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Tenson
12-10-2015, 06:39 PM
Hi all,

I've got my ESS board powered up and connected to my laptop. I have set the network settings and installed the driver for Mach3.

When I load Mach 3 it talks to the ESS and says there are missing settings because it is the first time I've used it, so I accept default values.

Now I'm stuck!


1) The first message it gives when starting Mach3 is that no E-Stop has been assigned to an input on the ESS. Actually, I don't have a hardware E-Stop I've always used the Esc key on the computer. What to do? I will also need to assign the home switches.

2) How on earth do I get it to talk to my BOB?

Here are the settings I was using for the standard Mach3 parallel port driver.

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The Motor tuning was:

Y and A axis (dual motors for long axis):100 steps/unit
X axis: 100 steps/unit
Z axis: 200 steps/unit
Maximum velocity 10,000 mm/min

3) Setting 'Max Step Frequency' and 'Controller Frequency'. Following the setup PDF HERE (http://www.soigeneris.com/Document/Warp9/Installing_and_Configuring_the_Ethernet_SmoothStep per.pdf) it says:


Steps/Unit * Units/Min = Steps/Min
Steps/Min / 60 = Steps/Second (or Max Step Frequency)

So using my previous steps per unit for the Z axis of 200 and a maximum velocity of 10,000 mm/min we get...

200 * 10,000 = 2000000
2000000 / 60 = 33333.333r Hz or 33.4 KHz

Does that sound right for Max Step Freq? The options on the ESS setup are 32 KHz and 64 KHz so I'd need to go for 64KHz on the Z axis.

It would of course be half that figure for the other axis which only have 100 steps/mm rather than 200 steps/mm, so should I set those axis to 32KHz because I can, or just use the same for all? (Edit: Actually while the X and Y axis go at 10,000 mm/min, the Z axis is slower at more like 3,000mm/min so 32KHz should be good for all axis, despite the Z needing twice the steps per unit).

What about 'Controler Frequency'? It is 1KHz default.

Tenson
12-10-2015, 09:25 PM
Also, you you guys think it's okay to use one of these generic phone chargers to power the ESS? I don't know how clean the output is, but it does give 4.9V and power up the ESS.

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AndyFromWarp9TD
12-10-2015, 10:52 PM
Also, you you guys think it's okay to use one of these generic phone chargers to power the ESS? I don't know how clean the output is, but it does give 4.9V and power up the ESS.

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Hi Tenson, I am Andy from Warp9TD.com, the guys that make the ESS SmoothStepper.

I will reply to this post first, since it is shorter and simpler. There have been more than a few people that have used phone chargers successfully. The biggest issues are:

Does it supply a stable voltage? (Easy to verify if you are within 4.5v to 5.5V, but preferably within 4.75V and 5.25V)
Can it source enough current? (Easy to verify if it can source 0.5 A at 5.0V)
Is it old and flaky? (Weird thinks happen like random drop outs...)


Here are the specs and FAQ that will help you and others answer those questions.

ESS User Manual, the Power Supply section starts on page 7 (http://warp9td.com/index.php/documentation/doc-ess)
ESS 5V FAQ (http://warp9td.com/index.php/faq#FiveVoltPower)


I will write another response to your first post now.

Thank you!

Andy

AndyFromWarp9TD
12-10-2015, 11:29 PM
So Tenson may be past this stage, but I will post it anyways to help others who may be trying to set up their ESS.

Go to our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpg3EROtW8xA_KzrFHgn4ZQ) and watch these videos:

How to use the SCU (System Configuration Utility) So your PC can talk with your ESS. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WonXbVGSVio)
Installing Mach3 and the ESS Plugin (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtmzGjeLdxo)



The EStop pin issue is something I will be removing from the plugin. When I wrote the plugin I was concerned about the ESS knowing that an EStop happened. In the meantime, I would recommend assigning EStop to an unused pin, such as Port 1 Pin 10 and making it Active Low. Any of pins 10, 11, 12, 13, and 15 of Port 1, 2, or 3 will work.

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This is in Mach3 -> Menu -> Config ->Ports and Pins -> Input Signals.

Once you do this, you should see the Emergency light go off in the Diagnostics tab:
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However, you really want to have an EStop connected to disable your motors via hardware

What is an EStop button?

