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  1. #51
    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan View Post
    As I mentioned earlier in the thread, just because something is more popular doesn't necessarily mean it is the best. Plus, although it is clear that Mach3 is the most popular in England, I don't think you'll find that's the case in some countries.
    Yes and I don't disagree in some respects and certainly wasn't saying Mach3 was better than linux cnc.!! Each has it's own set of skills and weakness's.!!. . BUT we do live in UK and tend to work within the English speaking domains like Cnczone etc so this does become important.! Very important to some people who haven't got IT skills and don't want to learn Geek.!!
    They need good sources of information and help from friendly more experienced users, I know the result of such a poll. . . But it will show to others just how wide the user base for each software really is.!! . . . This can then be used has a guide to help them decide if this holds any value to them.?

  2. #52
    Ger21's Avatar
    Lives in Detroit, United States. Last Activity: 16 Hours Ago Has been a member for 5-6 years. Has a total post count of 508. Received thanks 68 times, giving thanks to others 0 times. Referred 1 members to the community.
    Just read through this, and wanted to point out some unfair comments.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan View Post
    The main advantage of LinuxCNC over Mach3 using a parallel port is it runs on a real time kernel. This ensures that the pulse output from the parallel port has priority over everything else on the computer, so you don't get the timing inaccuracies inherent to Mach3 from Windows interrupting. With LinuxCNC if the computer appears to 'freeze' the machine will still run happily, since it's prioritised over everything including the mouse/keyboard. No matter how much you disable things in Windows, remove programs or whatever fundamentally Mach3 is not real time so timing errors will exist.
    99.9% of issues with Windows "interrupting" Mach3 are power saving features, which can easily be disabled in most cases. Often they can be disabled from the bios, and may not be Windows issues at all.
    No matter how much you disable things in Windows, remove programs or whatever fundamentally Mach3 is not real time so timing errors will exist.
    Mach3 actually controls Windows to a certain extent, to provide accurate timing. And because it's a buffered system, "real time" is not really an issue. Sure, it may prevent you from doing some things that Linux can do, but there are no timing errors as you claim.


    'But I'm not a computer geek and it takes twenty thousand years to set up' I hear you cry! It really doesn't - the installation and setup process which apparently is such a huge barrier to many, is quicker, easier and more intuitive than windows/mach3. Owning a CNC machine makes you a geek to start with so it's too late for that anyway. In fact, the interface eliminates many human errors - I see countless problems from people setting the wrong value for steps/mm, whereas in linuxcnc, each pulley has its own textbox, meaning that you never have to do any fiddly arithmetic manually.
    If you want to play that game, Mach3 will automatically set your steps/unit without entering anything but a measured distance. You don't even need to know what components your machine uses.


    Another crucial disadvantage of Mach3, or rather windows is its inability to perform on low end computers - with some ebay sniping (gixen.com), it's possible to put together a low latency computer for less than 50, whereas with windows, if you want to get anywhere, you have to use a relatively expensive computer.
    When Mach3 was originally developed (Mach3, not Mach1 or Mach2), 1.5Ghz PC's were state of the art. I run Mach3 on a $20 1Ghz PC with 512MB of RAM, and it runs great. I can buy PC's on Ebay all day long that will run Mach3 just fine for $50-$75. Including Windows XP


    LinuxCNC also boasts superior stability. Windows is known for its tendency to crash for no good reason on mid to low end computers ...................................
    Really??? Maybe if your running Windows 95. From Windows 2K on, Windows is extremely stable, and will usually only crash for two reasons. Faulty hardware (usually memory), or bad software (very rare). I haven't seen Windows crash in well over 10 years.

    Look at what features come into play when a product is developed properly with the correct objective in mind - full support for helical arcs (allowing threadmilling).................................... ..............
    MAch3 can do helical arcs and threadmilling too.

    Mach3 runs on windows 2000 and windows XP. Both are in steady decline with windows vista, 7 and 8 being forced out by Microsoft.
    Mach3 runs on Vista and Windows 7 as well as 2K and XP. It can't use the parallel port with Windows 8, though.

