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IndustryArena Forum > MetalWorking Machines > Benchtop Machines > Conversion to LINUX CNC EMCO pc mill 50
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  1. #1
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    Conversion to LINUX CNC EMCO pc mill 50

    So I just got an awesome cnc machine, and I'm crazzy excited to update it's controls! I am looking for advice on some electronics and such. I have new servos but I'm not sure on the best power supply setup, for example. Should I supply each servo with it's own power supply? I'm also unfamiliar with the DIN rails and wire combs system and it looks very neat. I want my conversion to look just as neat but I'm not sure about the terminology of all of that stuff in the control box.

    I am:

    1. removing all motion controls & replacing with new
    2. removing VDF to replace with new.
    3. possibly removing spindle motor to replace with more powerful unit
    4. have to place rotary encoder on new spindle motor for rigid tapping
    5. all axis stepper motors are going to be replaced with 3 n.m. servo motors and drivers which I already have (Lichuan 3phase 3NM NEMA23 LCDA357H + LC57H3100)




    Questions:
    1. separate power supplies for each servo? and then one for the parallel port breakout board?
    2. Spindle VFD, does it need braking resistor for rigid tapping?
    3. [link https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0093Y897A...CGSMRB2V4Q]two sain smart parallel port cnc breakout boards[/link] or go with an [link ethernet]7I76E picture card like the Mesa 7I76E[/link]
    4. any misc suggestions for improvement?
    5. Big old capacitors for the power supplies?




    main picture
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    Control electronics:

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    intel is inside this one

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    Sainsmart breakout board:

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    Mesa breakout board:

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    I LOVE this wiring:

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    Upgrade this spindle motor?:

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  2. #2
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: Conversion to LINUX CNC EMCO pc mill 50

    It's time to slow down and take a deep breath here. I actually have one of these machines (Concept 55) on the shelf that I've done nothing with yet, but have looked into a controls retrofit for it.

    Let's start with the servos you bought. The only advantage they have over the very high quality original 3 phase steppers is that they have encoders attached and are somewhat better documented for the hobby user. Adding linear magnetic scales would accomplish the same thing and work better. The original steppers and drives are quite robust.

    Mesa vs. Sain smart boards. Not even in the same universe. The Mesa products are a few orders of magnitude better. You already have a computer power supply to run the controls and boards.

    A single 48V linear power supply would be my choice to power the motors. This one would run all 3 motors https://www.automationtechnologiesin...0vac-or-230vac

    The torque of the original spindle motor is about all the machine will take, it is a small machine and not rigid enough to take high spindle loads. It would benefit from higher spindle speeds than the original. But the spindle bearings need to be considered when increasing the speed, I'm sure they would live at 6000 RPM, but not much more. Maybe later replacing the spindle motor with a 1KW servo motor would be a possibility and give you enough torque and control for rigid tapping. Thread milling is really a better option in most cases.

    Slotted raceway, available in many sizes. https://www.amazon.com/Raceway-Manag...ronics&sr=1-10

    Din Rail normally available in lengths to 1 meter https://www.amazon.com/WatchfulEyE-P...ronics&sr=1-10

    Also Automation Direct may become your new friend. https://www.automationdirect.com/adc/home/home They have everything you could possible need for panel building, normally my go to vendor. Not the least expensive, but great service and support when needed along with consistently high quality products..
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

  3. #3
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    Re: Conversion to LINUX CNC EMCO pc mill 50

    Jim,

    We are in agreement on the quality of the original parts, I'm just not sure I can "reverse engineer" the setup enough to make them all work with Linux cnc. I have yet to take it apart and discover that for sure so we'll see.

    In what regards are the Mesa boards superior? I wasn't sure if it was signal quality, I/o, or something else. I'm ready to buy those if it'll make a big difference.

    I was thinking the mill should be able to handle a little bit more than it currently can, but I'm coming from a seig background. It seems so much better built. I do see some weakness from the swiveling head/spindle.

