HDD.

cropwell
04-10-2015, 01:04 AM
I never trusted Dell, they were chucked together as cheaply as possible in my opinion. Most of my machines I built myself, it's not rocket surgery.

i2i
04-10-2015, 01:29 PM
going back to the old days when dell first appeared they were the dogs bo**ocks, high quality intel based machines that set the standard. Nothing lasts.

Palletlad
14-03-2018, 01:18 PM
Reviewing this thread I am a tad curious, would using the UC100 bypass this issue with the PC's, I know it is a more expensive option compared to simply getting a PP card but I'm seeing a lot of good reviews about having one.
I've been interested in buying a UC100 as an upgrade later on in the year and been trying to find a legit seller (as been only able to find cloned versions)

m_c
14-03-2018, 11:36 PM
Reviewing this thread I am a tad curious, would using the UC100 bypass this issue with the PC's
Yes.
Any external motion controller will avoid this problem.

Ger21
15-03-2018, 12:35 AM
I would highly recommend the UC400ETH over the UC100, for just a little more money. You get better noise immunity with an ethernet connection, and two ports instead of one.
You can order them direct from CNC Drive's website.

Doddy
15-03-2018, 07:28 AM
I would highly recommend the UC400ETH over the UC100, for just a little more money. You get better noise immunity with an ethernet connection, and two ports instead of one.
You can order them direct from CNC Drive's website.

Gerry, genuine question - I'm in the market for a new motion controller (and I'm not going down the NVEM route again). The UC300ETH looks to be a more capable card than the UC400ETH (which confuses me because "400" is obviously better than "300") in terms of I/O (would I ever need more than a UC300?). I'm pretty certain that there's no performance difference between them, just a functional improvement of the 300 vs 400. Or have I missed something?

Price-wise?, I'll pass on two pints of ale this weekend to make up the difference.

Ger21
15-03-2018, 10:43 AM
My take is that anyone looking to buy a UC400ETH should buy the UC300ETH. The price difference is fairly small, and the UC300ETH gives you a lot more I/O, plus analog inputs and outputs.
It really makes no sense to buy the UC400ETH, except as a step up from the UC100, unless you know you'll never use the extra I/O or analog I/O.
Performance between the UC300ETH and UC400ETH is the same.

If you go the UC300ETH route, I highly recommend the UB-1 breakout board from CNC Room. This breakout board eliminates the need for the 5LPT motherboard that the UC300ETH is normally mounted to, which saves about $40. You can buy the UC300ETH with the UB-1 as a package. http://www.cncroom.com/interface-cards/uc300eth-ub1

If you need all 5 ports, CNC Room just came out with a 2 port daughterboard for the UB1 as well.

Palletlad
15-03-2018, 11:57 AM
I've brought the cnc 6040 and found a few issues with it and after a lot of frustration and a lot of help from peeps on here I think I've narrowed it down to 2 issues, one being the original psu was faulty and the other was my PC's on board LPT connection gave me missed steps (which I will confirm today once my LPT card arrives) the annoyance was that I checked the pc with another pc and it had the same issues but after reading this thread I think it was just sods law that the second one had the same issue which mislead me thinking the PC was fine.
but in the end I have upgraded the BoB + stepper motors + cables + PSU which has improved the performance greatly with 90% issues fixed but it seems the LPT setup is the main cause as previously mentioned in this thread as I have ran out of any other parts to replace :hysterical:
Once confirmed if it is the pc's onboard LPT connection causing the missed steps then for a beginner would the UC100 be enough for me?
Or would the UC400 still be advised (I only be using 3 motors for a while as being a beginner) so the UC300 would be wasted on me to my understanding.

A_Camera
15-03-2018, 12:22 PM
Reviewing this thread I am a tad curious, would using the UC100 bypass this issue with the PC's, I know it is a more expensive option compared to simply getting a PP card but I'm seeing a lot of good reviews about having one.
I've been interested in buying a UC100 as an upgrade later on in the year and been trying to find a legit seller (as been only able to find cloned versions)

The UC100 is a USB motion controller and yes, it solves the parallel port issue, but would add a new one. USB is not the best solution, especially in a noisy environment, so if I were you, I'd buy the slightly more expensive UC400 or UC300ETH. With an Ethernet connection you will get a much better system. I have used the UC300USB for quite some time, but then I changed to UC300ETH when it got released and never been happier. I suppose the UC400 is just as good except that it has less ports and no analogue in/outputs.

As for a legit seller... why don't you buy it from the source? CNC Drive has it's own webshop and is shipping directly from Hungary, 100% genuine products.

https://www.cncdrive.com/products.html

Ger21
15-03-2018, 12:32 PM
If you are considering a UC100, I'd buy a UC400ETH.
If you are considering a UC400ETH, I'd get the UC300ETH.

The price difference is very small when moving up to the next option, and in the case of the UC400ETH, you get better performance.
In the case of the UC300ETH, you get more features.

