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  1. #1
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    Aug 2014
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    160

    New Controller For MY PCNC 1100

    With the release of [U][B][URL="http://www.tormach.com/pathpilot.html"]PathPilot[/URL][/B][/U] v2.0 (PP2) the base operating system is now supported, at least until 2019, meaning we can easily install additional software to perform desktop duties. PP2 also provides builtin support for the 7I92 Ethernet Anything I/O card from [U][B][URL="http://www.mesanet.com/"]MESA Electronics[/URL][/B][/U].

    So I decided to upgrade my PCNC 1100 computer to make it more capable with both PP2 and desktop duties. I also wanted a compact computer that I could mount next to my monitor and keyboard for easy access freeing up space inside my stand.

    Having 7I92 support means the computer no longer needs a card mounted inside of it making it possible to use a small form factor computer. So the requirements were small form factor, dual NIC’s, compatibility with LinuxCNC and good latency. Yeah, one could forego the dual NIC’s & use WiFi but I much prefer a hardwired connection.

    So I found a computer from [U][B][URL="http://us.shuttle.com/"]Shuttle[/URL][/B][/U] called a [U][B][URL="http://us.shuttle.com/products/dh110/"]DH110[/URL][/B][/U] that meets all my requirements. I populated it with a Intel Skylake Dual Core 3.7GHz CPU (I3-6100), 8GB of RAM and a M.2 64GB SSD. This is way more than PP2 needs but like I said I wanted a good performing desktop out of it too. This thing blows the pants off my very expensive Tormach controller I had to buy with my 15L Slant-Pro.

    Next I purchased a 7I92H Anything I/O Ethernet card from MESA Electronics. There are 3 versions of this card depending on the connector desire for the P2 location. I chose the 7I92H because it had a standard male 26-pin IDC connector which facilitates a 26-pin ribbon cable between it and the Tormach Break-Out Board or BOB. This gets rid of the 25-Pin Parallel Port cable between the CPU and control box replacing it with a much smaller cat 5e cable.

    Next I mounted the computer underneath the keyboard. So now the only cables running from the machine to my console are power for the computer and monitor and 2 cat 5e cables – 1 to the 7I92H board mounted inside the machine control box and 1 connected to my local network.

    So the only difficulty I ran into was with the dual NIC’s used on the Shuttle DH110. For reasons I don’t understand the 7I92 would not run reliably using the Intel I211 controller chip which just happen to default eht0 used by the 7I92. Luckily the other NIC used is a Intel i219 and the 7I92 appears happy using this controller chip. While I was researching this problem I noticed talk about the 7I92 having compatibility problems with certain Ethernet controller chips so be careful selecting a NIC controller.

    So with the DH110 I was able to change the assignment of eth0 to the Intel I219 controller chip and use the I211 (eth1) for my local network connection without any problem. This means you must know which holes to plug your cables into on the DH110.

    Like previous versions of PP the standard install only creates 3 Hard Disk partitions utilizing only 29GB of HD space no matter it size. Since I wanted more for my desktop duties I decided to do the standard install, then use [U][B][URL="http://gparted.org/livecd.php"]G[/URL][URL="http://gparted.org/livecd.php"]P[/URL][URL="http://gparted.org/livecd.php"]arted Live[/URL][/B][/U] to modify them to use all the HD space. So the standard install creates 3 partition as follows:

    [QUOTE]
    [FONT=Liberation Mono][SIZE=2]sda1 ext4 13.22 GiB boot[/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Liberation Mono][SIZE=2]sda2 swap 1000.00 Mib[/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Liberation Mono][SIZE=2]sda3 ext4 14.65 GiB[/SIZE][/FONT]
    [/QUOTE]

    I want to increase the swap file (sda2) to 4 GB then expand sda3 to use the remaining space. Since sda1 is generally reserved for static files utilized by the system it should not be necessary to increase it’s size.

    Using GParted Live it’s best to shift/move sda3 by 3GB freeing up space to expand sda2, then expand sda2 by 3GB, then expand sda3 to use all the remaining space.

    I decided to increase the swap file size to help prevent swapping when running multiple desktop apps.

    Finally I changed the boot process to boot into the desktop, created a PP desktop launcher, adjusted the display resolution to that of the monitor native resolution, setup networking, updated the system and installed my desktop applications. Now I have both PP controller and desktop all in one.

    [IMG]http://www.cnczone.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=385894&stc=1[/IMG][IMG]http://www.cnczone.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=385896&stc=1[/IMG]
    [IMG]http://www.cnczone.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=385898&stc=1[/IMG][IMG]http://www.cnczone.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=385900&stc=1[/IMG]
    [IMG]http://www.cnczone.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=385902&stc=1[/IMG][IMG]http://www.cnczone.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=385904&stc=1[/IMG]

  2. #2
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    Feb 2008
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    507

    Re: New Controller For MY PCNC 1100

    With Intel MACs you may need to set the IRQ coalescing option off to get reliable performance.
    this is done with the ethtool utility:

    ethtool -C devicename rx-usecs 0

    Also its better to use the EEPROM set IP address ( default=10.10.10.10 ) rather than the setup IP address ( 192.168.1.121 )
    since its less likely to overlap existing NAT ranges.

