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IndustryArena Forum > CNC Plasma, EDM / Waterjet Machines > General EDM Discussion > Sodick BF275 Mark IX controls - looking for information
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  1. #1
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    Sodick BF275 Mark IX controls - looking for information

    Hi all, I have bought a non working Sodick BF275 wire edm on a whim "because I could" with some vauge idea of using it to make some parts for projects after some encouragement from a friend, sure plenty have been there before. Ive been told a tech diagnosed the transformer at fault but I doubt the nec pc98 is going to boot and read its system disks etc but I have a fairly strong it background in quite a lot of computer stuff apart from pc's and am aware how different a pc98 machine is.
    Its just turned up on a wagon and I've unloaded it and put it in the corner of the shop for now, so the enormity of what I've taken on is still sinking in a bit. If anyone finds this from a search looking for details to ship their own, it weighed off at 1700kgs on the scales dry with no fluids.

    I've been through the cabinets, and theres a box of floppy disks labeled up with system disk v1.5 MKiX so I hope they are still readable/bootable from, I have to dig out a pc with a working 3.5 floppy and put linux on it to see though if the disk structure is the same. Long term aim would be to change the nec pc98's drives for the usb adapters as I don't have good memories of floppy reliability from back in the day.

    I am trying to get hold of the operator manuals and any circuit diagrams etc which may help with fault diagnosis as currently trying to finish my bridgeport interact conversion to linuxCNC (damn shame that doesn't support wire edm...) before tackling this head on. I rang Sodick in the uk for some specs on shipping weight and the price of actually buying a manual and if system discs were still available, and I don't hold much hope out for the official route after speaking with them. Ive also emailed NDK machine tools in Singapore using their contact form as they list them on their site along with images of the covers of the various manuals for the BF275, but no response a few weeks later.

    Wondering if there is any information out there in cnczone land to be had? Thanks in advance if you can help.

  2. #2
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    Re: Sodick BF275 Mark IX controls - looking for information

    I don't know the Mark 9 control but mine has a circa 1992 Mark 11 control with a NEC PC9801-UV that uses a Japanese version of DOS the disks are 720K and can be read in a regular PC with a floppy controller and drive. I also have had luck using a Sabrent USB floppy drive as well on a newer computer without the floppy controller. Never had too much problem with the NEC PC except the drives. I actually paid a guy to rebuild a pair for me a couple of years ago here in the USA.

    I encourage you to make an image of the floppy for back-up purposes as they do tend to get corrupt over time. You can cover the notch on one side of the 1.44 MB floppy with a piece of electrical tape or part of a disk label to convert/trick the computer into thinking it is a 720 k disk. I haven't found anybody who can convert the floppies to USB drive emulator. Many people say their product can, but as soon as they found out it is a NEC FD1135D drive they admit they cannot. I've heard that there is a guy in Poland named Lotharek who makes a VFO board daughter board for the HXC floppy emulators that supposedly work but he doesn't get back to me.

    I think you first need to get that computer to boot up, and then I'd say you need to check all your power supplies making sure they all working properly. The TTL chips in these machines require the proper logic level voltage and have little tolerance for error. I've replaced a few of my power supplies over the years. There are maybe 8 of them inside the controller behind the paper tape drive in the lower front part of the cabinet.

  3. #3
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    Re: Sodick BF275 Mark IX controls - looking for information

    Quote Originally Posted by jmullett View Post
    I don't know the Mark 9 control but mine has a circa 1992 Mark 11 control with a NEC PC9801-UV that uses a Japanese version of DOS the disks are 720K and can be read in a regular PC with a floppy controller and drive. I also have had luck using a Sabrent USB floppy drive as well on a newer computer without the floppy controller. Never had too much problem with the NEC PC except the drives. I actually paid a guy to rebuild a pair for me a couple of years ago here in the USA.

