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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2022
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    32

    Question Mach3 Freezes

    I am building my own CNC machine. I previously had a Makerbase MKS DLC32 controller but that controller didn't work with my StepperOnline DM860T drivers so i bought a Mach3 board (the red one).

    I have 2 motors for the Y-axis, so like in the previous board i connected both signals to the stepper drivers from the YP and YD connector. When i did that the Mach3 software froze multiple times and starting a program wouldn't work.
    I googled and i saw i need to use the A-axis and use it as a slave to the Y-axis.

    When i did that i noticed the software freezes all the time too. As soon as i disconnect one motor from the Y-axis, the program works again.

    Than i unmounted both motors en tried them on the bench. To my surprise they worked perfectly. I could move the axis by keyboard and when i run a program, i saw both motors do the exact same thing.
    After that i reïnstalled both motors and BAM, the program crashes again.

    I measured all the wires but they seem to be correctly installed (also it works on the bench).
    What could this strange problem be?

    Thanks for the help and i'm sorry for my bad english

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    2021

    Re: Mach3 Freezes

    Hi,
    my guess is that the Step/Dir outputs of the controller are not strong enough to drive both driver inputs.

    The driver inputs are photodiodes, and diodes of any description including photodiodes are inclined to 'current hog', where one photodiode conducts
    all the current when the second photodiode is yet to reach the voltage threshold for conduction.

    Try a dual channel opamp between the Step/Dir output of the controller and the two driver inputs. The two inputs in parallel will not work reliably.

    Craig

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    1184

    Re: Mach3 Freezes

    Check first your usb software driver, the red one support slave axis.If your usb card not support slave axis, connect to run in parallel one of step dir port to 2 stepper driver, work or not. I did like this on my usb card that does not support slave axis ...

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Apr 2022
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    32

    Re: Mach3 Freezes

    Well, the drivers can support up to 8+ amps (stepperonline dm860t). The motors are rated 2.8A and each motor has it’s own driver. I have set the Amps to 3.03A per driver.

    The strange thing is that they do work perfectly if i just have the motors on the bench. They do get hot which is strange because the X-axis motor is connected to the gantry and stays cold. Both X and Y are the same motors and drivers with same settings.

    The driver should also work because on the bench it does work.

    As soon as i connect the motors to the gantry, the computer starts to freeze. I rechecked all connections but everything is okay. Even with new cables

  5. #5
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    Jan 2005
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    14303

    Re: Mach3 Freezes

    Quote Originally Posted by bbuster View Post
    Well, the drivers can support up to 8+ amps (stepperonline dm860t). The motors are rated 2.8A and each motor has it’s own driver. I have set the Amps to 3.03A per driver.

    The strange thing is that they do work perfectly if i just have the motors on the bench. They do get hot which is strange because the X-axis motor is connected to the gantry and stays cold. Both X and Y are the same motors and drivers with same settings.

    The driver should also work because on the bench it does work.

    As soon as i connect the motors to the gantry, the computer starts to freeze. I rechecked all connections but everything is okay. Even with new cables
    Check the Ground connections, on the bench you don't have to worry about Grounds so everything will run, mounted on the machine is different
    Mactec54

  6. #6
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    Jan 2018
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    1474

    Re: Mach3 Freezes

    Grounds or EMI?.
    Typical USB.

    Why do you think USB is already being replaced by ethernet.
    Should've gone with a decent ethernet control.

  7. #7

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    Apr 2022
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    32
    Quote Originally Posted by dazp1976 View Post
    Grounds or EMI?.
    Typical USB.

    Why do you think USB is already being replaced by ethernet.
    Should've gone with a decent ethernet control.
    Well this was the cheapest to try. Which ethernet board is suggested. And will this not have the same problem?

  8. #8
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    Jan 2005
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    14303

    Re: Mach3 Freezes

    Quote Originally Posted by bbuster View Post
    Well this was the cheapest to try. Which ethernet board is suggested. And will this not have the same problem?
    USB works fine if you set everything up correct. there are thousands using USB connections

    Ethernet is more robust and has less problems on that side of a control, but no more immune than any other control on other wiring connections

    There is no guarantee that you won't have the same problem, it's all in how you do your wiring mostly

    For Ethernet connection there are many choices

    Eding CNC
    Acorn
    UCCNC
    Mach3 with a Smooth Stepper
    Mach4 with a Smooth Stepper
    Mactec54

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Apr 2022
    Posts
    32

    Re: Mach3 Freezes

    I 3d printed couplers between the motors (y-axis) and the frame.
    That solved the problems to not freeze Mach3 anymore.

    Yesterday i tested with adding a z-probe. I could connect that but i was trying to figure out how to set the z-probe hight. After testing for half an hour my usb kept mounting and unmounting without me unplugging the usb.

    I stopped testing and today i started to test again. It worked again without making changes so i connected the spindle to the 10v connection.

    It worked but only so so, the program started to freeze but not too much. I switched usb cables to a really short one (15cm) and everything seems to work. After checking 3 other longer usb cables i started to get problems again with the software freezing. I have no idea how to solve this. The 15cm cable works but it is too short to connect it like that forever. Can i buy a decent quality usb cable (shielded?) or will this not solve the problem?

    Thanks for the help.

    Ps: ethernet boards may work but i don’t have ethernet where the CNC is. Wifi could work but a mach3 wifi board seems to be expensive

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    14303

    Re: Mach3 Freezes

    Quote Originally Posted by bbuster View Post
    I 3d printed couplers between the motors (y-axis) and the frame.
    That solved the problems to not freeze Mach3 anymore.

    Yesterday i tested with adding a z-probe. I could connect that but i was trying to figure out how to set the z-probe hight. After testing for half an hour my usb kept mounting and unmounting without me unplugging the usb.