    One option on single Ethernet MAC mini PCs is to use a USB Ethernet dongle for general internet/file access and
    the on board MAC for CNC

  3. #3
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    Jan 2016
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    251

    Re: New Controller For MY PCNC 1100

    Very cool. I really like those small form factor computers. I might order one of those 7i92H boards.

  4. #4
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    Dec 2008
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    583

    Re: New Controller For MY PCNC 1100

    [QUOTE=rdsi;2147630]Having 7I92 support means the computer no longer needs a card mounted inside of it making it possible to use a small form factor computer. So the requirements were small form factor, dual NIC’s, compatibility with LinuxCNC and good latency. Yeah, one could forego the dual NIC’s & use WiFi but I much prefer a hardwired connection.[/QUOTE]
    I went a similar way but for a different reason. I was concerned about a possible ground loop that might cause problems with my modifications. This is eliminated when using the 7i92H. I considered going for a small form factor but I use quad backplanes [url]https://www.amazon.de/Backplane-2-5Zoll-Aluminium-Gehaeuse-schwarz/dp/B002TEVOJ6/ref=sr_1_1?s=computers&ie=UTF8&qid=1517940366&sr=1-1&keywords=JOU+JYE+JJ+1040SS+SATA%2FSAS+BACKPLANE[/url] on both my development and shop machines and just swap drives between them. I can swap the drive on my shop machine for a test version in a few seconds with absolutely no risk of screwing up my productive installation. Installing a second network card was also no problem and with the small form factor I would have lost the ability to ... well, I don't want to spoil the fun!

    [QUOTE=rdsi;2147630]So the only difficulty I ran into was with the dual NIC’s used on the Shuttle DH110. [/QUOTE]
    In the course of these changes I used the built in interfaces of 2 different machines, a PCIe card and a USB to Ethernet adapter with no issues - perhaps I was just lucky.

    [QUOTE=rdsi;2147630]Finally I changed the boot process to boot into the desktop, created a PP desktop launcher, adjusted the display resolution to that of the monitor native resolution, setup networking, updated the system and installed my desktop applications. Now I have both PP controller and desktop all in one.[/QUOTE]
    What! You're not using dual monitors? I keep all unnecessary stuff off my shop PathPilot controller - I don't feel the need to turn it into a desktop. I'm less concerned about enabling the beep than I would be about installing all manner of desktop apps. That stays on my laptops.
    Step

  5. #5
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    Aug 2014
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    160

    Re: New Controller For MY PCNC 1100

    [QUOTE=PCW_MESA;2147662]Also its better to use the EEPROM set IP address ( default=10.10.10.10 ) rather than the setup IP address ( 192.168.1.121 )
    since its less likely to overlap existing NAT ranges.[/QUOTE]

    Yeah, I'm am using the default EEPROM IP address. Right now things are happy on the I219 but if I run into any issues I have put your suggestion into my notes - thanks.

    [QUOTE=TurboStep;2148106]I keep all unnecessary stuff off my shop PathPilot controller - I don't feel the need to turn it into a desktop. I'm less concerned about enabling the beep than I would be about installing all manner of desktop apps. That stays on my laptops.Step[/QUOTE]

    So I have a NAS where all my stuff is really kept. I thought having both a workstations in my shop & another in the house/office would be enough but I found myself still going between my machines and the workstation. I suppose if I were just running parts it would not be an issue but everything I do is one-off. So having access right on the controller, for me, saves a lot of back & forth.

    If you really want a neat sounding keyboard I came across this app called [B][U][URL="http://github.com/zevv/bucklespring"]BuckleSpring[/URL][/U][/B] that you can install into PP2. It emulates the old click clack noise of the original IBM keyboard. I tried it out & it sounds pretty good if you have a monitor with speakers are something. I've been thinking about modifying this program such that if you pressed certain keys like "Page Down" instead of playing the "Click Clack" recording for that key it would play a recording that says "Jogging Z down" are whatever ...

  6. #6
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    Nov 2007
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    1647

    Re: New Controller For MY PCNC 1100

    [QUOTE=TurboStep;2148106]I went a similar way but for a different reason. I was concerned about a possible ground loop that might cause problems with my modifications. This is eliminated when using the 7i92H. I considered going for a small form factor but I use quad backplanes [url]https://www.amazon.de/Backplane-2-5Zoll-Aluminium-Gehaeuse-schwarz/dp/B002TEVOJ6/ref=sr_1_1?s=computers&ie=UTF8&qid=1517940366&sr=1-1&keywords=JOU+JYE+JJ+1040SS+SATA%2FSAS+BACKPLANE[/url] on both my development and shop machines and just swap drives between them. I can swap the drive on my shop machine for a test version in a few seconds with absolutely no risk of screwing up my productive installation. Installing a second network card was also no problem and with the small form factor I would have lost the ability to ... well, I don't want to spoil the fun!


