Author Topic: Newbie growing pains PMDX422  (Read 7427 times)

Charlie

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Newbie growing pains PMDX422
« on: January 10, 2015, 04:02:26 PM »
I am configuring my PMDX-422 and have run into a problem.  Mach4 4.0.1.2157, Smart Bob 0.14.72.  Upon starting PMDXMILL active light illuminates on board.  Upon loading a program into Mach4 I get the message: vertex buffer objects requested but not found.  This does not occur if I load Mach4 using their sample configuration file. I have not configured any inputs or outputs and accepted Mach defaults with the exception of setting in motor configuration settings I use in Mach3.
Thanks in advance
Charlie

Bob at PMDX

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Re: Newbie growing pains PMDX422
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2015, 04:46:36 PM »
I am configuring my PMDX-422 and have run into a problem.  Mach4 4.0.1.2157, Smart Bob 0.14.72.  Upon starting PMDXMILL active light illuminates on board.  Upon loading a program into Mach4 I get the message: vertex buffer objects requested but not found.  This does not occur if I load Mach4 using their sample configuration file. I have not configured any inputs or outputs and accepted Mach defaults with the exception of setting in motor configuration settings I use in Mach3.
Thanks in advance
Charlie

"Vertex buffer objects" are something used in video card graphics acceleration.  Some PCs with video on the motherboard do not support this feature, and thus you see this message from Mach4.  You can safely ignore this warning, it just tells you that it isn't using that acceleration technique.  Or you can make the message go away by changing the configuration in Mach4 (I guess our sample INI file has that enabled whereas the Mach4-supplied Mach4Mill file does not).  The effect of not using vertex buffer objects is that the tool path display will be a little slower.  In my experience this is not usually noticeable unless you are running a large and complicated job. The only solution to that is a different video card or PC.

To keep this error message from appearing, go to the Configure->Mach menu, then in the "General" tab look for the "Disable VBO Tool Path" item.  This in near the right edge of the dialog in the "Misc" section.  Check that and you won't see that message again.

Bob
Engineering Hell: Everything's right and nothing works.
Bob's Corollary: If everything's right and nothing works, double check your assumptions.

Charlie

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Re: Newbie growing pains PMDX422
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2015, 07:42:31 PM »
Thanks Bob,

Charlie

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Re: Newbie growing pains PMDX422
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2015, 05:23:31 PM »
Bob,  I have downloaded 0.15.77 and installed. PDMX SmartBOB is configured including selection of 407.  PMDXMill loads but when [enable] pressed I get error message: Spindle max RPM is zero, cannot run spindle. Default setting ( I think it was 3500) has not been changed.  Any suggestions.

Bob at PMDX

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Re: Newbie growing pains PMDX422
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2015, 06:30:57 PM »
Bob,  I have downloaded 0.15.77 and installed. PDMX SmartBOB is configured including selection of 407.  PMDXMill loads but when [enable] pressed I get error message: Spindle max RPM is zero, cannot run spindle. Default setting ( I think it was 3500) has not been changed.  Any suggestions.

This is probably due to the spindle range settings.  In Mach4, go to the Configure->Mach menu.  Then click on the "Spindle" tab.  You will see a table with 20 rows (numbered 0 to 19) for entering spindle speed ranges and other info.  In row "0", enter a non-zero value in the "MaxRPM" column (or re-verify that this setting is indeed non-zero).  You can leave the "MinRPM" at zero if you want.  For now, the "Accel Time" and "Decel Time" and "Feedback ratio" are ignored, so you can leave them at their default values.  Click on "OK".

In the Configure->Plugins dialog, click on the PMDX-SmartBOB "Configuration" button.  Then click on the "Feature Config" tab.  In the "Spindle Speed Control" section there is a "Min PWM Duty Cycle" field.  This will affect the minimum spindle speed as the given percentage of the max RPM you entered in the previous step.  A common value is 5%, but this depends on how slow your spindle controller (VFD, etc.) can drive the motor.  For example, if your MaxRPM is 10000 and the min duty cycle is 5%, then any commanded speed below 500 RPM will be "bumped" up to 500 RPM.  The exception is zero RPM, which will stop the spindle but keep any "spindle enabled" outputs turned on.

If this does not fix your issue, please send me your "Machine.ini" file from the Mach4HobbyProfilesPMDXMill directory (since you said in your message that your profile is "PMDXMill").  You can post it here as an attachment.

Bob
Engineering Hell: Everything's right and nothing works.
Bob's Corollary: If everything's right and nothing works, double check your assumptions.