  4. #4
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: Conversion to LINUX CNC EMCO pc mill 50

    The original stepper drives take a standard step & direction 5V signal as I recall. I haven't looked at mine for some time so I can't exactly remember what the pinouts are, but I do remember it was going to be easy to interface, basically plug & play.

    The Mesa system is a real and intelligent motion controller and fully compatible with the LinuxCNC system. The other boards are just a device to breakout the parallel cable with a couple of extra features thrown in. You might also look at the Dynomotion Kflop or Centroid Acorn systems.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

  5. #5
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    Jim,

    I took the controls apart today and I see the stepper motor divers are quite understandable. I saw direction pins but no clearly labeled step pins. I ordered an IDC16 break out board to spy on the pins and see what does what.

    I'm confident controlling the stepper motors is doable but I'm not sure on controlling the vfd and using the panel that currently monitors all of the limit switches, estop, and door switches, etc.

    I'd love to keep all of the stock controls if possible, but I have no idea where I'd start with rs485 output from that board to Linux cnc


    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Dawson View Post
    The original stepper drives take a standard step & direction 5V signal as I recall. I haven't looked at mine for some time so I can't exactly remember what the pinouts are, but I do remember it was going to be easy to interface, basically plug & play.

    The Mesa system is a real and intelligent motion controller and fully compatible with the LinuxCNC system. The other boards are just a device to breakout the parallel cable with a couple of extra features thrown in. You might also look at the Dynomotion Kflop or Centroid Acorn systems.

  6. #6
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: Conversion to LINUX CNC EMCO pc mill 50

    Unless you are a programmer I think trying to interface with the original controller board is probably not a good option. Not even sure I would tackle that one without having extensive documentation on the controller and I wrote my own CNC operating software

    The step pins may be labeled something like pulse or something else, I can't remember and I can't get to my machine easily. When I said it's on the shelf, I mean it is literally on the second shelf of my pallet rack with enough stuff in front of it it would take an hour just to get the forklift to it, and all of the documentation is in the mill enclosure.

    I don't remember how the VFD was controlled, a wild guess is a PWM signal.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

  7. #7
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    Re: Conversion to LINUX CNC EMCO pc mill 50

    I am currently planning a one shot oiler, and later an additional automatic oiler, but is there a setup that I can do to have grease lines going to the ball screws to make maintenance a snap? I know the importance of maintenance but I hate for it to be a chore.

  8. #8
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: Conversion to LINUX CNC EMCO pc mill 50

    There are many systems available that will do what you want.

    Maybe this will get you pointed in the right direction

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automa...ication_system
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

  9. #9
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    Re: Conversion to LINUX CNC EMCO pc mill 50

    One thing I hope I'm understanding correctly is that the control board that gets the rs485 input is ultimately what drives everything. The ribbon cable exiting that board goes to the stepper motor controller and the VFD.

    If I understand everything correctly then what I need to do is just figure out

    1. how the stepper motor driver works
    2. how the vfd works
    3. a way to get all of the limit switches and such into the PC (really want a mesa board for this)
    3a: the above would require eliminating the OEM board in this location since it's unlikely I could figure out how to interface with it. Some programming experience but I don't have the equipment to sniff signals both ways. I have logic analyzers but it is my inderstanding I'd have to build a clever setup with diodes to see the signals coming in each direction. Then I could analyze signals coming from control PC to CNC, and CNC to control PC.
    4. figure out acceleration and deceleration rates for every axis
    5. do all machine maintenance and voila

    It sounds simple but I'm aware it won't be, don't worry on that my expectations are that this is going to be very hard

  10. #10
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    Re: Conversion to LINUX CNC EMCO pc mill 50

    ok I was probing around inside the control panels just now but I can't quite figure it out. I had a power probe hooked up to the ground and +24V power input for the stepper motor control board, but I could not decipher any of the signals going into the control panel for that.

    I got mostly gnd's or voltages around 4 vlts going into it, but I did not see any pulses while the z axis was homing.

    Also, when I had unplugged the stepper motor controller board to try and probe the ribbon cable going into it, the machine faulted with the messages "(X,Y,Z) axis not ready". I presume this means that somehow the stepper motor driver board communicates with the main board.

