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Author Topic: MACH3 CNC and Laptop  (Read 6688 times)
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Al-Amoudi
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« on: September 29, 2013, 09:45:21 09:45 »

Thank you gmua
I have not installed the software yet. But from what I red in the net most of the users recommend a dedicated PC as the software is time critical  and it access the printer port at the kernel level.
Would you kindly advice me in this regard
« Last Edit: October 04, 2013, 12:18:41 12:18 by pickit2 » Logged
OscarH
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« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2013, 10:47:53 10:47 »

Hi,
yes, I recommend to use on a dedicated PC not connected to Internet and without an Antivirus installed.
MACH3 is really sensitive to time and all PC resources should be (almost) dedicated to MACH3 when running.
I had some strange behavior when used Antivirus and Internet connexion, loosing sometime steps in a random way...
Today I have a dedicated PC in standalone for my CNC running MACH3. I do all the design/development on a separate PC, and transferring data through an USB stick.
Nevertheless, I have installed a minimum set of tools in the CNC computer : notepad, wordpad, Mach screen editor, camera driver, etc... but not much.
Ah yes, also running XP.
OscarH
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« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2013, 01:56:56 13:56 »

Hi!
I read somewhere that the using of laptops is not recommended for control CNC machine. Is it right?
What is the reason?
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FriskyFerretReloaded2
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« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2013, 03:53:31 15:53 »

>I read somewhere that the using of laptops is not recommended for control CNC machine.
Laptop are generally not recommended though some may work. Laptops can have problems because of their hardware architecture.

>What is the reason?
1. Many laptops don't have printer ports anymore and USB to Printer Port adapters don't work, usually.
2. Many laptops share the main memory with the graphics card. This causes problems.
3. Power Management can also cause problems. This can often be turned off by altering the power-saving policy in the OS but sometimes the power management features are automatic at the driver level.

Basic message: Use an older desktop. Thousands of CNC hobbyists have tried using laptops and had serious problems. Learn from their experience and use a desktop.

Note: Some of the mini desktops actually have laptop motherboards in them. I had a Dell mini that was basically a laptop-in-a-box.


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gmua
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« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2013, 07:09:18 19:09 »

I have not installed the software yet. But from what I red in the net most of the users recommend a dedicated PC as the software is time critical  and it access the printer port at the kernel level.
Would you kindly advice me in this regard

Hello again Al-Amoudi, let me say that I agree completely with OscarH, I also have a dedicated Desktop PC with the Parallel Port integrated to the Motherboard, but you can use an add-on Parallel Port card if yours does not have one available, my CNC Computer is not that new, but in case you are interested the specs are: Windows XP Pro SP3, Intel D101GGC MB with a Pentium D 3.0 GHz and 2 GB of RAM.

I hope this helps...
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snowman
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« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2013, 09:01:46 21:01 »

Hi,
I use my old laptop with PCMCIA parallel port adapter for many years without any problem. I have another laptop though which cannot run mach3 with PCMCIA card.  if laptop already have parallel port, I would use it. of course power saving features are problem but you can disable all with "advanced" parameters in control panel. only disabling them from power options is not enough. the exact problem about power futures is, laptops cuts the power of unused ports.  I don't know exactly why but some laptops prevents mach3 to count clock ticks. in diagnostics tab on mach3 you can see that clock frequency is fixed and does not count. I have this kind of compaq nx laptop and could not run mach3 on it though I tried everything.

and also I say  think about and ventilation dust problems. computers (and laptops) gets so many ducts in them. cleaning laptops are very hard. and broken parts cannot be replaced easily. If you use cabinets to protect them, then you cause ventilation problems. I say wireless keyboards with touchpad is your friend.

good luck.
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CocaCola
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« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2013, 10:03:48 22:03 »

but you can use an add-on Parallel Port card if yours does not have one available

Computers have come down significantly in cost, but just the same I always recommend plug in cards for this type of application as the $4 (delivered to your door) card is still cheaper to replace than the motherboard if something happens...  Also the specifications on dedicated plug in cards are generally a little tighter so many times you will have less software vs hardware conflicts with plug in cards...

As for the PC there are so many off-lease $50 legacy XP machines out there (that are plenty powerful for this application)  that there is little reason to no have a dedicated PC...
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Al-Amoudi
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« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2013, 03:29:49 03:29 »

Hi OscarH , gmua
Thank you for the valuable information
The following link contains instructions for Windows XP Professional System Optimization for use with Mach3

http://www.machsupport.com/forum/index.php?topic=6346.0;wap2

Do you think I should follow those instructions. or just install Windows XP with default settings then install Mach3.


