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  1. #1
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    Hi Guys

    What may be the best way to convert my Denford Compact Router to mach 3?

    It was made in 2004 and I would like to get it going on mach 3.

    Here is a link to the manual for it section 8 is the electrical section.
    http://www.denfordata.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=3675&sid=81ee33e232ce67280f94 9af69089a5a8
    I have also attached two photos.

    Many thanks for any help

    Suesi


  2. #2
    m_c's Avatar
    Lives in East Lothian, United Kingdom. Current Activity: Viewing Has been a member for 8-9 years. Has a total post count of 1,660. Received thanks 174 times, giving thanks to others 5 times.
    Denford use 24V logic in all thier stuff, so ideally you'd use a BOB/controller that is 24V tolerant.
    Basic option is to just replace the main control board (the board with the serial connector plugs, which sits on top/plugs into the board with the terminals), trace the terminals and solder into the headers on the terminal board.

    More advanced option is replace that entire board, with a controller and 3 new stepper drivers.

    For 24V controller, the three I can think of just now are CS-Lab, KFlop+Kanalog, and PLCM (Zapp sell them). CS-Lab and PLCM would require some form of step to analogue converter for the spindle control board. There may also be an issue with the homing sensors that Denford used (they used to use NAMUR output, but I think they swapped to something a bit more sensible at some point)
    Avoiding the rubbish customer service from AluminiumWarehouse since July '13.

  3. #3
    Hi m_c

    Many thanks for your valuable help once again. The info you have provided shouldgive me a good start on what to think about. Once I get time later I hope toget the back of the machine and see if I can identify the boards and see if Ican make some sense of things.

    Some things I have been thinking about for a long time is that the router is a single speed so perhaps that may make things simpler. There is also an on off switch on the router so I am not sure if it could be turned on and off with M3 / M5 or just manually.

    Anyhow thank you again for your advice which will be of help you have mentioned so much I did not know about.

    All the best

    suesi
    Last edited by suesi34e; 27-04-2014 at 04:42 PM.

  4. #4
    m_c's Avatar
    Lives in East Lothian, United Kingdom. Current Activity: Viewing Has been a member for 8-9 years. Has a total post count of 1,660. Received thanks 174 times, giving thanks to others 5 times.
    If the spindle is a simple on/off, then you won't need an analogue output.
    However the top left board looks very like a KB drive of some form, and there are wires connected to the terminals that would normally have a speed potentiometer connected (they can be controlled either with a potentiometer, or via an isolated 0-10V feed). IIRC the ID/Model label would normally be on the face of the heatsink pointing towards the side of the case/opposite side of the bit where the SCRs are bolted on.

    And having just checked the wiring diagrams ( Denford Software & Machines • View topic - MicroRouter Compact 2002 - 2004 Circuit Diagram ), it does use a 0-10V analogue signal. The Baldor controllers that Denford use, are pretty good things and have quite a bit of Inputs and Outputs, including analogue. It's just a shame they cost so much. I think the cost of an upgrade from the model in your router, to the lastest USB version is over 1200. I happen to have the latest USB version in my Novamill, and I've got no plans to swap it as it just works with no issues, and I've just added a coolant relay with minimal hassle.

    Another issue I notice in the wiring diagrams, is the micro routers don't have a 24V DC supply. They simply use 24V AC relays, and feed 24V AC into the Baldor, which has it's own onboard rectifier/regulators. Both my Novamill and Cyclone have linear supplies, so they must of gone for the cheaper option when doing the micro routers.
    That creates the issue of getting a stable 24V DC supply for any new controller. Cheap option would be a 24V DC din rail switched mode supply, but the ideal option to minimise noise would be a 24V DC linear supply.
    Rectifing the existing the 24V AC isn't that viable an option, as you would still need to regulate it down to a consistent 24V DC. AC stuff is usually far more tolerant of voltage variations than DC, which usually has pretty strict voltage tolerance.
    Avoiding the rubbish customer service from AluminiumWarehouse since July '13.

  5. #5
    Forgive me if I am talking bollox, but it is a feature of age .
    .
    It seems a pity that the easiest option to convert to Mach3 seems to be to rip out the electronics and replace them. The motion control board has serial input, and (later ones?) USB as well. There does not seem to be any easy bridge from Mach3, which is predominately LPT based with direct step and direction control, to the Baldor NextStep or NextMove board which is controlled by MINT, a motion control language.
    .
    I presume that the majority of Denford machines sold off by liquidators or schools don't have the original PC, software and dongle, which renders a well made machine useless without the original PC.
    .
    From a purely academic interest (I haven't got one of these machines), I would be keen to know if anyone has any info on the control protocols of the serial communication to the Motion Board, or if anyone makes an interface LPT to Mint(?).
    .
    This could be a Raspberry or Arduino project, but I need to know more before I can make up my mind.
    .
    Another thought - might LinuxCNC be an appropriate direction to explore ?

  6. #6
    m_c's Avatar
    Lives in East Lothian, United Kingdom. Current Activity: Viewing Has been a member for 8-9 years. Has a total post count of 1,660. Received thanks 174 times, giving thanks to others 5 times.
    Perfectly reasonable question.
    Denford will still sell you a license for their software (about 250 IIRC), however the older RS232 only machines will only work with version 2 of their VR software, which has various limitations. But it still leaves the issue that RS232 is not much use if you're doing 3d work, as you run a high risk of buffering issues with not being able to get the required motion to the board quick enough.

    The details for the MINT language can be found at http://www.baldormotion.com/products/mint/MINT.asp and I know Mad Professor was reverse engineering the serial protocol until he had to stop due to some personal issues.
    Avoiding the rubbish customer service from AluminiumWarehouse since July '13.

  7. #7
    The more I look at this, the more convinced I am that it is easier to go the conventional route with motor drivers and a BoB, control relays for coolant and spindle and proximity sensors for the home switching. Shame that such expensive and robust electronics will probably go to waste.
    Thanks m_c for the info. It is good to be aware of the problems if buying a surplus Denford machine.

  8. #8
    Hi guys,

    Hope the w-end is going well for you all.

    Re the BOB for my little Denford micro router how would the one in the link do. I guess m_c may have an idea which would be great.

    NEW 4 Axis TB6560 Stepper Motor Driver Board Controller + DEMO Mach3 + DB25 Cabl | eBay

    Anyhow happy machining all the best and thanks in advance for any help

    suesi

  9. #9
    Suggest you search the posts for TB6560. It seems that the TB6560 is well discussed (with disgust). Apparently not a good choice it seems. Why are they all over eBay ?
    Last edited by cropwell; 04-05-2014 at 12:29 PM.

  10. #10
    m_c's Avatar
    Lives in East Lothian, United Kingdom. Current Activity: Viewing Has been a member for 8-9 years. Has a total post count of 1,660. Received thanks 174 times, giving thanks to others 5 times.
    3 individual stepper drives, combined with a good BOB would be a far better option.
    Recommendations would depend on budget, and if you wanted to keep the 24V logic, or swap to 5V.

    Personally, I'd go for 24V as it's far more noise tolerant, however it does come at a price premium.
    Avoiding the rubbish customer service from AluminiumWarehouse since July '13.

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