    I encourage you to make an image of the floppy for back-up purposes as they do tend to get corrupt over time. You can cover the notch on one side of the 1.44 MB floppy with a piece of electrical tape or part of a disk label to convert/trick the computer into thinking it is a 720 k disk. I haven't found anybody who can convert the floppies to USB drive emulator. Many people say their product can, but as soon as they found out it is a NEC FD1135D drive they admit they cannot. I've heard that there is a guy in Poland named Lotharek who makes a VFO board daughter board for the HXC floppy emulators that supposedly work but he doesn't get back to me.

    I think you first need to get that computer to boot up, and then I'd say you need to check all your power supplies making sure they all working properly. The TTL chips in these machines require the proper logic level voltage and have little tolerance for error. I've replaced a few of my power supplies over the years. There are maybe 8 of them inside the controller behind the paper tape drive in the lower front part of the cabinet.
    Thanks for your reply, and good input on the usb->floppy adaptors, I'll tread extra carefully on that front.Lotharek is a official ebay reseller of the HxC floppy emulator project, on their forums there is a lot of discussion about the NEC FD1135D and how it needs a extra circuit board to work with the HxC so I will do some more research and see if there are any reported sucesses or I can get a response and update here if I do. Forums if you haven't seen them :- HxC Floppy Drive Emulator ? View forum - CNC, Scientist and miscellaneous devices

    I am also fishing for a circuit diagram + general details of the wider machine itself, since the edm was bought as a non runner I'm anticipating having to go through everything rather than just the control pc. It was said to have transformer issues preventing it starting up by the previous seller so I need to go through each stage checking it out to confirm the issue. I started with the autotransformer taking my supply down from 380 to 200v, and that checks out ok after some assistance from people how to adequately test it so I'm moving up the chain into the machine cabinet and will power it up as part of the move into its final location shortly.

  4. #4
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    Re: Sodick BF275 Mark IX controls - looking for information

    Well small update, the HxC person in France has answered my question about compatibility with the pc9801Uv used, and it is working with their sd drive project, but it requires a VFO (variable frequency oscillator) board to inject a timing signal between the pc and floppy emulator, as apparently the 9801UV lacks this signal which is the stumbling block. I think its said on the forums it has to be a pll circuit to provide an accurate enough signal. I'm a radio ham so this makes sense to me.
    There was a vfo circuit posted into the forums, this might be the ones lotharek sell.

    I have also been told there are other sodick owners with the same control computer who have suceeded with this.
    Asking the french guy now if they sell the vfo board as a kit to buy and if so, I'll buy the sd drive and a vfo and see. The problem with the HxC stuff is its enthusiasts trying to get floppies to work on old computers, I collect early home computers and consoles and have a few older arcade machines so I understand the passion, but its all done on a piecemeal basis as a result.

    Lack of vfo on the 9801 board is probably why getting the generic drive replacements to work is a bit of a nightmare...

    Reading your reply back, I see you've trod this route already, but hopefully I can take it further with some extra work.

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    Re: Sodick BF275 Mark IX controls - looking for information

    I'd be interested in getting a pair of the drive emulators working in my machine to eliminate the floppy. I'd just as soon purchase the drives and VFO boards from someone who knows what they are doing as opposed to fabing on up myself from a circuit diagram.

    I'm also tempted to get a serial port snooper to see what the communication between the PC and the controller looks like. A couple of PC98 emulators that support communications are out there. I think most of them have menus in Japanese though. Maybe I could figure out a way to replace the NEC PC with something more modern.

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    Re: Sodick BF275 Mark IX controls - looking for information

    Well its in the workshop, and Ive got just the pc under power. I bought a cheap japanese travel adaptor to give me 100v, but I measured it and under load it puts 40v out so threw that in the bin. I have some industrial 110v converters, designed to take 240v down to 110, and here its 220v, so a quick check of output saw 107v which is within the 10% tolerance of 100v so used that.
    Even then, power up completely dead, no fans or anything. Opens psu with a view to replicating it using a pc one if possible (hard wire the atx power button, reterminate etc) and noticed some blackened components and one of the electrolytics bulged, so replaced the visibly damaged parts and changed the hard soldered fuse which had blown, and it came to life.
    Second issue, monitor in cabinet is in a bad way too, its been left loose in the cab and the neck has cracked with it sliding round on the transport so the tube itself is fubar, however, I rewired a old rackmount vga monitor figuring it would support low scan rates, reterminating for the analog plug and it works, so I have a flatscreen conversion now, but need to cut the bezel flat to match to make it really tidy.

