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.?
Just read through this, and wanted to point out some unfair comments.
No matter how much you disable things in Windows, remove programs or whatever fundamentally Mach3 is not real time so timing errors will exist.
'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.
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.
LinuxCNC also boasts superior stability. Windows is known for its tendency to crash for no good reason on mid to low end computers ...................................
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 runs on windows 2000 and windows XP. Both are in steady decline with windows vista, 7 and 8 being forced out by Microsoft.
Ubuntu is made to be incredibly user friendly and simple (it's marketed at Apple users amongst others).
Last edited by Ger21; 12-07-2012 at 10:37 PM.
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?
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.
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.
12-07-2012 #56The 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.
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.
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.?)
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.
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.
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.
Windows ME was released after windows 2k, and is very widely accepted to be exceptionally unstable, therefore your statement is wrong.
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.
Anyway, apparently you are under the impression that stability equates to lack of crashing.
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.
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