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  1. #1
    Hi everybody,

    I recently purchased a second hand HME Technology router with an NEE AMC-E controller fitted. It came supplied with a PC with WinAMC installed and an RS232 cable but so far I have been unable to run it.

    The guy who sold it had no knowledge of it as he never used the machine as it was purchased for a job that later fell through, but he assures me it was working when first installed.

    When powered-up, the controller board has an array of green LEDs with just one red on in the lower right corner of the processor

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Once powered-up in this state there is no power to the steppers with the E-stops cleared. The control software is WinAMC but menu items such as 'options' & 'configurations' are greyed out. The machine functions such as jog & spindle are also greyed out. I have also noticed that in the bottom right hand corner the WinAMC screen there is a yellow triangle with an exclamation mark in it.

    I don't know the setup of this machine, but I do wonder if the AMC controller requires a signal from WinAMC on the PC to fire up the steppers.

    Thank you all in advance for any help you can give me.


  2. #2
    Is it connect via serial (rs232) or the parallel port? I'm assuming this is HPGL control? if so a printer style driver will need to be loaded? also does the software require a dongle to work? Might be work giving them a call and just check?

    Serial Communication

    WinAMC® uses a proprietary communications protocol, designed to minimise serial problems between your PC and the AMC. WinAMC® automatically detects the presence of an AMC machine control on the serial link and communicates with it at the maximum baud rate (up to 115,200 baud).

    Any communication errors are automatically detected and corrected. This ensures that the AMC and WinAMC® are able to continuously communicate even in the noisiest of environments.
    If the nagging gets really bad......Get a bigger shed:naughty:

  3. #3
    Thanks for the reply!

    It uses the RS232 port, and yes, I think it's an HPGL controller. I'm not sure about the printer driver but I downloaded serial port monitoring software & there seems to be attempts at communication at least.

    I contacted ITT Burny who guided me towards HME Technology who apparently write their own firmware & software for this controller. I'm guessing this is done to hone the interface for students as it is a machine built for educational institutes. HME suggest the firmware might need 're-flashed' though I'm concerned how expensive this might be. It sounds like an engineer call out to me.

    My concern is that it seems to be an obsolete model of controller (HME referred to it as being quite old (it's a 2000 year machine)) & I'm not sure how wise it would be to pump money into engineer call out fees now & in the future to fix. I do wonder if it would be better to strip out this controller & replace it with a new 3-axis stepper control & software I am familiar with :confused:

  4. #4
    Well don't get too carried away ripping stuff out as you may only need to replace the line driver part of the circuit boards with a breakout board? Could you put some more detailed pics of the control unit inside? it could be cheaper to upgrade than getting it fixed?
    If the nagging gets really bad......Get a bigger shed:naughty:

  5. #5
    Here are some better pictures of the control panel:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    To be honest I don't know anything about these except that I'm pretty sure the second picture is the driver board & spindle control (red board). Would I be right in guessing the first board does the processing? Is the function of this board now being replaced by the PC & CNC software?

    Thanks for your input :tup:


  6. #6
    Personally I'd strip it out and replace with modern drives, Bob etc and control software like Mach3 or EMC.!

    The time spent chasing how to get this working could be better spent cutting returning your investment quicker. . . . . Probably perform better as well with modern drives.?

    Edit: What model router is it.? . . . . . These educational routers are full of safety feature interlocks etc and it could easily be one of these that's faulty and locking you out.?
    I'd check out all safety switch's limit's, estop's, cabinet door switch's etc or for quicky elimination purpose's even look to tempory by-pass them. . . . Often it's the little things that shut the whole job down.!!
    Last edited by JAZZCNC; 13-01-2012 at 04:47 PM.

  7. #7
    If the existing stepper motor driver board takes step/direction signals then it's straightforward to get mach3/emc to work and you wont need the big board. However that's not immediately obvious from the photos. I doubt they'll be good drivers anyway - though that's not a problem if you're working within the original specification.
    You could get 3 new stepper drivers and just forget the rest of it, except maybe the spindle board - looks like there's some writing/numbers you could look up to see if there's any info on that? Look what model number and/or ratings are printed on the stepper motors then so long as the datasheet is available we can work out which drivers will be suitable. Also check what voltage and VA (or approx dimensions to guess VA) the toroidal transformer is as you may be able to reuse that.

  8. #8
    Well you have choices?

    The stepper driver is an all in one affair and as Jazz says, it could take a while to find out what is what?
    If they were individual drivers it would have been easier?
    Buying, drivers and a BOB (breakout board) will be quickest

    You can reuse all the switches etc so would be very straight forward.

    can you give us a pic of the whole machine and some dimensions? Also what markings/ how many wires etc are on the steppers?
    If the nagging gets really bad......Get a bigger shed:naughty:

  9. #9
    Thanks for all the replies guys!

    This is the machine, but no model number anywhere:

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	5220 A floor print of 6' x 4' x 5 1/2' tall. I haven't fully stroked the drives as I was scared of sending a reverse voltage through the driver board, but I'm estimating 600x600x200mm.

    So far HME haven't come back to me, but I'm thinking along the same lines as you guys. As Jazz says, it is crawling with safety interlocks that I will disconnect to save my sanity, but I have gone through the safety circuitry & it is all in place. When all contacts are closed the driver board axes all light up green.

    The steppers are Astrosyn L281 & they sent me this data sheet:

    The transformer is an Intron 25647 but I think I'll need to contact the maker for a data sheet.

    I already have a Heiz High-Z S-1000/T router running with Heiz's own Zero2 controller & Win PC-NC. The steppers on the Heiz machine are Sanyo Denki StepSyn NEMA 23's. I was wondering, if compatible, I could purchase another Zero2 controller from them & another seat of Win PC-NC to standardise things, as I'd be keen on another Heiz machine in the future.
    The manual for the controller is here:

    I asked Heiz what they thought and got the response 'I think your stepper-motor have only 1,7A and our controller have 2,2A.You must try it and check how it works.' If the current supply is higher, is that normally not OK? I'm not sure if I want to risk experimenting with the controller off the Heiz in case I end up with both machines down

    I hope the links work OK.


  10. #10
    I forgot about the spindle board!

    This is it, an Ashe Controls FX1500

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The current spindle is a 500W Bosch which looks like the back end of a 4" grinder. Does this board allow for spindle speed control? If it does, that is a feature my Heiz doesn't have with the Kress 1050 motor.
    Last edited by artmin; 13-01-2012 at 07:54 PM.

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