The EStop button is an Emergency Stop button. The EStop button is there so it can be pressed during an emergency so it can stop your equipment, and hopefully prevent injuries and damage.
Why do I need an EStop button?

The EStop button is a very import safety feature! It can protect you from injury and death, as well as possibly preventing damage to your work piece and equipment.

Every machine should have an EStop button (or multiple EStop buttons), and you should test your EStop button's functionality regularly.
How does the EStop button work with a SmoothStepper?

Software is not a reliable way to stop motors in an Emergency situation, since something can go wrong with software. You need to rely on hardware approach to disable motors and other outputs in an Emergency situation. The EStop button should disable your motors and other output devices (spindles, plasma cutters, lasers, etc...), but it shouldn't disable the SmoothStepper. Instead the SmoothStepper's EStop input signal should be treated as a courtesy signal to inform you visually that the EStop button has been pressed and also used to inform Mach3 or Mach4 to halt the G-Code.


Your pin assignments for the motors look OK. The ESS uses the same dialogs as Mach, so just enter the same values for the ESS.

According to you calculations, the max step frequency should be 64 kHz for the Z axis. You should be able to use 32 kHz for the X and Y axes.

Leave the Controller Frequency at 1 kHz, though you could try 2 kHz if you want a little less delay when using FRO or Feed Hold. The ESS has a fixed amount of memory, and the controller frequency is a setting for how many motion positions per second there are. At 2 kHz you will have twice as many points per second, but with the same amount of memory the buffer will be half as long in seconds. At 4 kHz the buffer is so short that you could run out of data in the middle of a move. Windows isn't all that reliable, and so the plugin doesn't always communicate on a timely basis.


Sincerley,
Andy

Lee Roberts
12-10-2015, 11:30 PM
Hi Andy,

Welcome to the forum and thanks for stopping by to offer support.

.Me

Tenson
12-10-2015, 11:31 PM
Thanks for your help Andy. I got it working!!

I first had to set an input pin for the estop in the 'ports and pins - inputs' menu in Mach3 as you said. I just set it to port 1 pin 1, which is otherwise unused. Then it let me get on with other setting up.

I put my same old settings into the Mach3 'output pins' menu for motors and hey presto I got motion :)

I then set up the things like slave axis, homing and motor tuning as usual.

Job done!

It may be my imagination but I think it actually does sound smoother in motion.

We'll see how it runs on a job tomorrow.

AndyFromWarp9TD
12-10-2015, 11:36 PM
Glad to hear that!

Let us know if you need more help.

Take care,
Andy

AndyFromWarp9TD
12-10-2015, 11:39 PM
It may be my imagination but I think it actually does sound smoother in motion.


I have heard that quite a few times!

Have fun!

komatias
12-10-2015, 11:55 PM
Thanks for chiming in Andy.

Saved me typing it all out myself.

The SCU helps loads when configuring the ESS especially if you have a dedicated computer.

As for the E-stop, for safety's sake, please wire a big red mushroom button up.

George

Tenson
13-10-2015, 01:18 AM
Oh, what about the step and direction pulse width in motor tuning? It seems both are set at 5us by default (says 1-5us range).

It strikes me that it could be longer when running at a 32KHz 'Maximum Step Frequency', because 5us is the same as 200KHz. Am I right in thinking a longer step and direction pulse could give more reliability?

komatias
13-10-2015, 09:35 AM
Leave the pulse width as it is on the motors tuning page. Quoting from a conversation I had a while ago: "pulse width" settings in the Motor Tuning dialog do nothing". Neither does the option on ports and pins menu regarding the clock speed (25, 35, 45 khz)

Your Smoothstepper will by default run at 250kHz, This is set in the plugin control menu for the ESS.

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AndyFromWarp9TD
13-10-2015, 04:02 PM
In motor tuning, the step and direction pulse widths are totally ignored by the SmoothStepper. As a hardware vendor and plugin designer we just have no way to hide those fields in the main app.

Here is a page that answers this and other similar questions about Mach3 (http://warp9td.com/index.php/faq/f-a-q-mach3).

Andy

Tenson
13-10-2015, 04:43 PM
Thanks, yes it makes sense that the step frequency is setting the pulse width - it's just a different way to say the same thing.

