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IndustryArena Forum > Machine Controllers Software and Solutions > Mach Software (ArtSoft software) > Mach3, Smoothstepper, Gecko 540: Probe stopped working
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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Mach3, Smoothstepper, Gecko 540: Probe stopped working

    Mach3 v3.043.062 (licensed) Using the Window10 patched version
    Smoothstepper
    Gecko 540 on Port 1

    CNC6040 router

    Everything was setup and working for quite sometime. Steppers moved, homing & limits worked, probe worked, spindle worked... you get the idea.

    Then one day I got lit up like a Christmas Tree from my arm to my shoulder while touching the enclosure and the spindle! Somehow I'd either never touched both at the same time or something was had come loose.

    Got the grounding issue sorted out and I no longer have issues with that, thank goodness.

    However, during the necessary change in configuration of the grounding, somehow the probe no longer works. Everything else does (as described above).

    The probe setup was a simple loop through the Gecko via connector #4, which is Pin 13, and the other end went to the V(-) as according to the Gecko instructions. Worked fine. Touch off and the diagnostics LED would light up when touching the plate & clip together.

    Haven't used the router in a month or so (life gets in the way). Yesterday, I discovered during a carving setup that the probe failed to light up the LED. I always check beforehand. Had an expensive bit get broken once and that was enough to engrain the need for pre-testing.

    When I use the multi-tester to check the voltage from the Pin13 to the V(-), I get a steady 2.7 volts when not connected. When I touch them together, the voltage drops to zero. Hmmm... so I went through a few resistors to do the pull-up/pull-down thing but nothing worked.

    (110 Ohms, 4.7K Ohms, 68K Ohms, etc.)

    I also changed the end of the wire from V(-) to GND on the power supply. I'd read conflicting information but tried it anyway along with all the tricks above but still nothing.

    I reinstalled Mach3. Nothing
    Replaced the xml with a backup. Nothing
    Rebooted the PC. Nothing

    I have the Smoothstepper additional breakout board configure for Port 2 so I moved the wire directly from the Gecko to Port 2, Pin 15. Nothing.

    I'm convinced that it has to be in something in the wiring not getting grounded properly. But I've spent the whole day testing this and that.

    I checked the continuity on all wiring from end to end and there are no issues there, so I know it's not that.

    Any ideas to try would be most welcomed!

    Thanks in advance,
    Steven

  2. #2
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    Re: Mach3, Smoothstepper, Gecko 540: Probe stopped working

    Anybody?

  3. #3
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    Re: Mach3, Smoothstepper, Gecko 540: Probe stopped working

    If it all worked on the G540 and now it doesn’t I think that input pin went bad. It’s not hard to blow one as I have two inputs out on my G540. Gecko can repair them from what I understand.
    Not sure about the smoothstepper. Should be able to see when a pin goes to ground. All I can offer is that it’s not the G540 ground.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  4. #4
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    Re: Mach3, Smoothstepper, Gecko 540: Probe stopped working

    Thanks for the response!

    I previously moved the probe's wiring to one of the input pins on the SmoothStepper Port 2 and reconfigured the ports & pins accordingly in Mach3. That didn't work either so I'm making a semi-educated guess that it's a ground loop issue at this point. Either that or I need to rethink how to add a resistor at the right configuration.

  5. #5
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    Re: Mach3, Smoothstepper, Gecko 540: Probe stopped working

    Quote Originally Posted by Vogavt View Post
    Thanks for the response!

    I previously moved the probe's wiring to one of the input pins on the SmoothStepper Port 2 and reconfigured the ports & pins accordingly in Mach3. That didn't work either so I'm making a semi-educated guess that it's a ground loop issue at this point. Either that or I need to rethink how to add a resistor at the right configuration.
    Don't prat about with that probe. Bin it. It's looking more and more like the probe internals have shorted and wrecked it.

  6. #6
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    Re: Mach3, Smoothstepper, Gecko 540: Probe stopped working

    It's only my touch plate and clip that I'm testing. My actual digitizing probe won't be connected again unless I get the probing circuit straightened out.
    Sorry that wasn't clear.

