Mirac And no software

All info relating to the Denford Mirac lathes

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Adrian-CNC
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Mirac in need of TLC

Mirac And no software

Post by Adrian-CNC » Thu 04 Jun , 2015 13:15 pm

Hi Like many others I'm a Newbie,
I've had a Starmill for about a year and decided I needed a Lathe, I eventually found a Mirac at a good price and purchased it.

The problem is I don't have any original disks for it.
I have a boot disk for windows 95 which gets me into DOS
I can then run the MIRAC software from the Denford support for older machines, but Get as many others do <Error 128>

Ive tried swapping the com ports arround randomly but with no sucess.

Can anyone offer some advice please, as I don't want to start pulling the machine apart to fix something that is not broken.

Many thanks
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Martin
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Re: Mirac And no software

Post by Martin » Thu 04 Jun , 2015 17:02 pm

What control does it have fitted? GSM?

Adrian-CNC
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Mirac in need of TLC

Re: Mirac And no software

Post by Adrian-CNC » Thu 04 Jun , 2015 21:37 pm

It has a board marked LCB3 (slave board?) which seems to be made by GSM-syntel. s/n 63738
KEB combivert for the three phase supply for the spindle and tool changer,
coolant pump and automatic oiling,
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TDIPower
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Re: Mirac And no software

Post by TDIPower » Thu 04 Jun , 2015 23:02 pm

Have a search for my posts, I had this sort of problem with a Starturn 5 with the same control board. I had a genuine Denford Lindy rs232 lead but was still getting problems. Turned out I needed to swap pins 2 and 3 round (TX-RX data) I did it in the control box rather than modify the lead as the lead is wired to standard and it was easier access to the back of the connector in the control box.

you will also need to check the go file that you are on the right com port.


Hope that helps Pete

Adrian-CNC
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Mirac in need of TLC

Re: Mirac And no software

Post by Adrian-CNC » Fri 05 Jun , 2015 6:25 am

I've seen the posts about swapping the tx and tx lines, but as the pc is inside I discounted this as could not understand how it would have been swapped, obviously on a Mirac PC the lead from the control box to the external PC could be a straight through or a cross over and this is why you'd might have to do this if you didn't have the correct original lead.
I'll try swapping the ports round again in the go file. I've seen a post on the forum and the go file that they said works has two devices on the same port, is that a typo! But they had installed three comm ports! The port addresses are $3F8 $3E8 and $2F8 so would be easy to type the wrong thing.
Also any idea which display driver to use, the monitor connection is a nine pin D type.

Adrian-CNC
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Hardware/Software: Denford Starmill run by MACH 3
Mirac in need of TLC

Re: Mirac And no software

Post by Adrian-CNC » Fri 05 Jun , 2015 6:49 am

I should have mentioned, With RS232 serial comms an easy way to check if you have the Tx And Rx lines correctly connected, is to use a voltmeter (DMM) to measure the lines with respect to ground (pin 5 on a nine way D), if lines 2 and 3 both measure a negative voltage -5 to -10 then they are probably correct but if only one is negative and they other about 0v then they are probably swapped. This assumes that the serial port is idle at the time.
If you cannot get to the wires easily and both end are powered, you can disconnect the cable and measure the tx from both ends and they should be both negative on different pins.

Adrian-CNC
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Hardware/Software: Denford Starmill run by MACH 3
Mirac in need of TLC

Re: Mirac And no software

Post by Adrian-CNC » Sat 06 Jun , 2015 20:24 pm

I've been working on the lathe again, I've search the forum and tried about every mirac.go file I can find.

Now I've got:
IBM.RS2 2
$3F8 4 COM1
$3E8 5 MACHINE
DENFORD.KBD 1
18.2 $2F8 3
VGA.CRT 0
MIRAC. APP

This seems to make sense as com1 goes the 25 way connecter on the cabinet
Com2 seems to be the keyboard on the front of the cabinet, and the Alert RS232 card provides com3 which is connected to the GSM board.
I've checked the cable against the wiring diagrams that came in the back of the manual, and it is correct to drawing, evrrthing I have tried so far I get the error 128
I even tried as someone else has to run flstep and get the same on off relay(s) in the cabinet until you press reset. I even tried a dongle as they did and ran the Drights.exe
Any ideas please.

TDIPower
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Re: Mirac And no software

Post by TDIPower » Sun 07 Jun , 2015 22:42 pm

Sorry I can't help anymore, it is a different machine to my Starturn 5. I sort of know what you are going through, I got very frustrated with a lack of input from people at times (still do) but I read through so much, used a lot of mirac wiring to help me check through mine until I got it working. Sometimes just by posting stuff it gave my brain chance to compute the info I had found and ultimately to get it working.

Keep posting up what you find and how you get on Im following your progress.

good Luck!!

Pete

Adrian-CNC
Posts: 24
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Mirac in need of TLC

Re: Mirac And no software

Post by Adrian-CNC » Mon 08 Jun , 2015 7:18 am

Thanks Pete, seems like you are the only active member.
The machine has taken a turn for the worse at the moment, and now the PC is not booting or the screen is not working. I'm going to borrow a laptop and set up to use it as a Mirac PC with and without the desktop tutor. And see how we get on with that.

