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IndustryArena Forum > MetalWorking Machines > Benchtop Machines > Retrofitting Prolight 2000 4-axis mill
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  1. #1
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    Retrofitting Prolight 2000 4-axis mill

    Haven't gone inside the electronics yet, (haven't seen it yet) but will be pulling everything we can out of it, and retro with (probably) Gecko 3XX servo drives (2000 does use servomotors), run with Mach3. Using the original software is out of the question, for other reasons.

    Is the servo electronics stuff proprietary to Light Machines or does it use OEM boards / modules? (This is pretty old, now, but worth the question..)?

    Presumably all 4 axes use conventional quadrature encoders, but just in case, anyone know for sure?

    Anyone retro'd a 2000 before?
    (I've done my own 1000 and another Prolight 1000, so am comfortable with the process....)

    Thanks / mark in BC

  2. #2
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    My Prolight 2000 (that I just bought a month or so ago) uses a commercial 3-axis Animatics servo driver. This takes an RS232 input from the PC.

    I'd be interested in hearing how your retrofit project goes. I'd like to be able to use Mach 3 with the mill, as the original software is very old and difficult to use.

  3. #3
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    Prolight 2000 retrofit

    The Animatics controller takes serial messages from the proprietary software and translates those into axis motion, driving DC PM motors having some kind of rotary encoder (I hope) or resolver. Haven't found any data on the Animatics unit, and haven't looked at the motors / encoders any more closely, but here's what I think I'll do...
    1. pull all the electronics save the power supply and spindle controller.
    2. Install Gecko 3XX drivers on each (4 of 'em) axis.
    3. Run it with Mach3.
    Probably need a breakout board / interface to handle the spindle motor
    speed control from software, but manual control works fine for me and my
    stepper-driven Prolight 1000.

    While I am a licensed user of mach3, I also have CNCPro which I still use with an older, slower PC, and which is perfect for quick and easy setup and testing.

    The limit switches I find to be a pain on my 1000, so ignore them.
    On the 2000, I shudder to think what kind of havoc could result from
    a silly programming error, like a rapid X move at dozens of inches per minute,
    without a limit switch to catch things...
    You may pm me to take things off line, if you wish /mark

  4. #4
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    PM sent.

  5. #5
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    I have a benchman vmc4000 and like it ok, I bought a prolight 2000 with a 4th axis and couldn't stand the thing, it was slow and ran on a really old pc. I was unsure if it was the pc or the machine causing my problem. The motors should have encoders.

    Danny

  6. #6
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    Mark,

    I just purchased a Prolight 2000 and planning the same retrofit of controller you are.

    please keep us informed on your progress I am ok at the machine part part not good at the electronics. Hopefully we can learn how to retrofit this together.

    I also have a prolight 3000 lathe I need to retrofit as well.

    All thebest, Henry

  7. #7
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    My name is Rosalio Moreno, i have a prolight 2000 but for some reason i cant get comunication between the computer and the machine, everything looks fine anyone has any ideas what i could be the problem thanks?

  8. #8
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    Rosalio -

    Check -

    Fuses are all OK.

    Your parallel port (for tool changer) and serial port is set up and communicating properly in your computer.

    The Prolight software has been set up for your machine (proper port and control box etc.)

    The mill has to be powered on before loading the Prolight software.

    The magnetic safety switch for the safety shield

    The E-stop must be pulled out.

    Henry

  9. #9
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    prolight 2000

    i have a old prolight 2000 with the on/off swith on the back.
    i did check the fuses and they look ok, i downloaded the software and run the set up program, i hooked up rs232 cable the 25 pin on the machine and the 9 pin on the computer on the com port 0/0, but i still not getting comunication, is it something i have to do with the computer? or is a controller problem??

    i really need some helo with this!!
    thanks.

    rosalio

  10. #10
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    Rosalio

    You mentioned com port 0/0 I think you need to be on one or two. Double check your comm port settings and re run the set up program and choose the corrospoinding port.

    Make sure you start the machine first then run the software

    Henry

  11. #11
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    You should test your serial port connection by running this or another test:

    http://zone.ni.com/devzone/cda/tut/p/id/3450

    Be sure to run the 25-pin test at the connector that plugs into the mill.

    Then check that your serial port is configured for the correct speed for your mill (19,200 bps). This is indicated on page E3 of the ProLight 2000 Dos manual available on this site:

    http://www.intelitekdownloads.com/Manuals/CNC/

    Windows XP and possibly other version handles serial port timing differently than does DOS, so you should run the PML2000 control software inside a DOS emulator shell, such a DOSBOX, otherwise it won't connect reliably to the mill.

    Also, make sure that the Manual/CNC toggle switch on the front control panel of the mill is set to CNC.

  12. #12
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    jskene -

    You are correct - I looked over the basics. DOS is a must.

    Henry

  13. #13
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    prolight 2000

    firts of all i want to thank you guys for your help.
    i have the sofware running now, but i have no idea how to use, and i have a problem with the safety shield when i tried to run a program or send the machine home, the machine ask me for close the safety shield, the shield is close and i dont know if im a need a part, i post a picture how looks like.

    anyone has any idea what it could be?

    thanks very much again!

    Rosalio
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DSCF0665.jpg  

  14. #14
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    There should be a small magnet attached to the safety shield, just above the magnetic switch in your photo. It looks like yours is missing. When you close the shield, the magnet comes into close proximity of the switch and opens the switch. You could epoxy a small magnet onto the shield to do this task.

    I run my mill without the shield, and have cut the wires going to the shield switch in order to bypass it.

  15. #15
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    prolight 2000

    thanks again guys for your help i have learned a lot from you!

    i still have another problem with the software, everytime the machine hits the limits switch or is really close to it; or when i try to run a program i have this comunication problem, i post a picture of what i get.

    i not sure if this could be a computer problem because im running the program from a laptop with windows xp.

    im really sorry to bother you guys with all this.

    thanks Rosalio.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails prolight problem.jpg   PROLIGHT PROBLEM2.jpg  

  16. #16
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    Are you running the PLM2000 program in Windows XP or are you running it inside a DOS shell inside XP?

    You need to do the latter, or you will get communications errors.

  17. #17
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    prolight

    i save the file on the hard drive "c", and when i open it appers in a little window, i runing the program from that.

    is it that what i have to do?

    or am i doing the wrong thing?

  18. #18
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    In Windows XP you need to open a DOS window (command prompt). Then navigate with DOS commands to the PLM directory then run the PLM2000program. The PLM program will open in an expanded window.

    All the best, Henry

  19. #19
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    prolight

    thanks for the advice, can you explain me that i little bit better im really stupid about computer, i have a slow mind lol

    absolutely i never use dos before so i have no idea how to do it.

  20. #20
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    When you are in the DOS window there is a "prompt" it is usually a "C:\>" if there is something after the C:\"XXXXXX" you need to get back to "C:\>" At the blinking prompt type "CD.." (CD period period) and press the enter key. CD.. is saying change directory . It will back up one directory per prompt. You may have to type CD.. in a couple times to get to "C:\>" when you get back to "C:\>" Type in "CD plm2000" and press the enter key (Change Directory space PLM2000) when you are at the PLM2000 directory the prompt will look like "C:\PLM2000>" at that prompt type in "PLM2000" this should start your program. If your plm2000 program is in another directory substitute the directory for the defaults I mentioned.

    DOS is a necessary evil in dealing with this machine maybe search the internet for DOS commands and be more familiar with them.
    All the best, Henry

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