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IndustryArena Forum > CNC Plasma, EDM / Waterjet Machines > Torchmate > TM1 Signal Generator Alternatives
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  1. #1
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    TM1 Signal Generator Alternatives

    Hello all,
    I have a Torchmate 1 Plasma system I built quite a few years back. The signal generator died about a year ago...And much like many others on this forum, my jaw hit the floor when I got the quote to replace the part. They are telling me that the cost of replacing the signal generator alone is about half the cost of what I originally bought the ENTIRE torchmate system for. I am largely a hobbyist and can not justify those costs. Of course, when I first bought the machine, the hobbyist / small busines was the type of customer that torchmate maketed themselves toward...I think they are an entirely different vision now.

    My question is: Is there any alternatives that I can use to replace the signal generator? Can I just use a breakout board for that?

    My system is the old school one where the signal generator was a stand-alone box connected to the PC via serial port and then a cable to the torch on/off control... The step drivers (Applied Motion #2035's) and power supply are in a separate box connected to the signal generator via DB25.

    I would like to use my existing step drivers and motors since they are still good, but I understand I will probably need to change to a different control software since the torchmate software wont recognize other devices.

    Please provide some suggestions...I have been without an operable table for about a year now and my own research has only turned up discussion on motors and drivers, i have not found anything on replacing the signal generator. Any and all feedback is appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Call or email Tom at CandCNC and ask him what your options are. If you end up having to retrofit all the electronics and motors, at least you will never run into "you can only buy our product for $$$$" problem again.

    http://www.candcnc.com

    Brad

  3. #3
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    Thank you for the advice. I believe that is one of the sites that someone pointed me toward over on Pirate 4x4 and the moderator deleted it under the reasoning that he is paying for the forum and hes not going to let links where people will just knock off his machines with it....

    I bought a torchmate...and I just want to cut parts with it. Charging me half the cost of the machine for a glorified breakout board is not acceptable. What is even less acceptable is not desiring to provide a solution and trying to hinder someone from using the machine you purchased from them for the simple reason that you can't justify the cost of the replacement parts. Who does that? If I want to buy a car part...I don't have to got to the dealer.

  4. #4
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    Signal generator

    Keep an eye on ebay. I saw a few there some time back that sold for a ridiculous low price. You'll regret switching to mach 3.

  5. #5
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    Flashcut

    IIRC your sig/gen is/was built by Flashcut. They may be of help to you.

  6. #6
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    Signal Generator

    I have a couple of these sitting in my garage along with the stepper drive boxes to go with them. I also have a couple of Torchmate THC control boxes and one THC lifter assembly. They are all used but functional. Send me a PM if you want to discuss further.

  7. #7
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    @ Splinky: Thank you, for the offer I really appreciate it, but I should update everyone on how this all turned out...

    I attempted (literally for over a year) to come to a point of justifying the cost of the replacement part and contacted them several times regarding my signal generator. I told them that I really wanted to stick with torchmate and I was a long time evangelist for their products (infact I think I was one of the first).

    Anyway I was up against a wall and trying to comunicate with what I assumed to be torchmate management was like banging my head against another wall...and it was already a year, so I began to research alternatives.

    Through several very helpful people on some great websites, I decided to start cutting holes into my controller box and I was able to purchase about $75 in parts to retrofit it.

    I asked Torchmate to send my box back and I would cover the shipping cost (I had so much time invested in new research and learning, i wanted to see if I could repair my signal generator), but I was not going to pay them $125 just to have a tech look at it. They basically told me that they "reclaimed" the liscense chip from it, thus they did not have it anymore...what a shock, by strange coincidence...I dont have it anymore either!

    @MAS: When I first started digging into software and researching LinuxCNC vs Mach3 etc, I would have entirely agreed with you...but after enough learning, I like Mach 3...very configurable...doesnt try to keep the machinist ignorant. Now, dont get me wrong...like I said, I would REALLY rather be on torchmate (or flashcut), but again, I am a hobbyist (and back when I purchased my torchmate, it was marketed to people like me). But, I will leave that to the guys making money by the spark....if I have to educate myself in order to avoid $1500 upgrades, it's worth the trade.

    @ EVERYONE: I have taken some videos of my hacked system cutting shapes, so if anyone wants to see that, I can post links....as fas as torchmate, I am assuming they have profited from my signal generator twice by "reclaiming the license chip" so I can only hope that that small profit goes to their company Christmas party this year. The reason being that the support staff at that company are great...the reviews of the great customer service are not exaggerated....it is when there is an issue that falls outside the normal chains and needs to be escalated...that is where the breakdown is.

  8. #8
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    I don't quite understand your post... Did Torchmate fix your box? Your post makes it look like they kept the box and the license chip, which kinda leaves you high and dry?

    Are you still able to run the torchmate software or did you have to go with new software and controller?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by xalky View Post
    I don't quite understand your post... Did Torchmate fix your box? Your post makes it look like they kept the box and the license chip, which kinda leaves you high and dry?

    Are you still able to run the torchmate software or did you have to go with new software and controller?
    You are correct. Torchmate reclaimed the license control chip when they received the signal generator, and therefore could not return it to me. This was only discovered once i decided I needed to start cutting parts again and sent them the FedEx tracking confirmation proving their acceptance of the package.

    I spent a lot of time in discussions with their support and in different forums trying to get resolution to this, and explaining that the only reason I RMA'd the box was due to a misunderstanding in the quotes they provided...After the signal generator was sent, it was clarified to me that the quote they gave me to replace it was going to cost HALF what I paid for the ENTIRE torchmate system originally! In an email I told them that I was a hobbyist and could not justify such a rediculous charge for a glorified breakout board, and to hold off until I could decide on a course of action.

    Granted, a while passed, but I requested my box back to see if I could fix it...after doing enough research, i found that the electronics they used on that model were fairly standard so i wanted to try repairing it myself. They wanted to charge $125 just to have a tech "look" at the box and decide if it was repairable.

    ...Anyway, in answer to your second question: No, I can not run torchmate software anymore. By the time someone at Torchmate actually took interest in my predicament I already reclaimed the rest of the electronics and built my own Signal generator, and the only thing Torchmate was willing to do was give a "discounted" price on a replacement generator....so to this day, Torchmate still has my box and I can only assume that "reclaiming the license chip" means they sold it...I have no choice but to stick with Mach3.

  10. #10

    Re: TM1 Signal Generator Alternatives

    I know this an old thread but can you post how you built your own signal generator

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