I think it gave you the answer to your troubles allready.
Looking for some additional help trying to get a mill running. It's a Centurion 1 with Partner 0/00 controller. The machine sat for a few months last year and killed the CMOS battery. I have another thread on here asking about battery replacement. I still haven't gotten around to replacing it but up until a few weeks ago I'd been able to use the machine.
It went a little like this:
Turn on power switch on back.
By the time I got around to the front of the machine, it'd say something about the CMOS parameters and "Press [F1] to Resume".
Pressing [F1] would take me to BIOS screen.
I'd press [Esc] and exit without changing anything and it'd continue the startup routine as if nothing was different and I'd make chips.
Now, though, if I let it run through the routine after exiting the BIOS, it goes through the creation of the RAM drive, extracts the files, runs the CNC pogram, asks if 3- or 2-axis, and then dumps me to a DOS screen with an error that says "Invalid graphfile path".
I can get a little further by entering the shell menu after exiting BIOS and altering the paths.
That procedure goes like this:
Turn on machine.
[F1] to enter BIOS.
[Esc] to exit BIOS.
Press a key to enter shell before timer runs out.
[F2] to setup SRAM.
Press  for all questions (format, create directories, default parameters, default paths).
At this point, the procedure deviates from what the manual says. I don't get asked about ball screw tables or if SRAM should be set up.
After formatting the drive, it puts me back to the shell prompt.
[F5] to change paths. I change Graphics path to C:\
Press [Esc] to start CNC program.
It extracts the file as usual.
Press  for 3-axis.
At this point, it says "Floppy drive failure; Reassigning graphfile path. Press any key to continue."
After I press a key it says "Your parameter file is corrupt (PFILE.DAT). You should load a backup pararmeter file from disk. Press Y to continue". One problem with this is/was that in the shell, there is no option to copy the parameter file to floppy. I do have the sheet of parameters that came with the machine, though.
If I press anything other than [Y], it dumps me to a DOS prompt and says "CNC session done. Power down CNC to restart".
If I press [Y], it begins the CNC program and the control screen comes up for just a moment. At this point, it dumps me to a DOS prompt with a bunch of error text. It says more than the following but this is the important part (AFAICT):
CNC halted: Error 200
Divide by zero
I have to assume this is because of something set in the parameter file and was wondering if anyone knew how to get into the parameter file in order to rebuild it. The DOS "type" command didn't generate anything useful. Another thing I'd like to figure out is why the SRAM setup doesn't ask me about blanking the ball screw tables.
Thanks for any guidance,
I think it gave you the answer to your troubles allready.
Your problem is the CMOS may not be recognizing the memory above 640k and therefore the RAM drive doesn't get created. Without the RAM drive, there is no place to put the graph files. The floppy drive setting may also be incorrect and it may not read the back-up parameters disk.
You will continue to have problems until you replace the battery and get the CMOS settings correct.
When that is done, re-format the SRAM, load the default parameter files, etc., cycle the power off and on, put the parameters disk in the floppy drive, go to UTIL - FILES - LOAD
select your back-up parameters, cycle the power off and on again and you should be OK.
The PATH.DAT file in the B:\RAM directory tells the control software where to find its components. A typical PATH.DAT file for the basic Cent 1 looks like this:
A:\ROM\ (these are the canned cycles and others)
B:\RAM\ (these are the parameter files)
B:\PARTS\ (these are the P#### and O#### files)
D:\ (these are the graph files and this is usually the RAM drive)
C:\ (This is the floppy drive)
The A:\ drive is burned onto EPROMs and you can only read them.
The B:\ drive is the SRAM drive previously discussed and you can read and write to them.
The C:\ drive is the floppy drive.
The D:\ drive is a 'virtual' drive created in memory and anything there goes away when you turn off the power.
Thank you, ZZZZ, for the response. A battery and AT->PS/2 cable is on the way so I can set up the BIOS correctly. The explanation makes sense and I did not know the information about D:\ being a RAM drive. I thought B:\ was the RAM drive. Or, are they both RAM drives with one below 640k and one above?
Should there be anything in the BIOS that I will have to change? When I looked in the Basic menu (the only thing I can access without a keyboard), it shows no drives.
Will it be a problem if I don't have a parameter disk? The DOS shell gave/gives me no option to copy the parameters to disk. If I can get into the CNC control program, I can set the machine parameters using the sheet in the manual. I had to do this before when I was able to get the control program screen.
Thanks, again, for the help,
The B:\ drive is located on the memory chips on the simdisk card, the ones without the
labels. The RAM directory is on the B: drive as well as the PARTS directory.
When you set-up the CMOS, make sure that all the motherboard memory is recognized and select the 1.44 mb 3.5 inch drive as the floppy. Sometimes I have had to remove all the memory chips, re-boot with no memory, and then re-install them to get CMOS to see them all.
You can key-in the parameters from the sheets in the manual, entering the ballscrew tables can be a little tedious. Remember to make a new back-up parameters floppy disk when you are done.
Well, I received the battery and decided to give it a shot. I don't yet have the AT-to-PS/2 adapter so I knew that if the battery alone didn't fix it there wasn't much else I could do.
I manned-up and de-soldered the old battery rather than clipping the leads (reference my other thread).
