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IndustryArena Forum > CNC Electronics > Stepper Motors / Drives > Almost too embarrassed to ask !
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    1101
    Quote Originally Posted by greybeard View Post
    After a hiatus of many years, and a 4000 mile change of location, I've started to assemble a 3 axis mill, based on bits of my working m/c that I bought from UK to USA.

    Question - I've got x3 'Powermax 2' stepper motors connected to my old SuperCam controller, last used about 15 years ago.
    Taking the lid off, I removed a large masonary wasp nest (think sand turned into a solid lump) and generally cleaned it all up.
    As a basic test, I switched the power on. The two fans worked, so the 24v power output is OK, but there was not the expected sound of any of the three motors 'locking'.
    Am I remembering incorrectly, but I expected a slight sound of activation of the motors, even without any input from the pc to the controller.

    Regards all,
    John
    Hi John,
    Is there an Enable switch on the controller to energize the steppers?

    Also many controllers need the software to be running as it sends activates an enable line to the controller box to energize the motor and allow the outputs to be activated.

    Cheers
    Peter
    -------------------------------------------------
    Homann Designs - http://www.homanndesigns.com/store

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    1230

    Re: Almost too embarrassed to ask !

    This may be a totally irrelevant point but have you made sure that the electrical components will work with a 60Hz supply rather than the 50Hz that the UK uses?

  3. #3
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    Jun 2005
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    1436

    Re: Almost too embarrassed to ask !

    Peter - thanks for that suggestion, I'll have to have a closer look at the pcb. I've sent out a message to a guy that I might have supplied a cct diagram to, about 15 years ago ! No idea what happened to my copy - may be on an old hdd.

    Routalot - Good point. Not quite sure how to check that, but as Dennis Bohlke designed it in USA, and the power supply has a dual voltage switch, I think I should be OK.

    Regards,
    John
    It's like doing jigsaw puzzles in the dark.
    Enjoy today's problems, for tomorrow's may be worse.

  4. #4
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    Re: Almost too embarrassed to ask !

    Quote Originally Posted by phomann View Post
    Hi John,
    Is there an Enable switch on the controller to energize the steppers?

    Also many controllers need the software to be running as it sends activates an enable line to the controller box to energize the motor and allow the outputs to be activated.

    Cheers
    Peter
    Peter, While there appears to be no separate 'enable' switch, either on the outside of the case or on the pcb, I take your point about the software needing to be running.
    As I'm still at the stage of trying to test the X axis in the stepconf wizard, and getting no response from the motor, I'm wondering if I can put +5v on to the 'enable' pin (labeled pin 14) on the parport input socket ? Thus fooling the controller into believing it has software running !

    John
    It's like doing jigsaw puzzles in the dark.
    Enjoy today's problems, for tomorrow's may be worse.

  5. #5
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    Aug 2005
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    Re: Almost too embarrassed to ask !

    Hi John,

    That may be possible although it could be requiring 0v to be applied if negative logic is used.
    Or, it may require a charge pump signal (~10KHz).

    Basically it is difficult to predict what signal is required to enable the controller.

    Cheers
    Peter.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    -------------------------------------------------
    Homann Designs - http://www.homanndesigns.com/store

  6. #6
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    Jun 2005
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    1436

    Re: Almost too embarrassed to ask !

    0v ? Good point Peter. I'll power up the controller, and measure the voltage on that 'enable' pin. If it's 'high', then I'll try grounding it, if it's 'low', I'll try +5v.
    How does that sound ?
    'Charge pump signal' - I hope not !
    John
    It's like doing jigsaw puzzles in the dark.
    Enjoy today's problems, for tomorrow's may be worse.

  7. #7
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    Jun 2005
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    1436

    Re: Almost too embarrassed to ask !

