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  1. #1
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    Dec 2011
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    26

    Help with a dead path pilot control

    A few days ago my Path Pilot control failed to boot, it just did nothing when powered up. Thinking it might be the power supply, I bought a replacement, but the power supply was apparently not the issue. I'm guessing that the motherboard must have gone out, as I've removed all the connections to the MOBO, and I don't even get a BIOS beep... nothing at all when I hit the power switch.

    So, I contacted Tormach. There is a old technical document (attached) that suggests 4 compatible motherboards, but they're all old and out of stock everywhere. It's pretty hard to find any LGA1150 Micro ATX motherboards new.

    Tormach sells "refurbished" controls for ~$500 with a 1 year warranty. That's not totally unreasonable, but it's a little hard to stomach that kind of money to buy an old machine. But it is one option.

    I'm not really interested in refurbished or old components, so the other option is to replace the motherboard in my Path Pilot. But that requires (also) replacing the DDR memory, and the processor. It's been a while since I built a machine from scratch! Obviously, I don't need a high-spec gaming rig, just something that will be durable and run PathPilot. I've seen a few builds from people who have space constraints or want to do weird stuff with their control, I'm just looking to rebuild Path Pilot with a modern system. Does anyone have recommendations for a Motherboard that's known to work well, and a processor? Very common parts are good (and next day shipping from Amazon is best!) T

    My thought was this motherboard:
    https://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-B365...1&s=pc&sr=1-10
    And this processor:
    https://www.amazon.com/Intel-Celeron...8919011&sr=8-2

    Not 100% sure if those two are compatible, but the combination is only around $120. add another ~$30 worth of memory, and it seems like a faster, cheaper solution than Tormach offers... but is there anything I'm missing here? Do I need to worry about having a dedicated USB controller in a PCI slot? Other compatibility issues? Thanks in advance for your help, hopefully this will serve as a guide to others with the same problem.

  2. #2
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    Apr 2013
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    1474

    Re: Help with a dead path pilot control

    PathPilot will run on most Intel or AMD hardware with 4-8GB RAM and a 60GB or larger disk. Why not get a junque something and use it? I used an old Dell mid-tower for ages. An off lease machine should cost less than $100.

  3. #3
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    Re: Help with a dead path pilot control

    Quote Originally Posted by kstrauss View Post
    PathPilot will run on most Intel or AMD hardware with 4-8GB RAM and a 60GB or larger disk. Why not get a junque something and use it? I used an old Dell mid-tower for ages. An off lease machine should cost less than $100.
    That's not unreasonable. I'm really trying to make sure to minimize potential areas of failure. The last thing I need is to make parts that are out of spec as a result of something weird with the way the controller handles USB. is PathPilot likely just to "work or not work" or do I need to worry about it "almost working" error free? I'm kind of inclined to build something with new parts, just to minimize possible issues down the road.

  4. #4
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    Apr 2013
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    Re: Help with a dead path pilot control

    I've been running PP since betas and have never encountered "an almost works". Your mileage may vary.

  5. #5
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    Nov 2007
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    1788

    Re: Help with a dead path pilot control

    I picked up one of their full priced controller pcs about 2 years ago. Mostly because I cant trust myself to build anything and save money! Using a decent grade older computer should work ok. I would also suggest disabling any bios settings for any sleep or power saving modes.

  6. #6
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    847

    Re: Help with a dead path pilot control

    Here is my 2 cents worth on building a new controller with PathPilot. I went teh route of teh best of the best and teh lastest design Motherboard /CPU combo AND a hot rod Video card with 4GB mem. The problem became apparent very quickly . Using teh latest CPU it was NOT compatible with Linux as there were ZERO drivers that would run teh hardware. There were problems with USB and problems with video. Even teh onboard video had problems with drivers.I searched high and low for drivers to no avail. I finally contacted a Linux GURO and he explain teh problem. The latest greatest MB/CPU are designed to run on WIN10 and they offer ZERO driver support for anything other than WIN10. Win 7 would NOT run on teh MB/CPU combo either. He suggested I back up to 5th generation hardware and that there were drivers for that series hardware. He also said I might be able to just replace teh CPU with a 5th gen cpu and it "may" work.

    SO I weighed out teh cost again and found I could buy a 5th Gen Off Lease mini Dell from NewEgg. 3.1Ghz 8GB mem 250GB SSD and Intel chipsets for $100. The new 5th Gen CPU itself was going to be $149 so it was a no brainer now. When I got teh Dell unit It was plug and play. Plugged in teh USB stick loaded PP2.0 plugged in the Eth Cable and off we went . Runs perfect AND my wife got a new WIN10 Hotrod to boot.