Charlie

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Re: Newbie growing pains PMDX422
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2015, 09:51:30 PM »
Bob,  I set MAXRPM to 4000.  Error message is now Spindle Speed failed for RPM 0, max RPM 4000, PDMX 407 unavailable.  I then set MINRPM to 300, no change.  My first effort to attach an .ini failed so I copied the file to myini.txt and attached the copy

Bob at PMDX

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Re: Newbie growing pains PMDX422
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2015, 10:33:15 PM »
Bob,  I set MAXRPM to 4000.  Error message is now Spindle Speed failed for RPM 0, max RPM 4000, PDMX 407 unavailable.  I then set MINRPM to 300, no change.

This error message indicates that the PMDX-422 did not detect that the PMDX-407 was installed.  I have to apologize for the lack of documentation on the 407, specifically installation instructions.  You must change the setting of jumper JP1 on the PMDX-422 in order to run the PMDX-407.  This is located on the PMDX-422 along the short side of the 26-pin ribbon header, next to J10 (a 6-pin terminal strip).  JP1 supplies +5V to the PMDX-407.  When we ship the PMDx-422s, this jumper is set to "off".  You need to change the jumper to the "on" position (the two pins closest to the mounting hole).  You will have to remove the PMDX-407 in order to access this jumper.

** WARNING ** If you are not using the PMDX-407 keep jumper JP1 in the "off" position!!!

The 2nd thing to verify is that you have the PMDX-407 installed in the correct orientation.  Alas, the connector on the bottom of the PMDX-407 does not come with a "key" on it, so it is possible to install the 407 backwards on the PMDX-422, or to install it offset from the center of the connector.  When installed correctly, it should look like the 2nd picture on the PMDX-407 page (http://www.pmdx.com/PMDX-407).  The PMDX-407 circuit board should come very close to touching the relay on the PMDX-422, and the two mounting holes in the 407 should line up with the mounting holes in the 422 (so that you can use the standoffs provided with the 407).

Bob
Engineering Hell: Everything's right and nothing works.
Bob's Corollary: If everything's right and nothing works, double check your assumptions.

Steve Stallings

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Re: Newbie growing pains PMDX422
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2015, 11:13:36 PM »
The Quick Start Guide for the PMDX-407 has now been updated to version 0.2 to
include the instructions about setting JP1 on the PMDX-422 or PMDX-410 onto
which the PMDX-407 is installed.
Steve Stallings
www.PMDX.com

Charlie

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Re: Newbie growing pains PMDX422
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2015, 06:52:12 AM »
Thank you, I moved the jumper and now see the 407,s LED respond to M3/M5 commands.  I intend to play with RPM control later today. No need to apologize for documentation I expected some learning this early in the product's life.  Your support more than compensates.

Charlie

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Re: Newbie growing pains PMDX422
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2015, 11:49:15 AM »
I am currently running my PMDX 422/407 combination into a patch board with LEDs to verify outputs.  As a test program I created code (Vectric Aspire) and confirmed it runs clean in Mach3.  It contains around 3800 lines of code most running at a feed rate of 30ipm to carve a 3?x3? model.  I have found I need to adjust my G-Code motion buffer setting to 1000 to prevent overrun errors around 800 to 1000 lines in. This concerns me since I am at the upper limit of the available setting.  Also there is the inference of poorer performance the higher it is set.  I am not sure if that is so.
I am currently using a multipurpose laptop running W7 Pro.  While I am not intentionally running anything in the background it has not been cleaned like I would expect a machine controller to be. My question is, is this buffer setting alarming?  Does it indicate I need to be selective when I set up a computer as a controller?  Should I be uncomfortable running at the limit?
Thanks, Charlie

Bob at PMDX

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Re: Newbie growing pains PMDX422
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2015, 08:54:57 PM »
Having to set the GCode buffer to 1000 (i.e. buffering 1 full second of data) seems extreme.  If things are happening as designed in our plug-in and device, that means that the PC is spending close to 1 second in a mode where it is not allowing our plug-in any CPU time.  However, having the GCode buffer this large is not necessarily "bad" (presuming there are no underrun errors).  The drawback is if you try a "feed hold" it will take up to 1 second before the machine responds and starts slowing down.  EStop will halt motion immediately, irrespective of the buffer setting.

You mention that you were getting buffer "overruns".  Could this have been "underrun" instead (specifically "Motion queue underrun")?  Or does the error message really say "overrun"?  Providing the actual error message will help here.  If you can recreate this and the message shows up in the Mach status line, you can click on the "History" button and then save the contents of the history window to a file.

Does this error always happen at close to the same place in the GCode file?

Does the PC have any anti-virus software installed (including Microsoft's Windows Defender)?

Is the PC connected to a network while Mach4 is running?  If so, try unplugging the Ethernet cable and then running Mach4.  Or is this running a wireless network connection (i.e. WiFi)?

