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IndustryArena Forum > Machine Controllers Software and Solutions > Centroid CNC Control Products > I just purchased a Centroid CNC4 controller and woodworking cnc cabinet with servo mo
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  1. #1
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    I just purchased a Centroid CNC4 controller and woodworking cnc cabinet with servo mo

    motors. I bought it from a school auction. I brought it home and plugged everything in and the cnc4 controller powers up. Here's my question? Once powered up should I be able to move the X Y Z axis motors in different directions from the front panel? If so they don't function. Once powered up the motors are emitting noise similar to air rushing sound. Should that be the case? I haven't tried to hook up a terminal to the serial interface yet. Does the controller need the pc interface to function manually?

    Does anyone have any manuals the would want to sell? I would like to know the dip switch configuration for rs232 if possible. It very well may be that the cnc4 controller is shot and if so I plan to upgrade the motors to a stepper motor and run Mach 3 if possible. I did discover that the battery in the communications board is dead and I plan to replace it this afternoon. I also noticed a lot of repair soldering on some of the chips on the board that are not factory. This leads me to believe I may have a bad communications board. If so are there parts out there somewhere to repair this. I have Googled this to death and cannot find much info at all. Hopefully you folks can get me pointed in the right direction.

    What controller can I replace this CNC4 controller with to make this work?

    Any help is appreciated...

  2. #2
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    Re: I just purchased a Centroid CNC4 controller and woodworking cnc cabinet with serv

    I have a Lagun mill with a Centroid CNC4 control. I have a fairly complete manual but it's not in electronic format. I was missing a few pages and another user was kind enough to send me a few scans. I'll get you the rs232 later today when I'm at the shop.

    My control has worked well for many years. It is fairly limited with only 24k of program memory. It can DNC... sort of... by waiting for the "?" in the MDI. It doesn't support helical interpolation but I doubt you'll use that on a router.

    I use Ubuntu with gtkterm to talk to my control. Here's an old thread that may be interesting if you opt to use gtkterm.
    http://www.cnczone.com/forums/genera...ng-random.html

    I thought about replacing the controller with linuxcnc but for what I use the mill for... the cnc4 has been fine. I have a more modern VMC that I do most of my work on these days.

    If you search my username and cnc4 you'll find some of my old posts on linuxcnc.org

  3. #3
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    Re: I just purchased a Centroid CNC4 controller and woodworking cnc cabinet with serv

    Quote Originally Posted by forhire View Post
    I'll get you the rs232 later today when I'm at the shop.
    Sorry for the delay. I use 9600 baud. I wasn't ever able to make the faster 19,200 baud work reliably. Here is the scan of the two pages. Remove the plug cover on the back as set all the dip switches to on for 9600 baud. Set your terminal for 8-N-1 without handshaking.

    Attachment 268276

  4. #4
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    Re: I just purchased a Centroid CNC4 controller and woodworking cnc cabinet with serv

    Fefanatic

    Did you ever find a copy of the CNC4 manual. I just got a digital copy from a Centroid certified shop. I have a BP2 with a CNC4 controller that I'm about to start testing. I'm used to milling with large files though. It will be interesting to see how well a drip feed will work on my machine. The previous owner was running cencomm on a Windows XP....... not sure if something newer exists for drip feeding from XP ??

  5. #5
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    Re: I just purchased a Centroid CNC4 controller and woodworking cnc cabinet with serv

    Raddrake3

    I did finally test my Bridgeport using the CENCOMM software as supplied by Centroid. I'm using an older PC running XP. Mine came with a COM port to printer type conversion cable for communication. I wasn't able to get any machine motion until I got CENCOMM running and communication properly and figured out that my motion stop/pause button (not E-stop) was broken and stuck in pause. My X axis ran smoothly but Y is running erratically. I'm assuming its the Y wire harness (hopefully !) and will have to check by swapping it out for the X. I wasn't able to test Z since I had no air hooked up yet....and I only have 220V single phase so didn't attempt to run the spindle either. I'll be getting a VFD for that. If I bypass the main transformer I could actually run my machine on 110V with the exception of the VFD. FYI....my stepper motors are quite noisy with the faulty Y axis making many different sounds. I hear that running an axis with an intermittent harness problem can cause drive boards to fail. Don't need that ! With VMCs being so cheap and abundant these days, if my CNC4 fails I believe I will sell this for whatever I can get out of it. I only paid $781 + $750 to have it moved. But I can't spend much time on this without costing me more than it's worth. If I get all 3 axis working nicely I'm planning to build a dolly around it to move it's 5500 lbs into my garage. Luckily the rigid ram head tilts to the side to fit under the garage door. I'll take some pics of the dolly if I ever get that far. Fingers crossed at this point.

