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Thread: PROTOTRAK MX3

  1. #1
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    Default PROTOTRAK MX3

    Hi everyone I have a 1997 Prototrak 2000 with an MX3e control and have been experiencing a number of problems over the last couple of years in so much the x axis keeps throwing wobbly's which pointed to the glass scale being dirty but my shop is not particularly "dirty" I am just a hobbyist not a full blown machine shop. After cleaning it goes OK for a short period but then resorts back to being a pain. Also the screen went black on me a couple of weeks ago and only came back up after a few reboots.

    Long story short as its a very dated system using a floppy disc to enter programs (small at that) and from a 386 computer I would like to rip it out and install a new control system to also enable a 4th axis. My dilemma is ideally I'd like to use the existing servo motors which seem to be bomb proof but I don't know enough about what I can and can't do to get me up and running with a modern system.

    I would appreciate any help and advice on my best way forward in achieving a solution.

    TIA

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    Default Re: PROTOTRAK MX3

    As a 22 year old hobby machine, it's not worth spending loads of money on retrofitting, so how about something like Centroid Acorn (US), UCCNC (Hungary) or DDCSV 1.1 (China, see their Facebook group). If the motors and drives are sound, you can reuse them and save a lot of time and expense. If you are more ambitious and have loads of time, you might look at LinuxCNC. These can all control 4 axes.

    If you intercept the step / direction signals, limit switches etc and connect them up to a modern controller such as one of the above, the effort and cost could be minimised - of the order of 500 - 1000 Euros. Hard to say without knowing more details of the current machine.



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    Default Re: PROTOTRAK MX3

    Thanks Muzzer. Although the machine is 22 years old it is like new and has probably only had 6 months use in that amount of time. It even has the plastic protection on some of the scales etc. I have been told for around 1000 it could be sorted with a decent 4 axis system hopefully utilising the existing servo motors which is doable for me.

    Last edited by bugattiman; 10-12-2019 at 10:03 AM.


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    Default Re: PROTOTRAK MX3

    I'm not an expert on Prototrak machines, so this is just some things to think about, but...

    First I would find out exactly what kind of servo drives you have; and then set about getting documentation for them. This will tell you how to interface them to the new CNC control; and what kind of interface card you need to make it work.

    Next I would find out what kind of glass scales you have; and get documentation for those as well. They are probably incremental quadrature encoders, but the documentation will tell you for sure; and give the pinout for the connectors as well.

    The largest expense is going to be the PC itself; followed by the CNC software & interface card package. Overall, though, I do expect you to be able to bring it in for under a thousand.

    In any case, good luck!



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