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Old Oct 06, 2013, 05:27 PM
Once in a lifetime
danielphantom's Avatar
USA, CA, Temecula
Joined Jan 2009
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Help troubleshooting a hobbycnc machine please

I received 2nd hand a hobbycnc machine for 4-axis foam cutting.

There are a few things that I need to set up to explain my situation.

I originally tried to run the cnc machine with Jedicut the program that the previous owner had used.

First I plugged in the cnc power supply and measured the voltage it was around 32Vdc. No problem, unplugged the power supply--then I hooked up the parallel port to the Windows 7 machine, and then hooked up the power leads from the power supply to the cnc machine (remember the power supply is unplugged) I had inadvertently left the switch to the cnc machine on, and when I touched the wires to the binding posts I heard all the motors energize and then nothing. Come to realize my mistake about not having the power supply hooked up and realize that the voltage that was stored in the 25,000uf capacitor had discharged into the cnc machine.

Ok, I turned the CNC machine off, then plugged in the power supply, and turned the CNC back on--no response, haven't heard a peep out of the stepper motors since. While hooked up to the Windows 7 machine I noticed that the large heat sinked resistors on the outside of the case were getting very warm, I turned it off before they got too hot to touch--

Ok, could I have fried the driver chips? The driver chip is UCN5804B. I have found the data sheet to determine the proper pinout of the "direction" and "step" for each driver chip and have carefully followed the traces and the wires to the parallel port and then ensured that I match those pin numbers with what Jedicut expects them to be. Had I known what I know now, I would have done that first but I had no idea that this wasn't going to be "plug and play."

I have also fired up my old xp machine with parallel port and plugged it in there with no luck. That is the machine I am currently working with. although with this machine the resistors don't get hot anymore .

Then I discovered a new program "foamworks" from a forum here in our beloved RCGroups. I downloaded and installed it and set up all of the ports for direction and step.

No luck.

Then I saw something in the readme file with foamworks about making sure that the lpt1 port is in "EPP mode" Device manager currently shows it in "ECP mode" so I re-booted into bios setup and changed the lpt1 to be in EPP mode. I saved and exited--and windows starts up. I go into device manager and lo and behold--the lpt1 port is still in ecp mode.

I have now learned that this is an issue others have had and there is a peripheral card to put into the parallel printer port and plug your cable into that. Here is what it is called:

C26 - OUTPUT BUFFER BOARD

here is where it is available (although on backorder)

http://cnc4pc.com/Tech_Docs/C26R3_1_USER_MANUAL.pdf

So this is where I'm at--I have no signs of life coming from the stepper motors when I power up the cncmachine, I don't know if that's normal or if they are supposed to jump to life and then whine while holding stationary position.

I see that I have two choices:

Buy new driver chips, I can get them from ebay for a pack of 5 for under $12.00 and/or buy this card (for $19.99 or so) which emulates EPP mode and is supposed to do the trick for others that have issues with the "newer" parallel ports.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I have spent some hours the other day working with a guy on cnczone.com in one of their forums and he was very helpful but we still didn't get it to work.

My personal choice is to get new driver chips, something tells me that they went sideways during my first session with the windows 7 machine.

any help you have is appreciated,

Daniel
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Last edited by danielphantom; Oct 06, 2013 at 07:20 PM.
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Old Oct 06, 2013, 08:21 PM
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Denver, CO
Joined Dec 2005
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The steppers should hold position when under power. When inactive they are easy to rotate. If the machine was not setup properly there could be many things to look at. Might have to start from scratch, especially if you have never seen it run.
The steppers might not have the proper resistors.
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Old Oct 06, 2013, 09:15 PM
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danielphantom's Avatar
USA, CA, Temecula
Joined Jan 2009
409 Posts
It was working fine according to the previous owner, have spoken on the phone with him, but that was before these troubles.

I'm thinking to replace the stepper controller chips and see what happens. Have you have heard about this parallel port board?