    Whenever I did my own CNC from scratch, the machine would send out step and direction signals even if I had one driver powered off.

    Also, my power probe may not have the response necessary in order to view the signals if it's a serial connection. I don't know what's going on with it at the moment.

  11. #11
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: Conversion to LINUX CNC EMCO pc mill 50

    It might be better to use a scope if one is available.

    I would expect the system to fault out if a stepper is disconnected. That would be normal for a higher end factory built machine with proper safety's and fault monitoring, and that ENCO is a high end machine. Was most likely around $30K new. That's about what mine was.

    I would expect the step & direction signals to be 5V.

    I would expect to see 4 signals between the drive and the controller: Step, Direction, Enable, and Fault.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

  12. #12
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    Re: Conversion to LINUX CNC EMCO pc mill 50

    I got the stepper motor pins pretty much figured out today with a few things I need to clarify tomorrow. The direction makes total sense, but I can't remember as far as the step pins if one was resting at ground level, the other at a positive level, and what happened during the step command. I forget if I labeled them in their resting state or activated state, so to speak. There are also some pins that don't seem to do anything, and I'm guessing these may be pins that communicate back to the main board if they do anything at all.


  13. #13
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    Re: Conversion to LINUX CNC EMCO pc mill 50

    can't figure out how to edit last post, so of interest to me right now, besides clarifying the step pins, is pin 16, 11, 6, &1. It seems pin 16 could be enable since it changes between estop on and estop off. The other 3 pins, 11, 6 & 1 all stayed the same. These might communicate something back towards the main control board but I can't know for sure yet.

  14. #14
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: Conversion to LINUX CNC EMCO pc mill 50

    You are making good progress.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

  15. #15
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    Re: Conversion to LINUX CNC EMCO pc mill 50

    I am having some fun messing with the COM port and trying to sniff it but I haven't gotten very far. Is it possible that the machine and keyboard controller use a non standard baud rate? or can it just be an error of my sniffing program? Below is a log. I am hoping I may be able to use the original setup in it's entirety. The DB9 connector only uses 4 pins. RX, RX, CTS & Ground. or in plain english: recieve, transmit, clear to send, and ground. It may mean the following: Computer sends G CODE to machine, machine completes G CODE, then machine sends CTS signal back to PC for more GCODE. If so, it'd be relatively simple to keep all of the stock controls. But so far I have not been able to sniff everything. I tried a "man in the middle" method with an added USB com port adapter but when it was connected, even with only the gnd and rx lines, the PC indicated that the CNC machine itself was connected and I confirmed that, however, the machine would not connect to the keyboard. Even with my USB to serial adapter disconnected from my splitter, the computer would not recognize the control panel/keyboard if my splitter was plugged in, only the CNC machine.

    0 12:36:18 PM WINNC VCOMM_OpenComm COM1 SUCCESS
    1 12:36:18 PM WINNC VCOMM_SetupComm COM1 SUCCESS RxSize: 4096 TxSize: 128
    2 12:36:18 PM WINNC VCOMM_SetCommState COM1 SUCCESS Mask: ffffffff Baud: 9600 Bits: 7 Stop: 1 Parity: Even
    3 12:36:18 PM WINNC VCOMM_SetCommEventMask COM1 SUCCESS
    4 12:36:18 PM WINNC VCOMM_EscapeCommFunction COM1 SUCCESS GETCOMBASEIRQ
    5 12:36:18 PM WINNC VCOMM_SetCommState COM1 SUCCESS Mask: ffffffff Baud: 65302 Bits: 8 Stop: 1 Parity: None
    6 12:36:18 PM WINNC VCOMM_EscapeCommFunction COM1 SUCCESS CLRRTS
    7 12:36:18 PM WINNC VCOMM_ClearCommError COM1 SUCCESS NOERROR
    8 12:36:18 PM WINNC VCOMM_PurgeComm COM1 SUCCESS Receive Queue
    9 12:36:18 PM WINNC VCOMM_PurgeComm COM1 SUCCESS Transmit Queue
    10 12:36:18 PM WINNC VCOMM_ClearCommError COM1 SUCCESS NOERROR
    11 12:36:18 PM WINNC VCOMM_WriteComm COM1 SUCCESS Length: 6: 06 20 FA 49 FA 63

