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  1. #1
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    Online communication with RS232

    Hello everyone,

    This is my first post and i need help about something.

    We have more than 10 machines in our workshop and these are all old machines which the communication can be made only with RS232 port. I want to backup my all nc codes in a server and make it communicate with the machines. I found some RS232 to wireless converters from the internet.

    My question is;

    Is there any dnc systems or any software which i can make the communication online with the machine and the server (With the word online i meant, after i connect the server and the machines i want to see the memories of the machines and send and receive the nc programs like the connection in the enternet using ftp programs).

    Thanks for your interestment...

  2. #2
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    My impression of the serial to ethernet converters is they do format conversion [RS232 to ethernet (IEEE 802.3, etc) and nothing else. So unless the ethernet converter has the ability to grab the NC file and act as a server for FTP, the answer is probably not.

    Nevertheless, have you tried googling around for some that can do what you want?

    I know what you want can be done, the question is has someone already done it, or are you going to have to build this yourself?
    -Jeff

  3. #3
    There are several software packages that "emulate" remote fetching via dummy programs etc.

    Search around for DNC systems.
    http://www.cncforum.se
    A Swedish CNC & CAD/CAM forums

  4. #4
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    Hyperterminal (supplied with Windows on most PCs) works with my old machines and new ones alike. I had to play with baud, bits, and handshaking a little to see what each machine likes. Wired up a null-modem cable and off i went.
    .
    hope this helps
    .
    B

  5. #5
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    cadem.com is the free ware i use for one machine. I could never find out what the paid programs cost or will do. the free section is a bit hard to locate on their page. It works well.
    Bob
    Robert Setree 502-452-9851

  6. #6
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    OK, here's probably more than you would ever want to know....
    I am guessing that what you hope to accomplish is to be able to SEND and RECEIVE data from your CNC controllers to a server used as a warehouse for various parts that are being built, modified, or generated out on the shop floor.

    I was involved in this very situation several years ago. Here is what you are looking at...there are many 'hardware solutions' that basically convert the serial data at RS-232 levels (voltage) to an ethernet data level. These 'converters' are dealing simply with the physical connection. Generally they were designed to be able to take the relatively short serial cable length (about 150 feet max) and convert to the Ethernet length of up to 1500 feet. What those lengths seem to ignore in ALL cases is the environment of the shop floor. The RFI in a typical shop is horrendous. Overhead flourescent lighting (377Volts), wire EDM's, old punch presses, etc. etc. Look at the way cables are routed generally along side of the power feeds (this is the worst for RFI). Wireless routers and converters are equally ineffective in this environment.

    If all of those pitfalls don't "get you", then consider this. The only 'standard' for RS-232 is a voltage level parameter. Which means that a Fanuc or Hardinge controller probably doesn't 'speak' the same language as a Haas, LeBlond, or even another controller made by the same company. Go out on the shop floor and look at the header and trailer codes put out by the various controllers. Or if you really want to go nuts, look at some of the 'conversational controllers', you'll end up talking to yourself!

    So, those conditions, along with some real shysters out there that will sell their "one size fits all" solution, prompted us to build our own DNC system.
    We ended up getting 'dumb converters' that we could pass the data streams through. Here, there were choices of 1-8 converters per unit. We targeted where we could physically install a converter box with no more than 50 feet to it's controller. Additionally, we made sure that each serial RS-232 connection operated in 'full handshaking' mode. (Which means that the 3-5 wire connection just wouldn't be allowed) Many DNC suppliers that we investigated used this quit and dirty solution. We also made sure that each CNC machine was properly grounded, and the wiring between the converter boxes and the CNC's were using shielded, grounded cables. In most cases, we had to use an RS-232 'breakout box' to insure the proper set of signals to accomplish full handshaking was done. So, our real goal here was to make sure we weren't susceptable to any outside interference. We accomplished that.