I have sent you a person message with my email address.  Please send me a copy of the GCode file and your Machine.INI file (located at Mach4HobbyProfilesPMDXMillMachine.ini, presuming you are still running a configuration named "PMDXMill").

Bob
Engineering Hell: Everything's right and nothing works.
Bob's Corollary: If everything's right and nothing works, double check your assumptions.

Charlie

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Re: Newbie growing pains PMDX422
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2015, 09:58:07 AM »
Bob, Thanks for the response, I forwarded the files you requested the other day.  You are correct, the error message says under run not over run, sorry. If my file runs on your system at a lower setting I won?t pursue this tangent any further.  I intend to run an isolated desktop as my system machine.  My general purpose laptop probably has more services running in the background than I could ever imagine.
Charlie

Bob at PMDX

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Re: Newbie growing pains PMDX422
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2015, 12:11:32 PM »
Sorry for the delay.  I have tried your INI and GCode file on our PCs here and had no problems even with the GCode buffer set to the default of 250ms.  We've been investigating ways to mitigate issues with response time on certain classes of computers.  One of them is something you can do, but if you can wait another day (hopefully) we have an updated plug-in that should fix this problem at its source.

First, I'd like you to get the "Windows Experience Index" values for your PC.  In Win7, go to the Start menu, then select "Control Panel".  In the control panel window, select "System and Security" and then select "System".  If you do not see the "System and Security" heading, it may be that the control panel is set to show all items instead of categories.  In that case, just look for "System".  Near the middle of the "System" dialog there is a section titled "System".  Look for the line that shows the "rating".  It will be a single number (something like "3.4") which is the overall rating, followed by a link that says "Windows Experience Index".  Click on the link and tell me the overall rating and the numbers for "Graphics" and "Gaming Graphics".

The possible work-around that you can do yourself is to change the screen refresh rate in Mach4.  To do this you need to edit the screen set:
- In Mach4 click on the Operator menu and select "Edit Screen"
- Go to the "Screen" menu and select "Save screen as" and save it to a new file name
- In the upper left corner there is a box labeled "Screen Tree Manager", and it usually  starts out with two lines, something like:
    wxMach
    + Default
- Left-click one time on the "wxMach" line
- In the lower right corner of the screen is another box labeled "Properties".  Look for an item names "Refresh Interval".  The default value is 50 (for 50 milliseconds).  Change that to "100" (which is the same refresh rate as Mach3).
- Go to the "Screen" menu and click on "Save Screen"
- Go to the "Operator" menu and click on "Edit Screen" to exit the screen editor
- Now load the new screen set by going to the "View" menu and select "Load Screen".  Change into the "Screens" directory and select the screen set that you created above.

When we release the next version of our plug-in, you should re-load the original screen set, or at least change the refresh rate back to 50ms.

Bob
Engineering Hell: Everything's right and nothing works.
Bob's Corollary: If everything's right and nothing works, double check your assumptions.

Charlie

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Re: Newbie growing pains PMDX422
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2015, 08:45:20 PM »
Bob,  I followed the path and did not see a value labeled overall rating, they provided a base score of 5.9.  Graphics is 6.4 and gaming graphics is 6.4.  Let me know if I can provide anything else.  By the way, I have no time pressure when I get everything running it will be an upgrade to my existing system which is running fine on Windows XP/Mach 3 now.

Bob at PMDX

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Re: Newbie growing pains PMDX422
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2015, 09:55:57 PM »
Bob,  I followed the path and did not see a value labeled overall rating, they provided a base score of 5.9.  Graphics is 6.4 and gaming graphics is 6.4.  Let me know if I can provide anything else.  By the way, I have no time pressure when I get everything running it will be an upgrade to my existing system which is running fine on Windows XP/Mach 3 now.

My apologies for not replying sooner.  Those numbers look more than sufficient for the PC to be responsive enough.  I regularly run Mach4 and our plug-in on machines with ratings around 3.2 to 3.4, with the low score coming from the graphics performance (motherboard graphics chipsets are not barn burners, performance wise).  All I can guess (and it *is* a guess) is that some other program or service that is running is occasionally pre-empting Mach4 for substantial lengths of time (close to 1 second).

Regardless, there is a new firmware and plug-in release that should help avoid the motion underruns.  This version changes how our plug-in schedules data transfers to the device.  See this announcement:

http://www.pmdx.com/PMDX-Forums/index.php?topic=45.0

Give this a try and see if you can then set the motion buffer length closer to the default value.  Note that this new plug-in will only run on Mach4 build 2192 (and newer ones when released).

Bob
Engineering Hell: Everything's right and nothing works.
Bob's Corollary: If everything's right and nothing works, double check your assumptions.