After getting everyhing back together and turning the machine on, I got the same CMOS errors: "CMOS system options not set" and "CMOS display type mismatch".
Then, the 2 lines that say "Run setup utility" and "Press[F1] to resume".
Pressing [F1] gets me into the BIOS where I can't do much for lack of a keyboard but I did make a couple notes from the one page that I can access (Basic Setup).
- Hard Disks C and D "Not Installed"
Should I expect to see something? I tend to think not as that card is in an ISA slot, not a pin socket like a regular HDD.
- Floppy Drives A and B "Not Installed"
Will set A: to 1.44MB floppy and B: to "Not Installed"
- Primary Display "VGA/PGA/EGA"
My screen is black/white/grey. Should this be set to monochrome? Would this be the mismatch in the CMOS error?
- Keyboard "Installed"
The keys on the front panel work so this is expected.
At the top right it shows "Base Memory 640KB" and "Ext Memory 0KB".
Is the "Ext Memory 0KB" an issue? Each of the 4 memory slots is loaded with a SIMM that has 1 short IC and 2 longer ICs on it. I attempted to boot with no memory installed and it would not POST. Going by the numbers on the ICs, I believe these 4 sticks should be 2MB RAM.
You probobly do NOT have a hard drive; if there is one, it will be mounted to the lower left side panel of the card cage and there will be a ribbon cable connecting it to the ISA I/O card. It is not difficult to install a hard drive and if you plan on using large files, you may want to consider it.
Correct on the floppy drive, set the video to VGA, that will likely eliminate the display error.
See my note about the memory in a previous post.
Check out Goodwill or St. Vincent DePaul or similar stores, I have seen keyboards for around $1 at local stores.
It sounds like you are getting closer to success, good luck
Very close to complete success.
First, I'd like to thank ZZZZ and Franchcnc for the public and private help. I finally got the AT/PS2 keyboard adapter so I could edit the BIOS settings. The computer is retaining date/time/settings when powered off so I am confident that my battery replacement is good.
The success part of this is that I am able to get the controller to run without crashing. The "close" part is that I had to adjust the paths to do so and that is affecting the floppy drive.
If I set the graphics to C:\ and the floppy to D:\, after pressing  for 3-axis, it dumps me out to DOS with the terminal "invalid graphfile path" error; call milltronics, etc., etc.
When I set the graphics to D:\ and the floppy to Z:\, it re-assigned the graphics path on its own and ran the controller program without crashing and without giving me the "your parameter file is corrupt" error that it used to.
At that point, I changed parameters that needed changing, homed, jogged, etc. The next step was to load an NC program that I have run in the past. However, I couldn't load any programs because the floppy drive didn't work. The error it shows when trying to load NC prgrams is "Error 302: No files to select from". There are files on the disk, though.
Thinking it might be the floppy drive itself, I checked the BIOS and it was still set to 1.44MB 3.5" and I set it to seek floppy on power-on. It appears to work (and worked without issue before this whole ordeal started) as the green light comes on for a moment when I turn the machine on. Also, I created an MS-DOS diskette using WinXP and, although DOS won't load, I can tell that it is reading from the diskette. So, I am very confident that the floppy drive is not at fault here. I am fairly sure that it is due to the path being set to Z:\. However, that is the only way I can get it to use a graphics path that works.
Something that I noticed that may be relevant: When I was rooting around in the shell, I performed an SRAM check and it came up with errors. It indicates the following:
730112 bytes total disk space
346112 bytes in bad sectors
38400 bytes available on disk
Also, after it extracts the 19 files from the .arc file, it does a call to b:\ROM\init but that fails with a "bad command or file name" error. It continues loading the cnc program nonetheless. I don't recall if that is normal or not.
Thank you for the continued help, it is much appreciated.
Last edited by APinSoFla; 06-03-2010 at 02:50 PM.
The PATH.DAT file 'informs' the control software where to look for its components, it doesn't determine the drive assignments.
The BIOS first sets the drives, then the Simdisk card re-assigns the A:\ dirve to the EPROMS and the B:\ drive to the RAM chips (both on the Simdisk card). This bumps the floppy to the C:\ drive and the RAM drive to the D:\ drive. The control needs to see the floppy at its current assignment.
Your PATH.DAT file should look like:
The "346112 bytes in bad sectors" line refers to the unpopulated RAM chip area on the Simdisk card and it is normal on most Simdisk cards.
Similarly, the "call to b:\ROM\init but that fails with a "bad command or file name" error" is entirely normal.
It's great that you have almost all your problems resolved, you should really like the conversational programming power of the control.
Well, crap...do I feel like a dumb@ss. I had been setting the paths backwards. Floppy to D and Graphics to C. It needs to be as you said. Floppy to C and Graphics to D is what works.
However, the "No files to load" thing is still an issue. It will no longer recognize files that end in ".NC" as it used to. I have a disk that has 4 or 5 files on it named "O01234. " (the file extension is three spaces). The machine sees those. There are other files on the disk that end in ".NC" that it does not see. Thinking it might be related to the file name, I saved one as O12345.NC and it did not see that but did see O12345.___. Is there something in the [F10] utilities that needs to be set?
Thanks again for all the help.
I always remove the file extension on programs to be loaded on my Milltronics machines.
Set the MISC parameter "Full DOS File Names" to Yes.