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Controller Board Suggestions please!!

Discussion in 'CNC Mills/Routers' started by Jonny Norris, Jan 25, 2015.

  1. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    Hi there.. I'm looking for yet another control board after the original hyteckworks board supplied with my kit had a short between the USB connector and the board, and fried itself, though i wasn't overly happy with its 3v logic system anyway. I've recently purchased a "digital dream cnc ddumv1.05" which boasted 400khz processing, but ultimately got thrown in the bin after just 3 days of trying to get the thing to work.. loosing USB connection, spazing out randomly and the thing didn't understand arc moves!!! I should have done some research on it before purchasing, if i had i would have found out the manufacturer has shut up shop and not offering any support, and many others finding the same issues. Though you can still buy these on amazon!!!

    So having learnt my lesson.. thought id better get some advise on the matter. I need a mach3 compatible 5 axis USB or Ethernet board that is going to be reliable.. smooth, has good support, and runs on 5v logic.
    your suggestions here will be most appreciated. Thanks

    Jon.
     
  2. GrayUK

    GrayUK Master
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    Sorry you've had really bad luck with the electronics. :cry:
    I reckon this has got to be the way for you to go: :thumbsup:

    http://www.planet-cnc.com/index.php?page=hardware

    It ain't cheap, but ask anyone, and they'll tell you it's reliable, and works really well!!
    Tie it up with a good set of Drivers, and that's it! :D


    SIMPLE :thumbsup::thumbsup:

    Gray
     
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  3. Nick W

    Nick W Veteran
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    I have been procrastinating on which controller to use. I have always looked over the CNC USB Controller because of cost. I wanted to try out the Smoothie Board but router specific software support is lacking. But after looking at the planet cnc site, they have documented everything I was looking for. Homing procedure, tool length, etc. I just pulled the trigger on a MK3/4. Now I just need to pick up some drivers and motors. yeah, motors.... those would be helpful.
     
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  4. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    Nice cheers bud, and half the price of the smooth stepper. :) and liking the additional modules they do for it.

    Only thing that seems is odd. Why the jump between 4axis and 9axis?

    Another thing is they have mixed the input and output connectors, I prefer them to be on opposite side of the board but, other than that it, quite impressed. So cheers grey.
     
  5. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    Cheers grey, but can't see on their site, are these mach 3 compatible?
     
  6. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    Ahh i see, based on a grbl controller. That's a shame.
     
  7. SVK

    SVK New
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  8. Gerry

    Gerry Well-Known
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  9. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    Thanks, no your input is most welcome and needed.

    Thanks for the links, haven't had a chance to do any real comparisons as yet but i will be soon, but pmdx have outlined the issues with usb, and having experienced buffer issues. I think it may be time to build a dedicated pc and use a parrallel port. So Most helpful. Cheers
     
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  10. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    Thank you for the links, the usb to parrallel port converter would indeed be an option. Though svk has kindly posted a link to pmdx, that has opened my eyes to a few of the issues with usb in general, so now thinking of avoiding using usb otherwise a good solution.

    I'm not so sure planet Cnc boards are designed to avoid using mach 3 simply just have a different architecture that requires a grbl based controller instead. They are actually almost identical to Pibot, though you can get Pibot now at a fraction of the cost of planet CNC. I actually have one of these, and they are very neat, but unfortunately for me personally, I don't feel I get the same use ability and control options with its grbl controller as I do with mach 3. Call me old fashioned, but i also prefer to stick to what Im familiar with which may be clouding my judgment somewhat.
     
  11. SVK

    SVK New
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    Hi Jonny,

    I'm glad that my post was helpful :)
    I see that you are experienced user and went through some issues already.

    I'm planing to use Laptop with parallel port(not best but) PMDX-126 breakout board in combination with smooth stepper will work according to PMDX site.

    Any recommendation for smooth stepper ?
    Would you recommend me to buy this PMDX-126 ?
    (I know you didn't run this combo but I have spent some time searching and I feel like I'm running in circles)

    Thank you very much and good luck
     
    #11 SVK, Jan 28, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015
  12. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    Haha experienced with issues yes but very much a novice. And running in circles, I know the feeling!!

    The pmdx-126 does sound good, and Thinking I may follow suit. But am I not right in thinking you only need the smoothstepper module for usb and Ethernet connection? Cheers

    Jon.
     
  13. SVK

    SVK New
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    Smooth stepper is apparently needed with PMDX-126. I'm new to all this so I'm just going by what I was told at MyCNCuk.
    I have placed order for purelogic's PLMC-E4 which is BOB + Smooth stepper in one unit.
     
  14. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    Have you got a link to that board? Can't find anything on it in google.
     