Do you think the 1KHz Controller Frequency will be fine for my old Pentium 4 laptop?

AndyFromWarp9TD
13-10-2015, 04:53 PM
Actually, step frequency is not the same same thing as pulse width; lets use some easy numbers for math:


You have a 1 kHz pulse frequency, which means you have 1000 pulse occurring per second, or one every ms
If the pulse had a 50% duty cycle (on half the time off half the time) it would be on for 0.5ms or 500 us for its pulse width.
If the pulse had a 1% duty cycle, it would have a pulse with of 10 us and then be off for 990 us.
If the pulse had a 90% duty cycle, it would have a pulse with of 900 us and then be off for 100us.


Step frequency is how often the pulses are being generated. Pulse Width is how long each pulse is on before it turns off to await for the next pulse to be generated.

Start with 1 kHz. You can adjust from there later if you need too, but you probably won't.

~Andy

Tenson
13-10-2015, 04:57 PM
Begs the question, what do the step and dir pulse length do in the mach3 menu when using their PP driver, if the pulse length is determined by the desired velocity?

AndyFromWarp9TD
13-10-2015, 05:07 PM
So I have never used the parallel port in Mach3 since I have always used a SmoothStepper. My *guess* is that if you use a 1 us wide pulse, they will come out 5x more often that a 5 us wide pulse would. The higher number of pulses would make the system more responsive, but you might miss a pulse easier. Again, I am guessing how they are doing it in the parallel port version since we just ignore those parameters in motor tuning.

JAZZCNC
13-10-2015, 06:37 PM
Sorry Tenson I've only just seen your PM but looks like you have been sorted by none other than the Man himself.!!. we are honoured.!!. . Lol
This probably answers the question why plug-in's never get finished. . .:hysterical:

AndyFromWarp9TD
13-10-2015, 06:49 PM
Sorry Tenson I've only just seen your PM but looks like you have been sorted by none other than the Man himself.!!. we are honoured.!!. . Lol
This probably answers the question why plug-in's never get finished. . .:hysterical:


Support time does come out of development time, but it is worth it to help our customers. Also I try to take the results of most support questions and add them to our website (http://Warp9TD.com)in the hopes that others can have their questions pre-answered.

As for the plugins, Greg has been working on the Mach4 v2 plugin for the ESS. There are some significant changes under the hood, and we will be releasing a beta version of it shortly.

Andy

Tenson
13-10-2015, 06:59 PM
One more question which is probably more about Mach3...

It used to be that if I used 'Run From Here' command it would rapid to the start location at a safe Z height. Now it seems to descend to Z=0 to move. How can I fix that?

EDIT: Ahh sorted it. There was a 'Safe_Z Setup' option to set in the 'Config' menu. For some reason I don't recall ever setting this in the past. I did install the latest Mach 3 when adding the ESS.

JAZZCNC
13-10-2015, 07:21 PM
As for the plugins, Greg has been working on the Mach4 v2 plugin for the ESS.

I'll be watching closely Andy thou Brian and team at Artsoft need to pull there figure out and get Mach4 working more stable.!! . Still some way to go for me.!:thumbdown:

JAZZCNC
13-10-2015, 07:23 PM
It used to be that if I used 'Run From Here' command it would rapid to the start location at a safe Z height. Now it seems to descend to Z=0 to move. How can I fix that?

If it's a fresh install Set the "Safe Z" settings. If not then no idea because it should be the same.?

Edit: Doh didn't see you'd found it . . .Lol

Tenson
16-10-2015, 08:37 PM
Thanks Jazz. I didn't re-install but I did need to create a new profile.

Tenson
19-10-2015, 04:04 PM
I'd like to say thanks to Jazz for recommending the smooth stepper to me, even though my original post on the subject was about servo motors!

I've got it installed now and cut a few things. The increase in accuracy is quite noticeable, even running at a higher speed. :)

At the same time as installing the ESS I did also upgrade one of my motor drivers so that will no doubt help, but I've gone from rapids at 6m/s to 10m/s and cutting from 4m/s to 6m/s and still seeing higher accuracy.

Worth every penny.

Blackrat
19-10-2015, 07:01 PM
oh yar, ive seen the light SS all the way ....

im cutting at 7m/s and getting faster