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IndustryArena Forum > CNC Electronics > General CNC Machine Related Electronics > Building the most versitile BOB for ESS
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  1. #1
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    Building the most versitile BOB for ESS

    I have been doing conversions and full builds of systems for a while now and I am always running into the same problem. Most of my designs are based on smart controllers like the Ethernet Smooth Stepper or the Pokeys boards. What I have found is that there are several good Break Out Boards (BOBs) available but none are very sophisticated and they are all very dumb.

    Most of the systems I use are Windows and Mach based. This combination is common among hobby users but when you want to add tool changers, add control consoles, or do anything more complex the BOB becomes a limiting factor.

    What I want is a BOB that has an onboard Micro-controller, some communications ports (Modbus, RS-485 and RS-422) and some intelligence between the pins of the 25 pin parallel ports and the outputs. Things that would be helpful in a BOB:


    • Communications ports.
    • Onboard Micro-Controller(s).
    • Serial LCD display port.
    • Control panel/Pendant connection without 25 fricking wires.
    • A single power supply for everything (12 Volts preferred).
    • Multiple built in E-Stop ports.
    • Motor control for a mix of steppers and ClearPath servo's (use the right connectors).
    • Detection circuit for disconnected cables.
    • All external connections use Shielded CAT-5/6 cables for easy connections.
    • Properly ground ALL I/O.
    • Some high power DC outputs to directly drive solenoids, relays, coolant pump, disconnects...
    • Modbus or direct control of VFD/BLDC controller.
    • Circuit for Axis error feedback.
    • Simplify wiring. 1 Shielded Cat 5 for all limit switches, 1 for probing, 1 for spindle encoder.
    • Easily programmable.


    I am interested in finding out if anyone else is interested in this? I have the first version of the board complete where all the circuits have been tested and the software is complete.

  2. #2
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Re: Building the most versitile BOB for ESS

    I think the issue is going to be cost, as most people tend to be cheap.
    I think an MB3 is more than most want to pay, and this would likely cost even more, correct?
    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)

  3. #3

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    Re: Building the most versitile BOB for ESS

    I am currently working on a bob design with micro controller for added logic etc

    .....also a 5 motor stepper driver board 50V/DC 0.5-6A

  4. #4
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    Re: Building the most versitile BOB for ESS

    Quote Originally Posted by ericks View Post
    I am currently working on a bob design with micro controller for added logic etc

    .....also a 5 motor stepper driver board 50V/DC 0.5-6A
    Sounds interesting. Lets share designs.

  5. #5

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    Re: Building the most versitile BOB for ESS

    I found most bob's i used had limitations, also wiring to them was a pain so i decided to make my own and add logic with the micro. Due to work and other commitments it's a slow process. The 5 motor controller is to have the five drives and have it in a compact unit yet with 24V i/o. This 5 drive unit design is progressing...drives sorted and tested, busy with the serial comms between the micro and the motor drives. There will be two way comms between the micro and each individual drive

  6. #6
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    Re: Building the most versitile BOB for ESS

    I am using a little different approach. I use the ESS to provide all the Motor control signals (Step, Dir, Enable) and I feed it some limits. All the rest of the I/O from the ESS comes from/to the micro-controller. This lets me use a single cable to talk to all the rest of the devices like VFD, Consoles with lots of switches, MPG's, Relays. My BOB will support 6 motors, spindle control, Limit switches, probes, E-Stop, and whatever else you can connect to it via the serial port or via Modbus.

    The BOB has 2 micro-controllers on it. They are ATMEGA1284's. Each one has an RS-485 port, an RS-422 port, a FTDI port, and an I2C port. The I2C port provides inter MCU comms.

    Most of the connections to the board are via shielded RJ-45 connectors.

    I will post my schematics if you are interested.

  7. #7

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    Re: Building the most versitile BOB for ESS

    I am using the uc400eth for the motor signals...the micro is for additional programmable i/o and stepper drive configuration and monitoring

  8. #8

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    Re: Building the most versitile BOB for ESS

    Good luck on your project, it sounds very interesting !!

    ...for my design i an using a pic micro

  9. #9

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    Re: Building the most versitile BOB for ESS

    How is your project going?

    With mine i have done the communication between the drives and micro, now busy experimenting with isolation. Using my old pc with parallel port....making sure i get the isolation/interface right.

  10. #10
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    Re: Building the most versitile BOB for ESS

    I'm still waiting on some IC's to arrive. The USB interface chips are coming from China and COVID has everything backed up in customs.

    Post a schematic, I am interested to see what you have. I usually use optoisolators when doing that type of interface where a level shift is occurring also. Differential/Receivers have a good bit of isolation as well and are very immune to noise.

  11. #11

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    Re: Building the most versitile BOB for ESS

    Quote Originally Posted by maxspongebob View Post
    I'm still waiting on some IC's to arrive. The USB interface chips are coming from China and COVID has everything backed up in customs.

    Post a schematic, I am interested to see what you have. I usually use optoisolators when doing that type of interface where a level shift is occurring also. Differential/Receivers have a good bit of isolation as well and are very immune to noise.
    Not good...hopefully you will get them soon. I am using my old LPT port pc and Mach3 for testing. The bus transceiver i used for level shifting seem to work well, still deciding whether to add high speed opto couplers for step/dir signals too.
    No issues with motion through Mach3....Sorry i don't have a schematic to post

  12. #12
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    Re: Building the most versitile BOB for ESS

    Very interesting projects guys.

    Sent from my SM-G920I using Tapatalk

  13. #13

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    Re: Building the most versitile BOB for ESS

    Wondering how your project is progressing?

  14. #14
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    Re: Building the most versitile BOB for ESS

    While waiting for those chips, several other projects got priority. I automated a good portion of my ammunition reloading process and built a 3D printer. So I have still not gotten back to it, but it is still on the list.

    That reminds me, I did not create a build thread for the printer.

  15. #15
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    Re: Building the most versitile BOB for ESS


  16. #16

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    Re: Building the most versitile BOB for ESS

    Quote Originally Posted by maxspongebob View Post
    While waiting for those chips, several other projects got priority. I automated a good portion of my ammunition reloading process and built a 3D printer. So I have still not gotten back to it, but it is still on the list.

    That reminds me, I did not create a build thread for the printer.
    Sounds very interesting...good work

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