    After we had given ourselves reliable data streams, we just needed to build the DNC to manage the data. Because each CNC was a little different (start/stop bits, # of bits, etc.) we built a configuration software model that gave us the ability to pick and choose what parameters we could get from the manufacturers manuals. You guessed it, a lot of the old manuals were gone/missing/didn't give us a clue, so we had to in some cases, go back and establish any communications and then decipher what was good data vs header/trailer information. So we had to build a little tool to do that. The 'uniqueness' of the equipment in the shop we worked in (and probably yours) didn't lend well to a one size fits approach. We were going to build an 'auto-configurator' to do the setup for any new device added, but the plant manager didn't see any need for us to work on that.

    The DNC was written in .net C#. In about 2 months of part time work, we had the shop remove the FAILED commercially available DNC system, no longer use the hardware boxes that captured G-Code on to a floppy disk (that someone would leave next to an isolation transformer, yikes!), install all the new cabling, and converter boxes, and then train the operators on the 'new system'. It took us longer to train the shop guys than to write the DNC package. In all, we had roughly 25 CNC devices connected to the DNC server package that we had built. We even implemented some newer CNC controllers that had built-in ethernet ports.

    We (another developer and I) walked out of the shop about 2 years ago. The DNC had been running 4 years at that time, without a single failure. We left them the source code, and gave their new 'IT Guy' a half hour overview of the system. So much for 'cost cutting'.

  7. #7
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    Try www.calmotion.com, they make unit that have a memory (SD card) that resides on your machine which you can see via you ethernet and drag and drop program into - then from the machine you communicate with the module via RS232.
    They're not exactly cheap - but the work well I've heard. I kind of like the idea that your not looking at the active memory over the network so there is no chance of someone jacking up a program that may be in use (like a sub-program or something that may not be in active memory yet).
    Also www.memex.ca has some newer tech products.
    Regards,
    John

  8. #8
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    Thanks for your replies,

    Quote Originally Posted by apache405 View Post
    My impression of the serial to ethernet converters is they do format conversion [RS232 to ethernet (IEEE 802.3, etc) and nothing else. So unless the ethernet converter has the ability to grab the NC file and act as a server for FTP, the answer is probably not.

    Nevertheless, have you tried googling around for some that can do what you want?

    I know what you want can be done, the question is has someone already done it, or are you going to have to build this yourself?
    I haven't seen anyone already done it and as you said after some applications i found out that RS232 to ethernet converters is just converting. I want to know if there is any software that can reply my necessities.

    Micromill so you are saying if you want to make the work right you have to make it yourself . My all machines has fanuc controller and i get the C+ lesson at the college but i don't remember even a code about it So i have to search around for a software.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttafewcoe View Post
    Hyperterminal (supplied with Windows on most PCs) works with my old machines and new ones alike. I had to play with baud, bits, and handshaking a little to see what each machine likes. Wired up a null-modem cable and off i went.
    .
    hope this helps
    .
    B
    Buttafewcoe would you please explain me how you transfer data with hyperterminal

  10. #10
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    Think of your Fanuc controller as a 'modem'. After you set the baud rate, start -stop and # of bits to match what is set up in the FANUC, you need to find out what data it is "listening for". Something like 'P:0000' or whatever it is. After you know that, you simply start the hyperlink connection to send say 'P:0000 M30 G00 G03 etc etc' The controller should respond with an acknowlegement. If you are sending data to hyperterminal from the FANUC, you should see it present the data in the open connection window. The key is to get the 'connection' right. I just never trust the null modem cabling method.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by serdarakkoyunlu View Post
    Hello everyone,

    This is my first post and i need help about something.

    We have more than 10 machines in our workshop and these are all old machines which the communication can be made only with RS232 port. I want to backup my all nc codes in a server and make it communicate with the machines. I found some RS232 to wireless converters from the internet.

    My question is;

    Is there any dnc systems or any software which i can make the communication online with the machine and the server (With the word online i meant, after i connect the server and the machines i want to see the memories of the machines and send and receive the nc programs like the connection in the enternet using ftp programs).