  7. #7
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    Re: Mach3, Smoothstepper, Gecko 540: Probe stopped working

    Just looking at the smoothstepper docs they talk about inputs going high not low. So if you simply connect 13 to ground then it floats to some indeterminate state before touching ground.
    I would connect the pin to a pull-up resistor then to 5v. Then simulate a probe it to ground (just using a wire). Just search for pull up and pull down resistors to make sure you understand the wiring.
    This has nothing to do with current looping.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  8. #8
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    Re: Mach3, Smoothstepper, Gecko 540: Probe stopped working

    Quote Originally Posted by Dean448 View Post
    Just looking at the smoothstepper docs they talk about inputs going high not low. So if you simply connect 13 to ground then it floats to some indeterminate state before touching ground.
    I would connect the pin to a pull-up resistor then to 5v. Then simulate a probe it to ground (just using a wire). Just search for pull up and pull down resistors to make sure you understand the wiring.
    This has nothing to do with current looping.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    Every TTL, LPT based controller has high pins 1-9-14,16,17, output/inputs when connected direct. 18-25 are your GND, 26 is 5v.
    Breakout board circuitry with pull downs/ups, isolators & gates swaps it to low when one is connected.

    Isn't recommended to connect directly to controller port without an isolation board inbetween.

  9. #9
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    Re: Mach3, Smoothstepper, Gecko 540: Probe stopped working

    I agree that a BOB is preferable, however you only need to read one pin.
    You could debug/repair the dead pin on the G540
    Or possibly use another working input.
    If no spare inputs, you might be able to free some up by combining multiple limit switches. I found out that you can put all limit switches on one pin as long as the machine doesn’t hit two at the same time. Like a slaved Y axis.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Re: Mach3, Smoothstepper, Gecko 540: Probe stopped working

    Quote Originally Posted by Dean448 View Post
    I agree that a BOB is preferable, however you only need to read one pin.
    You could debug/repair the dead pin on the G540
    Or possibly use another working input.
    If no spare inputs, you might be able to free some up by combining multiple limit switches. I found out that you can put all limit switches on one pin as long as the machine doesn’t hit two at the same time. Like a slaved Y axis.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    As it goes. I'm looking at putting a load (x12) of 3 wire switches direct to a LPT input based port for another purpose.
    Using an isolation board inbetween to go from 24v at the switches to 5v out, direct to the controller TTL.
    I drew up this schematic and have the board but haven't tested the circuit out yet:


    All the diodes are just tiny led's fixed in the circuit board. Just to show where/which switch is triggered.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dean448 View Post
    Just looking at the smoothstepper docs they talk about inputs going high not low. So if you simply connect 13 to ground then it floats to some indeterminate state before touching ground.
    I would connect the pin to a pull-up resistor then to 5v. Then simulate a probe it to ground (just using a wire). Just search for pull up and pull down resistors to make sure you understand the wiring.
    This has nothing to do with current looping.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Thanks!
    I have put one end of the resistor in pin 26 and then connected the wire from pin 13 to the other end of the resistor.
    Which then goes to the touch plate.

    Are you saying to put the resistor in pin 13 and then connect the 5v from pin 26?

  12. #12
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    Re: Mach3, Smoothstepper, Gecko 540: Probe stopped working

    Yes then the touch plate goes to SS ground.
    So the 5v pulls the pin up thru the resistor and the ground path pulls it low when probing. So probe contact is active low.

    This is a crude way to sense a probe. The signal from the probe isn’t isolated from the SS circuits (no tolerance to stray voltage) and it may bounce causing Mach to get confused.
    Bounce meaning it chatters just as you contact the work. You then are forced to probe faster which results in loss of accuracy.
    I don’t think fixing the G540 wouldn’t solve this bounce problem.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  13. #13
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    Re: Mach3, Smoothstepper, Gecko 540: Probe stopped working

    Quote Originally Posted by Vogavt View Post
    Thanks!
    I have put one end of the resistor in pin 26 and then connected the wire from pin 13 to the other end of the resistor.
    Which then goes to the touch plate.

    Are you saying to put the resistor in pin 13 and then connect the 5v from pin 26?
    If you want to test probes function DIRECT to the smoothstepper.