  6. #6
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    Re: I just purchased a Centroid CNC4 controller and woodworking cnc cabinet with serv

    Update on getting my Y axis figured out on my BP2 with CNC4 controller. It was just one of the 4 wires was not connected at the machine side. Y axis runs fine now. I noticed that the X wires were connected badly so fixed that as well. I also replaced the filter/regulator and applied air to my Z assist cylinder. It had a slow air leak until I ran it up to the top of it's stroke. I hear that just working it up and down may revive the packing/seal. If that fails one person said to add mineral oil to the cylinder to help condition the seal. I'll try that if needed but I believe that this point some air is better than no air to help lift the knee. I'm just so pleased that all axis seem to be running fine.

    FYI Since I don't have a manual for this Bridgeport 70's Series 2 CNC machine, I had to search for the knee assist psi requirements online. I found that 40psi with table empty and add 5psi per 100 lbs of load is the Bridgeport recommendation for this machine. Some operators said they run without air assist. That seems like a lot of weight for the stepper motor to lift without any help. I've also read that too much pressure can destroy your cylinder !!! I don't believe that servicing these are a simple task but service kits are available. Oh and by the way, remember to unlock the knee locks !! My stepper lifted the table quite a ways before faulting with them locked .....ooops. Might add limit switchs to the lock levers to help prevent that since my memory isn't what it used to be.

    The one thing that I don't like about the CNC4 is that it has no homing routine and it resets the axis values to zero if you E-stop. So I found that using the #8 function will release the steppers without resetting the axis values if your tired of listening to the squeal. (my stop / pause button is still broken but I don't believe that this will release the steppers) Be careful because this could allow Z to drift. My knee is sliding easily enough that the table will start lowering on it's own. Pulling up on the locking levers should bring it to a stop. I wouldn't recommend letting it bottom out on it's own due to shock loads to the ball screws. This machine has encoders (which are currently disabled for debugging) and hopefully would compensate for any axis drift with the steppers released. (steppers with encoders ??..... didn't think that was ever done ??) I have to reactivate the encoders and experiment to see if they actually help to eliminate step loss or table drift.

    Just in case, does anyone have spare CNC4 boards / parts ??

    Joe

  7. #7
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    Re: I just purchased a Centroid CNC4 controller and woodworking cnc cabinet with serv

    Do you still have this CNC controller? Mine is not running servo's though, just steppers. It's been a great controller overall.
    You should not have to connect it to a PC to make basic X, Y, or Z moves. The controller has a 'CONT' / 'INCR' switch which must be in the 'CONT' position to move CONTinuously (as opposed to an INCRement). You will need to eventually connect a RS232 to your PC for all setup and to download GCODE. Let me know if you still have the controller, and I will at least help get your RS-232 set up. I have a manual, which I will copy but you'll have to pay for the copy cost, shipping and time. I can copy a few key sheets without much fuss though and email them free. Time is money.

    I also have a lathe running on Mach3.
    -J

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    Re: I just purchased a Centroid CNC4 controller and woodworking cnc cabinet with serv

    John

    I believe that Fenfanatic has not responded since first starting this thread. I'm hoping this means that his/her issues were resolved. There isn't much info out there for Centroid CNC4 so I'm drawn to any conversation thereof. I'm not sure what constitutes "hijacking" a thread but hopefully I've not crossed any lines here.

    Have you ever drip fed a program to CNC4 ? Is there a software that will do so from Windows XP to CNC4 without going to umbuntu OS ? I'm used to working with big files and will certainly need to try this with my mill.

    As far as moving the axis without communication, I have not tried this yet. I'm a bit concerned that limit switches would not be active at that point but will experiment once I get my switches active and set in place. My limits are quite old (possibly '70's vintage) and I'm considering replacing them. I think they are only seeing 48Volt DC based on the way mine are wired in the Bridgeport cabinet. Do you kinow of an inexpensive replacement ? What's odd is that the Cencomm software has the ability to sense limit switches by number and my machine has them wired in series acting like one limit sensing branch. I changed the Cencomm setting to ignore all switches for debugging but can't see how it's actually interfacing to the PLC in my cabinet or how it stops axis motion once tripped !! Do you have any knowledge on this ? Of course yours could be set up quite differently.

    Thanks in advance ....... Joe

    PS..... I'm going to try posting each specific question in it's own thread to get more traffic.

  9. #9
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    Re: I just purchased a Centroid CNC4 controller and woodworking cnc cabinet with serv

    Hello Joe,

    I see not problem with your posting here, it's a CNC4 issue, and a communications issue to boot.

