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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Which Breakout Board?

    Retrofitting a series 1. I want to keep the original steppers. Planning to use:

    Keling 6020 power supply
    Gecko 203V's
    Smooth Stepper
    GE VAT20 VFD (for 3 phase to motor)

    Looks like there's a wide range of breakout boards that will work with the smoothstepper from CNC4PC's C25 ($30) to PMDX's 126 ($170). Is there really any advantage to spending money on the more expensive breakout boards?

    By the way, the only other machine I've built used a G540. This will be my first attempt at using a separate BOB so I won't pretend that I understand everything about them just yet.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    I used a PMDX board - because it had its own power supply and could provide 5V and 12V outputs, my main power supply was just single voltage. I see your Keling suggestion has these voltages, so you probably don't need this feature of the BOB.

    I wanted the relays that are built onto the PMDX. You may not need these, or could add these external to the CNC4PC option.

    The PMDX does not make pins 2-9 of the second port available, unless you add a supplementary board. The CNC4PC board appears to have these directly available.

    I needed a supplementary VFD driver board - I used a PMDX 107. This is a feaure built into the Gecko that you have experience of. You may need one of these to drive your VFD from either PMDX or CNC4PC.

    In your position, I'd probably go the CNC4PC route. But let's hope someone else will reply who has experience of these and can give a direct recommendation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    I am also retrofitting a BP series 1 Boss 4. I've been leaning towards the cnc4pc C32 board and 4 axis mpg pendant. I like the RJ45 connectors. Clean and easy wiring. Can't decide on the gecko's or the keling KL-9082 stepper drivers. Think the keling would be more suitable for the BP steppers over the gecko's (just my opinion). Using an older pc 3ghz processor. Mach 3.
    I plan on using this set up to make the parts needed to switch to servos for the Bridgeport (servo wont fit on the y axis), then swap the stepper drivers over to a 6x10 plasma/router table. The input I gather from others is that the BP steppers aren't that great. The newer steppers blow them away.
    Depending on what you want to do I have found its better to spend a little extra and overkill then kick yourself in the nuts for not doing it right the first time. Bridgeports are tight and sweet and will make you money down the road.
    All in all I'm a noobie at retrofitting and welcome any input others may have. Good luck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    I used the CNC4PC Gecko breakout board with my 203v's on my plasma cutter. I needed a good real time control so I went with EMC2.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Does the RJ45/Cat5 (24awg wire) provide adequate power transmission for the 50v/7amps going to the BOSS steppers?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    The RJ45-CAT connections just control the communication from the amp to break out board, and servo encoder feedback.

    For the power, you still have to use a stranded wire in a heavier gauge.

    Everything is bio-degradable, if you run over it enough times with the lawnmower.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    How many I/O's do you need?

    I use the C23 and the Smooth Stepper for my Boss 9. It's a great combo, simple and opto isolated. The SS and C23 take the place of two parrallel ports so you get a lot of I/O's to get everything things working under Mach. For instance, if you want to control: VFD, oiler, mist spray, coolant, varidisks, brake, proximity sensor, stops, 3-4 axis, probe....ect, there is just enough I/O's using that combo to hook it all up.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    I use PMDX 122 on all my machines, reason is, unlike other makes, I have never heard of a bad one out the box and for that matter one going bad (6yrs so far for my oldest, 4 for youngest). That for me is important, for others it may not be so important.

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