    Basically you're looking at something like this below for connecting to an input:
    As per the diagram yours would be as follows:

    'VCC' goes to pin 26. (5V)
    'R1' is resistor (you need to calculate what you'd need).
    'Button' would be your probe.
    'MCU Input pin' is basically your smoothstepper input pin of choice- 10,11,12,13 or15
    'GND' is 5v ground.

    This is 'active high'.





    If you want to test something that has an 'active low' input such as a breakout board. All you do is swap 'R1' and 'Button' around.
    So VCC (5v p26) goes stright into 'button' instead, then GND comes out of button to input and resistor (pull down).

    Left is high as per earlier, right is low. You can see the simple swap around.


  14. #14
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    Re: Mach3, Smoothstepper, Gecko 540: Probe stopped working

    Thanks for all the help!

    Working beautifully again.

    Now here's the strange part which makes no sense to me and I'm sharing it here for other's reference as well:

    I noticed from the SmoothStepper's Data Monitoring plugin (from the drop-down) that Pin #7 was showing activity. This is odd to me because I'm certainly connected in the #13 screw terminal. Then I got to thinking about the Gecko 540's 12 screw terminal and the fact that its #4 terminal is actually Pin 13 for the software. There's no documentation that I've found so far that has references to differing numbers for the IDC-26 board that they (or someone) sell.

    The IDC-26 is used to simply provide screw terminals for the Port 2 of the SmoothStepper board, nothing more.

    So I went to Mach3, Ports and Pins, set the probe up with Port 2, Pin 7, wired as the first diagram in the previous post and voila!

    I also moved the ground from the power supply to Pin 24 on the IDC-26 which may have helped as well.

    I don't dare test any other configurations since with y'all's help, I'm back to usability.

    Thanks again!

  15. #15
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    Re: Mach3, Smoothstepper, Gecko 540: Probe stopped working

    Found this and behold I'd fallen prey to misidentified pins.

    Note specifically the cross up with pin 7 and pin 13.

    Hope this helps others. Study it closely if needed.

    https://jtechphotonics.com/?p=13688

  16. #16
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    Re: Mach3, Smoothstepper, Gecko 540: Probe stopped working

    Well, I'm back.

    Signal is still working but just discovered that G31 is being ignored. Tried 3 different auto-tool zero routines as well as putting "G31 Z-1 F1".

    I'd read elsewhere that there's something about being grounded to machine/not being grounded to machine could cause issues.

    As a refresher, I have the probe still connected as above. Note that the grounding is on Pin 24 (one of the available pins used for grounding).

    Could this be the culprit? I really don't want to have to go back into the controller box if possible. If I do, then I will of course.

  17. #17
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    Re: Mach3, Smoothstepper, Gecko 540: Probe stopped working

    After some hand holding with Marcus from GeckoDrive, Inc., we determined the Input pin from the Gecko had failed. Took some doing to get me to that point as I'd tried seemingly endless configurations to get the LED to work AND have Mach3 recognize AND act upon the connection being made up.

    Here's how the test procedure took place per his instructions.

    Firstly, get the Gecko in a no fault state, i.e., green LED on the faceplate of the Gecko. Then turn off the power to the Gecko.

    Disconnect the DB25 ribbon cable from the Gecko DB25 Female connection.

    On the DB25 Female connection locate and insert a wire of proper size into opening 25 and another in opening 10 (Pin 10 for Input #1)
    Ensure each wire is not touching other components.
    Connect an alligator clip or whatever to each of the wires which will then go to your Volt meter.
    Now turn on the Gecko and read the voltage. Should be ~3.3 volts or higher.
    When you touch another wire to Connection 12 of the 12-Screw Terminal block of the Gecko and the other end of the same wire (jumper of sorts) to the Connection 1 of the 12-Screw Terminal block, the voltage should drop to near 0 volts.
    This process is utilized to determine if Input 1 and only Input #1 is working.

    To check Input #2, Input #3 and Input #4, leave the wire in opening #25 and move the wire from opening 10 to opening 11, 12 & 13 of the DB-25, checking each individually by the process above.