    The CNC4 can talk to any computer with RS232. XP uses a program called 'Hyperterminal'. You already have the right cable on your ubuntu PC. I'm not sure what software you;re running under Ubuntu, but it's just sending serial data over the COM port. Try to figure out what 'baud rate' you're running at, and the number of bits (7 or 8) and it'll help set up Hyperterminal.

    By 'drip fed', I suppose you mean transferring a CNC file. Yes. You just use option 7 on the CNC4 for file transfer, then Kill the existing program, hit I for Insert, then go to Hyperterminal and start a text file upload.

    The limit switches are probably OK, unless you've actually broken them, and you can test them with a beeper or ohmmeter. As for how everything is wired in your cabinet, yes, you are right, that varies a bit from machine to machine. I have no limits switches on mine nor do I ahve a cabinet. Just the good-old CNC4 wired to the steppers, a cable to the PC, and I did connect an M3/M5 output to a home-built spindle control.

    Regards,
    John

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    Re: I just purchased a Centroid CNC4 controller and woodworking cnc cabinet with serv

    John

    Thanks for the quick reply ! I do know the com settings as they are working with Cencomm. The "drip feed" term is basically another word for DNC which allows large files to be run on a machine with limited on-board file space. I'm anticipating running files that are much larger than the 24k CNC4 storage space. Cencomm does allow for file sizes up to 60k bytes to be sent to the controller via what Centriod calls "line-by-line". This procedure can be found in the CNC4 manual near the end. Drip feeding if successful can theoretically handle a file of any size.

    It sounds like Hyperterminal works for some controllers but not all as far as DNC goes. I did however find many additional programs (some free .... some not) that can possibly work as well. Since I'm getting ready to move my machine into my shop, I just wanted to make sure that I could most likely overcome this limitation. It sounds like there are options once I get to that point.

    Thanks again,
    Joe

  11. #11
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    Re: I just purchased a Centroid CNC4 controller and woodworking cnc cabinet with serv

    Hello, I have a cnc4 controller and the milling machine that it was used with. It did come from a university shop class. I am new to cnc in general, but did write g code for a cue maker in the past. Some of your questions are the same as mine, When I had the wires connected correctly, ( x axis as example) the stepper would go on in slow mode when I turned on the controller. Wish I had the original manual for this controller also, but just for information regarding new power supply, driver for the 3 MAE Italian steppers, controller etc. I am going to replace everything except the milling machine and the steppers. Mach3 is my choice for software By now I'm sure you have learn a lot !!

  12. #12
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    Re: I just purchased a Centroid CNC4 controller and woodworking cnc cabinet with serv

    Quote Originally Posted by CAD226B View Post
    Hello, I have a cnc4 controller and the milling machine that it was used with. It did come from a university shop class. I am new to cnc in general, but did write g code for a cue maker in the past. Some of your questions are the same as mine, When I had the wires connected correctly, ( x axis as example) the stepper would go on in slow mode when I turned on the controller. Wish I had the original manual for this controller also, but just for information regarding new power supply, driver for the 3 MAE Italian steppers, controller etc. I am going to replace everything except the milling machine and the steppers. Mach3 is my choice for software By now I'm sure you have learn a lot !!
    After checking the wire connections at each stepper and tightening them, all 3 axis are now working properly. If your axis are moving slowly check to see if the slow/fast switch on your control panel is tripped or faulty. You might be stuck in "slow" mode.

    I did find a bad switch on my panel that was keeping my machine from running. The pause switch was broken and stuck in the pause mode. Its kind of odd that it's a push-push since most pause or non-e-stop buttons that I am familiar with are just momentary push buttons. I don't know if this one is normally open or normally closed. I will, however, be replacing most of my buttons and switches on the panel. And most if not all of my limit switches. I currently have the limit function turned off for testing.

    Other than that I am looking into tool holders and collets since mine only came with an Erickson Quick Change (QC40 tool holder) drill chuck. I still have to order a 4kw VFD to run the spindle with my single phase 220v power as well. I'm thinking of just placing my machine on 4 rubber pads for now. I don't think that I can tip it over unless heavily loading one end of the table. I will most likely lag it down once I have proven out the location.

    As far as a the CNC4 user manual is concerned, contact me at auroradesigns@charter.net.

