Author Topic: PMDX-126 & UC400ETH Compatibility  (Read 3312 times)

Strider13

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PMDX-126 & UC400ETH Compatibility
« on: June 20, 2016, 01:48:14 PM »
Hi there,

I'm currently running Mach3, but am interested in trying out the UCCNC software to run my CNC router. I currently have a PMDX-126, PMDX-134 w/ Gecko G203V drives, a PMDX-107 spindle controller card, and an Ethernet SmoothStepper.

UCCNC requires use of one of their motion controllers to interface with the software. I'm interested in the UC400ETH, as the computer running my CNC is more modern and is running 64bit software, so it has no parallel port driver. Currently I'm using the Ethernet SmoothStepper, but would like to swap it out for the UC400ETH as it is compatible with UCCNC as well as Mach3, just in case.

Would this board be an easy swap with the Ethernet SmoothStepper I have connected to my PMDX-126? From reading the documentation it looks like the pinouts for the 26pin connectors are the same between the Ethernet SmoothStepper and UC400ETH. I'm just curious how things will interface on the PMDX side of things. Here's a link to a thread on CNC Zone where a user mentions having to make custom crossover cables to get things to work correctly:

http://www.cnczone.com/forums/uccnc-control-software/309482-software.html

Here's a link to the UC400ETH documentation:

http://cncdrive.com/MC/UC400ETH%20datasheet/UC400ETH_manual.pdf

And here's a link to the Ethernet SmoothStepper documentation:

http://warp9td.com/index.php/documentation/doc-ess#Mechanical

Any help or guidance is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

-Kevin

Steve Stallings

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Re: PMDX-126 & UC400ETH Compatibility
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2016, 03:56:19 PM »
The UC400ETH and the PMDX-126 both use the same mechanical pin arrangement for
the signals on the IDC headers and they will plug directly together. The UC400ETH
diagrams number the pins in their DB-25 equivalent order rather than the IDC header
standard numbering. The PMDX manual describes things in terms of the DB-25 pin
names and does not attempt to show the IDC mechanical layout as it is standardized.

The UC400ETH should work properly with the PMDX-126, but the UC400ETH manual
does not describe the capabilities of each pin. I suspect that is documented in the
UCCNC software and I do not have that available to check.

The step and direction signals should be simple to configure on pins 2-9 of the DB-25
equivalent pins.

You must be able to assign a PWM signal for spindle speed on pin 16 and that signal
must cease entirely when the spindle is turned off with an M5. Spindle direction, if
used, must be on pin 14.

If you choose to configure the PMDX-126 to use a "charge pump" then it must be on
pin 17. With an Ethernet interface this is really not needed.

Steve Stallings
www.PMDX.com

Strider13

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Re: PMDX-126 & UC400ETH Compatibility
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2016, 07:39:40 AM »
Steve,

Thanks for the quick response. I'll contact CNCDrive and see if the UC400ETH will meet the requirements that you posted here. Once I find something out I'll respond here to let the rest of the community know.

Thanks again!

-Kevin

Strider13

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Re: PMDX-126 & UC400ETH Compatibility
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2016, 10:27:09 AM »
Balazs at CNCDrive responded to my email this morning with the following information:

"The UC400ETH has fixed outputs and inputs pinouts as listed in the product manual.
The pinout is standard LPT port compatible, in other words the pinout is the same as the pinout of a standard LPT port.
If you plug an IDC26 to DSUB25 female crimped cable assy into the I/O ports of the UC400ETH then you get the same pinout connection as a standard LPT port.

The pins of the UC400ETH are electrically also compatible with LPT ports, all of the output pins are with TTL buffer driver 74HC14. (5Volts, 20mA sink/source max.)
And all of the input pins are also TTL (5V) compatible with weak pullups to the internal 5V.

And all the Input type functions are configurable to any input type pins in the UCCNC and all the output type functions are configurable to any of the output pins,
in other words all I/Os are freely assignable to any functions of the UCCNC.
The same is with the Mach3 plugin, all I/Os are freely configurable to the Mach3 functions."

So I guess it should work just fine with the PMDX-126. I'll get one ordered and report back on how it works out.

-Kevin

Strider13

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Re: PMDX-126 & UC400ETH Compatibility
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2016, 08:56:31 AM »
I got my UC400ETH installed, and it works very nicely with the PMDX-126 and other hardware in my system. Installation was very easy, and I didn't have to do any reconfiguring of things other than deleting the Ethernet SmoothStepper plugin, and installing the UC400ETH plugin. Mach3 works exactly as it did before, and I'm going to be putting UCCNC through its paces soon.

tygerwolf76

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Re: PMDX-126 & UC400ETH Compatibility
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2016, 07:35:48 AM »
I got my UC400ETH installed, and it works very nicely with the PMDX-126 and other hardware in my system. Installation was very easy, and I didn't have to do any reconfiguring of things other than deleting the Ethernet SmoothStepper plugin, and installing the UC400ETH plugin. Mach3 works exactly as it did before, and I'm going to be putting UCCNC through its paces soon.