    In my case on Input #4 for the probe, there was no voltage drop when connecting/jumpering between Connection 12 on the and Connection #4 of the 12-Screw Terminal block on the Gecko. For clarity, I had my volt meter connected to the wires coming out of opening 25 AND opening 13 (Pin 13 for Input #4).

    Marcus was very patient with me which I appreciated since I was about at wit's end, knowing I'd had it working in the past and it had quit.
    Anyway, shipped it back with an RMA# provided through the GeckoDrive's website for repair.

  18. #18
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    Re: Mach3, Smoothstepper, Gecko 540: Probe stopped working

    Do you know what an out of warranty repair for blown G540 inputs will cost? Wonder if it’s just a component on the motherboard that can be replaced?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  19. #19
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    Re: Mach3, Smoothstepper, Gecko 540: Probe stopped working

    Quote Originally Posted by Vogavt View Post
    Mach3 v3.043.062 (licensed) Using the Window10 patched version
    Smoothstepper
    Gecko 540 on Port 1

    CNC6040 router

    Everything was setup and working for quite sometime. Steppers moved, homing & limits worked, probe worked, spindle worked... you get the idea.

    Then one day I got lit up like a Christmas Tree from my arm to my shoulder while touching the enclosure and the spindle! Somehow I'd either never touched both at the same time or something was had come loose.

    Got the grounding issue sorted out and I no longer have issues with that, thank goodness.

    However, during the necessary change in configuration of the grounding, somehow the probe no longer works. Everything else does (as described above).

    The probe setup was a simple loop through the Gecko via connector #4, which is Pin 13, and the other end went to the V(-) as according to the Gecko instructions. Worked fine. Touch off and the diagnostics LED would light up when touching the plate & clip together.

    Haven't used the router in a month or so (life gets in the way). Yesterday, I discovered during a carving setup that the probe failed to light up the LED. I always check beforehand. Had an expensive bit get broken once and that was enough to engrain the need for pre-testing.

    When I use the multi-tester to check the voltage from the Pin13 to the V(-), I get a steady 2.7 volts when not connected. When I touch them together, the voltage drops to zero. Hmmm... so I went through a few resistors to do the pull-up/pull-down thing but nothing worked.

    (110 Ohms, 4.7K Ohms, 68K Ohms, etc.)

    I also changed the end of the wire from V(-) to GND on the power supply. I'd read conflicting information but tried it anyway along with all the tricks above but still nothing.

    I reinstalled Mach3. Nothing
    Replaced the xml with a backup. Nothing
    Rebooted the PC. Nothing

    I have the Smoothstepper additional breakout board configure for Port 2 so I moved the wire directly from the Gecko to Port 2, Pin 15. Nothing.

    I'm convinced that it has to be in something in the wiring not getting grounded properly. But I've spent the whole day testing this and that.

    I checked the continuity on all wiring from end to end and there are no issues there, so I know it's not that.

    Any ideas to try would be most welcomed!

    Thanks in advance,
    Steven
    When you say you have the Grounding sorted, what did you do to fix this, Post some photos of your wiring

    Have you checked the 4th Pin in the spindle connector that it has continuity to the spindle body , if this is not connected you can get a probing problem, this is a common problem with these spindles and the top has to be removed and the Ground wire connected

    If the spindle is not correctly Grounded you can fry the Breakout Board input

    Does your spindle have Ceramic Bearings

    What kind of Probe are you using
    Mactec54

  20. #20
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    Re: Mach3, Smoothstepper, Gecko 540: Probe stopped working

    @ Dean448
    Have no idea on an out of warranty input as mine is under warranty. I'm paying S&H though. Marcus said most of the items are SMDs so having an end user like myself, it's just as well to send it off for repair. Other than the down time of course.

    @ Mactec54
    I ran a new shielded 4-conductor shielded cable over the winter to the spindle to be able to add the ground wire to the spindle internally. The original wire was 3-conductor. It had 4 pins but one was completely missing a wire... the ground. Now if I touch the multi-tester probes between the tool bit and spindle case or anywhere on the whole router bed and gantry, I do get continuity.

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