I think it was down to the IRQ setting for the MACHINE port but can't test this out until the PC is working again. Some older com cards seemed to be able to select different IRQ lines, with links or switches.
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TDIPower
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Posts: 398
Joined: Tue 29 Apr , 2014 18:38 pm
Hardware/Software: Starturn 5 (sort of running, I will get this done!)
Lathe cam designer V1.11
Quickturn 2D Design
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Microrouter Pro NS V5 (microstep)
VR2 and VR5
Boxford VMC260
Techsoft 2d Design tools V1 > V2
ProDesktop
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Re: Mirac And no software

Post by TDIPower » Mon 08 Jun , 2015 22:30 pm

I had to think long and hard when I got my Starturn, back to the early 90's when I was doing stuff in DOS and all the problems we used to face to get RS232 gear running on 486machines never knowing if it was the I/O card conflict with the motherboard or an incorrect jumper or program setting.
I am so glad I kept some old PC's and collections of bits when I moved house (still have a brand new set of DOS 6.2 and windows 3.11 although did bin the 5.25" floppy drive!).
It was handy to have the old 25 to 25 way D type with LED display to let you know what was going on and the 25 to 25 way with wire links to test when I needed to swap connections over.

I found the Starturn would run using a USB to RS232 converter under XP but it wasn't stable (slow to respond to key presses on the tutor) It got better when I moved to a PC with 2 RS232 ports but it was also a faster machine. I have got DOS box to play with at some point but I think the issue was the PC couldn't handle running XP with a DOS window and the USB to RS232 converter.

I could go down the route of building a DOS machine but want it to be on my network so I can do the drawings in the house and just open them up in the garage from the network storage.

I really want to find a way to change the default location FANUCSLD looks to for drawing files. I know you can change the location when the program is running but it always reverts back to the other folder on load up.

Just to have some time to work on the machine would be nice, Last thing I did was fitted a new gearbox to the ATC and did a test turn and part, that was months ago. Either the tool height is off or the cutters are blunt.

Does your control computer load up? if not it could well be the PSU, I ended up having to buy a new one for the PC I'm using as the one it died just 2 days after I had sold the other spare PC to a guy on here. Lucky they are very cheep these days.

Pete

Adrian-CNC
Posts: 24
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Hardware/Software: Denford Starmill run by MACH 3
Mirac in need of TLC

Re: Mirac And no software

Post by Adrian-CNC » Tue 09 Jun , 2015 6:23 am

Not sure about the PC at the moment, it might be that the psu has had enough, it is 22 years old, it was working fine then the next day I swapped the serial leads and now the screen is blank, the fan runs in the PC and the monitor makes a squeak (for want of a better description) at power up, and flashed white on power down, so has power. The Monitor is a KME unit. Had to drill out the little counter sunk bolts the hold the angle strips behind the panel as these were solid and the tiny heads rounded off. The monitor comes out the front now, so just need to test it, some off the old capacitors look like they have been getting hot and this can be a problem on older electronics.

Can't remember much about DOS, but I believe you can add to the PATH statement this might help with the default file location.

Adrian-CNC
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Hardware/Software: Denford Starmill run by MACH 3
Mirac in need of TLC

Re: Mirac And no software

Post by Adrian-CNC » Tue 16 Jun , 2015 6:24 am

Does anybody know what the macmirac.go file is for and is it important to have the port settings correct in it? still no joy with the machine, but I did get a new coolant pipe for it.
I've now built a new dos machine for it, but this only has one comport, does anyone know of a PCI comport card that will work from / with MSDOS 6.22

Wod
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Hardware/Software: 1992 Mirac PC/FLSTEP

Re: Mirac And no software

Post by Wod » Wed 17 Jun , 2015 1:40 am

Adrian
I'm still trying to get my Mirac spindle to turn, but I've gotten everything else to work. I made myselft a little notepad to explain what I think each of the lines in the .GO file mean. I'm at work right now and don't have access to my notepad, but I'll get back to you tommorow. I know how frustrating it is to try to get one of these older lathes to run.
Wiley

Adrian-CNC
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Hardware/Software: Denford Starmill run by MACH 3
Mirac in need of TLC

Re: Mirac And no software

Post by Adrian-CNC » Wed 17 Jun , 2015 6:15 am

Great, I'll look out for the info, some is on the forum but it is quite scattered.
I was reading about spindle problems, was yours working until pressing the E-stop?

Wod
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Joined: Tue 05 May , 2015 18:52 pm
Hardware/Software: 1992 Mirac PC/FLSTEP

Re: Mirac And no software

Post by Wod » Wed 17 Jun , 2015 14:51 pm

Okay, here's what I THINK I have figured out.

