Thread: PC Upgrade Options?
So I have an oldish PC that I got with my Emco Lathe. Its slow and can do with an upgrade. The issue is parallel port needed.
I found this - http://www.mycncuk.com/threads/7453-...-parrelel-port (see, I did search) however that talks about newer controllers.
What are my options for either a new PC of sorts with a parallel port? Am I better off getting another controller? I dont know what make is in the machine at the moment but its probably a fair cheap / standard type device. The machine uses steppers for X, Y and the toolchanger.
The motherboard in my original garage PC decided to throw in the towel and I bought a cheap AMD-based replacement which did not have integral PP. I bought with it a cheap PP PCI card which worked fine for a year or so with my BOB, so no electrical compatibility issues. Although I ran LinuxCNC on that hardware, I did try a demo copy of Mach3 which seemed to be happy with the PP card as well. Motherboard and PP card both came from Novatech. I have to admit that I am in the middle of moving to a Mach3/Ethernet/CSMIO. but only because of the CSMIO and nothing to do with hardware problems or reliability. Seem to be some good reports about the UC100/300 motion controllers, which might be another way around the PP problem but not sure about them with a lathe (I'm running a router with my system).
Its up to you. For me PC upgrade means moving to offline controller / after my latest troubles with Pokeys/ . Otherwise any old cheap pc does excellent job. A day ago i bought a cheap offline controller from China to give it a try. Next on my list is trying the more expensive ones.
From the beginning to me a mach3 was not a reliable solution. Change this, forget that sequence of starting PC, then this, then that and all messes up. Not to speak of that the Mach3 screens f%%k up almost 100% on electricity stop suddenly. And if you have forgotten to make at least 3 backups, then you are in trouble. I will happily pay 500-800euro for any reliable solution without Mach3 or PC. Even if chinese. For now i will try the cheap ones ~180 euro, but at the moment i am searching for manuals and who really makes the ~500euro ones
Other alternatives are to buy a PC which has Windows 7 32 bits in it and continue using a parallel port as today, just install your software and whatever you need. Of course, this gives you an outdated computer to start with, so you must be prepared to upgrade again soon.
There are other alternatives to the UCx00 also, but I have no idea about them. Also, I can not help you if you are using Linux.
Just took a look at the controller. This is a standalone controller and replaces the board I have or is it only a 'interface' changer from USB to Parallel port?
I also don't understand what you mean by "Mach3 screens f%%k up almost 100% on electricity stop suddenly"? Do you mean sudden electricity power cut? That can be a problem for any software, not only Mach3. Of course, that is easily solved by an UPS. I have one connected to both the CNC and my PC. Another solution is to run Mach3 on a laptop which has batteries. Normally a sudden power loss will not be noticed in laptops because of the battery. On the other hand, a power loss to the CNC itself would cause problems anyway, so why is that a Mach3 issue for you? Like I said, I don't understand what you mean.
I have used Mach3 now for quite a while and while I am not entirely happy about it, I think it is a nice software and find it very reliable. I am not saying there is no better, but it works fine. Perhaps today I'd buy UCCNC instead, or maybe I will one day and run the two in parallel to see which one I like more, but for now, the UC300 and Mach3 are a good and reliable pair. Fact is, I have just recently discovered the Brains and decided to use RS485 and Modbus to control and monitor my VFD with, and that seems to work nicely in Mach3, now that I understand how. It is poorly documented, but that's another thing... Mach3 in general is well documented and there is a huge wealth of information on the Internet about it, even if Brains is not part of that.
The UC100 is like a printer port converter, it converts USB to parallel port signals directly and you can plug it into the cable you have from your lathe. Nothing else is needed.
The UC300 converts the USB into 5 parallel ports and it has also separate analog outputs and inputs, but needs a box and a short ribbon cable to allow plugging it in to the lathe cable. I think it is delivered with one such ribbon cable. Power can be taken from the USB, or a separate 5VDC supply to supply power to the UC300.
The UC400 has two parallel ports out, nothing else. It needs also a box and a separate power supply because Ethernet does not carry the power, plus a similar ribbon cable as for the UC300.
I have only experience with the UC300, but based on my experience and what I read about the others, I trust the company and their products. It provides very good support via mail, Balazs (the owner) speaks/writes in very good English and replies fast to any questions. Everything is made in Hungary and in my opinion well documented. I bought mine directly from CNCDrive.
All these controllers are stand alone, no PC, no Mach3. It seems they accept standard G code, so no special post processors. That must be proven though by practice.
-there is this controller smc4-4-16a16b . Here is the manual I looked at it but it seemed too slow for my machine. It seems most people use this one as it came earlier.
-DDSCV1.1, 3 and 4 axis.
I bought this one before 2 days. Mistakenly bought the 3 axis version / if sb wants that one , PM me, i will give it 20$ cheaper to you/ . Anyways, it seems on paper and from what i have seen a better choice than the previous one. When it comes at home, i will know more. I have read the MANUAl from page one to end very carefully and apart from some small questions all looks well.
And yes, i will connect my 2 long axis to one of the controller axis or just one of them and control the other from the servo itself . Will see about that.
Here is the most extensive info in English i found till now
- 450-700euro range
you could find them at aliexpress using "offline cnc control" or " panel cnc" . John pointed them to me, he is playing with some 2 axis one for lathe, so he should know better #4 . I found this site http://www.cncmakers.com/cnc/control...roller_System/ where you could better see all their reincarnations.
Now the problem here lies to find who makes them / as all sell them like they make them but that's not the case/ , the manuals and eventual support. The link above has somewhere the manuals so next step for me would be to read the manuals themselves and buy one controller.
Last edited by Boyan Silyavski; 31-08-2016 at 09:41 AM.
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