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IndustryArena Forum > Computer Technology > Desktops / Laptops > Bought a laptop to run cnc , now hear it’s a bad choice :(
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  1. #1
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    Bought a laptop to run cnc , now hear it’s a bad choice :(

    Guys , I recently found an older but still new laptop at my computer store that has windows 7, an IBM ThinkPad
    . It has the usual dual core proc and 4 gigs of ram.
    I recently heard laptops were not a good choice for running a cnc router . My intentions are to purchace a 4x4 Pro version from CNCrouterparts next year . I am going to build the electronics myself, and use motion control board suited for UCCNC that uses a USB or Ethernet port .

    I’m assuming the concern with using a laptop is sharing the video card with other memory etc .
    I am not going to use this laptop for rendering , just for running the cnc . I prefer the laptop, as when I had my laser running , the desktop , keyboard mouse and monitor used a lot of real estate . I’d love to just have an arm connected to the side of the cnc holding a laptop instead .
    Any thoughts or bad experiences using a laptop?

    Thanks in advance Rick

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    Re: Bought a laptop to run cnc , now hear it’s a bad choice :(

    Laptops are bad choice for systems controlled through parallel port where computer must maintain precise timing for step generation. Most laptops have built in power consumption reducing devices that can "throttle" system and mess this timing.
    You plan to use external controller that creates it's own step pulses - laptop should work fine (as long it's powerful enough )

    Wysłane z mojego GT-N7100 przy użyciu Tapatalka

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    Re: Bought a laptop to run cnc , now hear it’s a bad choice :(

    Laptops are bad choice if you plan to use parallel port, but you speak about UCCNC, Ethernet and USB, so it is not a problem. I am using both Laptops and a desktop, none of them are bran new, the weakest is the laptop which is HP Probook 6470b. It handles UCCNC and UC300ETH without any problems, so if you want to be sure of good functionality and reliable operation then get the UC300ETH or the UC400. USB should be avoided if you have an option, but performance wise USB should also work just fine.

    In fact, I don't think UCCNC is a resource hog at all, so I am pretty sure you can run it reliably on almost any PC which it can be installed on. Maybe even on an XP, but definitely W7 or W10 machines.

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    Re: Bought a laptop to run cnc , now hear it’s a bad choice :(

    I have used several laptops on several different machines and still use one on our router. They have all been IBM thinkpads. One has a docking station and it ran with the parallel port great with Mach 3.
    The key is to disable many of the features on it like sleep, hibernation, anti-virus and don't use it for anything but controlling the machine. You strip them down like that and they preform much better.
    Currently I still use Mach 3 on the router and it runs with the ethernet smooth stepper. It is running production, so at least 5 days a week. And I have backup laptops that are ready to hot swap if something should happen.
    Lee

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    Re: Bought a laptop to run cnc , now hear it’s a bad choice :(

    Thank you for the replies all . My first thought was as stated , disable anything not required to reduce hogging resources unnecessarily., and make sure it doesn’t time out etc.
    I haven’t looked at this for a while , but I believe the motion controller I was looking at used a network connection, but would have to check .
    This is the motion control board I was considering, but does it work with UCCNC ?

    https://www.automationtechnologiesin...rd-for-mach-3/

  6. #6
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Re: Bought a laptop to run cnc , now hear it’s a bad choice :(

    If it's a halfway decent laptop, it shouldn't be a problem at all.

    - - - Updated - - -

    No, the Smoothstepper is Mach3 only.
    For UCCNC, you want a UC400ETH or UC300ETH.
    Gerry

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    Mach3 2010 Screenset
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    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)

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    Re: Bought a laptop to run cnc , now hear it’s a bad choice :(

    Quote Originally Posted by ger21 View Post
    If it's a halfway decent laptop, it shouldn't be a problem at all.

    - - - Updated - - -

    No, the Smoothstepper is Mach3 only.
    For UCCNC, you want a UC400ETH or UC300ETH.
    Thanks for the heads up.
    I cant find your old post , but I thought you had posted one for UCCNC . It was the post where you did a nice job of shortening all the jumpers that go to the board beneath it .
    i have to start studying again , as I’m forgetting all my terminology

  8. #8
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Re: Bought a laptop to run cnc , now hear it’s a bad choice :(

    That was my UC300ETH with an MB2 breakoutboard. I've since switched to the UB1 breakout board, which is made for the UC300ETH.
    Gerry

    UCCNC 2017 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2017.html

    Mach3 2010 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

    JointCAM - CNC Dovetails & Box Joints
    http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)

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    Re: Bought a laptop to run cnc , now hear it’s a bad choice :(

    like others have said strip out all of the non essential stuff and disable all power saving stuff, also a good idea to not even have it connected to the internet to avoid any updates or any other background processes that can interrupt unless you are proficient in making sure you are able to disable everything including of course windows updates. I'd also recommend upping the 4 gigs of ram to at least 8 personally, other than that with an ethernet motion card you should be fine, usb can be a little more problematic with interrupts too, eithrnet is def the better way to go if you have the choice

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    Re: Bought a laptop to run cnc , now hear it’s a bad choice :(

    Quote Originally Posted by turbocad6 View Post
    like others have said strip out all of the non essential stuff and disable all power saving stuff, also a good idea to not even have it connected to the internet to avoid any updates or any other background processes that can interrupt unless you are proficient in making sure you are able to disable everything including of course windows updates. I'd also recommend upping the 4 gigs of ram to at least 8 personally, other than that with an ethernet motion card you should be fine, usb can be a little more problematic with interrupts too, eithrnet is def the better way to go if you have the choice
    I should see if he stocks the ram and upgrade to 8gig . Probably have to replace the ram modules instead of adding , seeing as it’s a laptop .
    i agree with making sure it’s off the internet, and I used to go into msconfig and disable anything unnecessarily running in the background .