So the UC400ETH is essentially a drop in replacement for the ESS?

If so that is great news.

Strider13

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Re: PMDX-126 & UC400ETH Compatibility
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2016, 01:08:24 PM »
So the UC400ETH is essentially a drop in replacement for the ESS?

If so that is great news.

From the limited testing I've done, pretty much. I only had time to jog the machine around a bit and make sure the spindle still worked, but everything went smoothly. Once I've made some actual cuts in Mach3 and UCCNC I'll report back.

The only thing that prevents me from calling it a true drop in replacement is that the UC400ETH runs off of 12V DC, while the ESS runs off of 5V DC. So the PMDX-126 can't power it over pin 26 of the ribbon cable like on an ESS. Not an issue for me as I had a 12V DC power supply close to where I installed the UC400ETH in my system, but something to think about for others.

MikekiM

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Re: PMDX-126 & UC400ETH Compatibility
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2016, 11:03:26 AM »
I'm curious about how this is working with the UCCNC  software?

Strider13

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Re: PMDX-126 & UC400ETH Compatibility
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2016, 04:48:13 PM »
I'm curious about how this is working with the UCCNC  software?

Works great! UCCNC easily allows you to import your Mach3 XML file, so getting it up and running is easy. Right now I'm working on getting macros and plugins integrated in it that are similar to the Mach3 2010 Screenset that I am used to using.

tygerwolf76

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Re: PMDX-126 & UC400ETH Compatibility
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2016, 02:24:35 PM »
So it has been a few months. I just wanted to check to see how you are doing with the UC400ETH and PMDX-126 and the UCCNC Software. I am doing some Servo upgrades and figured I might do a software upgrade at the same time. I essentially have the same hardware you mentioned in your first post and was wondering if you have experienced any incompatibilities with the spindle controller card.

spumco

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Re: PMDX-126 & UC400ETH Compatibility
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2016, 10:11:52 PM »
tygerwolf76,

I'm in the process of overhauling my mill using the same components.  I'm using a PMDX-126, PMDX-107, PMDX-108 (input), and a UC400ETH.  Currently running Mach3 with the UC plug-in, but I'll be getting the UCCNC license shortly.

I'm not done with everything, but I now have the axes moving under PC control, and the spindle is turning.

The PMDX components are top notch.  No hardware problems at all, and the UC400ETH is communicating properly with the PMDX stuff - including the 108 input board.  I am having problems with the UC Mach3 plug-in, but the UCCNC folks are working on it and will hopefully get it sorted after the holidays.

Problem 1 is that M03 and M04 commands do not change the DIR pin state.  Both commands rotate the spindle the same direction.  It's not the UC400ETH, PMDX gear, or the VFD; it's a software problem.  UCCNC support gave me a workaround (that works!) until they can troubleshoot the plugin.

Problem 2 is that the spindle pulley ratio feature is not working, and I suspect this is also the UC plugin acting up.  Doesn't matter what ratio I set the pulley to in Mach3, the "S" command results in the motor rotating at the command speed (not the spindle).

Using a higher-end Monarch strobe, I was able to tune the PMDX-107 to within 0.5 RPM of the target speed on my motor/VFD combo under 'Test' mode.  Dropping the RPM in 'Test' mode to 30% mode was within 1.0 RPM.  There was essentially zero RPM fluctuation, and I'm pretty satisfied with that.  It should get even better when I get around to installing my spindle encoder.

You might consider going with the UC300ETH and motherboard instead of the 400.  CNC4PC is still offering a free UCCNC license with the 300, which means it's actually cheaper than a 400 + license.  I was a little annoyed as this deal was offered about 2 weeks after I bought the 400, but such is life.

spumco

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Re: PMDX-126 & UC400ETH Compatibility
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2016, 12:00:12 AM »
Update:

The PMDX-108 board is not - NOT - compatible with the UC400ETH or UCCNC.

My earlier reports were premature, as I saw the lights blinking properly on the 108 and figured all was well. After getting the UCCNC license I discovered a minor detail...

Turns out that the 400ETH cannot swap outputs for inputs on Port 2 as is required by the PMDX-108.  While I read the 108 instruction manual, at the time I glossed over the explicit statement about 'requires software that allows the data bits of the parallel ports to be used as inputs."

This is the price of not knowing jack about electronics and stumbling my way through a mill overhaul.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the 108, and I suspect it would work fine if the UC300ETH were used as it has many more inputs on the #1 & #4 ports.

Luckily my spindle encoder could be connected directly to the PMDX-126 Port 1 Pins 11, 12, and 13 and is working beautifully.  I have the UCCNC software reporting actual spindle speed within 5 or 10 RPM of a photo tach all the way from 100 to 8k rpm.  Just needed some serious PWM & other fiddling.

Rigid tapping (in air) is next.

-Spumco