A_Camera
15-03-2018, 12:39 PM
Once confirmed if it is the pc's onboard LPT connection causing the missed steps then for a beginner would the UC100 be enough for me?
Or would the UC400 still be advised (I only be using 3 motors for a while as being a beginner) so the UC300 would be wasted on me to my understanding.

The UC100 is sort of a USB - parallel port interface with a built in motion controller. It will replace your parallel port directly and you can plug the DB25 directly into the BOB, between the PC and the CNC. It has the advantage of that it is boxed and 100% plug and play, just install the driver, plug the printer cable into the DB25 and the USB cable between the UC100 and the PC, and off you go. But... it is USB.

The UC400 in your case makes perfect sense. It provides better noise immunity and it has an extra parallel port, so you can have more inputs/outputs compared with the UC100. The only disadvantage I can see over the UC100 is that it is not boxed and needs an external power supply, but the advantages clearly overweights the disadvantages. In my opinion, it makes sense to get the UC400, but makes no sense to get the UC100. I honestly think the UC300ETH would be overkill for you (as it is for me as well) unless you have plans on extending your machine with loads of extra buttons and other bells and whistles. I have no use for the analogue inputs/outputs at all, since I control my VFD via Modbus, but even if I would have used 0-10V I'd prefer an external PWM board. If I buy a new controller I'll buy the UC400 also because it is easier to install than the UC300ETH and the layout is better designed.

m_c
15-03-2018, 12:49 PM
Once confirmed if it is the pc's onboard LPT connection causing the missed steps then for a beginner would the UC100 be enough for me?
Or would the UC400 still be advised (I only be using 3 motors for a while as being a beginner) so the UC300 would be wasted on me to my understanding.
The UC100 is essentially a direct replacement for a single parallel port.
The other similar option is a PMDX-411, but that's limited to Mach4.

The comments about USB are valid, but bear in mind, the percentage of people who actually have problems is very slim. From what I remember, one of the original USB Smoothstepper sellers estimated it was under 2% of people who had problems. Newer USB devices do seem more reliable.

Palletlad
16-03-2018, 01:28 PM
You all convinced me I am going to purchase the UC400 as like doddy said earlier its only a few pints in difference :D
I got my PCI card in though in the meantime I was going to test the LPT port issue but I cant get the PCI port to link with Mach3 :/ my I/O is DC00 - DC07 so I am putting in 0xDC00 in the port settings under LPT1 (which I have named the PCI port as well. Is this right as there was no instructions that came with the card?

Doddy
16-03-2018, 04:35 PM
You all convinced me I am going to purchase the UC400 as like doddy said earlier its only a few pints in difference :D
I got my PCI card in though in the meantime I was going to test the LPT port issue but I cant get the PCI port to link with Mach3 :/ my I/O is DC00 - DC07 so I am putting in 0xDC00 in the port settings under LPT1 (which I have named the PCI port as well. Is this right as there was no instructions that came with the card?

It's the 300 that's a few quid more than the 400. But, I'm sure the 400 is suited to your needs. Not that I'm condoning your fix-by-replacement-until-it-works approach, but you know that already.

Palletlad
16-03-2018, 04:43 PM
ah this wasn't part of the replace to fix it, its simply an upgrade I was looking at from the get go. I brought a cheap pci card to see if its the lpt port causing issues, just need to configure it properly and then I should be able to use the machine.
UC300 wont suit my requirements as it offers too much than what I will use it for but from 20 more from the UC100 I might as well get the UC400.

Ger21
16-03-2018, 04:44 PM
The UC400ETH is a little more than a UC100, and a UC300ETH is a little more than a UC400ETH.

Steel
16-03-2018, 10:05 PM
I have been building my desktop router and have been screaming with frustration trying to get my steppers to run smoothly. I have three XP PC boxes all working and cleaned of trash proggrammes. All three give ragged pulses to my steppers? A chance conversation with Angeltec revealed that around 50% of his old XP PC`s will not run Mach3 successfully? Following that I tried my system with a PC already running my old Mach3 router and "bobs your uncle" every thing worked perfectly?

So is this a common problem?? If so are these other three PC`s able to be adapted in some way.

I have a ibm t42 laptop running xp and i use a paralell port to the driver board. I use a cpu program called rightmark CPU clock utility, without it i get judder on the steppers with it i get smooth running, its a free utility google it

magicniner
17-03-2018, 09:28 AM
I have a ibm t42 laptop running xp and i use a paralell port to the driver board. I use a cpu program called rightmark CPU clock utility, without it i get judder on the steppers with it i get smooth running, its a free utility google it

That utility effectively over rides the laptop power management's propensity to slow down the CPU whenever possible to reduce power consumption, another common laptop problem is a parallel port voltage which proves marginal for driving external logic.
You have a laptop which can work with Mach3 through the parallel port, many will not and that's the reason laptops were not recommended or supported.