  16. #16
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    Re: Conversion to LINUX CNC EMCO pc mill 50

    Sounds like you need to gut the main boards and replace with a Mesa 7i76e which includes spindle control. then connect up all the I/O. I think for the size of the machines, servos are overkill.
    Most Linuxcnc retrofits keep all the sensors and the stepper drivers and gut the rest. Sometimes, the motors are replaced but generally only when they are proprietry systems that can't be controlled by linuxcnc hardware.
    Rod Webster
    www.vehiclemods.net.au

  17. #17
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    Re: Conversion to LINUX CNC EMCO pc mill 50

    There's serial communications everywhere in the machine, I was trying to crack the code so to speak but it's difficult for a newbie. I've attached some serial analyzer screen shots. You can see the stepper motor steps in the bottom channel but I cannot begin to guess how on earth the PC sends the signals for that. I've tried so hard.

    The other two screen shots are of debug outputs from the computer program. Not at the same time, mind you.

    But yeah I can't figure anything out.

    It seems AC's talk to eachother (axis controllers) there's so many signals going on at once.

    I'm just going to see if I can control anything with step and direction signals and go from there. I really wanted to use as much of the original stuff as possible but I'm totally lost at this point.










  18. #18
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    Re: Conversion to LINUX CNC EMCO pc mill 50

    I did confirm my stepper motor controller pinouts on the axis controller, see:


    The channels are:
    0=pin 16 (this pin seems totally random)
    1= pin 15 this is part of the step circuit
    2= pin 14 this is also part of the step circuit
    3 & 4 = direction circuit
    5= communication from this back to other controller. Machine throws error code if this is not hooked up

    I'm going to try linuxcnc with the current pinout info, I'd love to crack the serial communication but it seems difficult

  19. #19
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: Conversion to LINUX CNC EMCO pc mill 50

    I think going with the Linux system might be the best solution. Trying to figure out the communication with the original controller might be difficult.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

  20. #20
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    Re: Conversion to LINUX CNC EMCO pc mill 50

    well after all of my pinout testing and documentation I found that it is documented perfectly in a file called mill55.awl. For any future lurkers:

    Code:
    //  X3:1    E 0.0    Servo Ready X ( pys.Achse 0 )//  X3:2             DIR X
    //  X3:3             DIR X/
    //  X3:4             CK  X
    //  X3:5             CK  X/
    //  X3:6    E 0.2    Servo Ready Z ( pys.Achse 1 )
    //  X3:7             DIR Z
    //  X3:8             DIR Z/
    //  X3:9             CK  Z
    //  X3:10            CK  Z/
    //  X3:11   E 0.1    Servo Ready Y ( pys.Achse 2 )
    //  X3:12            DIR Y
    //  X3:13            DIR Y/
    //  X3:14            CK  Y
    //  X3:15            CK  Y/
    //  X3:16   A 3.0    = M 17.0         // FREIGABE ACHSEN A
    so the 2nd number tells you the pin number on the axis controller. Matches my guesses.

    The following should be the pinouts for the vfd

    Code:
    //  X3:1             Drehfeldfrequenz//  X3:2             GND
    //  X3:3             // SOLLWERT 0-10V
    //  X3:4             // RICHTUNG
    //  X3:5
    //  X3:6             +24V
    //  X3:7    E 0.3    = M 15.7        // SERVO READY HA ( pys.Achse 3 )
    //  X3:8
    //  X3:9
    //  X3:10
    //  X3:11   A 0.3    = M 17.1        // REGLERFREIGABE HAUPTANTRIEB
    //  X3:12   A 11.5
    //  X3:13   A 11.6
    //  X3:14
    //  X3:15            GND

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