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  1. Hi,

    I'm looking for some help/advice about the above. I am about 4 months into my CNC journey so please excuse the lack of electronic knowledge.

    I have a fault on my Chinese machine machine. I've diagnosed it as an issue with the Leadshine DMA860A driver for Z axis. I have a new one in transit.

    In due course I would like to change out the RichAuto A11 controller and replace with UC300ETH and run it with UCCNC. This is because I have only read good things about the set up and also because I want to add an ATC spindle with linear tool rack once I am confident to take on such a project.

    My Questions:

    1. Am I correct in thinking that the 5LPT is a Breakout board for the UC300ETH? If so, what are it's disadvantages? I have read that it needs a 5V supply rather than a 24V supply so this is something I will need to tackle. Anything else.

    2. I understand that the pins have been arranged in ports. What tyre of connectors can be used for my inputs/outputs?

    3. I have read a fair bit of talk about the UB1 and UBB as BB options. Which in your opinion is the strongest option for the hardware below.


    3 x stepper motors Nema 34
    3 Omron homing switches
    Spindle speed control
    outputs for ATC
    Fixed Z probe following tool changes
    Mobile Z probe,

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    I use a couple of UC300s with UCCNC and I'm very happy with them.

    I suggest that you avoid the 5LPT option. In fact, the CNCdrive site seems to show it as obsolete. I suspect that it was designed to replace controllers based on printer ports, and it uses 5V i/o signalling. The UCBB might be a better option with your ATC plans as it has plenty of i/o pins and can handle 24V signalling. This can be much more resistant to any interference, especially on a large machine with long cable runs.

    You use idc connectors and ribbon cable between UC300 and UCBB. The UCBB has screw-down connectors for external wiring.

  3. Hi Neale,

    Thanks for your input.

    It's funny you say that about the 5LPT because last weekend, I was on CNC drive, I went to check out (UC300 - 5LPT + UCCNC licence) in order to work out postage but instead, the webpage completed a form entry.

    Well on Monday I got an email confirming order with Paypal payment details - so from this front it does not seem obsolete.

    Anyhow, I will avoid the 5LPT for my particular needs and the 24V I/O capability sounds more suitable.

    Please continue to send thoughts/suggestions as it great learning.

  4. Having another look on CNC drive I can see the obsolete status.

    The UBB looks good with lots of connection capability. This is a dual port BB. In what circumstance would somebody needs a duel port BB rather than a single port?

  5. #5
    When you want lots of i/o capability! Essentially, it just adds more. I only mention it in connection with your ATC plans, as I have seen a number of comments here in the past about needing more i/o connections to control these. Maybe that means "more than available on an old-fashioned LPT port", though. I don't use an ATC on my mill or my router, so have no personal experience with them. I used a UC300ETH to replace the original Ethernet SmoothStepper on my mill, and while I don't have an ATC, I do have both a touch probe plus a fixed tool-height sensor on the bed. I have written a few macros so that on a tool-change, the machine automatically calibrates tool length by measuring itself on the tool-height sensor so even though I change tools manually (usually milling cutters in a collet so no possibility of presetting tool length, or swapping to a drill chuck) I can continue with minimal delay. Kind of poor-man's ATC!

    On the mill, I could use the existing breakout board but on the router, I bought the UCBB, more so that I was future-proofed than because I needed the extra connections. I'm using UCCNC on both machines (replacing Mach3) and am very happy with it - although I prefer the older screen layout of UCCNC to the latest version. Personal taste.

    Again, thinking about the router, I have a lot of cables running parallel to each other, with limit switches, VFD connections to the spindle, and stepper motor connections, all very close. That's one reason why I wanted 24V signalling, for better interference rejection, and as far as I can tell, this has never been a problem on my machine. I did pay a lot of attention to earthing, of course, with wired earth connections that bridge the profile rail bearings so that I am not relying on the bearings for earthing. Had plenty of problems with proximity limit switches but that's because I bought a cheap box of them from eBay when I built the machine and they are not super-reliable...

  6. Quote Originally Posted by Neale View Post
    When you want lots of i/o capability! Essentially, it just adds more. I only mention it in connection with your ATC plans, as I have seen a number of comments here in the past about needing more i/o connections to control these. Maybe that means "more than available on an old-fashioned LPT port", though. I don't use an ATC on my mill or my router, so have no personal experience with them. I used a UC300ETH to replace the original Ethernet SmoothStepper on my mill, and while I don't have an ATC, I do have both a touch probe plus a fixed tool-height sensor on the bed. I have written a few macros so that on a tool-change, the machine automatically calibrates tool length by measuring itself on the tool-height sensor so even though I change tools manually (usually milling cutters in a collet so no possibility of presetting tool length, or swapping to a drill chuck) I can continue with minimal delay. Kind of poor-man's ATC!