    Step[/QUOTE]

    Please do spoil the fun :)

    I also live a simpler life having front load solid state disk drives in everything.

  7. #7
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    Apr 2013
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    1285

    Re: New Controller For MY PCNC 1100

    I haven't seen anything more on using a 7i92. Is the installation simply connecting the 7i92 via Ethernet and rebooting or are PP configuration changes required? Have there been any problems?

  8. #8
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    Re: New Controller For MY PCNC 1100

    It is pretty much plug & play. You just mount the 7i92 inside the electronics bay near the BOB pcb & connect the ribbon that went to the PC to the 7i92. As I mention there are 3 version of the 7i92 card. You need the 7i92H version to facilitate the ribbon IDC.

    Then you just connect an Ethernet cable between the 7i92 & your computer. So when PathPilot boots if it doesn't find an internal card it looks for a 7i92 on your LAN port. If it finds one your off & running...

    Depending on your hardware there could be some minor tweaks. In my situation I needed to change some BIOS settings pertaining to the dual NIC's.

    Otherwise, I have not experienced any problems. I thought the new machines have switched over to this configuration?

  9. #9
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    Apr 2013
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    1285

    Re: New Controller For MY PCNC 1100

    Thanks! A few more questions if you don't mind:
    Does PP automatically try 192.168.1.121 and 10.10.10.10 or does mesaflash change the address or... ?
    If there are dual NICs how does PP know which to use?
    Can I share a single NIC between the 7i92 and other connections (the other connection is for file transfer and will not be active when milling)?

  10. #10
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    Re: New Controller For MY PCNC 1100

    [QUOTE=kstrauss;2230724]Does PP automatically try 192.168.1.121 and 10.10.10.10 or does mesaflash change the address or... ? [/QUOTE]

    I messed around with different IP addresses but in the end stuck with 10.10.10.10 (Don't remember all the details now).

    [QUOTE=kstrauss;2230724]If there are dual NICs how does PP know which to use?[/QUOTE]

    In Linux ports get assigned eth0, eth1, etc. PP assumes the 7i92 is attached to eth0. If you have more than 1 LAN port you need to know which one is assigned eth0.

    [QUOTE=kstrauss;2230724]Can I share a single NIC between the 7i92 and other connections (the other connection is for file transfer and will not be active when milling)?[/QUOTE]

    I tried this & was not successful. For reasons I don't understand the 7i92 just did not like having a network switch between it & the PC. Since the MB I wanted to use came with dual NIC's this wasn't a problem. So 1 port is dedicated to the 7i92 & the other port is connected to my network. You could use a wireless connection for networking & internet then you only need 1 NIC, but I prefer a wired connection.

  11. #11
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    May 2017
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    8

    Re: New Controller For MY PCNC 1100

    I gotta admit, I've been following this thread with interest as well. But I've got one nagging question --

    In your photo of the cab interior, it looks like there are two other cables, attached to the 7i92, just below the green 5v/Gnd terminal block.
    I thot those were the W5 and W6 jumpers, so can you tell us what's up with what we're seeing in this picture?

    By the way, thanks for posting this (and other adventure articles); I've found them extremely helpful, and they tend to parallel a lot of my own curiosities.

    Edit: Also, when you ordered, what did you select for the Available Options configuration?

  12. #12
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    Re: New Controller For MY PCNC 1100

    [QUOTE=Ftoggle;2231448]In your photo of the cab interior, it looks like there are two other cables, attached to the 7i92, just below the green 5v/Gnd terminal block.
    I thot those were the W5 and W6 jumpers, so can you tell us what's up with what we're seeing in this picture?[/QUOTE]

    There are three connections: Ethernet, Ribbon & +5VDC (the power supply). In the pic the power supply wires are coming up crossing over the W5 & W6 jumpers into the green terminal block. There are 2 other wires running up between the BOB & 7i92 board but they go to the Series 3 Suppressors mounted above the 7i92.

    [IMG]https://www.cnczone.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=405348&stc=1[/IMG]

    [QUOTE=Ftoggle;2231448]Also, when you ordered, what did you select for the Available Options configuration?[/QUOTE]

    This is the board I ordered: [URL="http://store.mesanet.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=303&search=7i92"] 7I92H Anything I/O Ethernet card[/URL][URL="http://store.mesanet.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=303&search=7i92"]
    [/URL][URL="http://store.mesanet.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=303&search=7i92"]
    [/URL]

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