Thread: Old PC`s and Mach3
I have been building my desktop router and have been screaming with frustration trying to get my steppers to run smoothly. I have three XP PC boxes all working and cleaned of trash proggrammes. All three give ragged pulses to my steppers? A chance conversation with Angeltec revealed that around 50% of his old XP PC`s will not run Mach3 successfully? Following that I tried my system with a PC already running my old Mach3 router and "bobs your uncle" every thing worked perfectly?
So is this a common problem?? If so are these other three PC`s able to be adapted in some way.
I've been using HP Compaq ex-business desktops and all the models I've tried have good parallel ports for BOB/Mach3 control, right up to the point where the PP was discontinued.
For later models I'm now faced with testing PP cards to find one which is compatible, if you can disable the onboard PP and can find a compatible card then that ought to get you going,
Nick - Thanks I also have two redundant HP Compaq`s and they are two of the three that will not play ball.
Had a brand new PP card here. Just tried it but "of course" it does not fit in the bus slot.
Unfortunately the parallel port is an outmoded feature and it was very much adapted to cope with the two way conversation required by external devices such as data backup boxes etc... Mach3 jumped on the bandwagon and all was fine to begin with, but the PP was already sick and dying for printing purposes and USB, Ethernet and Wifi were taking over. My recommendation is to go forward to Ethernet or sideways to USB.
PP at first used TTL logic levels and 5v with low data rates meant most 'printing' didn't come out garbled, but with CMOS and longer cables your chances diminish and Mach3 may squirt out the right pulses, but your BoB won't get enough to process properly and reliably.
Keep your printer cables as short as possible - it won't do any harm.
I bought a one of these a year or so back as I had to replace a motherboard (as it happens, in an old HP PC) and cheap motherboards don't have parallel ports. I'm using LinuxCNC at the moment so wanted to avoid the external motion controller route as there isn't much choice anyway. This PCI card has been working fine under Linux with a cheap BOB on the end of the parallel cable, but I can't speak for Mach3 use. I have built the PC as dual-boot and have Mach3 demo on the Windows half - I really should test it!
I've got an HP Compaq Pentium 4 box sitting here with XP. It works pretty well for Mach 3. Anyone can have it for free if you collect from Kent, DA11. Only PC box, no monitor or keyboard etc..
Edit: Just like this one - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/HP-Compaq-...item43d8963d6f
Last edited by Tenson; 02-10-2015 at 02:22 PM.
I have got a Netmos 2 parallel port adapter and a BoB sitting in a box (somewhere in my shitheap of an office). It was intended for my new build, but Zapp had such a good deal on a CSLabs controller that I decided not to use the PP solution, for the reasons so ably discussed in this thread.
Let me warn anyone thinking of using a PCI PP card that unless you get a driver disk with it, you will have a hunt for the driver for XP as both PCI and XP are obsolete, but I found them on the net at one time and I have a disk with some suitable drivers for this type of card.
Best of Luck,
Last edited by cropwell; 02-10-2015 at 04:30 PM.
It's lucky that we're not stuck with XP and that Mach3 works perfectly well on Windows 7, which finds good drivers for a huge range of hardware, new and old.
The PC I use for CNC is an old (ish) machine running XP. I have stripped out everything in the system that I don't need, Games, Networking etc and have disabled devices in the BIOS so that drivers it doesn't need are not loaded. As a result, the system is very stable and loads in <20 seconds as it has a SSD in it.
I tried the PP card on a Win7 machine with little success but did not pursue the matter as it was not mission critical.
It was fun getting into Mach3 and I am impressed with the range of customisation possible.
I am not a fan of Win7 and its successors, but that is because my understanding of the OS, as complexity increases, lessens. I was happy with Win95 - I understood it more (I must just be a reactionary old fart ).
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