The latest EMC2 build seems to be almost turn key as far as software goes. I messed with an early version of EMC2 and the Hal aspect had me dragging my feet. I tried to get a Mesa 5120 up and running with the old EMC2 but ran into several problems before I had some med issues get in the way of further garage play.
Recently I picked up a G540 and thought I'd finally get my livingroom JGRO running. All the mechanicals have been nearly done, but the controls and steppers were dead in the water (over a years worth). Shuddering at the thought of more computerized pain, I burned the latest copy to CD and installed it to the JGRO computer. I admit, I drug my feet. I shouldn't have. All I can say is WOW, this is free software?
Yeah it certainly has come a long way, I remember doing much the same, I also had many problems with my router, once they were reslolved I was nervous about the learning curve to install EMC but it was about as easy as it gets, I had my servo drives up and running in about 10 minutes using stepconf and my router has pretty much kept that config since then, now I don't even think about it, make some G-code and use it.
Oh yeah I had some "interesting" things happen while I learned how to setup the home/limit switches, you need to be careful when you rapid to position after homing, make sure it is in the right direction and not further into the limit switch I can't really blame EMC for that one though, lol
All I can say now is to make sure the estop is working before anything else
You have a JGRO in your living room ? ... some people have all the luck
Cool thing in the 2.3 version when it comes out is the ability to set the final move speed... This really helps when setting up to be able to set a real slow speed so you can hit the e-stop before you hit the hard stop... as well as a zillion other cool things.