You could use three Gecko's to drive the motors. You will need a power supply also. Your machine will be open loop and step and direction at this point.
If you are having these problems while running their software then something is definitly wrong with the controller. You have to be careful when setting Mach up on one of these machines. If you turn on the wrong pins you will corrupt the parameters in the controller. The parameters can be restored by opening their software up again. That is how their software knows whether the controller is connected or not.
I have run my MaxNC CL on both their software and Mach countless hours. I got mine when they first came out with closed-loop. I dealt mostly with Otto ( Mitch's dad, Mr. MaxNC himself.) whos health was bad at the time.