    Ubuntu is made to be incredibly user friendly and simple (it's marketed at Apple users amongst others).
    Apple users use whatever Apple feeds them. I can't see many apple users switching to Linux.
    Last edited by Ger21; 12-07-2012 at 11:37 PM.
    Gerry
    ______________________________________________
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  3. #53
    bobc's Avatar
    Lives in Eastbourne, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 23-02-2015 Has been a member for 4-5 years. Has a total post count of 19.
    In a desperate attempt to steer the thread back on topic, does any here use Smoothstepper board, and if so what do they think of them?

    On a technical note, the Smoothstepper board appears to use a Xilinx FPGA to do the crunching, and I guess an FTDI USB chip, is that right?

  4. #54
    Ger21's Avatar
    Lives in Detroit, United States. Last Activity: 16 Hours Ago Has been a member for 5-6 years. Has a total post count of 508. Received thanks 68 times, giving thanks to others 0 times. Referred 1 members to the community.
    I don't use one, but there are a tremendous amount of Smoothstepper users at CNC Zone. And most everyone who uses seems to love it.
    Yes, I believe it's an FTDI USB chip, as the FTDI driver is on the Smoothstepper site.

    The general consensus seems to be that the ethernet SS is the only way to go these days. The USB version has always suffered from noise issues. Some have no problems with it, but a lot of people do. The ESS is said to be pretty much immune to noise.
    Gerry
    ______________________________________________
    UCCNC 2017 Screenset

    Mach3 2010 Screenset

    JointCAM - CAM for Woodworking Joints

  5. #55
    bobc's Avatar
    Lives in Eastbourne, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 23-02-2015 Has been a member for 4-5 years. Has a total post count of 19.
    Thanks, that is interesting. We tried to put in USB to one of our products at work (a motor drive for a vacuum pump), and it failed as soon as the motor started! With improved filtering we can get past that, but we still have trouble with EMC tests. The problem is that the USB falls over, and doesn't recover, which for industrial control is not acceptable.

    I think in low noise/office type environments USB is fine, when you get too near heavy kit it is just not up to the job. People's experience seems to match what we have found.

    Ethernet does seem like a much better alternative, it's cheap, robust and widely supported.

  6. #56
    Ger21's Avatar
    Lives in Detroit, United States. Last Activity: 16 Hours Ago Has been a member for 5-6 years. Has a total post count of 508. Received thanks 68 times, giving thanks to others 0 times. Referred 1 members to the community.
    The problem is that the USB falls over, and doesn't recover

    That sounds just like what happens. When the Smoothstepper lost the connection, it required Mach3 to be closed and restarted to re-establish the connection.
    Gerry
    ______________________________________________
    UCCNC 2017 Screenset

    Mach3 2010 Screenset

    JointCAM - CAM for Woodworking Joints

  7. #57
    m_c's Avatar
    Lives in East Lothian, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 12 Hours Ago Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 1,831. Received thanks 192 times, giving thanks to others 5 times.
    I've got a USB SS, however it's on a Connect lathe and is hardly pushed.

    I've not had any issues with the USB dropping out, however some people do and struggle to fix it.

  8. #58
    Yes I have 2 x USB SS and now the Russian Ethernet version (Thou I'm not saying anything on that yet has I've not done testing so please don't ask.)

    I have used the SS for 3yrs and it's been great. To get the best immunity from noise causing hanging it needs running from an external 5v supply not the 5V from USB. Other than doing that I've not had any trouble from noise or crashing.

    I use it on an old 1ghz celeron Acer laptop without any problems at all.

    It made an instant differnce to the machine giving slightly higher speeds and better acceleration with much smoother motion. I have never in all the time using it lost so much has a single step, this is partly down to my running a safe tuning setup but also from the SS being capable of far more than I throw at it.

    The way I use Mach is to setup different tuning profiles geared to jog specific types.! IE: for Woods/MDF etc I tune for slightly higher feeds. Aluminium I tune for torque and Mid Accelaration and for 3D/V carving work I tune for high accelration then load what ever profile I feel best for the job.

    3D and V/carving are very demanding on the PP because of the high pulse rate needed for accelaration and if your going to have any trouble often it's here where it shows in missed steps or droping/lifting Z axis etc.? . . . .The SS lets allows me high Accelration without worrying about missed steps.

    I fully recommend the SS but If buying today I would buy the ESS because it's pretty much immune to the noise issue's that the SS can have in some enviroments (Thou I think thats often the users Electrics bad implimentation more than the SS fault.?)

