The G201 has been our bread-and-butter drive. It is a 10 year old design and it's beginning to show its age. The parts the design relies on are becoming obsolete now, meaning they are increasingly more difficult to acquire and more expensive when you do find them. This will only get more difficult and expensive as time passes. With these realities in mind, the G201 will require a 15% price increase beginning next January of 2009.
The G201X is a solution to this problem.
1) The G201X will be an exact, drop-in replacement for the G201. It will be a form, fit and function replacement for the G201. The G201X is a new clean-sheet design using the Cheap Drive G250 core circuit. The G250 is a thoroughly modern design that uses a Xilinx CoolRunner II CPLD to replace all the antiquated G201 CD4000-series logic circuitry. It is expanded for use with a 7A at 80VDC drive.
2) The G201X also has an on-board 1,2,5 and 10 pulse multiplier. This is not the G901 multiplier with its limitations. The new multiplier is a true 4-quadrant design that cannot be fooled into position errors like the G901 can. It is borrowed from our servomotor circuit designs making it impossible to have a position error no matter what you throw at it. It simply will be unable to accumulate a positioning error.
3) This makes the G201X really a G210 on steroids. It will be settable to full-step, half-step, 5 microstep and 10 microstep resolution, all with microstep smoothness just like a G210 but without the potential G210 errors if misused.
4) New: The COMMON terminal is universal. Connect it to ground or connect it to 5VDC. The G201X doesn't care. No jumpers to set (INPUT OPTION header on the G210 with its cumbersome 4 header shunts). It's all automatic and easy now. It will also work with 3.3V and 5V logic now.
5) The step pulse multiplier jumper settings are accessible without removing the cover of the drive. The jumper settings (Autostandby disable, NEMA-42 enable, pulse multiplier settings) are now accessible through a cutout in the aluminum cover of the drive towards the back. No more need to dismount the drive from the heatsink, upend and unscrew the two little 2-56 screws holding the cover, sliding the cover off just to make a few setting changes. All that's gone now.
6) Pricing. The G201X will be $119 in singles, quantity pricing per our usual sliding schedule. If you wanted a G201, you will pay $5 more. If you wanted a G210, you will pay $29 less. I think most people will be happy with the G201X pricing particularly when the G201 Classic goes to $131 next January, and the G210 Classic goes to $170.
Where does it put the Classic G201/G210? right where we want it to be; over-priced and under-performing relative to the new G201X. The Classic G201/G210 along with the G202/G212 are old technology drives using obsolescent parts and are slated for extinction. We will continue to have them as long as parts are available at ever increasing prices as time goes by. Why? Because some large OEMs are funny that way; once a part has been designed in, they are unwilling to change no matter what it costs.
7) General: 2008 is the year of new drives for Geckodrive. Since we have been in biz, on average we have churned out a new drive every 2 to 3 years. This year is different. This year it will bee the G250, G251, G540, G201X, upcoming is the G380 and the G213. Maybe the G401 step motor servodrive. Six or 7 new drives this year, what's the reason? First, we are modernizing our entire fleet of drives, filling some niches we had missed (G250, G251, G540) and coming up with radically new stuff like G401 true PID step motor servodrive.
We are a virulently growing company that is turning over all the old stuff we have done and replacing it with new up to date stuff and some stuff no one has ever heard of before. It is what we do. It is an exciting place to be in speaking for myself.
Golly! I'll just sit here and wait then. *twiddling thumbs*
Ready when it's ready? Sorry if that's a sore subject for you. I must have missed the memo, Oops. Didn't realize accountability wasn't part of your company's mission statement.
Perhaps you should be sure to include a disclaimer at the end of your product announcements (for those of us who don't know) with a link or statement explaining why not to ask that question.
As many times as I've been to your website to look at product specs, I've never noticed you had a forum. This website (cnczone) itself says "Gecko Drives Discuss all Gecko drives here and get direct support!" I myself don't feel an answer like "Ready when it's ready" is very supportive.
'check this link... https://www.geckodrive.com/forums.aspx?f=7&p=100011' would have been easier.
If you're going to put out product announcements... expect people to ask when it will be available. If you don't want to be bothered... wait to announce it until it's 'delivered' as you put it.
Not that you care, but I myself can't wait for "Ready when it's ready." I'll be going elsewhere.
I'm sure I've overreacted and I apologize; but if I told my customers it'll be ready when it's ready, I'd be out of business.
Let the ridicule begin.
Last edited by dodgy74; 08-16-2008 at 05:44 AM.
I understand but it is the lesser of two evils. You may not like the "ready when it's ready" answer but it would be much worse if a release date was promised and then missed. When a date is set, people make plans around it and obligations are incurred. Missing the date can result in lost money and reputations.
Designing a drive is not like digging a ditch. If you can dig 10' a day, you can say with certainty a 1,000' ditch will take 100 days. Designing means transforming an intangible idea into something physical and real. This translation from idea to product takes an unknown period of time.
1) If the idea squares with nature then the process is quick and easy.
2) If the idea misunderstands nature, it has to be modified with new insights gained from learning why it doesn't work. This process may repeat several times.
3) Or the idea may be flat-out wrong and can never work.
I dream for (1), fear (3) and usually get (2).
In another recent thread Mariss sort of shared the entire design process with us. It comes down to you really can't predict what may go wrong in the process that may result in delays. If this is going to be another thread where he shares goals, results and problems, then we all stand a chance of being enriched by his knowledge and insight.
You are right he could choose not to even share what he is working on till it is done, but we would be the losers in that.
