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  1. #1
    Looking for a usb smooth stepper for my new machine i am building, has anyone used or have one of these usb smooth steppers?

    Is it just plug and play with mach 3 or does it need a plugin?


  2. #2
    It uses a plugin for Mach3. The plugin is included with the manual from the link on the Ebay page.
    Fwiw, the Smoothstepper is made by Warp9.
    This is a Chinese motion controller, similar to a Smoothstepper. It's not a Smoothstepper.
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  3. #3
    I wouldn't buy a Chinese controller. Once i did and it finished in the bin without even managing to make it run. Crazy.

    I would buy a reputable well known controller that is known to be well supported.

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  5. #4
    Ahhh okay that was my worry, does anyone know a uk supplier of usb smooth steppercnc or ess?

  6. #5
    I only know of one in Uk selling ESS and they are ripping people off so I'm not even going to mention them. If you want the Smooth stepper then I and others have bougth from Peter Homann in OZ as some times it works out cheaper with currency rate etc or direct from Warp9.

    Personally I would forget USB and go with Ethernet It's much more stable and reliable than USB.

    To be honest I've got and used all the current motion control cards and these days I only use the ESS occasionally as the others have caught up and in one case far surpassed the ESS.
    The best one by a long margin is the CSlab's Csmio-IP-M but it does have one draw back in that it doesn't support the use of slaved motors. At first look it seems more expensive than the ESS and others but when you consider the fact you don't need a BOB or spindle speed control it works out about same or cheaper.! . . BUT . . There's more to it than that.?
    It uses 24V Differential I/O with which greatly helps with noise and the fact there's no external BOB and all I/O are connected direct to the unit thru nice quality connectors means there's one less thing in the system to go wrong and since BOB's are major cause of troubles this is very welcome and not to be under valued.!
    It's powered by 24V with very low current draw so can use same PSU used for powering Limits etc.
    It mounts to industry standard DIN rail and is very robust and neat with very high build quality, it's truely industry standard which can't be said for any of the others.
    It's got plenty of I/O and 2 x 0-10v analog I/O for Spindle speed control or any other thing you need to control speed externally. Can also attach potentiomiter to analog input to control speed overide etc.

    The software plugin is second to none which is quite a important thing to consider with all motion control cards because they are only has good as there plugin. This one is very simple to use and setup at which point it becomes transparent and you never see it or touch it again. It's also got very few bugs I now about and it does everything it's claimed to do and if a Bug does appear it's fixed quickly which can't be said for Warp9 and the ESS.

    None of the others come close IME.

    Now next alternative to the ESS and the one I now use for slaved motors is the Russian PLCM-E3 which is a good card and matches the ESS in every department. When matched to it's Dedicated BOB to get it's full I/O potential or one of the cheaper BOB's they make it's a great card with spindle speed control. (buy from Zapp in UK)
    It's got good software and Backup from the guys in Russia is excellent if needed, I've only had one issue personally and know of one other and in both cases they fixed the problem within the week. This wouldn't have happened at Warp9 untill 10,000 americans jumped up and down at same time and even then it would have took 2yrs and still not got fixed properly. .. Lol

    So IME experience the Warp9 ESS in this country is now in 3rd place as it's expensive to buy in and offers nothing more performance wise than the others and greatly lacks in the back up and software department and to get the best setup you really need to match it with PMDX breakout boards which again drives up the cost as you can only buy PMDX products direct from PMDX. It performs and works great just getting expensive and has been caught up and passed by others.!

    When buying a Motion control card the BOB you use is big consideration so don't scrimp in this department.!
    Last edited by JAZZCNC; 11-07-2014 at 03:50 PM.

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  8. #6
    I use the Russian PLCM-E3 from Zapp and yes I did have a small problem with it. The controller worked fine (I use a slaved axis)
    Then I found a problem with a probing routine and only one motor would run and the slave would be locked so that the gantry tried to rack. I contacted Garry at Zapp and within days a new firmware was sent to me which cured the problem completely. I am very pleased and happy with the PLCM-E3 Another good reason for buying from a UK supplier. ..Clive

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  10. #7
    For clarity's sake Clive's Issue was the other I knew about.!. .

  11. #8
    Wow that was very informative thankyou! Im not too clued up on the electrical side of things, need to have a big read up on these things, that CSlab's Csmio-IP-M looks promising!

    More bed time reading! Thankyou both of you!

  12. #9
    To clarify - I think that you are saying that the PLCM-E3 can handle a twin-motor X axis? That would make it a bit more useful than the CSMIO-IP-M and cheaper than the bigger CSMIO version that costs a lot more, even if it doesn't include BOB functionality.

  13. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Neale View Post
    To clarify - I think that you are saying that the PLCM-E3 can handle a twin-motor X axis? That would make it a bit more useful than the CSMIO-IP-M and cheaper than the bigger CSMIO version that costs a lot more, even if it doesn't include BOB functionality.
    Yes PLCM-E3 can handle Twin motors and I did say at the beginning "It's only draw back is doesn't support slaved motors" this is the only down side to the IP-M version for use with routers using slaved motor setup but in every other way it's far superior to any of the others. Also remember there are a lot of people out there who don't use slaved motors on routers but still want motion control cards.
    It's bigger brother that does do slaved motors isn't really in the same market or aimed at steppers and is aimed more at servo's where again there's very little to touch it in quality and performance at that price range, you have to spend a lot more to even get close matching it.

    For Twin motors the PLCM-E3 is a cheaper option and like I stated it's what I now use on slaved motor machines. I used to use ESS + PMDX which I still very much like and would recommend and use if could buy cheaper in UK but not since prologic brought out the dedicated BOB with spindle control, Which you couldn't do at one time without PWM spindle speed control board or BOB with one fitted, then I've started fitting these after testing for over a year on my machine. (I won't recommend or fit anything I haven't tried to kill first.!!)

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