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IndustryArena Forum > Machine Controllers Software and Solutions > Mazak, Mitsubishi, Mazatrol > (Mitsubishi MELDAS L3/M3) I'm learning - I have no manual control
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2022

    Unhappy (Mitsubishi MELDAS L3/M3) I'm learning - I have no manual control

    After many repairs to my lathe, I am starting to learn CNC. At first, I can't enter manual control. In the lathe, the X and Z axes move to their base,
    I can change the tool as in the video, I can turn on the spindle with the M3 command,
    but I cannot turn on manual drive on the X and Z axes. I am asking for help, there are many specialists here,
    I cordially greet everyone and wish Have a nice day. Greetings from Poland.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012

    Re: (Mitsubishi MELDAS L3/M3) I'm learning - I have no manual control

    So, this is an interesting one.... I cannot provide you with a direct answer to your question because this is really more in the domain of the machine integrator, and is not really a Mitsubishi control thing. Or is it? Let me explain....

    The vertical keyboard next to your monitor is very squarely in the Mitsubishi control domain. The buttons there interact directly with the control chassis in your cabinet. So, for instance, when you press a '5', that is being injected into the control software directly. By contrast, the buttons/lights on the horizontal surface are normally (there are few exceptions) going into Input and Output ports on a control chassis board. These I/O ports are really kind of "dumb" until they are configured by the machine integrator. Typically the integrator will "route" those signals into the PLC logic that the integrator is also creating. In this fashion, a TOOL CHANGE button (as an example) will initiate a tool change operation. But if that I/O port were configured differently, that same button might just turn a light on.

    Most machines I've seen with an M3 have a rotary mode switch. While you are using the Zero-Return menu and then the keyboard (which I didn't even know worked, although I guess it makes sense that it does), I and most others, are turning a rotary switch to "Zero Return" and then pressing a custom button for the specific axis. To that end, your system is definitely different because it does not have a mode switch at all. This is both good and bad. The bad is kind of a generic comment here because all of your questions will probably be answered by the original equipment manufacturer's manual. It should cover this topic and much more. So, I would *highly* recommend that you search for that or read it carefully if you have it already. That said, I'm guessing you are asking your question here because you cannot source the manual. Even we/I can answer your questions, though, I'd never give up looking for that manual....

    Now for the good.... As I mentioned, I had no idea that you could home an axis using the Mitsubishi keyboard, although it kind of makes sense that you can. My guess is that this is actually a Mitsubishi supported feature, however, of the control. In fact, I'm going to try that out later today because I'm curious. Anyhow, if it *is* a Mitsubishi supported feature, then it will almost certainly be covered in the stock Mitsubishi manuals. There are three manuals in the set. Do you have these? If you don't, please let me know. They are absolutely something that you will want to have. They are also horribly written, but they still contain an immeasurable amount of good information in them.

    So, how to manually control your axis.... Given the previous comment about the homing, I'm pretty sure the Mitsubishi manuals will also cover axis movement. Again, most systems have a mode switch, as does mine, so I don't think I can specifically answer you. However, given the way your system is setup, I think the answers for you will be in the Mitsu manuals. That said, I suspect you are in the wrong menu. "Zero-RTN" is specifically for zero return. If you are not familiar with what that is, the axis are slowly moved to a limit switch and then typically backed off until the encoder index pulse is detected. A switch isn't very accurate/repeatable, but the index pulse close to it is *very* repeatable. In this fashion, the machine is guaranteed of always being in the exact (sic) same position each time you home. Anyhow, again Zero-RTN would be the wrong place to jog your axis after the initial home. What I don't know is what menu would be the RIGHT place! LOL. However, because I strongly suspect that these actions are generic Mitsubishi control functions, they should have nothing to do with the PLC. Because of that, I suspect that my control (even though it is an M3 for a mill) will actually have the same behavior as yours.... So, I'll experiment with that and report back.

    Hopefully some of this helps....

    The part that has me a little puzzled is that you are using the arrow buttons on the vertical keyboard to command the home sequence.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2012

    Re: (Mitsubishi MELDAS L3/M3) I'm learning - I have no manual control

    I wasn't able to command my control the same way you are in the video. But, thinking this through a bit, that too makes some sense. If the physical jog buttons that I have are tied to the function, then an argument could easily be made that these buttons should be the only source for the command....