    By chance (?) I went to my own profile, and looking at the list of settings, saw at the bottom 'Attachments'.
    Clicked on that, and went down to the date that I was having the original problems, and there it was - the cct diagram.
    I've posted here again, in case anyone else needs it.
    John

    Just click on it to show.
    It's like doing jigsaw puzzles in the dark.
    Enjoy today's problems, for tomorrow's may be worse.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    1101
    Quote Originally Posted by greybeard View Post
    By chance (?) I went to my own profile, and looking at the list of settings, saw at the bottom 'Attachments'.
    Clicked on that, and went down to the date that I was having the original problems, and there it was - the cct diagram.
    I've posted here again, in case anyone else needs it.
    John

    Just click on it to show.
    Hi John,
    I’ll have a look over the weekend and have a good look. A Quick Look shed that there is an enable pin.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Homann Designs - http://www.homanndesigns.com/store

  9. #9
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    Jun 2005
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    Re: Almost too embarrassed to ask !

    I've just had a brain wave - checked the parport mode in the bios, and discovered the default setting for this pc is PS/2.
    Now faced with decision - EPP or ECP ?
    EPP gives 2 addresses - 378h or 278h ?
    ECP gives 3 addresses - 378h, 278h and 3BCh.
    In addition, ECP then offers a DMA channel setting - OFF, DMA1 or DMA3

    Feel I've opened a can of worms, but may be on the right track !
    John
    It's like doing jigsaw puzzles in the dark.
    Enjoy today's problems, for tomorrow's may be worse.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    5742

    Re: Almost too embarrassed to ask !

    All the parallel port driven machines I've ever set up wanted EPP.
    Andrew Werby
    Website

  11. #11
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    1436

    Re: Almost too embarrassed to ask !

    I've now set the parport mode to EPP, and the address in the config to 0x378, and at least I no longer get the pop 'error' window.
    However, I'm no further forward in getting any response from the motors. All seems to be as dead as the proverbial dodo.
    What is keeping me going is knowing that the controller and motors have worked for me in the past. Quite apart from the 15 or so years that affected the memory, plus the little matter of the not so small mud-wasp nest(now cleaned out), there is the matter of my original set up used Supercam software in Windows 98.
    As a plan B, I might have to consider reinstalling that cd as a piece of legacy software in a Windows XP desktop I have. It's not a route I favour, and would much prefer to run Linuxcnc in Ubuntu, but who knows. It might be the final resort.
    John
    It's like doing jigsaw puzzles in the dark.
    Enjoy today's problems, for tomorrow's may be worse.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Re: Almost too embarrassed to ask !

    As I recall, Supercam was supposed to be an alternative to G-code, and wasn't compatible with it. Since it's no longer supported, trying to revive it sounds like a step backwards. But if you're not using it, what are you using for a CNC controller? LinuxCNC? Mach3? If not, you could try it and see if you get any response from your motors. The demo version of Mach3 will stop working after 500 lines of code, but it should be able to indicate whether your system works or not.

    24v is pretty marginal if you want good performance from your steppers. Most will work better with 50v or more. If you get tired of fiddling with this thing, consider investing in a new control system, like the Geckodrive G-540, which has 4 drivers and an integral breakout board. It can handle up to 50v from the power supply, and will run off a parallel port.
    Andrew Werby
    Website

  13. #13
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    Jun 2005
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    Re: Almost too embarrassed to ask !

    Quote Originally Posted by awerby View Post
    As I recall, Supercam was supposed to be an alternative to G-code, and wasn't compatible with it.
    This is not correct. The software is perfectly capable of both importing and exporting G & M codes.
    It's like doing jigsaw puzzles in the dark.
    Enjoy today's problems, for tomorrow's may be worse.

  14. #14
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    Jun 2005
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    1436

    Re: Almost too embarrassed to ask !

    Calling it a day.
    Thanks everyone for your help.
    Regards
    John
    It's like doing jigsaw puzzles in the dark.
    Enjoy today's problems, for tomorrow's may be worse.

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