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jcbeck84
01-04-2009, 06:05 PM
There might be a thread for this already, however the search function is currently giving me an error for everything I try. So here I am. I have a couple laptops and no pc's. I plan on buying the gecko 540 as my motor controller. Problem is laptops don't have 25 pin parallel ports. Has anyone had any success connecting a laptop to this drive or any other drive with a parallel port connection?

Crevice Reamer
01-04-2009, 06:13 PM
Laptops are not good candidates for CNC for many reasons. Neither is Vista. You need a desktop with parallel port and XP or Win 2000. Try one of these:

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/search.asp?keywords=off+lease+desktop

CR.

Dorsal
01-04-2009, 06:38 PM
I'm buying a SmoothStepper to use on my Dell laptop - it has a DB-25 port, but the signal quality is only sufficient for a printer. Signal quality is the problem, and none of the cheap USB or Cardbus or PCMCIA to Parallel cards will work for CNC either, for the same reason. I have heard some folks got good results with the TransDigital card.

Crevice Reamer
01-04-2009, 07:07 PM
Laptops have more CNC problems than just PP voltage.

Chances are good that, after you get your Smooth Stepper running, you may STILL have CNC problems from the laptop. Better to invest the money into a desktop--Although newer desktops have voltage/Vista problems and come without parallel ports.

CR.

jcbeck84
01-04-2009, 07:15 PM
This may be a little off topic and probably in the wrong forum, but has anyone given any thought to or know anything about how we are going to control these things in the future once no computer comes with a parallel port?

Dorsal
01-04-2009, 07:22 PM
The issue is not about "investing" in a desktop - they're cheap! The problem is about where to PUT a desktop/monitor/keyboard in my garage.
About the future, I've been looking for a wifi-to-parallel receiver with some actual specifications listed - maybe that will be the way to go.

jcbeck84
01-04-2009, 08:31 PM
Be glad you have a garage. I have 800 sq feet in downtown Milwaukee to live in as well as pursue my projects. I think I will pick up a pc because they are cheaper than I had thought. I'll worry about upgrading when there is a reliable option to just having a pc with a parallel port. A wireless connection would be nice.

LUCKY13
01-04-2009, 10:01 PM
AS far as the future, more & more products come with USB support from the get go. The future should be fine.



About driving a PP port device from a laptop, I am not sure but there may be some products that came handle this. I have seen quite a few boards that are really just optoisolating boards. But these boards have the ability to take the lower voltage port signal & trigger the optoisolater, then the other side of the opto can send the signal in a 5v format.

These boards true function is to protect the lower voltage circuits (3.3v circuit) from the 5v signals. I think there may be even lower voltage circuits in some computers and if I am not mistaking these opto boards can be triggered with the lower voltages as well.


Here is a link to one of the many boards I have seen. Now, there can be speed problems according to some people, and this is where I don't know if these boards will work for this type application. It will at least be worth looking into it, but transferring the data/signals fast enough may be a problem.


Opto Boards (http://www.futurlec.com/Mini_Opto_Isolator.shtml)



Also, there are a few CNC controllers right now that use USB. One which is a very nice setup is the CNC Brain. This is a new controller that has many new features compaired to other controllers. In fact it offers double closed loop control, plus has a very high limit on the amount of data it can tranfer to the motor drives. Like Mach3 I believe will go 45,000 what evers a second, the Brain will go 500,000 per second. So in the end the Brain can offer much faster rapids, plus closed loop operation. Now it is a new product that has just hit the market. Its got a ways to go before it is as mature as something like Mach3, but it will get there and the software/hardware is setup so good that it will not take near as much to get this package to the point that it catches up with other controllers. The thing is when it gets there, it will be well beyound other controllers.


I think there is a company in the Netherlands that offers USB supported controllers & maybe even drives. It will take me a little while to find that link. I checked them out one time or the other and it looked like a pretty nice setup. I never did look into seeing if I could get them shipped to the USA. I will see if I can find that link and post back later.



Jess

TOTALLYRC
01-04-2009, 11:13 PM
There might be a thread for this already, however the search function is currently giving me an error for everything I try. So here I am. I have a couple laptops and no pc's. I plan on buying the gecko 540 as my motor controller. Problem is laptops don't have 25 pin parallel ports. Has anyone had any success connecting a laptop to this drive or any other drive with a parallel port connection?

Mach3 says right on their website that Mach3 IS NOT SUPPORTED ON A LAPTOP UNLESS AN EXTERNAL MOTION CONTROLLER IS USED.
This is due to the power saving features used on a laptop interupting the stream of pulses needed to move the drives.

A Smoothstepper is an external motion controller and was designed to move the step generation from the pc onto a purpose built device. Works very well with desktops and IIRC very well on laptops too.

If you are building a not overly complicated machine, check out the controller from Deskcnc, works thru the serial port and will run on as little as a win95 p100 computer. I use it on my router with a p233 touch screen computer and it does a fine job and is pretty easy to use. The software it comes with also includes Cam functions, ie; G-code generation. Also works with Vista.
www.deskcnc.com

I am using Vista with my dspmc/ip (external motion controller) and it works very well. Vista is a supported operating system for Mach3, just follow the directions from the Mach3 website. If I was going to use Vista thru the pport, I would do a clean install to get rid of the bloatware that is running in the backround and comes preinstalled on a new computer.

Parallel ports are available for pci express slots so it will be another 10 years minimum before you can't get a ppport. There seems to be more and more options that don't use the pport, so I wouldn't worry too much.