So, I would just ask you gently to cut him a little slack and enjoy the ride.
Sometimes posts don't read as they were intended to mean! No reason for anyone to get their panties in a wad.
I read the original post and came away with:
The older drives will increase in price due to availability of older, outdated parts. Gecko is going to design a new drive with a design similar to the G250/G251 and once that design hits the market it will be cheaper then the older design, but if you want the older design you can still get it at a higher price for as long as they can find the parts for it.
I'm SURE Marcus wasn't trying to be rude when saying "be ready when it's ready"
From reading the original post I got...... Sometime next year as availability for the new products
Walking is highly over-rated
I put up the G201X thread because I'm kind of excited the way it's going together.
The G250 has turned into a very nice and sophisticated little drive. The first thought was to graft the G250 control electronics onto a G201 size board and its big MOSFETs. The G250 control electronics area is 0.75 square inches, the available control electronics area on the G201 is 2.25 square inches (480 mm^2 versus 1450 mm^2). A 4-layer board prototype was built, tested and pronounced good.
What made it look silly was 2/3 of the available area was unused. I hate the color of FR4 green and I was staring at acres of unused, fallow FR4 green.:-) My job is to buy chip resistors, capacitors, transistors, diodes and ICs, then sell them to you at a much higher price. It helps to connect them all together, which is what I also do. All that empty FR4 green area was wasted acreage that could hold even more little parts for sale.
The second thing was I changed my thinking about what a pulse multiplier should be. A shift in perspective can give new insights. I started thinking a pulse multiplier should be treated like a PID servodrive control loop. Treat the multiplier's VCO (voltage controlled oscillator) like it were a servomotor with an encoder. Once I got that idea right, everything fell into place for a pulse multiplier circuit that cannot be fooled no matter how quickly step and direction inputs are changed. I simulated well in Spice, the Verilog code simulated well in ICE. It also looks pretty as a circuit diagram (the truth is beauty thing).
This was grafted onto the G201 size board as well and now 50% of the available acreage was used. The multiplier settings are 10-microstep, 5-microstep, half-step and full-step. Secondarily, a pulse multiplier smooths out step pulse phase jitter (raggedy step pulse timing) even at the 10-microstep setting making Mach3 'sound' a lot better.
The third thing was to remove a lot of the G201/G210 irritations, most of which involve removing the cover just to make jumper setting change. The headers were consolidated from 3 into a single one, the position of this header was moved to the extreme corner of the board, the cover was redesigned to have an opening to access the header shunts and the size of the header was changed from 2mm to 0.1" centers. This way people with fingers bigger than a 4 year-old's can change the settings.
The other irritant was the COMMON terminal. COMMON goes to PC +5V on a G201, PC gnd on a G203V and either on a G210 if you change 4 inconvenient header shunt settings. The new COMMON can go to GND or +5V and STP/DIR works with no settings at all. This brought the acreage used up to 66% and there is still 0.75 square inches unused.
I get the latest 4-layer prototype boards (REV4, the one with the multiplier) next Friday. I will then probably track down 10 bugs and generate a REV5 board artwork. It will go around again and again like that until everything is perfect and cannot be improved.
I hope this explains what's involved and why time cannot be pinned down. Just because something simulates correctly doesn't mean it will work in the real world until it is built and tested. Flaws are found and corrected, it's built again which reveals brand new flaws now that more and more of it works as intended.
I must apologize for my first response. From what I read in your first post, it seemed as though the drive had already been developed and was ready to go. I totally understand the time and work involved in the design process and what it takes to bring a product from concept to full maturity.
I myself design and build custom kitchens so believe me when I say that I understand. I could not even begin to count the times I've had to rework a design because of a new idea, requirement, or countless other obstacles encountered. My customers expect dates, and those dates are set in stone to most; regardless of what problems or changes arise during a project. Had I known that the G201X was still under development... well... will you forgive me please?
To everyone that replied - Thank you for the time that you took to help show me the light.
...and to you Mariss - Huge thanks to you for the time you've spent trying to explain why no dates had been set. I've noticed your name in other forums numerous times and I'm sure countless hours are spent sitting behind a monitor trying to help others. Your enthusiasm is an inspiration to all of us and your willingness to share your knowledge about electronics is appreciated more than you know. If you only knew how much I've learned from you just by reading archives. Thank you.
Mariss, I believe we're all praying for no. 1, many don't have the ambition to struggle through no. 2; couple that with a lack of knowledge and many times no.3 will be the likely result. People like you (well educated in your field with a willingness to share) help to give people like me (totally ignorant in your field with a desire to learn) the tools necessary to hopefully someday actually see no. 1.
Best Regards to all and my sincerest apologies to everyone here and at Gecko,
Oh, and Alan - if I wasn't enjoying the ride, I wouldn't be here! Glad to be a part of such a great community!
May I ask a question? I like the Full and Half Step "emulation" via the multiplier. Now I'm curious if you could have done a 2.5x for a Quarter Step emulation. For a new system design it probably doesn't matter, but occasionally I see opportunities to replace, rather than repair an older stepper drive. In these cases, if it happened to be using quarter stepping the 5 microstep would make it unsuitable since it is often not feasibile to change the controller, indexer, whatever.
Other than this one type of situation, everything else sounds great. For a new design, 1000 pulses per rev (5 * 200) sounds pretty clean too.
That's OK. I should have made it clearer where it stands in the development cycle. Number 2 is often the most rewarding because during the iterations you learn many new things you didn't know before.:-)