    I did notice that when I change my MODE switch the the JOG position, however, the screen shows "JOG" above the right-most hotkey (where yours is showing ZERO-RTN). That text actually follows the jog position very closely. So, when I want to use the MPG, the text reads HANDLE, mdi mode is MDI, etc. Clearly the ability to move around modes is of critical importance, and even the manual shows the use of a mode select switch. Take page II-8, for instance. That is where you see the information about how to enter JOG mode. But this is a rotary switch concept.

    This is a dumb question, but do you know the history of the lathe? I don't know why anyone would do it, but is it possible that the lathe was customized so that there *is* no mode select beyond the zero return? The logic here could be some company that really only ran ONE part on the machine and they didn't want people jogging. So, they just put the most rudimentary controls needed to reference the machine and start it.... This would be patently stupid, IMHO, but???? And, yes, there are some obvious problems with this too. You would still need to be able to load programs, which needs a different menu, and I don't even know if you can start a program when in zero return (don't think so). With all of these issues, I'm pretty sure that the machine was not modified, but it is still worth asking the question.

    In a worst case scenario, I think you can probably add a mode switch and some of the other pertinent switches, because mode is a native Mitsubishi switch as I recall. But I think we are jumping ahead of ourselves.... The first order of business is.... Have you ever been able to successfully change the menu to something OTHER than zero return? You don't show that in the video, so perhaps you can upload a new one that details what menus you have.... And if you happen to see one that says 'HANDLE', then try the MPG.

    [EDIT] Ah, I looked at your video again. It appears as though your PLC was setup so that the AUTO/HAND button cycles through the menus in much the same way that the rotary MODE selector switch works on most other implementations. So, try pressing the AUTO/HAND until you see the menu text change to HANDLE. At that point, I'm assuming you'll be able to use the handwheel on the currently selected axis. Of course, that last statement is a bit vague because I'm at a loss as to *how* you would select X or Z. You'll have to experiment around with that *if* you get the HANDLE text to show.... It might be a little easier to figure out jogging. If you see the JOG text, then I'm assuming the Mitsubishi keyboard will work to select the appropriate axis to jog in an identical way that you referenced the X and Z.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2022

    Re: (Mitsubishi MELDAS L3/M3) I'm learning - I have no manual control

    Hello, my friend from the USA. We once had the pleasure of writing to each other; your knowledge about Mitsubishi Meldas is vast and you are always helpful, which is important. Thank you for the advice. As you can see in the video, the machine is going through the homing process for the X and Z axes, but I still have ZERO-RTN in the menu. However, I am making progress; I obtained the documentation for my machine model and I am starting to study this book.

    Do you have any knowledge if the Mitsubishi Meldas M3/L3 supports workpiece measurement with a probe, and if there is an RS232 port somewhere?
    In which tab should I write simple commands using G-codes to move the X and Z axes?

    I send you my warm regards and thank you very much for any of your responses.
    I will post a few pictures from the manual that I have for my lathe, but it is in a language I don't understand well - German...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2012

    Re: (Mitsubishi MELDAS L3/M3) I'm learning - I have no manual control

    You are very welcome, but please remember one thing.... I am a voracious experimenter, but at the end of the day, I am still an amateur. You should always confirm any suggestions I may have with your own experimentation so that you are comfortable with the end result. :-)

    Did you try to press the AUTO/HAND button repeatedly to see if it allows you to scroll through different menu options? You are looking for a menu where the text reads JOG or HANDLE. If you see one of those, stop scrolling and see if any buttons allow you to jog or select an axis for the MPG. This would make sense. The ability to JOG is a fundamental Mitsubishi control capability, but the manner in which you get to the menu is not prescribed. That is left up to the machine integrator. For whatever crazy reason, your machine's builders decided to to use a "mode" switch. Instead, it appears as though they are using the AUTO/HAND switch instead....