    Now, I'm faced with "cannot load system" after checking the floppy, so looks like its alive but I do REALLY need to get the usb side sorted.
    Ive had a reply back from the french guy on the vfo/hxc and he's got some prebuilt vfo boards, so I'm asking him to sell me one to try.
    Also I've sourced another pc9801uv to give me some backup options and its on its way here from japan.

    Ok on the buspirate too, be interesting to see!

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    Re: Sodick BF275 Mark IX controls - looking for information

    Oh just as a fyi, if you remove the floppy drive assembly from the case, just under there is a varta mempak battery, I would recommend if you haven't already done so, to buy a new one and replace it. Its really common to see them exploded and spewing acid all over the pcb ruining it in fruit machines and old arcade machines. Its one of the first job I do when I get a new to me one (I collect + tinker with them).

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    Re: Sodick BF275 Mark IX controls - looking for information

    Actually I think you got through the boot sequence. I'm thinking that the "cannot load system error" you get when the PC cant talk to the CNC control via the RS232 cables. My machine will do the same thing if I unplug the cable to the CNC control. Is it in a red box? Try plugging it into the EDM control and then boot it up. My machine has two 25 pin RS232 cables. One to the CNC control and the second to external port on the side of the machine for DNCing the programs to it.. The cables have to be plugged into the correct ports. I think the CNC control is plugged into the bottom one on the NEC PC, but I'd have to check to be sure.

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    Re: Sodick BF275 Mark IX controls - looking for information

    No, when I posted that, it was the initial system that wouldnt start. I had a flash of inspiration, and swapped 1 for 2 and moved the jumpers/physical cable positions so the original 1 became 2 and vice versa figuring drive 2 wouldnt have been subjected to as much wear.
    And...


    I figured that was japanese for disk error abort retry or ignore. I pressed ignore a few times and got this :-


    So I guess that is drive 2 not reading at all. I would imagine when I get a second drive in and working, I'll run into your dialogue box next so thanks for the warning!

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    Re: Sodick BF275 Mark IX controls - looking for information

    Another sign drive2 is bad, it wouldn't revert to basic until I'd swapped the drives over, it was electrically hanging the drive bus. I think its toast, but when the second 9801 arrives, I'll try the second drive from that the same and see if I can get it to boot.

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    Re: Sodick BF275 Mark IX controls - looking for information

    Well I think that red box errors are from the Sodick software so you are getting somewhere. It is looking for the files on the user disk. These files contain offset file, condition file, and the probing programs. Drive 2 is also where you put your programs on. I could send you a user disk if you need one. I think I have a program that came from Sodick to make on on a Windows XP or older PC

    I was able to find a flat screen that fit perfectly in my opening put a piece of polycarbonate in front of it to keep the cool air within the control cabinet.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  12. #12
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    Re: Sodick BF275 Mark IX controls - looking for information

    I think I have the bad drive working now, I stripped it and used alcohol on a bud + some plain card to gently scrub the read heads and slideways and used a tiny amount of sewing machine oil to lubricate various parts very sparingly under a loupe.
    Its now doing the same error regardless of which drive I make drive 1 so I think its down to bad diskette problems from old age, sometimes you get to the red box, sometimes it falls over with some missing mersea.ovl error, but always there's a read error at some point. I know the noise of a read head tracking round trying to get a bad sector to read from days of old.
    There's four copies of the system disks and only one will boot at all, the rest just sit there with the heads tracking before declaring "no system files". I tried switching the floppies when it first errors in case its just a corrupt boot sector on the bad ones, but no joy, they've just got old and corrupted.

