1. #1
    Hi,
    Can anyone out there give any advice on upgrading a Denford Starmill.
    It used to run fine on a BBC but has stopped talking to the computor.
    I want to run off a Laptop. The input sockets that exist are 7 pin din Rs232 and a 15 pin 2 row D (DA-15) that is marked up "AuX input"
    I was hoping not to have to change motors or boards at this stage as I have just done my Emco 5Cnc (Welturn) but will if that is only option.
    Any advice on this and related stuff most appreciated. Phil Gravett (PhilCraft)

  2. Quote Originally Posted by Phil Gravett View Post
    Hi,
    Can anyone out there give any advice on upgrading a Denford Starmill.
    It used to run fine on a BBC but has stopped talking to the computor.
    I want to run off a Laptop. The input sockets that exist are 7 pin din Rs232 and a 15 pin 2 row D (DA-15) that is marked up "AuX input"
    I was hoping not to have to change motors or boards at this stage as I have just done my Emco 5Cnc (Welturn) but will if that is only option.
    Any advice on this and related stuff most appreciated. Phil Gravett (PhilCraft)
    Phil,

    I assume you've looked at the Denford website and maybe you were aware of the forum they run? I suspect most of what you want can be found there somewhere. I had a quick look but there are several variants of the Starmill. They do, for some variants, do an upgrade for the controller to work off a PC via USB, but I susepct it wont be cheap.

  3. #3
    Thank for your reply. I have looked at Denford forum but all the old software is just that, old. And I think that you are right, the new stuff is perhaps too rich ,especially as the machine would probably have to go back to factory for refit.
    I have just spent a couple of days on youtube looking at all the wonderful machines that people are building and it seems to me that the vast majority are using Mach 3.
    I have already bought (or pressured into buying!) Bobcad V3 and know that it talks to Mach 3 so maybe I should just bite the bullet and get a whole package including Steppers. This mill has a toolchanger (runs on comp air) Question is, which system? Phil.

  4. Quote Originally Posted by Phil Gravett View Post
    Thank for your reply. I have looked at Denford forum but all the old software is just that, old. And I think that you are right, the new stuff is perhaps too rich ,especially as the machine would probably have to go back to factory for refit.
    I have just spent a couple of days on youtube looking at all the wonderful machines that people are building and it seems to me that the vast majority are using Mach 3.
    I have already bought (or pressured into buying!) Bobcad V3 and know that it talks to Mach 3 so maybe I should just bite the bullet and get a whole package including Steppers. This mill has a toolchanger (runs on comp air) Question is, which system? Phil.
    Doesnt it have steppers already? If so, you'd only need drivers to operate with Mach3. I'd have a look at the steppers and see if there's a part # on them and start from there... If it has servos & encoders Mach3 can work with those too...

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Gravett View Post
    Thank for your reply. I have looked at Denford forum but all the old software is just that, old. And I think that you are right, the new stuff is perhaps too rich ,especially as the machine would probably have to go back to factory for refit.
    I have just spent a couple of days on youtube looking at all the wonderful machines that people are building and it seems to me that the vast majority are using Mach 3.
    I have already bought (or pressured into buying!) Bobcad V3 and know that it talks to Mach 3 so maybe I should just bite the bullet and get a whole package including Steppers. This mill has a toolchanger (runs on comp air) Question is, which system? Phil.
    Phil
    We have done about 7 Denfords now, mainly Oracs and Triacs, never a Starmill.

    Whilst the conversion over to Mach for the 3 axis is normally OK the stumbling block is the spindle boards and toolchanger.

    The problem with the spindle board is Denfords never standardised on one or two boards, They used everything going, many of them unsupported now and some that even Denfords have no record of.
    Add to this some of them run the speed pot at mains potential and linking this up to 0 to 10 volt breakout boards causes some good sparks.

    The toolchanges are the same, no two are alike and getting mach to talk to them can be done but it takes a lot of time, hence money.

    We have only done two tool change machines and in each case we have put external push buttons just the release the tool so it can be changed manually at the request of the owners.

    Normally we leave the stepper motors alone and fit new power supply and drivers with a new breakout board and then wire this all in. If we can reuse the spindle board we do but if not then it requires a new DC board or VFD depending on what type spindle motor Denfords used.

    John S.
    John S -

  6. #6
    Thanks for that info. Althought somewhat disheartening it is food for much thought.
    I think I will try and get it to talk to the BBC (computor) again. I just get this message saying "trying to make a connection, check the RS232 lead" More Later. Phil

  7. #7
    Thanks for reply. If you read next post from John S , you will see the sort of headaches I am having ! I think Denford used whatever they could get and somehow made it all work. They must have had a lot of people throwing a sickie in those days. Phil.

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