IBM.RS2 2 -This line tells the computer to set up 2 COM ports
$3F8 4 COM1 - This is the address of COM 1 and is using interrupt 4
$3E8 5 MACHINE - This is the address of the COM port that is connected to the Machine and is using interrupt 5
DENFORD.KBD 1 - This is the Tutor keyboard app that runs to allow you to use the keyboard
18.2 $2F8 3 - This says the Tutor keyboard is at $2f8 using interrupt 3
VGA.CRT 0 - This is the driver for the monitor
MIRAC. APP - This runs the MIRAC control software

My lathe is the Mirac PC, so I have a separate PC connected to the control box with a serial cable and here's the .GO file that works for me.

IBM.RS2 1
$3F8 4 MACHINE
DENFORD.KBD 1
18.2 $3E8 5
VGA.CRT 0
MIRAC.APP

I think I read somewhere on the forum that if you have a built in monitor and keyboard that you need to use the DENFORD1.KBD program. Not sure,
but it might be worth trying. Since mine uses a separate PC, I have to be sure to turn the control box on before running the .GO file or I will get
the <128> error. It's looking for the control box and if it's not powered up yet it'll error out. You can install a separate COM board in the PC and run
the keyboard from it, as long as you know the correct address and interrupt it's using. I think I have my spindle problems narrowed down to the
KEB motor control board and I've found a place in North Carolina that will repair it and give me a one year warranty on it, so that's my next step. Hope
some of my ramblings make sense to you and help you a little at least. Good luck.
Wiley

Adrian-CNC
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri 04 Oct , 2013 21:14 pm
Hardware/Software: Denford Starmill run by MACH 3
Mirac in need of TLC

Re: Mirac And no software

Post by Adrian-CNC » Wed 17 Jun , 2015 18:18 pm

Many thanks, I'll have to try this out, your file that works, appears to have two comm ports com1 and com3 as you use $3F8 (com1) for the machine and $3E8 (com3) for a desktop tutor keyboard, is this correct?

I Had not worked out that IBM.RS2 was setting the number of com ports for the machine?

Been reading some more and it looks like the denford1.kbd is for machines later than mine, seems to be for machine that have a letter slave board after the gsm card.

Wod
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Joined: Tue 05 May , 2015 18:52 pm
Hardware/Software: 1992 Mirac PC/FLSTEP

Re: Mirac And no software

Post by Wod » Thu 18 Jun , 2015 1:08 am

Yeah, I have an extra serial card installed in the PC. I actually have a total of 3 COM ports, but am only using 2 for the machine. I'm still in the "try this and see what happens" mode myself, but I'll try to help you out any way that I can.

Adrian-CNC
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri 04 Oct , 2013 21:14 pm
Hardware/Software: Denford Starmill run by MACH 3
Mirac in need of TLC

Re: Mirac And no software

Post by Adrian-CNC » Fri 19 Jun , 2015 16:38 pm

Using the new PC with only one com port I put an oscilloscope on the communication wires and with Kermit (DOS terminal programming) I checked that the port is transmitting, then using the mirac.go file with qdenford.kbd I can't see any transmission from the PC then I get the error 128. I must have a driver missing or something. On the computer I have all the files from the mirac and drivers2 area on the main qdenford web site. Any ideas anyone.

Adrian-CNC
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri 04 Oct , 2013 21:14 pm
Hardware/Software: Denford Starmill run by MACH 3
Mirac in need of TLC

Re: Mirac And no software

Post by Adrian-CNC » Sun 21 Jun , 2015 21:19 pm

Some good news at last, I used a DOS machine to make a new boot disk for the old internal 386, I then copied all the MIRAC.* files onto it and used a friends .opt file, and the relevant drivers from the driver.zip and the machine booted! The screen was corrupt so changed the VGA.CRT file to EGA.CRT in the go file.
Re-booted and straight into the lathe screen, I can home, run the spindle CW and CCW and change the speed, stop and change tools, jog etc. The coolant pump ran but was making some horrible noises, now it is quiet so might have died or blown a fuse or something.

Adrian-CNC
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri 04 Oct , 2013 21:14 pm
Hardware/Software: Denford Starmill run by MACH 3
Mirac in need of TLC

Re: Mirac And no software

Post by Adrian-CNC » Mon 22 Jun , 2015 10:56 am

Just to complete get upto date:
Here's a copy of the .OPT file

AUTOERROR 0
DRAGMARKING 0
DISPLAYSIZE 3
NARROWSIMBOX 0
utils_menu_1 Dos Access
utils_go_1 dos
utils_menu_2 Turning Designer
utils_go_2 ldesign
HIGHFEED 1200
SLAVE_XDATUMFEED 1200
SLAVE_ZDATUMFEED 1200
mirac_sdevice machine
{SLAVE_SPINDLEFACTOR 1.2
nopots 0
mintool 1
maxtool 6
dc_brake 1
{(TCTYPE 2
MACHINEEXTENTZ 220
MOVERANGEZ 220
{SLAVE_BANK 1
{CHUCKCENTREX 5
COMPUTER_SDEVICE MACHINE
COMPUTER_DATABITS 8
COMPUTER_STOPBITS 1
COMPUTER_PARITY 0
COMPUTER_LF 1
{--------SPINDLE----------------
slave_spindlelag 35
safespindle 150
slave_encoder 2000
slave_spindlef 0.85
slave_thread 1
highspindle 5000

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