    Do you have a way to make new system disks or only the user disk? I read on the net that Dunfield's IMG program in dos can make a copy of the system diskette, I know someone elses will differ in error parameters etc, but wonder if I can get it to boot, then try to read the damaged disks to get the parameters off them to add to a good diskette img as a baseline.
    DOS Widgets


    On the rs232 plugs, there are two ports on the add in cbus card in addition to the nec chassis mounted one, and I have the two plugs in that rather than the chassis.
    Your monitor looks nicer for being the right size, I may revisit but for now its visible which is a big improvement on the previous screen.

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    Re: Sodick BF275 Mark IX controls - looking for information

    I think I can direct you to the link on Sodick's website to get the user disk yourself. A new program disk I think has to come from Sodick because it has to match the EPROM chips in your CNC control boards I think they charge a nonimal fee for it. but you will get the proper one for your specific machine. I had also forgotten that you said you machine was a Mark IX control and mine is a Mark XI control If you want to PM me your email I could perhaps provide some sample GCode programs and some cutting parameter I've collected through the years.

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    Re: Sodick BF275 Mark IX controls - looking for information

    Quote Originally Posted by jmullett View Post
    I think I can direct you to the link on Sodick's website to get the user disk yourself. A new program disk I think has to come from Sodick because it has to match the EPROM chips in your CNC control boards I think they charge a nonimal fee for it. but you will get the proper one for your specific machine. I had also forgotten that you said you machine was a Mark IX control and mine is a Mark XI control If you want to PM me your email I could perhaps provide some sample GCode programs and some cutting parameter I've collected through the years.
    That'd be great, sodick have had a shuffle round on their server it seems and some of the links Ive tried are 404'ing now.
    I've sent another email to Sodick UK asking them if they can supply the system diskettes, and how to order, so hopefully I can get them from them. If not I'll approach the international division and see if theyre more helpful as potentially the local people are franchises.

    I'm going to try starting the main cabinet up next, been trying to break down the issues into manageable logical lumps but the control pc is stalled now until I get disks or the usb conversion done.

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    Re: Sodick BF275 Mark IX controls - looking for information

    First many thanks for your assistance with the dropbox with info from your Xi control machine.
    I wrote the images from sodick's site to floppies using DD under linux, and my machine boots them with no horrible noises or retries meaning drives + writing process are good. But I get a sodick Red dialog box of "system error" or similar wording after boot.
    My original USER disks I've recovered the contents from, but my original SYSTEM disks are all bad, physically scored beyond use. The new disks I made aren't like this, so I think I have inhereted the damage to them.

    If anyone has a iX SYSTEM floppy image, I would really like to get hold of it if possible. If not its time to spend some time on the phone to Sodick again to try and convince them that they should sell me a replacement floppy diskette to suit my machine.

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    Re: Sodick BF275 Mark IX controls - looking for information

    Your info on the HxCFloppy emulator prompted me to contact Jean-François DEL NERO (Jeff) from HxC2001 HeadQuarters : Accueil again to see about obtaining the VFO boards and emulators. Hopefully Lotharek will respond back and he can do two pairs of them at the same time to minimize his efforts.

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    Re: Sodick BF275 Mark IX controls - looking for information

    Not much progress as I've been bogged down with issues of transport damage inside the power cabinet so the big switch on hasn't happened yet, but I now have a spare pc9801-uv machine arrive from Japan, which boots cleanly and has very good condition floppy drives, that also arrived with a keyboard and a scsi interface in the CBUS slot and what looks like a extra pair of ram modules which may replace the need for the ram card in the top cbus slot freeing it up for the scsi interface or even a lan card which I can obtain, but first I need to get it to work in original condition.
    I have sourced a replacement 10t SYS disk to suit the machine at a US EDM dealer, I just have to be patient while they get shipped to europe now.

    I still really would like to get a hold of the BF275 maintenance manual if anyone has one after seeing the quality of a A320 maintenance manual, I'd be willing to pay for it, electronic or physical copy.

