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terry1956
21-02-2016, 05:56 PM
Hi chaps, after having a hard time with the tb6560 board I am jumping to a smoothstepper card with ethernet connection.
I am thinking of upgrading to mach 4 and have a few questions.is the smoothstepper card plug and play in mach 4.do I need anything else to make it all work, bar cables.i will be running a mf70 mill.michael

magicniner
21-02-2016, 06:35 PM
Development and support for external motion controllers under Mach3 & Mach4 is the responsibility of the hardware manufacturers, therefore details will be available on the smoothstepper site.
They aren't plug & play, you will need to install and configure the plugin supplied by the hardware manufacturer.
I'd Google it for you but I'm pushed for time and sure you can manage ;-)

- Nick

komatias
21-02-2016, 07:11 PM
Terry,

wise choice in ditching the parallel port and going with a motion controller. The tb6560 however will still be required should you go with any motion controller as it is a breakout board and a set of stepper motor drivers all in one.

Our, (guys correct me if I am wrong but I am pretty sure) general opinion is that Mach4 is not quite there yet. Mach3 has more going for it in the sense that there are more plugins, screens, wizards and the like and many more users able to give you help.

Warp9TD have a little program that will make the transition to using the smoothstepper easier on their website however I still prefer to do it manually. It is not that difficult.

magicniner
21-02-2016, 07:19 PM
You'd be better ditching the TB6560 first and moving to a decent BOB with separate driver for each axis.
I have a very stable CNC mill on a PP, I am looking at the future and it's not PP but at the present it works perfectly,
Regards,
Nick

terry1956
21-02-2016, 07:55 PM
Whats a BOB. So let me get this right.the pc connects to the smoothstepper and then I need a second board to work the motors. I don't really wish to buy some cheap useless chinese card or an high end usa card (import taxes to high) so what is a good middle of the road card that will work alongside the mf70 and the smooth stepper. Michael

magicniner
21-02-2016, 08:05 PM
The Break Out Board takes the signals to and from the parallel port interface, usually buffering them to avoid frying your PC and has outputs for motor drivers, spindle control, coolant control etc.
Buying BOB & drivers in one lump cheap simply ensures that when one component becomes problematic the whole board is junk - way to save money! ;-)

- Nick

terry1956
21-02-2016, 08:25 PM
Ok.i would like to keep the motors I have, as they work ok. So what would be a good board to get that fits between the smoothstepper and the motors. Michael

komatias
21-02-2016, 08:37 PM
you can still use the TB6560 to get you going. It has its faults but is cheap.
In the future should you wish to upgrade to individual drives for each axis, then you can look at some of the generic breakout boards. google "5 axis usb breakout board". The USB is a misnomer, it only takes 5V from the USB to power some electronics.

terry1956
21-02-2016, 08:43 PM
I would like to dump the tb6560 as it would be the weak link in the chain.there are so many cheap rubbish imports on the uk market.what is a good easy to use uk available card . Michael

JAZZCNC
21-02-2016, 08:56 PM
Terry I wouldn't buy Smooth stepper or anything yet because chances are your problems are not with the parallel port but the TB6560 or some thing else.

What is the problem exactly.?

Excuse if you know this but let me explain how typical setup goes.

PP --> BOB --> Drive --> Motor

Parallel port(PP) sends/recieves signals to Breakout Board (BOB) which then Sends pulses to individual Drive for each motor, It also recieces signals from outside sources like E-stop or limits etc.

All the Smooth stepper does is remove the parallel port from the equation. It's great piece of kit and recommended thing to buy but not yet because like as been said you probably don't need it.

For less than price of ESS you'll buy 3 new Digital drives, Cheap BOB and PSU that will blow the Tb6560 out the water and turn your mill into all new animal even with the PP.!!

terry1956
21-02-2016, 09:16 PM
I hear what you are saying. My old pc is dieing, so I need to use my newer one which does not have a pp. So the need for the smoothstepper card. The tb6560 card is just a pain to set up, and I wish to upgrade to mach4 sometime and would like a card more suited to mach.i hate cheap unknown quality chinese stuff as there is know redress and it takes ages to sort any faults.this is why I am asking what make of a good middle of the road bob is available in the uk.

JAZZCNC
21-02-2016, 09:31 PM
I hear what you are saying. My old pc is dieing, so I need to use my newer one which does not have a pp. So the need for the smoothstepper card. The tb6560 card is just a pain to set up, and I wish to upgrade to mach4 sometime and would like a card more suited to mach.i hate cheap unknown quality chinese stuff as there is know redress and it takes ages to sort any faults.this is why I am asking what make of a good middle of the road bob is available in the uk.

Ok but if you use the TB with the ESS you don't need a BOB. The ESS only replaces the PP. That said it would be like having 12cyclinder Ferrari and only running on 4 cycl connecting TB to ESS.!!

If you replace the TB then you need BOB and 3 Drives. Plus the ESS.

Chinese are ok provided you buy branded name like Leadshine. I've bought 100's leadshine drives and rarely have any faults.

Regards Mach4 then don't buy it yet it's still a little buggy and the Hardware manufacturers are still sorting there Plug's out so many are Beta versions.
That said Smooth stepper as been out for 10yrs and it's still in beat version but that's more to do with Warp9 being rubbish at updates.!

terry1956
22-02-2016, 11:09 AM
so let me get this right. options are dump tb6560 and I need 3 motor drivers and a break out board to run with the smoothstepper. or keep ht tb6560 and run it with the smoothstepper. is there not just a better replacement for the tb6560 board. its odd that the cost of replacing the tb6560 which is a 10 pound item then runs into the hundreds.

komatias
22-02-2016, 11:35 AM
That is correct. There are all in one solutions like the G540 gecko drive that does the same thing as the TB6560 but the price is $250ish so buying individual drives works out cheaper. Hence I suggested you keep the TB for the time being. The TB's are cheap and manufactured as such and they will have their issues but for the price there is nothing else unless you go with drivers like the ones that 3D printers use and cost 5-10 a pop. They do however go pop very often too.

From what I understand you have made your mind up on moving away from the parallel port. So the next step is to identify what you budget after the purchase of a motion controller is.

terry1956
22-02-2016, 12:40 PM
Hi, I dont mind spending a few hundred more to get the system sorted.but not much more.

JAZZCNC
22-02-2016, 03:22 PM
Hi, I dont mind spending a few hundred more to get the system sorted.but not much more.

If you want to remove the parallel port and TB then you won't do this for less than 200. The ESS alone is nearly that much. By now you may realise all the ESS does is replace the parallel port. This is why I said keep the PP and buy better quality drives.

Honestly New Digital drives run thru a BOB and with a little more Voltage will transform your machine. Then at later date buy the ESS if you like. 200 will get you 3 Leadshine DM556 Digital drives new 42V PSU and BOB.