    I stopped testing and today i started to test again. It worked again without making changes so i connected the spindle to the 10v connection.

    It worked but only so so, the program started to freeze but not too much. I switched usb cables to a really short one (15cm) and everything seems to work. After checking 3 other longer usb cables i started to get problems again with the software freezing. I have no idea how to solve this. The 15cm cable works but it is too short to connect it like that forever. Can i buy a decent quality usb cable (shielded?) or will this not solve the problem?

    Thanks for the help.

    Ps: ethernet boards may work but i don’t have ethernet where the CNC is. Wifi could work but a mach3 wifi board seems to be expensive
    You would not use Wi-Fi for a machine control, Wi-Fi can be used for a hand wheel to use in manual mode to move your machine around, the control needs to be had wired, you have a grounding problem that is causing your problem along with EMI

    What kind of spindle are you using, this can be a source of noise problems?

    Your USB cable needs to be shielded and have ferrites chokes at each end
    Mactec54

  11. #11
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    Jun 2005
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    1562

    Re: Mach3 Freezes

    The Red USB mach3 controller board has four axis. You can configure that board to drive two steppers for one axis. Google mach3 USB and you will find a site that show you exactly how to configure that card. I have one they they really do work

    Russ

  12. #12
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    1562

    Re: Mach3 Freezes

    The site to look at is build your CNc it has all the configuration details for the red usb mach3 board

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Apr 2022
    Posts
    32

    Re: Mach3 Freezes

    I am just using a cheap spindle like this: https://m.nl.aliexpress.com/item/225...d-fdd99ff0891d

    I don’t think it is the spindle because the problem was already there before connecting the spindle

    The usb cable has the ferrite chokes but i am not sure if it is shielded (probably not because it came with the cheap board).


    Thank you, i will look at the website and find the neccesary connections

  14. #14
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    Jun 2010
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    4185

    Re: Mach3 Freezes

    After you have beaten your head against the brick wall for long enough, you might consider going totally ethernet and getting rid of the USB. That is what most of the world has done, and to hell with the cost (which is not high).
    Yeah, been through that one myself.

    Cheers
    Roger
    (ethernet smooth stepper from Warp9)

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by RCaffin View Post
    After you have beaten your head against the brick wall for long enough, you might consider going totally ethernet and getting rid of the USB. That is what most of the world has done, and to hell with the cost (which is not high).
    Yeah, been through that one myself.

    Cheers
    Roger
    (ethernet smooth stepper from Warp9)

    I skipped usb altogether after much research. Went from a cheap £5 parallel bob system to a UC300eth, 2*ucbb, uccnc.
    Easiest and best decision made.
    Also configured Mach3 to it for occasional use.

    Works great with both softwares.

  16. #16
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    Jan 2005
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    14303

    Re: Mach3 Freezes

    Quote Originally Posted by bbuster View Post
    I 3d printed couplers between the motors (y-axis) and the frame.
    That solved the problems to not freeze Mach3 anymore.

    Yesterday i tested with adding a z-probe. I could connect that but i was trying to figure out how to set the z-probe hight. After testing for half an hour my usb kept mounting and unmounting without me unplugging the usb.

    I stopped testing and today i started to test again. It worked again without making changes so i connected the spindle to the 10v connection.

    It worked but only so so, the program started to freeze but not too much. I switched usb cables to a really short one (15cm) and everything seems to work. After checking 3 other longer usb cables i started to get problems again with the software freezing. I have no idea how to solve this. The 15cm cable works but it is too short to connect it like that forever. Can i buy a decent quality usb cable (shielded?) or will this not solve the problem?

    Thanks for the help.

    Ps: ethernet boards may work but i don’t have ethernet where the CNC is. Wifi could work but a mach3 wifi board seems to be expensive
    Are you using a separate 24v power supply for the control board?
    Mactec54

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbuster View Post
    Ps: ethernet boards may work but i don’t have ethernet where the CNC is. Wifi could work but a mach3 wifi board seems to be expensive

    ?. The ethernet controller will become the eth connection at the cnc. Then use a crossover cable to connect that to your control pc (mach3). You can use a cheap laptop for this or anything else Windows based that has a lan.
    I've tested a 25m cable with no probs.

  18. #18

    Join Date
    Apr 2022
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    32

    Re: Mach3 Freezes

    Oh! So the board connects directly to the pc via ethernet? I thought it would connect to internet (LAN)

    Yes, the board has its own 24v psu (seperate from laptop)

  19. #19
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    Re: Mach3 Freezes

    Quote Originally Posted by bbuster View Post
    Oh! So the board connects directly to the pc via ethernet? I thought it would connect to internet (LAN)

    Yes, the board has its own 24v psu (seperate from laptop)
    Yes, it is the Ethernet connection on your PC which is connected direct to the control Board

    It could very well be your laptop that is causing the problem one thing you can try, in Mac3 under General Logic Configuration Tab

    Right hand upper top corner

    There is a Debounce that you can set to any number start at 500 and Index=1 you can go up into the thousands for this setting the lower you can keep it the better, as it can affect the Homing

    Are you using (1) AC power source for all your power needs for the machine?? Computer does not count as it has an isolated power supply
    Mactec54

  20. #20

    Join Date
    Apr 2022
    Posts
    32

    Re: Mach3 Freezes

    Thank you, i will try that tomorrow.
    I use an old laptop so it could cause some issues. It is a HP Pavilion DV6 (1150ed) which i uses 10/15 years ago for my study.

    I have one 24v power supply for the Mach3 board
    One 100v DC power supply for 4 stepper drivers (StepperOnline DM860t)
    One 100v (dc/ac?) power supply for the spindle

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