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    Re: Sodick BF275 Mark IX controls - looking for information

    I finally got it powered up, and ran into some new issues.
    First the transformer that feeds the heavy unit with 100v 18v and 17v was bad, it's been on fire judging by its appearance. So I'm running on the 2kva 100v transformer I was using to test the pc98 on, and I borrowed the transformers out my part done bridgeport interact linuxcnc conversion to give me 18 and 17v rails also. I've ordered a replacement transformer for a bargin price of $20 off ebay for a more long term fix.
    Further in, the transformer that powers the maintained source 100v rail was bad, and it has also damaged an associated contact on the FS contactor. I put a jumper in to run the rail off 20c main switched 100v rail just for testing, and added another relay to work around the bad contact.
    Then the pc98 & monitor fired up, but still the same "system error".
    I checked the psu's around the leftmost side of the chassis rack area, and the 20amp 5v supply is bad. It has 100vac but no output. So I have ordered another switchmode psu to replace it. I hope when it has 5v, it will start to fire up the main chassis computer a bit further then I can can see what is next on the broken list.

    If it was easy to fix, I wouldn't have got it for the money I paid so still feeling quite pragmatic about the various bits of damage.

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    Re: Sodick BF275 Mark IX controls - looking for information

    More diagnostics while waiting for the psu + transformers to arrive.
    I *think* a replacement disk has been ordered from a edm supplier, although they haven't sent me confirmation of the order, nor has my card been debited. I sort of give up at that point and hope that the disk I was sent earlier is the correct one but if the new one manages to be sent out even better. It matches the version code of the one ordered (10t) anyway. I did want to buy a maintenance manual having read one for a A320 awt, and seeing the quality of the documentation to work with but that'll have to wait I guess.

    Once inside the cabinet, the second (ZN) and third (ZN1) contactors are not staying powered up. The meter didn't show a short unpowered so I removed all the connections that the two contactor led to and brought the machine up, nothing sophsiticated, if the breakers stayed in when the contactor was manually pressed I added the next one, until I found the circuits with the bad connection on them. Which were two bad circulating fans, one in the back of the case and one in the vcl unit on top which has fork damage to it from rough handling during transport & more importantaly , the circuit for the rectifier contactors was also a culprit. It looks like the main transformer is ok because the breaker stays in with the main trans energised though it obviously has no load on the secondaries. I don't know if its isolated or a autotransformer also...
    The rectifiers themselves are all inconsistant on ohm readings in different directions, two of the units give 5M ohm's and the 3rd for the same +ve half of the waveform gives 700K ohm, ditto for the -ve cycle and same story with the meter the other way around, two readings as expected, the third way off. I think they should be the same at least for direction but need to take it apart to test the stud diodes in the rectifier unit individually without any near circuit interactions, but suspect one or more is blown and causing a short on the ac when the rectifier contactors are coming in. I can source more stud diodes to fix it, for now I'm going to take out the bad ones and see if it fixes the short on contact.

    Quite a bit more issues than I was hoping for and I haven't even got the main controls or servo side powered up yet, I think the description of "bad transformer therefore no further diagnosis possible" in the sales description isnt the entire picture, as every time i come to a section with a bad part in it, the seals are all cracked on the mounting screws and/or the unit at fault is loose. Just keep on working on it till it works is the answer, bought some brass wire and resin now so really committed :boxing:

  20. #20
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    Re: Sodick BF275 Mark IX controls - looking for information

    Generic 30amp 5v psu arrived, specs say 90-250vac in. Its putting out 3.8vdc out being fed 100vac from the rail.
    Tried replacement, too impatient to wait for another to be sourced so took the original switchmode thats blown apart, replaced a few bulged caps and some other bits and bobs and got it working again. They have a soldered in glass fuse mounted on the pcb inside that potentially pops with age too which is worth checking if anyone has the same.
    And with that, I'm past the red sodick System error boxes into the controls proper.


    Softswitches responding, power momentary button stays in, and its communicating with the sodick chassis computer too, and the SYS disk I have is working for this machine variant. For reference its a 10t version disk.

    Now to get the power side working. Theres one bad resistor in the VCL pack, and three of the stud diodes have blown in the rectifier but I can order replacements. But feeling pleased to have got this stage.

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