    Joe

  13. #13
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    Re: I just purchased a Centroid CNC4 controller and woodworking cnc cabinet with serv

    Quote Originally Posted by CAD226B View Post
    Hello, I have a cnc4 controller and the milling machine that it was used with. It did come from a university shop class. I am new to cnc in general, but did write g code for a cue maker in the past. Some of your questions are the same as mine, When I had the wires connected correctly, ( x axis as example) the stepper would go on in slow mode when I turned on the controller. Wish I had the original manual for this controller also, but just for information regarding new power supply, driver for the 3 MAE Italian steppers, controller etc. I am going to replace everything except the milling machine and the steppers. Mach3 is my choice for software By now I'm sure you have learn a lot !!
    Let me know once your have replaced your drive system. I might be interested in the CNC4 and steppers for replacement parts. auroradesigns@charter.net

    Joe

  14. #14
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    Re: I just purchased a Centroid CNC4 controller and woodworking cnc cabinet with serv

    I've done some DNC with my cnc4 from gtkterm with some success. Basically, any terminal that can wait for the the response from the CNC4 will work. On most controls like, Fanuc, XON/XOFF for DNC control. I've dripped megabytes and megabytes without a hiccup on other controls. The cnc4 still drops out sometimes. I haven't tried XON/XOFF with the CNC4, just waiting for the question mark like described in the manual. I've relegated my CNC4 for simple tasks these days as I have a VMC also.

    http://www.cnczone.com/forums/genera...ng-random.html

    If I recall I did some PMing with the OP about his conversion. Basically he used a breakout board, the existing power supply, steppers, and stepper drivers with Mach3. He made is sound pretty simple.

  15. #15

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    Re: I just purchased a Centroid CNC4 controller and woodworking cnc cabinet with serv

    Are any of you guys still around? Just bought a series one with cnc4 and I'm trying to get it running. Says theres a drive read Error. Not sure if my boot disc is crap or the floppy drive itself.


    I'm probably going to upgrade to acorn but I'd love to see this thing move first.

    Sent from my SM-A115A using Tapatalk

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    Re: I just purchased a Centroid CNC4 controller and woodworking cnc cabinet with serv

    The terminal is a DOS based PC. Remove the floppy from the drive and see if it boots properly off a hard drive I seem to remember the cencomm software being a boot disk, but I've never used the centroid cencomm software. I may still have the software flopping with my manual. I'll need to check. You may be able to get the boot disk from Centroid.

    I use Ubuntu Linux and GkTerm but any serial terminal program will work (hyperterm, minicom, and etc.) The CNC4 has a full menu interface available via the serial port. See my posts #2 and #3. I'd run down to your local PC recycler and find an old laptop with a serial port. Make a serial cable, and try talking to it.

    If you want to test your hardware you could try PiTux which is a floppy based linux with minicom. I actually used minicom for a long time before switching to gkterm. Once you make this disk you should be able to boot and connect to the CNC4 via serial.
    https://www.asashi.net/pages/pitux.html

  17. #17

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    Re: I just purchased a Centroid CNC4 controller and woodworking cnc cabinet with serv

    Actually I have a laptop withva serial port but no floppy. Maybe I'll get a usb floppy drive to try. The industrial PC is no hard drive. Maybe go over to my new thread I started so it can be documented there?

    https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink/top...ink_source=app

    CNC4E-B24-MD3-80V Centroid bridgeport series 1

    Sent from my SM-A115A using Tapatalk

  18. #18
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    Re: I just purchased a Centroid CNC4 controller and woodworking cnc cabinet with serv

    Quote Originally Posted by Rwd4evr View Post
    So my brother has put together a laptop with Linuxcnc on it, and a serial port to usb cable. It has Linux and windows operating systems installed. We installed Linuxcnc and hooked up the cnc4 to it. I'm not finding anything telling me there is communication from PC to cnc4. Do I still need a terminal program or should the Linuxcnc be communicating with it? I have zero control of any movement. I have a bad electrical beep/buzz coming from one axis when the cnc4 is powered up. I have swapped things around including a spare micro1 driver that also appears to be bad. The noise will go to whichever motor the board is hooked to regardless of which position that (or the spare) driver board is hooked to, x,y,or z. I moved them all around to be certain. I currently just have the X and Y axis hooked up to try to get some life out of it.

    Sent from my SM-A115A using Tapatalk
    This is the Centroid forum. You need to ask this on the LinuxCNC forum.

  19. #19

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    Re: I just purchased a Centroid CNC4 controller and woodworking cnc cabinet with serv

    It's a CENTRIOD CNC4 controller.

    Sent from my SM-A115A using Tapatalk

  20. #20
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    Re: I just purchased a Centroid CNC4 controller and woodworking cnc cabinet with serv

    Quote Originally Posted by Rwd4evr View Post
    It's a CENTRIOD CNC4 controller.

    Sent from my SM-A115A using Tapatalk
    Look at the post I quoted. It's all questions about LinuxCNC you have loaded on a laptop.

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