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  1. #1

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    Sep 2018
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    External Motion Controller

    Hi.

    I am new to Mach 4, I would like to use Mach 4 on a simple 2 axis Punch,it will have two servo drives.I am a little confused as to if I need an external motion controller or can Mach 4 directly control the servo drives using Modbus tcp/ip. How about i/o, can I just use remote I/O also controlled over modbus tcp/ip or do I need other hardware?

  2. #2
    Community Moderator Al_The_Man's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
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    23965

    Re: External Motion Controller

    Mach can provide the trajectory path, if that is what you mean?
    It operates into the servo motor amplifier direct.
    The servo drive has to be capable of closing the loop.
    CNC, Mechatronics Integration and Custom Machine Design

    “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
    Albert E.

  3. #3
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    Jun 2005
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    1561

    Re: External Motion Controller

    You need a motion card to drive the motor electronics

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Al_The_Man View Post
    Mach can provide the trajectory path, if that is what you mean?
    It operates into the servo motor amplifier direct.
    The servo drive has to be capable of closing the loop.
    Thank you for your response. How will Mach operate directly into the servo motor amplifier? Via ethernet cable?In my case the servo motor comes with an encoder which feeds back to the servo amplifier to close the loop.

  5. #5
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    Re: External Motion Controller

    Mach4 sends step and direction requests to the motion control card such as the ESS the Ethernet smooth stepper for example. The motor encoder connects directly to the servo amp. The control interface of the servo amplifier is connected to motion electronics like ESS. The motion controller sends the step and direction signal to each separate amplifier. The motion controller outputs step and direction information to each axis amplifier

    Russ

  6. #6
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    Nov 2013
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    1915

    Re: External Motion Controller

    Hi,

    Thank you for your response. How will Mach operate directly into the servo motor amplifier?
    Mach4 will not interface directly with regular servos. Mach4 works with an external motion controller like an Ethernet SmoothStepper or a Vital Systems Hicon.

    Old school servos are analogue and have a servo amplifier. The motion controller is required to read the servo encoder and close the loop. The Hicon can do this at some extra cost, $1200USD.

    Simpler and cheaper motion controllers like the ESS ($190USD) cannot interface with old school analog servos but can drive any servo that has a Step/Dir input drive, including almost all AC servos
    and many DC servos with a matching drive like a Gecko G320 .

    In recent times Kingstar has collaborated with IntervalZero and New Fangled Solutions to produce an Ethercat version of Mach4 that does not require any external motion controller. The specific hardware requirements
    for the Ethernet port for Ethercat use are such that if you want to have this solution you will have to buy the re-furbished PC and it will have Mach4Hobby pre installed, the RTX64 realtime software core and Kingstar
    Ethercat Master plugin. The whole shooting match, including the PC and software is $1600USD.

    This Ethercat arrangement means that you have an ethernet cable going from your PC to an Ethercat capable servo, and daisy chained to any and all Ethercat servos you want, up to 100 of them.
    This is a well known and valued industrial technique but is still uncommon among hobbyists. The extra expense of Ethercat capable servos and IO nodes counts against it but if you want to do away with
    an external motion controller this is it.

    Craig

  7. #7
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    Jan 2005
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    14163

    Re: External Motion Controller

    Quote Originally Posted by Miknew View Post
    Hi.

    I am new to Mach 4, I would like to use Mach 4 on a simple 2 axis Punch,it will have two servo drives.I am a little confused as to if I need an external motion controller or can Mach 4 directly control the servo drives using Modbus tcp/ip. How about i/o, can I just use remote I/O also controlled over modbus tcp/ip or do I need other hardware?
    For what you want to do the cheapest option is to use Mach3 and a simple Modbus module, if your servo drives can take Modbus direct, the other option would be to use a PLC
    Mactec54

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