    Thanks for your interestment...
    there is no way to see the machines memory through serial interface (RS232).
    you can get some usb to rs232 interfaces to connect all machines to 1 computer and use a single program to communicate.

    i have written a program in visual basic, i can give it to you to play with it.

    DanP

  12. #12
    Community Moderator Al_The_Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by serdarakkoyunlu View Post
    We have more than 10 machines in our workshop and these are all old machines which the communication can be made only with RS232 port. I want to backup my all nc codes in a server and make it communicate with the machines. I found some RS232 to wireless converters from the internet.
    ..
    As mentioned earlier, Cadem supplies multi-drop RS232 from a server, you just need a 10 port card which are easily available.
    With this software, the operator at the machine can request a program off the server and the server will upload to the Fanuc, conversely the operator can download to the unmanned server.
    There just needs to be a simple file request program written in each machines part program memory.
    Al.
    CNC, Mechatronics Integration and Custom Machine Design

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

  13. #13
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    Thank you all again for your interestment. As it is not being used by anyone now i'm thinking of working together with some computer programmers to create a software about it. Maybe with some codes i can come over it. And if i find a solution to this problem i'll be happy to share this with you.

    Dan Petre i would be grateful if you can send me the program you wrote and i can try it on my machines...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by serdarakkoyunlu View Post

    Dan Petre i would be grateful if you can send me the program you wrote and i can try it on my machines...
    http://www.quickfilepost.com/downloa...fdc207bc3b9a0e

  15. #15
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    It seems that this is being made a lot more complicated than it is, and I'm no software guy.

    You may also look at Greco systems, they offer the WinDNC / DCS DNC Software that will allow a machine operator at the control to send a command string to the PC that is always listening which initiates a program transfer to the machine. The operator can also send a program to the PC, which is stored in a temporary folder until reviewed against the original on the PC and approved & saved - or dumped. Works well, I had installed a different brand package just like this one from Greco at a shop I ran back in 2000, and they are still using it today.
    Rgds,
    John

  16. #16
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    John B.

    This doesn't solve his problem of 10 machines. You would theoretically need 10 of the Grecos if you didn't want to plug, unplug, and between the 10 CNC's, you would need 10 PC's as well, right? This really isn't a DNC solution, because you are missing the 'Distributed' part of DNC.

    The shop I was at, had Greco boxes, and they just didn't meet the needs of a job shop.

  17. #17
    Community Moderator Al_The_Man's Avatar
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    Cadem will cover up to 128 machines from a single PC server.
    Al.
    CNC, Mechatronics Integration and Custom Machine Design

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

  18. #18
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    Micro,
    The Greco software runs atleast 8 at the base level with the standard hub, you must have worked with their older stuff. As Al-the-Man mentions Cadem is scalable up to 128 machines - all without ever having to swap cables between machines. Predator software supports up to 256 machines - again without swapping cables.

    Just using a printer switch box and any of the free DNC packages allow you to communicate without cable swapping. My favorite is Cimco DNC-Max, which supposedly supports up to 4000 machines, but I don't know about the legitimacy of that number.

    There are atleast half a dozen fully developed and very secure packages already out there. It really sounds like your too close to the forest here...

    John

  19. #19
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    Curious, what CNC machines does serdarakkoyunlu have? As some CNCs can be loaded from server, via FTP or File Movement. Most serial CNCs will not have the ability to be loaded without operator involvement for safety issues.
    Greg Mercurio -Shop Floor Automations
    www.shopfloorautomations.com /619-461-4000

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by gm3211 View Post
    Curious, what CNC machines does serdarakkoyunlu have? As some CNCs can be loaded from server, via FTP or File Movement. Most serial CNCs will not have the ability to be loaded without operator involvement for safety issues.
    The newer machines we purchased has data servers which let us communicate with ftp. The problem is at our old machines. They don't allow us to communicate without operator involvement.

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