Newbie How to convert parallel port to USB in 90's CNC machine


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Thread: How to convert parallel port to USB in 90's CNC machine

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    Post How to convert parallel port to USB in 90's CNC machine

    Hi, I'm currently working on updating a DiaDrive 2000 CNC machine from the late 90's so that it can be controlled by modern computers. This is my first time working with a CNC machine. It has a 25 pin parallel port that I need to somehow work with so that it can connect with a computer that only has a USB drive. I can work with an Arduino to achieve this as well if it helps.

    Is this the best option or is it better to try and control it directly with the Arduino?

    Should I look into buying one of the parallel to USB converters for CNC machines that they sell online?

    Thank you in advance for any reply!

    Similar Threads:
    Last edited by walnutCNC; 09-21-2023 at 10:28 AM.


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    Default Re: How to convert parallel port to USB in 90's CNC machine

    According to this document http://www.mutronic.de/pdf/DIADRIVE%202000%20-E-.pdf this system comes with software and a dongle. It is probably connected to a PC using a parallel port cable. This software probably only runs on a parallel port. If you change this, you have to use other software.

    For CNC control, most USB to Parallel connectors won't work.
    EstleCam, UC100, and others do have USB to Parallel boards that work. The parallel port connections at the CNC side are not standard. You have to figure out the wiring of your CNC.

    Arduino (UNO, Mega) running Grbl can be used to interface a parallel port CNC. Just google Arduino CNC parallel for some more information.



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    Default Re: How to convert parallel port to USB in 90's CNC machine

    Hi,
    if the machine is from the 90's then the PC that runs it will be from the 90's as will the software that runs it, both of which are 25+ years old.

    Any solution which leaves that PC and/or software in place will have all the drawbacks that implies. Even if you could find a gadget to go parallel to USB or vice versa
    it will still be an old PC with old software serving up the data.

    Consider:
    Mach4
    UCCNC
    LinuxCNC
    Centroid Acorn

    These all at least use an up to date PC.

    Craig



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    Default Re: How to convert parallel port to USB in 90's CNC machine

    Hi, thank you for your reply!

    Do you have any tips for figuring out the wiring of my CNC?
    Sadly I can't find any documentation on the hardware of DiaDrives.



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    Default Re: How to convert parallel port to USB in 90's CNC machine

    Quote Originally Posted by walnutCNC View Post
    Hi, thank you for your reply!
    Do you have any tips for figuring out the wiring of my CNC? .
    The "easiest" way would be opening the box and following the wiring.

    If you have a working system, you could also monitor the signals at the parallel port pins using an oscilloscope. Start by the input signals (limit pins, probe, e-stop, etc), than the output signals (coolant, spindle enable, spindle output, etc) and finally the stepper signals (enable, direction, pulse). A (digital) voltage meter can also be used to find the pin settings.



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    Default Re: How to convert parallel port to USB in 90's CNC machine

    Hi,

    If you have a working system, you could also monitor the signals at the parallel port pins using an oscilloscope. Start by the input signals (limit pins, probe, e-stop, etc), than the output signals (coolant, spindle enable, spindle output, etc) and finally the stepper signals (enable, direction, pulse). A (digital) voltage meter can also be used to find the pin settings.
    This would work but relies on a number of assumptions:
    1) That you have a working system, or least working well enough that you could with imagination and skill 'fill in the gaps' caused by faults
    2) That you have test gear, an oscilloscope at the least, and that OP is skilled in its use
    3) That you have the time, possibly many hours, to reverse engineer your existing system.

    Even if if this criterion is met you still end up with the 'old PC and software'. Should at some later date either fail then you are rather committed to repairing what you have by virtue of the many hours
    already invested in reverse engineering the system and the cost of the hardware to update it.

    If 1), 2) and 3) were easy and quick, by all means, but if they are not, then ask yourself 'even if I'm successful, will the result be worth the effort and will that result survive several years, at least, of use?'

    Craig



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    Default Re: How to convert parallel port to USB in 90's CNC machine

    Craig,
    The OP wants to update the PC and needs a new (USB) controller.
    You are right about points 1,2,3 but to connect a new controller, the pin out is needed.
    Huub



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    Default Re: How to convert parallel port to USB in 90's CNC machine

    Hi,
    my plan called for a new PC and CNC software running a motion control board and breakout board combination. The motor outputs would go direct
    to the stepper drivers, and the home and limit inputs would go direct to the breakout board, ie NO parallel port plug at all.

    Craig



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    Default Re: How to convert parallel port to USB in 90's CNC machine

    One way is to use an Arduino, which can act as a bridge between the parallel port on the CNC machine and the USB port on your computer. This involves writing some code to facilitate communication between the CNC machine and the computer. Another option is to purchase a parallel to USB converter specifically designed for CNC machines, which you can find online. This converter essentially does the same thing as the Arduino solution but may be simpler to set up if you're not familiar with programming. Ultimately, the best option depends on your preferences and comfort level with technology.



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    Default Re: How to convert parallel port to USB in 90's CNC machine

    Hi Walnut - Just buy a Knighthawk controller. It will run on the new computer, use wifi to run if you like, even use your phone to run the cnc. By the time you muck around trying to convert and update various things you will spend more $$$ on it then a Knighthawk controller. Then wire the motors to the Knighthawk and you will be making sawdust in a day... If the drivers are good then use a scribe board even cheaper... Peter

    https://www.cnc3d.com.au/nighthawkcnc-controller

    https://www.cnc3d.com.au/nighthawk-s...cnc-controller



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How to convert parallel port to USB in 90's CNC machine

How to convert parallel port to USB in 90's CNC machine