  9. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by Ger21 View Post
    99.9% of issues with Windows "interrupting" Mach3 are power saving features
    No, the majority of processor time not devoted to mach3 goes towards keeping the other >30 processes (mostly unnecessary) and many other threads ticking over with background processes. This is obvious. 99.9% is a completely fabricated figure which doesn't reflect reality at all. Additionally just look at the idle CPU useage for a windows machine and then for a Linux machine: even when doing nothing on a high end machine, windows will struggle to flatline at 0, while linux won't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ger21 View Post
    but there are no timing errors as you claim.
    There are always​ timing errors, both on Linux and on Windows, the difference being they're lower on Linux. Here's another post on the subject that isn't mine:

    EMC does run in a realtime kernal so all its I/O is realtime. Mach runs in a Buffered system, once the buffer runs there is little to no interaction to the pulse stream.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ger21 View Post
    Mach3 will automatically set your steps/unit without entering anything but a measured distance.
    I've been over this recently. This introduces a systematic error which limits the accuracy of the machine to the accuracy of what you used to measure that distance. That wizard is best used for something else entirely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ger21 View Post
    From Windows 2K on, Windows is extremely stable
    Windows ME was released after windows 2k, and is very widely accepted to be exceptionally unstable, therefore your statement is wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ger21 View Post
    I haven't seen Windows crash in well over 10 years.
    Either you don't use windows very often, or you are extremely lucky. Anyway, apparently you are under the impression that stability equates to lack of crashing. I regret to inform you that this isn't the case. Linux is simpler, lighter, and bugs get fixed a lot quicker. It stands to reason that it's more stable. If Ubuntu does appear to crash whilst running the machine, then due to the real time kernel the machine will more than likely continue running and thus not loose position.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ger21 View Post
    Mach3 runs on Vista and Windows 7 as well as 2K and XP
    Fair enough, perhaps I should have said "runs optimally" - Vista and 7 are both considerably heavier than XP (Vista is an absolute joke anyway).

    Quote Originally Posted by Ger21 View Post
    MAch3 can do helical arcs and threadmilling too.
    My apologies, Mach can do helical arcs (and therefore threadmilling without interpolating), I was misinformed.

    I have not said that Mach wont work, or will definitely introduce errors, it's just inherently more likely to than LinuxCNC, hence I advise trying both.
    Old router build log here. New router build log here. Lathe build log here.
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  10. #60
    Ger21's Avatar
    Lives in Detroit, United States. Last Activity: 16 Hours Ago Has been a member for 5-6 years. Has a total post count of 508. Received thanks 68 times, giving thanks to others 0 times. Referred 1 members to the community.
    Now I can see how this thread went where it did. Let me make a few points, and then you can have the last word, which I'm sure you will.

    No, the majority of processor time not devoted to mach3 goes towards keeping the other >30 processes (mostly unnecessary) and many other threads ticking over with background processes. This is obvious. 99.9% is a completely fabricated figure which doesn't reflect reality at all. Additionally just look at the idle CPU usage for a windows machine and then for a Linux machine: even when doing nothing on a high end machine, windows will struggle to flatline at 0, while linux won't.
    None of this backs up your point about Windows interrupting Mach3, which it just doesn't do. If it did, Mach3 wouldn't be usable. There are a few well known applications that can wreak havoc with Mach3, and those are well documented (Quicktime is one). But those are not the fault of Windows.
    Windows ME was released after windows 2k, and is very widely accepted to be exceptionally unstable, therefore your statement is wrong.
    Windows ME??

    I think that response pretty much sums up where your coming from.
    Either you don't use windows very often, or you are extremely lucky.
    I spend about 18 hours a day most days at a Windows PC. I have 7 at home, and use 2 at work. They are 100% stable, with the exception of Firefox being so bloated it can't run on a PC with 2Gigs of RAM at times.
    Anyway, apparently you are under the impression that stability equates to lack of crashing.
    And I said that where?

    You said, Windows is known for its tendency to crash for no good reason.

    I said that no, it doesn't crash.

    Mach3 works fine, plain and simple. It doesn't work on all PC's, though, but neither does LinuxCNC. The Smoothstepper allows you to use a PC that might not normally work with Mach3. Back on topic.

    (Sorry, guys)
    Gerry
    ______________________________________________
    UCCNC 2017 Screenset

    Mach3 2010 Screenset

    JointCAM - CAM for Woodworking Joints

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