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  1. #1
    So, here I am. Only just passed the phase where I've broken the news to my wife that I've bought another piece of capital equipment and it's Pot Noodles for tea for the foreseeable. I'm one engineering tool away from helping her load a suitcase into the boot of her car so she can go and stay with friends for a few days to 'think things over'.

    Anyhoo, I've bought myself a nicely looked-after 260 VMC with a few upgrades. Therefore, I thought it a worthwhile thing to do by registering on a relevant forum to pick folks' brains or just hover over a few threads like a red kite and learn stuff for free.

    Thanks, and looking forward to having my brain fried.

  2. #2
    The Boxford is a nice little machine, I'm sure you'll find good answers here to any queries you may have.

    Regards,
    Nick
    You think that's too expensive? You're not a Model Engineer are you? :D

  3. #3
    Well, the CNC is installed in the workshop. Thank goodness I have an engine crane with expandable jib 'cos it's frightfully heavy. And that's the polite version. My Denford lathe only just tops it in sheer weight...

    Anyhoo, this machine has been converted to USB etc. so I booted up Mach3 and connected everything up. Flicking the on switch, the CNC lit up like New York at Xmas and I can twiddle the spindle speed knob on the front panel with great success. Then, I ran a few G-codes...and nothing happened. It seems the program isn't talking to the machine. I pressed a few of the 'printed' buttons on the machine panel (my finger went right through one and it appears the board behind it is no longer in existence) and hit tab on the laptop to try and jog a bit but no luck.

    The machine came with two connections (if I can work out how to post pics I will do so later. I apologise in advance if I inadvertently post holiday pics, posed shots of my dogs or saucy snaps of my motorcycles). Oh, yeah...the connections:

    - One coming out of the side with a USB on it's end. This looks like the conversion part.
    - Another coming out of the original parallel port with an adapter (parallel to tiny USB2 mini b type to full-sized USB). The adapter has a green LED that lights quite satisfactorily, but that's about it. This could be the original input adapted to work on gawd knows whatever.

    The G-code on Mach3 appear to run nicely it's just that the CNC itself appears dormant.

    I did a bit of studying and found that I cannot run a driver test as the program doesn't seem to have DriverTest.exe installed.

    The laptop is a recent(ish) T-400 Notebook running Windows 7. I'm a Mac person so Windows is like gibberish to me. Nonetheless, I think I can work it in time, with the help of 15yo Balvenie.

    Discuss (please!!) I'm existing on a mix of frustration, disappointment and abject excitement.

  4. #4
    DriverTest is for the Parallel Port interface driver in Mach3
    You think that's too expensive? You're not a Model Engineer are you? :D

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by magicniner View Post
    DriverTest is for the Parallel Port interface driver in Mach3
    Right-oh. I hear you. I dropped the back off the machine and it's packed PACKED with electronics. Lots of leds lit up, a Gemini controller, boards left, right and centre, miles of cables and a small digital display the reads '10.1'. The list of gizmos goes on and on and on. So, I'm going to try an post pics.

    Strap yourselves in...
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  6. #6
    The only things I recognise is the Boxford power supply and the gemini controller, and maybe that 10.1 disco light is a voltage controller. The motion controller board - ???? Presumably the USB connection just provides 5v for the optos and the rest is a standard LPT connector that you infer is run by a USB to Parallel adapter (UMMMM).

    Anything printed o the board in pic 2 ?

    Fairly recent conversion, judging by the Wago connectors.

    Did you see it working before you bought it ? That is the pivot point as to where to look.

    Cheers,

    Rob
    Albert Einstein may have been a genius, but his brother Frank, was a monster

    Having just moved to Windows 10 (which is crap) My stress levels are through the roof !!!

  7. #7
    Can't see anything printed on the board.

    Tell you what, though, I've made some kinda progress this evening. After a bit of research aided by wine, I discovered that Mach3 isn't that keen on 64bit processing. So, in a fit of being productive, I dug out an aged laptop. After doing a Windows XP re-install, checking that it's a 32bit outfit, I then installed a Mach3 demo. I plugged it all into the mill but still nothing happened. However, after a Driver Test (all excellent, I'm reliably informed) the diagnostics seems to confirm that the port 1 pins current state is lit for eleven of the twelve bar of lights. If I enable port 2, the bar underneath lights up with three greens (pic attached). Pulse frequency is 24599, give or take.

    There's clearly something happening but still no life from the mill motors. I expected it to burst into life after inputting a few G-codes but it's still treating me like a contemptuous cat. Yes, e-stop is all green.
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  8. #8
    First of all, it is not advisable to use a laptop to control Mach3. Mach3 takes over the printer port and needs full control. Laptops have power saving features that interfere with this. You may find this out later, but for now, it'll do to get you up and running.

    Have a look at this ftp://ftp.machsupport.com/Docs/Mach3...20Tutorial.pdf It is worth going thru the steps to get your steppers stepping. Do you know what pins your machine uses - useful info to have this written down.

    Cheers,

    Rob

    PS I have never figured out what those green thingies mean on the diagnostics screen.
    Albert Einstein may have been a genius, but his brother Frank, was a monster

    Having just moved to Windows 10 (which is crap) My stress levels are through the roof !!!

  9. #9
    This may seem a daft question but do you have the USB connections to the same ports on the computer as when it was last seen running properly?

    I ask because recent experience with USB to Parallel converters for my label printers has been interesting to say the least and highlighted the importance of not getting the USB port in use for a converter wrong when moving a working system.
    You think that's too expensive? You're not a Model Engineer are you? :D

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by magicniner View Post
    This may seem a daft question but do you have the USB connections to the same ports on the computer as when it was last seen running properly?

    I ask because recent experience with USB to Parallel converters for my label printers has been interesting to say the least and highlighted the importance of not getting the USB port in use for a converter wrong when moving a working system.
    I bought the machine on good faith. I had never seen it running but my gut (since proved correct) was that the machine was well-cared for and had a boatload of money thrown at it with a full and comprehensive conversion package from Mike Gaynor at Routeout CNC. It came with loads of add-ons and spares. It just needed correctly configured.


    SOLVED!

    In short, two things:

    1. I needed to download and auto install the driver for the UC100 that I'd identified as a motion controller (and not simply a port adapter, as I initially thought).
    2. The charge pump setting wasn't configured correctly, in fact, it wasn't configured at all!

    The thing burst into life once that was set. (Grateful thanks Mike Gaynor!!) Now I'm in the process of tuning the motors. I'm running two laptops, side-by-side. One is the control/default; the other is for tweaking/meddling, and I swap between the two to identify what the changes do to the CNC, if that makes any sense.

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