Converting an old Microrouter to LinuxCNC/EMC2

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cowpat
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Converting an old Microrouter to LinuxCNC/EMC2

Post by cowpat » Wed 12 Sep , 2012 10:42 am

Hi
I have an old Microrouter, which when I acquired it from a school was working. Since then, the motor has failed (brushes), then the motor control board. Since this was too expensive to replace, I simply fitted an ordinary hand router with manual speed control. This worked to my satisfaction.
Now something else has failed; the machine keeps "forgetting" where it is whilst in the middle of a job and randomly goes off and mills the wrong bit! I'm fairly sure that this is not mechanical stalling as I can't here it, and have re-greased the threads. I therefore conclude that it is either another control board, or possibly the serial interface that has failed.
Anyway, long story short; I'm seriously considering scrapping off all the control electronics and replacing them with new but extremely simple stepper motor control boards connected to the parallel port of a PC, then using Linux CNC (formely EMC2) to control the machine. I'm not fussed about the door interlock (I'm disciplined enough to leave it shut whilst milling), nor am I fussed about automatic control of the spindle motor as my manually controlled router works just fine. I therefore think that all I need to connect up is the drive circuit for the 3 steppers, and the 3 home sensors.
Has anyone already done this conversion, and if so, could they offer any experienced words of advice?
Thanks

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Re: Converting an old Microrouter to LinuxCNC/EMC2

Post by Denford Admin » Wed 12 Sep , 2012 13:48 pm

either the axes are stalling which could be a mechanical issue which might not go away with a new system.
or it's an old data corruption problem we had with older EPROM firmware.

Are you using vr milling v2 with and RS232 connection ? If so, check the EPROM version with Mintman
(best to get the latest version of v2 milling first from here: http://website.denford.ltd.uk/index.php ... -downloads)

Firstly - make sure any other Denford software is closed and disconnected from the machine
Then run the file: MintMan.EXE which is located in the VR Milling installation directory (C:\Program Files\Denford\ VRMilling)
Go to menu Setup -> Comm Port
Set the parameters to:
COM 1 (whichever machine is plugged into)
Baud: 19200
Parity: None
Data bits: 8
Stop bits: 2
Handshaking: none
Press OK
Press Upload Version button to check its working

If the version reported back does not mention data length checking then it could be that we can supply a new EPROM and fix the random move issue.

cowpat
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Re: Converting an old Microrouter to LinuxCNC/EMC2

Post by cowpat » Thu 13 Sep , 2012 7:35 am

Thanks very much for your helpful reply, but I did the firmware upgrade that you suggest when I first received the machine.

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Re: Converting an old Microrouter to LinuxCNC/EMC2

Post by Martin » Thu 13 Sep , 2012 12:34 pm

Is the fault on the X axis?

When you say greasing the axis we recomend lubricating with a silicone spray then leaving it for several hours to dry.

cowpat
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Re: Converting an old Microrouter to LinuxCNC/EMC2

Post by cowpat » Thu 13 Sep , 2012 13:42 pm

No it suddenly appeared on all 3 axis. I've had stalling problems before and it's not like that, although I have gone through the motions of cleaning a lubricating with silicone spray.
I've bitten the bullet and have now ordered parts for the conversion.....

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Re: Converting an old Microrouter to LinuxCNC/EMC2

Post by cowpat » Sat 15 Sep , 2012 21:02 pm

Just in case anyone else ever considers doing the same and finds this thread......
I've now completed the "upgrade". I replaced almost all the electronics in the big black box with a new 24V 15A switched mode PSU and a 3 axis stepper drive board that connects to the parallel port. I got them both from ebay for a total of £70. I've replaced Window XP with Ubuntu (free) and Visual Mill with LinuxCNC (free and very much better). The mechanics and re-wiring took around 4 hours and configuring and learning how to use LinuxCNC took another 6, but now it's sorted and working brilliantly. :-)

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Re: Converting an old Microrouter to LinuxCNC/EMC2

Post by angel-tech » Sat 15 Sep , 2012 22:25 pm

a word of warning on the 3 axis board if it used the tb6560 chip, keep the psu voltage below 24v. They tend to fry if you go anywhere near or above 30v

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Re: Converting an old Microrouter to LinuxCNC/EMC2

Post by Denford Admin » Mon 17 Sep , 2012 9:22 am

now it's sorted and working brilliantly
Sounds like you've been busy the last few days! Thanks for keeping us updated.

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