Thanks for your input
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Old Oct 07, 2013, 12:42 PM
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DeadTom's Avatar
Reno, Nevada
Joined Oct 2006
797 Posts
Which HobbyCNC board do you have?
On my HobbyCNC setup there are 2 fuses on the face panel of my controller.
Yours should have at least one somewhere on it....unless the original owner bypassed it.
The stepper motors are probably fine, anything fried would be the chip your talking about or the driver chip on the HobbyCNC board. The HobbyCNC driver chip and just about any and all parts are available from their website.
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Old Oct 08, 2013, 02:22 PM
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dpot's Avatar
France, Auvergne, Lapalisse
Joined Dec 2005
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i would email Dave it is not all ways the driver chips it could just be the power is not getting to the board you will have to start from scratch and run thou all the power checks.
as roto rob if you can move the steppers there is a problem with the board
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Old Oct 09, 2013, 01:09 PM
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danielphantom's Avatar
USA, CA, Temecula
Joined Jan 2009
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The back of the board is etched with the word HobbyCnc there is no other Id on it. I'll post some pics of the setup. I have a thread open on cnczone.com with more details I don't know if rcgroups has a policy about other site links but I'll post that link when I get home to regular computer.

The pics are on that site as well in the foam cutting section under "other machines"
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Old Oct 10, 2013, 12:39 AM
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danielphantom's Avatar
USA, CA, Temecula
Joined Jan 2009
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5V regulator on the board was bad. I swapped it out and looks like I'm in business. During other troubleshooting, I took all the chips out and then upon re-insertion I put one in backwards--ok gotta buy a new driver chip now but at least the other three are doing fine and I can move them with the software (foamworks)

thanks for the input guys,

Daniel
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Old Oct 10, 2013, 10:59 AM
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Reno, Nevada
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Awesome Daniel, glad you could figure it out.
Good luck and when you start kicking out nice looking cuts please show us here on RCG, we love pictures.
Tom
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Old Oct 11, 2013, 09:50 AM
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danielphantom's Avatar
USA, CA, Temecula
Joined Jan 2009
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thanks, actually fired up jedicut to try and figure out some things and cut a sample using just 3 out of 4 of the motors so I could see how to set it up. Will try to cut a foil with foamworks and see how that differs.

Have a couple old airtronics 4 channel fm radios one totally defunct, gonna take out that battery meter and re config to be an amp meter (don't know exactly how accurate it will be but have a digital meter to try and calibrate it.

It was suggested to me to use a strand of wire from a picture hanging cable, the gentleman sent me his old wire and used that last night--it draws about 1 amp at the voltage I was using and cut alright, although the kerf seemed a bit wide at times. I'm not using the software program to control heat. I know that is the better way to do it when you get into things like cutting spar slots and other more intricate things. Just gonna start out walking here instead of running.

I had used a guitar g-string during my manual cuts making up some sample blanks from packing styrofoam that I got from work--and it drawed between 2-3 amps to get hot enough. I have some .020 inconel wire that I may use eventually as well. Is .015 the golden diameter for wire?

I need to get more into this forum and read all the info that has already been written instead of asking the basic questions--I realize that

ok, I spent a couple bucks extra and bought a pair of chips in the states instead of buying 5 from China at half price--because I don't want to wait 20 days. I should have all 4 axis running by the middle of next week.

regards,

Daniel
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Old Oct 31, 2013, 09:46 PM
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Kevin Matney's Avatar
United States, MI, Monroe
Joined Mar 2000
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Try this thread http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1383721
As for cutting wire I use SS .014 and a vereact for power supply
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Old Nov 02, 2013, 01:13 AM
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danielphantom's Avatar
USA, CA, Temecula
Joined Jan 2009
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thanks for the link, I have recently found that site as well.

I ended up going with gmfc (lite) version and am having fun trying to get things all calibrated.

Am trying to get some tapered inboard and outboard panels to match up thickness wise. Chordwise no problem.

Daniel
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Old Nov 02, 2013, 02:23 AM
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United States, MI, Monroe
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Call me see if I can help
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Old Nov 13, 2013, 06:38 AM
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Joined Jul 2013
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steppers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roto Rob View Post
The steppers should hold position when under power. When inactive they are easy to rotate. If the machine was not setup properly there could be many things to look at. Might have to start from scratch, especially if you have never seen it run.
The steppers might not have the proper resistors.
Stepper motors are always under power, when at rest the drivers reduce voltage but they can not be turned when at rest, you would loose position, yes when the system is turned off they can be moved by hand.
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