I've got my ESS board powered up and connected to my laptop. I have set the network settings and installed the driver for Mach3.
When I load Mach 3 it talks to the ESS and says there are missing settings because it is the first time I've used it, so I accept default values.
Now I'm stuck!
1) The first message it gives when starting Mach3 is that no E-Stop has been assigned to an input on the ESS. Actually, I don't have a hardware E-Stop I've always used the Esc key on the computer. What to do? I will also need to assign the home switches.
2) How on earth do I get it to talk to my BOB?
Here are the settings I was using for the standard Mach3 parallel port driver.
The Motor tuning was:
Y and A axis (dual motors for long axis):100 steps/unit
X axis: 100 steps/unit
Z axis: 200 steps/unit
Maximum velocity 10,000 mm/min
3) Setting 'Max Step Frequency' and 'Controller Frequency'. Following the setup PDF HERE it says:
Originally Posted by Setup PDF
200 * 10,000 = 2000000
2000000 / 60 = 33333.333r Hz or 33.4 KHz
Does that sound right for Max Step Freq? The options on the ESS setup are 32 KHz and 64 KHz so I'd need to go for 64KHz on the Z axis.
It would of course be half that figure for the other axis which only have 100 steps/mm rather than 200 steps/mm, so should I set those axis to 32KHz because I can, or just use the same for all? (Edit: Actually while the X and Y axis go at 10,000 mm/min, the Z axis is slower at more like 3,000mm/min so 32KHz should be good for all axis, despite the Z needing twice the steps per unit).
What about 'Controler Frequency'? It is 1KHz default.
Last edited by Tenson; 12-10-2015 at 11:40 PM.
I will reply to this post first, since it is shorter and simpler. There have been more than a few people that have used phone chargers successfully. The biggest issues are:
- Does it supply a stable voltage? (Easy to verify if you are within 4.5v to 5.5V, but preferably within 4.75V and 5.25V)
- Can it source enough current? (Easy to verify if it can source 0.5 A at 5.0V)
- Is it old and flaky? (Weird thinks happen like random drop outs...)
Here are the specs and FAQ that will help you and others answer those questions.
I will write another response to your first post now.
So Tenson may be past this stage, but I will post it anyways to help others who may be trying to set up their ESS.
Go to our YouTube channel and watch these videos:
- How to use the SCU (System Configuration Utility) So your PC can talk with your ESS.
- Installing Mach3 and the ESS Plugin
The EStop pin issue is something I will be removing from the plugin. When I wrote the plugin I was concerned about the ESS knowing that an EStop happened. In the meantime, I would recommend assigning EStop to an unused pin, such as Port 1 Pin 10 and making it Active Low. Any of pins 10, 11, 12, 13, and 15 of Port 1, 2, or 3 will work.
This is in Mach3 -> Menu -> Config ->Ports and Pins -> Input Signals.
Once you do this, you should see the Emergency light go off in the Diagnostics tab:
However, you really want to have an EStop connected to disable your motors via hardware
What is an EStop button?
The EStop button is an Emergency Stop button. The EStop button is there so it can be pressed during an emergency so it can stop your equipment, and hopefully prevent injuries and damage.
Why do I need an EStop button?
The EStop button is a very import safety feature! It can protect you from injury and death, as well as possibly preventing damage to your work piece and equipment.
Every machine should have an EStop button (or multiple EStop buttons), and you should test your EStop button's functionality regularly.
How does the EStop button work with a SmoothStepper?
Software is not a reliable way to stop motors in an Emergency situation, since something can go wrong with software. You need to rely on hardware approach to disable motors and other outputs in an Emergency situation. The EStop button should disable your motors and other output devices (spindles, plasma cutters, lasers, etc...), but it shouldn't disable the SmoothStepper. Instead the SmoothStepper's EStop input signal should be treated as a courtesy signal to inform you visually that the EStop button has been pressed and also used to inform Mach3 or Mach4 to halt the G-Code.
Your pin assignments for the motors look OK. The ESS uses the same dialogs as Mach, so just enter the same values for the ESS.
According to you calculations, the max step frequency should be 64 kHz for the Z axis. You should be able to use 32 kHz for the X and Y axes.
Leave the Controller Frequency at 1 kHz, though you could try 2 kHz if you want a little less delay when using FRO or Feed Hold. The ESS has a fixed amount of memory, and the controller frequency is a setting for how many motion positions per second there are. At 2 kHz you will have twice as many points per second, but with the same amount of memory the buffer will be half as long in seconds. At 4 kHz the buffer is so short that you could run out of data in the middle of a move. Windows isn't all that reliable, and so the plugin doesn't always communicate on a timely basis.
Welcome to the forum and thanks for stopping by to offer support.
The Following User Says Thank You to Lee Roberts For This Useful Post:
Thanks for your help Andy. I got it working!!
I first had to set an input pin for the estop in the 'ports and pins - inputs' menu in Mach3 as you said. I just set it to port 1 pin 1, which is otherwise unused. Then it let me get on with other setting up.
I put my same old settings into the Mach3 'output pins' menu for motors and hey presto I got motion :)
I then set up the things like slave axis, homing and motor tuning as usual.
It may be my imagination but I think it actually does sound smoother in motion.
We'll see how it runs on a job tomorrow.
Last edited by Tenson; 12-10-2015 at 09:38 PM.
Glad to hear that!
Let us know if you need more help.
Thanks for chiming in Andy.
Saved me typing it all out myself.
The SCU helps loads when configuring the ESS especially if you have a dedicated computer.
As for the E-stop, for safety's sake, please wire a big red mushroom button up.
Stocking more goodies than just Smoothsteppers
The Following User Says Thank You to komatias For This Useful Post:
Oh, what about the step and direction pulse width in motor tuning? It seems both are set at 5us by default (says 1-5us range).
It strikes me that it could be longer when running at a 32KHz 'Maximum Step Frequency', because 5us is the same as 200KHz. Am I right in thinking a longer step and direction pulse could give more reliability?
Last edited by Tenson; 12-10-2015 at 11:37 PM.
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