    I have since built another PP controller and guess what I used for a PC (;-) YEP another off lease Dell from NewEgg same specs but this time $107.

    But that is just my experience your mileage may vary. (;-) TP

  7. #7
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    Re: Help with a dead path pilot control

    Yes, I spent a lot of time yesterday researching various motherboard and CPU combinations... It is surprisingly difficult to build a new low-spec machine. The driver issue is a real one too.

    Looking around online, I did find some used motherboards, but the sellers looked a little dodgy, and between the cost of shipping and the time it would take to ship, it didn't feel right. But I remembered Re-PC. There's an amazing store in Seattle that recycles computers and other e-waste. As it happens, they have an older Micro-ATX board with a LGA 1150 socket. it's not exactly the one that Path pilot came with, but based on the collective wisdom of the internet, it sounds like it should work fine. And it's the least expensive, fastest alternative I've found.

    I'll report back soon, thanks for all the advice.

  8. #8
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    Nov 2012
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    Re: Help with a dead path pilot control

    You should be able to find some Ryzen CPUs and X399 or similar motherboards from two years ago still in the market, and the Linux kernel should have fine drivers for that.
    It may be that the kernel installed on the PathPilot has been "stripped" and only has the drivers for the exact configuration on that particular machine when shipped, so you'd have to install more drivers yourself?

    That being said, up-cycled computers seem like a good choice for this. Also, I think the MESA board is PCI, not PCI Express, at least in mine? Then you have that to look out for, too, many motherboards don't come with PCI these days.

  9. #9
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    Re: Help with a dead path pilot control

    RE-PC to the rescue!

    I was stressing about this, but it was super straightforward. I bought one of these motherboards, used: https://www.asus.com/Motherboards/H87MPLUS/ I think it took under 20 minutes to get the old board out, and the new board in. I probabably spent more time looking for my thermal paste and spare mouse than anything else. Anyway, I got everything plugged in, tweaked the BIOS a tiny bit and fired it up... total success. I have not plugged in the tormach yet, but the OS booted just fine. I did not re-install the Operating System. Maybe I will do so, just to be safe, but if it's a "it works or doesn't" type proposition, it certainly appears to be working so far.

    REPC is amazing if you're in the seattle area, it's a giant boneyard full of interesting and unusual computers and components. Plus, they had an entire corner of working low-spec PCs that would be perfect for running path pilot. All were in the $100-300 range... I'll definitely go there again next time I need a computer.


    Attachment 429742

  10. #10
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    365

    Re: Help with a dead path pilot control

    Just the fact that someone has already turned it on and verified it works, is probably worth $100 by itself :-D

  11. #11
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    Apr 2013
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    1474

    Re: Help with a dead path pilot control

    Factory Direct (https://www.factorydirect.ca/) is a similar supplier in Canada. Inventory varies but they typically have many off-lease SFF and USFF Dell machines for decent prices.

  12. #12
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    Nov 2007
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    1788

    Re: Help with a dead path pilot control

    Quote Originally Posted by wompser View Post
    RE-PC to the rescue!

    I was stressing about this, but it was super straightforward. I bought one of these motherboards, used: https://www.asus.com/Motherboards/H87MPLUS/ I think it took under 20 minutes to get the old board out, and the new board in. I probabably spent more time looking for my thermal paste and spare mouse than anything else. Anyway, I got everything plugged in, tweaked the BIOS a tiny bit and fired it up... total success. I have not plugged in the tormach yet, but the OS booted just fine. I did not re-install the Operating System. Maybe I will do so, just to be safe, but if it's a "it works or doesn't" type proposition, it certainly appears to be working so far.

    REPC is amazing if you're in the seattle area, it's a giant boneyard full of interesting and unusual computers and components. Plus, they had an entire corner of working low-spec PCs that would be perfect for running path pilot. All were in the $100-300 range... I'll definitely go there again next time I need a computer.


    Attachment 429742
    Good solution to your problem.

    I forgot to mention I needed to change mesa cards also in my PP upgrade. Anyway the $ Tormach unit worked out of the box and is still going. Dumping the still running super old dell Pentium puter also fixed a large program bug/problem I had. I want to swap out all the parts in my cad/cam workstation. PP sings right along, But I can kill my current workstation drawing and camming up parts. Be letting the magic smoke out of another gphx card if im not careful and keep it clean

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