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IndustryArena Forum > MetalWorking Machines > Benchtop Machines > Retrofit old CNC to Mach3 (Prolight 2000)
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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2018
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    13

    Retrofit old CNC to Mach3 (Prolight 2000)

    Hello All,

    I would like to shear my experience in retrofitting my Prolight 2000 CNC to Mach3 so people who are interested can find one comprehensive post that includes most of the steps needed to start the process. This could be a good start for beginners like myself since I went through several difficulties to find solutions to some major and/or minor obstacles during the process and I was unable to find easy solutions to be done to fix the issue.
    FYI - This conversion may be done to many similar machines
    First and foremost, I am new to this industry and never touched a CNC machine before I’d done mine. And so, I wouldn’t consider myself responsible to any damage or injury that might happen.

    I would start with the list of parts that can be re-used and the new parts that need to be purchased,

    Parts to be re-used (to be remained from the original machine)

    1. All DC servo motors.

    2. Spindle

    3. Spindle speed controller, mine has (0-10 volt) terminals that can be connected to a breakout board.

    4. Main transformer (see picture for more details.)

    5. Off course old cable and connectors

    Parts to be purchased

    1. Breakout board (I used C11 BOB). You can use C10 BOB, it should be a lot cheaper.

    2. DC servo drivers (I used GECKODRIVE G320X)

    3. Power supply board for servo motors based on the requirement of your servo motor in terms of voltage and current. (I used PMDX-137-5020 based on the formula: DC output voltage = [(AC input voltage)*1.414]-1.5volts). I needed 39VDC and that’s why I chose the board described above.

    4. Encoders, I used AMT102-V rotary encoder

    5. Two 2A – 5VDC power supply units (PSUs) you can use any tablet charger.

    6. One 750mA – 12VDC PSU (see attached picture for more details) the one I used was for Netgear modem.

    7. Cables. I used two different colors black and white.

    Process to build your CNC: this is for testing, most of the work will be in the outside of the machine.

    1. Disconnect cables and remove all old boards and drivers that need to be replaced. With that being said, you would need to mark each cable to its related component.

    2. Disconnect your servo motors and remove them for tuning in a later process.

    3. Connect your power supply board to your transformer and make sure you have enough extension to connect your servo motors. (see picture for more details.)

    4. Connect your C11 BOB to geckodrives, please follow terminal pinout in G320x manual. It should be very easy. DIR to DIR, COM to GND, and STEP to STEP.

    5. Install Mach3 software in your computer and set up ports and pins based on your how you did your wiring. Typical setup, for X axis use pins 2&3, for Y axis use pins 4&5, and for Z axis use 6&7.

    6. Remove your old encoders from servo motors and install new one by following the user manual. Make sure you set your encoder to 250 or 512 PPR based on your max rpm before you install them. This will make your motors run faster. If you don’t know how to do it, read the encoder manual (data sheet).

    7. Connect your power supply terminals to your geckdrivers. Follow terminal pinout.

    8. Connect your encoders after installing them at the back of your servo motors to your geckodrivers. Follow terminal pinouts.

    9. Watch this video to understand geckodrivers operation,


    10. Turn on the power and you will see two lights on your geckodrivers, they’re either green and red or both are green (if lucky). Mine were green and red which are power and fault. You will need to make sure the lights are green and green (power and in-position).

    11. In order to keep lights green, you will need to tune your geckodrivers to a fine and smoother operation of your servo motors. I was lucky doing so without using an oscilloscope. I did so by turning all trimpots (the little potentiometers on the back of the drivers) to 11 o’clock. It’s a try and error operation. Try all possible 11 o’clock directions and you will get the desired tuning.
    Watch this video for more details: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mo-wXcsIgzQ

    12. Read geckodrivers manual to understand how to set your PID tuning.

    13. If you fine tune your motors and when you turn the power on and off you keep getting the red (fault) light you will need to jump pin 5 (error) to pin 7 (5 volt) in your geckodrivers.

