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Updating KX1 to USB or Ethernet Controller

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Jim Guthrie25/01/2021 13:08:00
99 forum posts
5 photos

My venerable 32 bit PC running WinXP and controlling my KX1 via the parallel post gave up the ghost at the end of last year. I decided to upgrade to a modern USB or Ethernet controller and I got a PoKeys57CNCdb25 controller only to find out that it would not work with the KX1. The KX1 requires a step and direction pair to control the spindle and the PoKeys controller cannot provide that. This was confirmed by PoLabs.

So once bitten, twice shy and I then started digging around on the Internet to find out what other controllers might be suitable and that only raised one or two other questions. So I'm looking for someone who has successfully upgraded the KX1 and can give details, or knows of a successful installation.

Jim.

Martin Connelly25/01/2021 14:34:30
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1713 forum posts
184 photos

One option I would consider is buying a 32 bit x86 pc and putting windows XP on it. There seem to be a lot of Dell Optiplex with parallel ports on them available. This would then give you time to experiment with the Pokeys57.

With the Pokeys unit have you used the axis A outputs to try to drive the spindle if you are not using axis A already?

Martin C

John Alexander Stewart25/01/2021 15:12:14
800 forum posts
53 photos

My KX1 has been running with LinuxCNC, a Mesa 5i25 and a Gecko G540 (parallel version) for about a decade so far.

Both of these products now come with Ethernet connectivity, if you want to go down that route. The Mesa 7i76 card has (if I remember correctly) 5 step control outputs, so you can have x,y,z,a and spindle if indeed that is what you require.

Do you really require a pulse stream for the spindle? Mine has a board inside that drives the spindle from a 0-10v isolated input - here is a link to the control board: little machine shop board. I know it's the same board because LittleMachineShop used to distribute MY old blog info with this board without attribution. sad

(The KX1 I have came without control electronics, (had steppers, limit switches, spindle speed control board) the late John Stevenson and I discussed this via email, and it seems mine was an "internal to China" model, so I just added it all. Spindle control was via the typical 0-10v input as stated above)

John.

Jim Guthrie25/01/2021 16:55:20
99 forum posts
5 photos
Posted by Martin Connelly on 25/01/2021 14:34:30:

One option I would consider is buying a 32 bit x86 pc and putting windows XP on it. There seem to be a lot of Dell Optiplex with parallel ports on them available. This would then give you time to experiment with the Pokeys57.

With the Pokeys unit have you used the axis A outputs to try to drive the spindle if you are not using axis A already?

I wanted to get away from hunting around for an old machine again. The machine that died on me was an old Dell machine I sourced about seven years ago.

I do make use of the A output on occasion so I didn't want to look at using the "A" step and direction to run the spindle. I don't know if the PoKeys part could have been configured to do that. In my exchanges with PoLabs, they never suggested the possibility of using the "A" control output for the spindle.

Jim.

Matt Harrington25/01/2021 17:08:39
avatar
179 forum posts
7 photos

What about a UC100 form these guys:

https://www.cnc4you.co.uk/UC100-USB-Motion-Controller

I don't have a Sieg but I installed mine on my Syil x4+ in about 5 minutes and it seems to work perfectly.

Just a thought....

Matt

Jim Guthrie25/01/2021 17:44:51
99 forum posts
5 photos
Posted by John Alexander Stewart on 25/01/2021 15:12:14:

Both of these products now come with Ethernet connectivity, if you want to go down that route. The Mesa 7i76 card has (if I remember correctly) 5 step control outputs, so you can have x,y,z,a and spindle if indeed that is what you require.

Do you really require a pulse stream for the spindle? Mine has a board inside that drives the spindle from a 0-10v isolated input -

(The KX1 I have came without control electronics, (had steppers, limit switches, spindle speed control board) the late John Stevenson and I discussed this via email, and it seems mine was an "internal to China" model, so I just added it all. Spindle control was via the typical 0-10v input as stated above)

I've had a quick look at the components you mention and I think I might be getting a bit old to venture down that road. And the Mesa product is a computer card and I would prefer a controller using a USB or Ethernet connection so that I am not restricted to a desktop PC.

The KX1 does require a step and direction signal for the spindle. I assume that there must be a converter circuit in the machine to provide the 0 - 10v output for motor speed. Maybe the unfortunate thing about the KX1 in the UK was that there was not too much technical detail about the machine itself. The only electronic information is a block diagram of the wiring of the machine and that's about it. I think John Stevenson was trying to avoid encouraging us to poke about.

Jim.

Nicola Casali06/02/2021 19:15:40
27 forum posts
3 photos

I've got a UC300Eth running on my Sieg KX3 from a Surface tablet. It was quite a relief to get rid of my 2007 model Windows XP machine. It was relatively straight-forward to set up. Is the KX1 similar to the KX3?

Edited By Nicola Casali on 06/02/2021 19:16:02

Jim Guthrie07/02/2021 12:36:13
99 forum posts
5 photos

Things have moved on from the middle of January - and with some success at last. After digging around on a lot of CNC forums I opted to go for the Warp9 ESS rather than the UC100. I had noted some comments on the UC100 not handing backlash compensation very well so I opted for the ESS since it seemed to handle that facility satisfactorily. I also opted for the more reliable Ethernet ESS rather than the USB USS.

I got it just over a week ago and got it hooked up to the PC and the KX1 in the middle of last week and got the ESS talking to Mach3 with not too much problem. I got the EStop working fairly quickly but it took a day or two of messing around to get the axes working - partly finger trouble on my part setting up pins and ports wrongly. After that it took another two or three days getting the spindle working, which included a lot of digging around on the Internet for possible pointers along with experimenting with adjusting all the presets in Mach3 to see what happened. Finally yesterday I got the spindle working and I'm not sure how. The ESS had lost contact with Mach3 and I went through the setup routine again. The ESS also had its Emergency Stop red LED permanently on. So I went through several restart routines when finally the red light stayed off. Then I re-checked that the axes were working, and just tried the spindle - and it worked. So I'm not really sure what I did or the ESS did.

I'm taking the day off today to give my brain a rest but I'll get back on the case tomorrow to check out the tuning of all the axes and the spindle and to check that the limit switches are working. I've also made a safe copy of the Mach3/ESS XML settings file to go back to if I ever lose facilities in the future.

I think the original KX1 and KX3 are basically similar, with a C11G breakout board, drive boards to match the axis motors and a standard 0 - 10V spindle control driven from the C11G which converts a step and direction input. Maybe owners of the original KX3 could confirm.

I've certainly learned a lot about the KX1 over the past few weeks. When ARC Euro originally marketed the machine, the late John Stevenson was the official support with a specially set up forum. And I think John also supplied the setup files to give himself a reasonably easy life. Certainly if you stuck with John's setup of Mach3, you could get excellent work out of the machine. I remember trying to diverge from the beaten track once but had to go back to John's setup to recover my sanity. And the manual didn't help much, with precious little detail about what went on under the hood in the machine - that I've had to find out over the past few weeks to try and make sense out of setting up the new equipment.

Jim.

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