    On the mill, I could use the existing breakout board but on the router, I bought the UCBB, more so that I was future-proofed than because I needed the extra connections. I'm using UCCNC on both machines (replacing Mach3) and am very happy with it - although I prefer the older screen layout of UCCNC to the latest version. Personal taste.

    Again, thinking about the router, I have a lot of cables running parallel to each other, with limit switches, VFD connections to the spindle, and stepper motor connections, all very close. That's one reason why I wanted 24V signalling, for better interference rejection, and as far as I can tell, this has never been a problem on my machine. I did pay a lot of attention to earthing, of course, with wired earth connections that bridge the profile rail bearings so that I am not relying on the bearings for earthing. Had plenty of problems with proximity limit switches but that's because I bought a cheap box of them from eBay when I built the machine and they are not super-reliable...
    Thanks for that info.

    I think it great that you have the fixed probe. I presume in your macros, the software will be able to work out the difference of the fixed probe height vs spoil board/workpiece height?


    https://cncdrive.com/downloads/UCBB_manual.pdf

    I had a read of the manual for the UCBB. From my understanding, you need the UC300ETH-5LPT and the UCBB tethers onto this via the ribbon cable?

    In the initial post you advised not to get this?

    Am I getting confused?

  7. #7
    My apologies for any confusion. The UC300 USB version is obsolete and the UC300ETH-5LPT is the current version. The ethernet connection is generally considered the better choice over USB.

    You can buy the UC300+UCBB+2 ribbon cables as a bundle - ribbon cables connect the two boards, as you say. You might also consider the IDC16 to screw terminal board for analogue port if you want spindle speed control, just to make wiring easier. That also needs a short ribbon cable.

    The way I have my machine set up using my macros means that I set up the work first. Then I set the Z work coordinate zero, which is usually the spoil board or the top of the work. I do this either with a touch probe using the UCCNC probing functions, or using the first tool in the toolpath. One of my macros then moves the tool to the fixed probe and measures the height, which is stored. Then, on every M6 tool change command, the machine uses the fixed probe to check tool length and using the stored height, it can reset the Z work coordinate and carry on machining. All I do is change the tool when prompted and hit the Start button.

  8. Quote Originally Posted by Neale View Post
    My apologies for any confusion. The UC300 USB version is obsolete and the UC300ETH-5LPT is the current version. The ethernet connection is generally considered the better choice over USB.

    You can buy the UC300+UCBB+2 ribbon cables as a bundle - ribbon cables connect the two boards, as you say. You might also consider the IDC16 to screw terminal board for analogue port if you want spindle speed control, just to make wiring easier. That also needs a short ribbon cable.

    The way I have my machine set up using my macros means that I set up the work first. Then I set the Z work coordinate zero, which is usually the spoil board or the top of the work. I do this either with a touch probe using the UCCNC probing functions, or using the first tool in the toolpath. One of my macros then moves the tool to the fixed probe and measures the height, which is stored. Then, on every M6 tool change command, the machine uses the fixed probe to check tool length and using the stored height, it can reset the Z work coordinate and carry on machining. All I do is change the tool when prompted and hit the Start button.

    Gotcha! That makes sense and yes I understand why ethernet is preferred over USB.

    I have located that bundle and it seems like a robust set up.

    Your M6 protocol is great and will need something similar with an ATC.

    Which pins/terminals do you have your pulse +/- and dir +/- for motor steps?

    Thank you.

  9. #9
    Sorry I've been a while replying.

    Unfortunately, my router PC failed to install a recent Windows 10 update and I ended up having to reinstall Windows, etc. That was the point when I found that I had not taken a backup of that UCCNC configuration, so I am going to have to start again from scratch.

    Despite all that, I don't think that the pins you use for step and direction outputs matters, as long as you do use "output" pins! Having connected everything, you then tell UCCNC which ports and pins you have chosen - unlike the cheap breakout boards, where XYZA connections are typically dedicated. Connecting the limit switches, etc, you can use the diagnostics screen to see which pin triggers when you operate the relevant switch manually and then tell UCCNC which is which in the configuration page.

  10. Hi Neale,

    Don't mention it - computers... they are great when they work but can cause a headache or two when they don't.

    So what you are basically saying is that I can bench test all the hardware to see if they are responding as expected?

    Am I able to activate individual pins manually? i.e If I hook up a stepper driver and motor - will I be able to activate movement in positive direction and then in negative direction?

    Thanks.

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