    I suspect linux would be a better option instead of windows , but I’m not familiar with it

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    Re: Bought a laptop to run cnc , now hear it’s a bad choice :(

    Quote Originally Posted by MajorTendonitis View Post
    Thank you for the replies all . My first thought was as stated , disable anything not required to reduce hogging resources unnecessarily., and make sure it doesn’t time out etc.
    I haven’t looked at this for a while , but I believe the motion controller I was looking at used a network connection, but would have to check .
    This is the motion control board I was considering, but does it work with UCCNC ?

    https://www.automationtechnologiesin...rd-for-mach-3/
    That's a Smooth Stepper, it will not work with UCCNC. UCCNC works only with motion controllers made by CNC Drive. Also, what would be the reason for buying a more expensive card than you have to? Get a UC300ETH and you are fine.

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    Re: Bought a laptop to run cnc , now hear it’s a bad choice :(

    Quote Originally Posted by MajorTendonitis View Post
    i agree with making sure it’s off the internet, and I used to go into msconfig and disable anything unnecessarily running in the background .
    None of that worry me at all with a laptop. The only thing which causes UCCNC <---> UC300ETH communication issues is when my automatic backup starts. The software I am using (Acronis True Image) locks everything for a brief moment and if that moment comes at an inappropriate time then UCCNC throws an error. Otherwise no problem at all with Internet. Occasionally I am even doing screen capture video, capturing UCCNC screens, and that software is demanding, yet no problems at all.

    But sure, if you still consider parallel port then you should make sure as much as possible is disabled... It's a real PITA, and that alone motivating the small costs connected to abandoning that dinosaur.

    Quote Originally Posted by MajorTendonitis View Post
    I suspect linux would be a better option instead of windows , but I’m not familiar with it
    OK, but... unless there is a political agenda behind it, why would anyone go to LinuxCNC today just to be able to run a CNC software an old and weak PC with a totally outdated interface? It might work, but unless you are a Linux fan and anti-Microsoft, I see no reason...

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    Re: Bought a laptop to run cnc , now hear it’s a bad choice :(

    Quote Originally Posted by A_Camera View Post
    None of that worry me at all with a laptop. The only thing which causes UCCNC <---> UC300ETH communication issues is when my automatic backup starts. The software I am using (Acronis True Image) locks everything for a brief moment and if that moment comes at an inappropriate time then UCCNC throws an error. Otherwise no problem at all with Internet. Occasionally I am even doing screen capture video, capturing UCCNC screens, and that software is demanding, yet no problems at all.

    But sure, if you still consider parallel port then you should make sure as much as possible is disabled... It's a real PITA, and that alone motivating the small costs connected to abandoning that dinosaur.



    OK, but... unless there is a political agenda behind it, why would anyone go to LinuxCNC today just to be able to run a CNC software an old and weak PC with a totally outdated interface? It might work, but unless you are a Linux fan and anti-Microsoft, I see no reason...
    That's pure nonsense, LinuxCNC will run on most modern PCs (plus some ARM boards) and has a number of different GUIs available.
    It also allows deep customization at the real time level, something that's lacking in most of the Windows based
    solutions since all of the real time connections are hardwired in the external motion controller.

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    Re: Bought a laptop to run cnc , now hear it’s a bad choice :(

    Quote Originally Posted by PCW_MESA View Post
    That's pure nonsense, LinuxCNC will run on most modern PCs (plus some ARM boards) and has a number of different GUIs available.
    It also allows deep customization at the real time level, something that's lacking in most of the Windows based
    solutions since all of the real time connections are hardwired in the external motion controller.
    ...and none of that is denied in my post. I guess you missed my point, but never mind.

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    Re: Bought a laptop to run cnc , now hear it’s a bad choice :(

    Quote Originally Posted by A_Camera View Post
    ...and none of that is denied in my post. I guess you missed my point, but never mind.
    So whats the "old and weak PC" nonsense about?

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    Re: Bought a laptop to run cnc , now hear it’s a bad choice :(

    I think the issue with Linux and Path Pilot may be due to the card installation. I think most of those cards are designed for a desktop.
    Lee

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    Re: Bought a laptop to run cnc , now hear it’s a bad choice :(

    LinuxCNC can run with Ethernet hardware (including EtherCAT for high end uses)

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    Re: Bought a laptop to run cnc , now hear it’s a bad choice :(

    Meaning it will work on most laptops?
    Lee

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    Re: Bought a laptop to run cnc , now hear it’s a bad choice :(

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeWay View Post
    Meaning it will work on most laptops?
    It will work on many, You still need to run a real time kernel and make sure most power saving options
    are disabled so interface hardware is not put to sleep when needed. MiniPCs or All-In-One PCs
    are often better choices (replaceable keyboards and better control of power saving options are advantages)

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    Re: Bought a laptop to run cnc , now hear it’s a bad choice :(

    Ahhh. I was not aware of that.
    Lee

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