    As for the probe measurement.... This would work the same way as a tool setter. This is performed via the use of the SKIP command. Support for the SKIP command is integrated into the control itself, but it *is* a feature that needs to be enabled. When you look through your machine integration manual, do you see anything about the SKIP command?

    I'll talk about tool length measurement because it is a little easier to grasp. Generically, there are three ways this can be accomplished. The first is through some custom PLC, although I think that this also ties in with the second item, which is support within the control. If you read through the manuals, you will see that there is a section devoted to automatic Tool Length Measurement. I cannot tell you very much about either of these two approaches (which I would probably say is more a *single* approach that uses both PLC and the internal abilities of the control). The third approach is typically what you will use if you buy something like a Renishaw probe. This uses the SKIP command as the interface to determine when the probe has been touched, but beyond that, everything is managed within a series of Renishaw macros that are loaded. Now for the problem.... These macros are HUGE, and the M3/L3 really doesn't have much memory. The good news is that I've been working on a memory upgrade so that we can get access to a lot more program space. This allows you to pretty much load as many programs as you want *and* still have room for all of the Renishaw macros. Unfortunately, this project is not yet 100% complete. I need to get back to that one! LOL

    Renishaw macros exist for both probes and tool setters. I am guessing that you are probably more interested in a tool setter, however, than you are in a probe. Is that correct? I ask the question because although my experience with CNC lathes is pretty limited, I cannot really say that I've seen very many probes on these machines, but I have seen a ton of tool setters. The probes seem to be much more frequently used as part of the milling world, although I can see how some machines might have a probe.

    If you are interested in following this SKIP stuff along a bit further, and you want to know how it is setup in the M3/L3, I would suggest you look at the following thread. It details many of my trials and tribulations associated with getting a tool setter and probe to work on my M3: https://www.cnczone.com/forums/mitsu...ml#post2593464

    finally.... Yes, you definitely have an RS232 port on an M3/L3 machine. In fact, you probably have TWO ports.... Like all RS-232 ports, however, you will need to configure the appropriate baud rate, stop/start bits, protocol, etc. This is all done within different menus, and thus far it seems like we have not yet nailed down exactly *how* you access these menus. Therefore, I think you #1 task right now is to figure that out. Maybe you can upload a video of you pressing that AUTO/HAND button. I really want to see if the ZERO-RTN text changes to something else that is useful.

    As for hand writing g-code.... That is done in the MDI menu, if you can find it.... But even if you had the MDI menu available *and* the comm ports were configured properly, you will still need the menus to actually UPLOAD a program... So, that gets me back to, of course, the need to concretely understand how you navigate the menu structure of the control.

    One thing that might help.... If you press the ALARM/DIAG key on the keyboard, you should see a hotkey option with the name NC-SPEC. Please press that and then take pictures of each of the three NC-SPEC screen that are available to you. That *may* help me be able to figure out if you have SKIP support enabled.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2022

    Re: (Mitsubishi MELDAS L3/M3) I'm learning - I have no manual control

    Hello my friend from the USA,

    Following your advice, I looked for the HAND/JOG option in the machine settings. And I found success! I located this option where selecting manual operation deselects the positioning option. Then I can move the axes manually, as well as with the wheel. Thank you, you pointed me in the right direction! I am very grateful.

    Now I need to take a closer look at the X-axis. The servomotor can start to make a slight squeaking noise and, while the machine is stationary, the servomotor starts to work (as if the axis starts to vibrate). I replaced the drive belt on this axis, and I think I might have tightened the belt too much. Here is a video of how my lathe is working.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012

    Re: (Mitsubishi MELDAS L3/M3) I'm learning - I have no manual control

    I couldn't quite follow the keystrokes you were using because your arm was blocking the view, but that is fine. The important thing is that you've figured out how to navigate the menu structure of the machine now. Without that ability, you were pretty much like a fish out of water. Now you can start to look at the Mitsubishi manuals to see both the capabilities of the control as well as things like configuring the serial port(s). Just remember that there really are two different realms of functionality. While the control provides the core functions, the integrators can add a great deal more capabilities (or access to abilities) through the PLC. So, having the Knuth manual will remain a critical part of your journey to master the machine.

    Again, glad it all worked out!

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