    14. After doing so you should be ready to install all servo motors back into the machine and work on your spindle.

    15. Connect your 0-10 volt spindle terminals to 0-10 volt terminal on your BOB. Check the spindle in ports and pins and enter pin 14 & 8. NOTE: before you connect your 0-10 volt spindle terminals make sure you have a voltmeter to calibrate the 0-10 volt terminals on the breakout board.

    Follow the procedure below to tune your 0-10 volt terminals on your BOB:

    a. Adjust spindle speed to max or 100% on Mach3

    b. Turn on spindle in Mach3. WARNING: DO NOT CONNECT YOUR SPINDLE 0-10 VOLT YET,

    c. Set your voltmeter to read VDC and connect to the 0-10 volt terminals on your BOB.

    d. You should be able to read the voltage and while reading you should adjust the potentiometer to make sure you read ~10 volt.

    e. Go back to Mach3 and lower the speed to half or 50% and so you should read ~5 volt.

    f. In case you don’t read any voltage from those terminals, this means that your BOB is not getting enough voltage from your power sources. You can replace one or all your power sources to a larger ampage to provide enough power to your BOB and try the above steps again.

    16. After you finish with spindle it’s time to connect your limit switches. There are two ways to connect those switches based on two facts in which you will need to know whether your limit switches are connected parallel or series. Also, you will need to know whether your switches are Normally Open (NO) or Normally Closed (NC). A good explanation on how to connect them is shown in C11 BOB user manual.

    The main idea is to understand user manuals and the process to get quick and better result. All manuals and data sheets are available on the net.

    I would love to answer any question; however, this is all I know about the process to retrofitting my Prolight 2000. Lol!

    Hope this will help some newbies in this industries

    Cheers!
    Sam
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Machine.jpg   PMDX.PNG   IMG_4895.jpg  

  2. #2
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    Sep 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by SAMI81 View Post
    Hello All,

    I would like to shear my experience in retrofitting my Prolight 2000 CNC to Mach3 so people who are interested can find one comprehensive post that includes most of the steps needed to start the process.
    Hi, thanks so much for sharing!

    I just got PLM 2000 from an auction and the animatics control is fried. So I am gauging my options regarding retrofit. I think this one will do just fine for me.

    My machine comes with a tool changer, do you think it is possible to get it working with this setup? Or it is a lost cause?

  3. #3
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    Jan 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by zero_divide View Post
    Hi, thanks so much for sharing!

    I just got PLM 2000 from an auction and the animatics control is fried. So I am gauging my options regarding retrofit. I think this one will do just fine for me.

    My machine comes with a tool changer, do you think it is possible to get it working with this setup? Or it is a lost cause?
    Are you sure the control is dead? When I got mine it was troublesome on windows 98. But works great with MS dos.

  4. #4

    Re: Retrofit old CNC to Mach3 (Prolight 2000)

    It is fun to retrofit old CNC, especially when it is done and seeing the machine back to live again, super satisfied.
    http://cncmakers.com/cnc/controllers/CNC_Controller_System/CNC_Retrofit_Package.html

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cncmakers001 View Post
    It is fun to retrofit old CNC, especially when it is done and seeing the machine back to live again, super satisfied.
    Yes it is like an expensive Lego.

    After fiddling with the new hardware it turned out that my COM port was not working. So very likely the issue was the port on the computer, but the original control was just fine. (Gonna sell old parts on eBay or something)

    It is still better to retrofit it IMO because I don't want to bother with Windows 97, DOS and RS232
    http://zero-divide.net
    FSWizard:Advanced Feeds and Speeds Calculator

  6. #6
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    Ok. A little update:
    Got all servos connected and turning per programmed direction and speed.

    Got spindle rotating CW at programmed speed as well.

    BUT got a problem. Can not figure out how to run the spindle backwards. I may never have to, but still want to get it running right.

    There is an analog input cable that controls the
    speed and if send the 0-10v signal and connect phase to one
    wire going to a relay, it turns clockwise.

    But can't figure out how to make it spin CCW...

    Anyone got any ideas?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 20200905_194733.jpg  
    http://zero-divide.net
    FSWizard:Advanced Feeds and Speeds Calculator

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