  15. SVK

    SVK New
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  16. GrayUK

    GrayUK Master
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    No chance of English I suppose?

    Gray
     
  17. SVK

    SVK New
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    Yes they have English instructions. Right click on website and choose translate. Then beside the product you have small arrow downwards(drop down menu) click on that and last two files are in English.
     
  18. GrayUK

    GrayUK Master
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  19. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    Finally taken the plunge and bought and bought a uc300 motion controller from cnc4you and thier breakout board

    http://www.cnc4you.co.uk/UC300-USB-Motion-Controller

    And

    http://www.cnc4you.co.uk/Breakout-B...d CNC Stepper-Motor-5-Axis-Spindle-Relay-HG08

    With the idc to lpt lead to link the boards, came in a £186 total.

    Went for this one after speaking to cnc4you, he's backing this product with a decent guarantee and seems very helpful, also has a pretty good manual with diagrams in good not broken English which makes a change :)

    Fingers crossed I have more joy with these!!

    Will keep you posted
     
  20. GrayUK

    GrayUK Master
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    Hi Jonny
    Yes, please do keep us posted. Still not sure about the USB CNC board.
    I have no problem with using Mach3, so a workable, and reliable, alternative might be good.
    Can you specify any main pluses with this board yet, or shall we wait?

    Gray
     
  21. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    No I know what you mean about usb, I am skeptical myself, I think I'd have preferred Ethernet. But in my experience now I feel there's alot of boards out there and all very much the same, what stood out with the uc300 was not so much the board, yes it ticked all the boxes, for me now what makes a product good, having been stung before is, that the seller and manufacturer are offering support for it, and standing by it as a reliable product.

    Having made some calls to uk cnc part merchants, one thing they all seem to be stringent on is to "avoid Chinese boards" and having had two myself, I can agree.

    These boards should turn up tomorrow, so will give you an update of how they go over weekend bud
     
    #21 Jonny Norris, Feb 5, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
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  22. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    Right, at first glance, I am very, pleased with both boards.

    Some of the things I like:

    Motion controller:
    Uc300 Auto installer package downloadable from website installs up to date driver with firmware update for the board, with a couple of clicks, it installs the driver and mach 3 plugin, then on opening mach 3 with the plugin, advises you of the firmware update and flashes with new software. Very easy and pain free installation.

    Mach 3 Plugin has a very useful settings and monitor app, tells you exactly what ports and pins are being used, so can simply be transferred to Mach 3 ports and pins setting, really clear and easy! Uc300 analogue inputs can also be configured here. App also monitors the buffer, which is good. And has an error count!

    Also has index prescale setting in plugin config for use with encoders. Very useful!

    The price! It seems here I have a board capable of 6 axis, for less than many of the other 4+ controllers. With 49 digital inputs, 36 digital outputs, 2analogue inputs and 2 anolgue outputs, makes this board massivly flexible and wiring of potentiometers for feedrate for example, easy.


    Breakout board:

    Excellent quality 10mbps optocouplers

    Power supply optical isolation, very desirable.

    Onboard logic chip to filter input noise

    5axis

    pins are defined in Mach 3 ports and pins, so you are able to define which bob output controls which ever stepper driver. Which is a bigie for me, means no crossing output wires to stepper drivers!!! Fantastic!

    Finally! The excellent literature that can be found on both boards on the cnc4you website, is a vast improvement over that of previous boards.

    These are just some I'm sure of the bits I like, but for a more technical run down of the boards, if you look on the cnc4you website you will notice these boards supports pretty much every function you'd expect.

    And what I have noticed is the manufacturer of the uc300 has listed the bugs corrected in recent plugin updates, which in my opinion is s good sign that the board still has a good level of support.

    Next to cut a cycle , but so far having run an test cycle and monitored uc300 plugin, had no errors, buffer working well, and no drop of usb connection!!! So feeling optimistic!

    http://www.cnc4you.co.uk/Breakout-Board-and-PSU's/Breakout board CNC Stepper-Motor-5-Axis-Spindle-Relay-HG08
     
    #22 Jonny Norris, Feb 5, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2015
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  23. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    [​IMG]

    Neat connection with lpt lead
     
  24. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    [​IMG]

    1031 input functions in total!
     
  25. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    [​IMG]

    Pins monitor :)

    Also has update plugin button :)
     
    #25 Jonny Norris, Feb 5, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2015
  26. Tweakie

    Tweakie OpenBuilds Team
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    Just a thought but you may want to change that last picture which indicates you are using a pirate software license for Mach3 :duh:

    Tweakie.
     
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  27. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    Lol..That's my real name :)
    Infact thats a license that came with the last board I purchased. That for some odd reason wouldn't run without it. But will revert it back to my license. Cheers for pointing it out.
     

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