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« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2013, 08:50:42 08:50 »

I have very old laptop Dell Altitude.
It has printer port, but too slow, only 1,2 Ghz.
Is it possible to use this laptop with limitation wich AykutCanturk  and  FriskyFerretReloaded2 have decribed?
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CocaCola
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« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2013, 10:53:12 10:53 »

Do you think I should follow those instructions. or just install Windows XP with default settings then install Mach3.

Probably not needed but it won't hurt...

A clean dedicated install of XP should be fine, do local (off disk) service pack updates to get current, don't clog it up with anti-virus, anti-spyware or any other always running in the background stuff and you should be fine...  As someone else I believe said keep it off-line no need for this or that program to be calling home and downloading new updates that might slow things down at the worst possible time and that includes Windows itself...

If you want there are stripped down tweaked XP versions out there that have a vast majority of the normal bloat and extras removed that will even perform better, especially if you are using a slower CPU or have limited RAM...
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« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2013, 12:24:07 12:24 »

I am interested with what old notebook which work with Mach3?

Sometimes i need it to be portable.

-ichan
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« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2013, 01:50:13 13:50 »

Mach3 does not work with the notebook. If you want to use a laptop, then you need a USB card for Mach3.
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« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2013, 03:49:04 15:49 »

I've read somewhere that some old notebook with parallel port can be used for Mach3 by changing the windows (xp) to be non-acpi machine, but no clear information about what brand and type.

-ichan

Posted on: September 30, 2013, 03:20:56 15:20 - Automerged

I just do some search to find where i read it, it is from here - and there is a link to an explanation how to make a Dell C610 works with Mach3.

From that cnczone link above people said laptops below can:
- Dell C610
- Dell D600/600M
- IBM Thinkpad R40
- Toshiba Tecra S1

Added from people comments in here:
- IBM Thinkpad T42
- Acer Travelmate 2000


It would be nice to have Mach3 on a portable computer, let say for a demo or for repairing others machine.

-ichan
« Last Edit: October 08, 2013, 03:52:42 15:52 by Ichan » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2013, 08:23:16 20:23 »

Hi!
As I understand it there is no consensus on this issue. My laptop is Dell C610. Will there be enough of its speed? I wrote it is only 1,2 Ghz. I will try...
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pickit2
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« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2013, 08:31:22 20:31 »

with the size of a cnc machine, why the need for a laptop?

just today I seen 50 or more fully working xp desktop pcs sent for scrap.

as to specs for workshop pc to run MACH, I would try to find a single core cpu..
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« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2013, 09:30:56 09:30 »

I don't have desktop computer with printer port, because I try to use laptop.
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MACH4
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« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2013, 09:37:55 21:37 »

There is a lot of mis-information around about using laptops with mach3.

They work fine! I prefer them to PC's because my machines are in a damp environment during the winter, this way it's easy to move the electronics to indoors.

Suggest using the 'Standard PC' driver, no other installed programs, no start up programs, no internet connection, no av, fresh xp install, no auto updates, no firewall, use maximum ram (which in the older laptops is still not very much). Use ac power adaptor and no wireless mice or keyboards. I don't even bother with updates as these are mainly IE security related.

I have 2 dedicated laptops hp ze4000 series, running mach3, used them for 4 years with no problems. I like the older laptops because the mach3 gui fits the older square screen better! If your laptop is equivalent to this, or better, then there shouldn't be a problem...

Edit: I use the USB Smooth Stepper board in my machines, it solves the printer port problem, steppers seem to run smoother, communication is faster, and the general machine hardware setup is made much easier. Strongly recommend them.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2013, 09:41:57 21:41 by MACH4 » Logged
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« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2013, 06:24:06 06:24 »

Yes, this is (.. like the older laptops because the mach3 gui fits the older square screen better) one more reason for using old laptop.
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FriskyFerretReloaded2
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« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2013, 06:38:07 18:38 »

FFS, if I said that one should generally not touch a live 50 kV electric transmission line, four forum weenies would have to start chattering about how to do it. Two would say they touch them daily with no problem. One would say he lets his children play on them.

There is a lot of mis-information around about using laptops with mach3.

They work fine! I prefer them to PC's because my machines are in a damp environment during the winter, this way it's easy to move the electronics to indoors.


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« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2013, 07:06:50 19:06 »

It'd be nice to use the realtime version of XP, XPe, no matter the H/W platform, but it's been impossible for me to find.

Posted on: October 04, 2013, 07:01:15 19:01 - Automerged

Of course, now that I said that, I went and looked just now and there seems to be a version here http://www.4shared.com/rar/zvcTKXEx/Windows_XP_Embedded.html (untested)
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« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2013, 01:31:09 01:31 »

My old IBM T42 can work with Mach3, which I often use for a portable engraving job.
It have a parallel port, OTOH it is recommended to use a desktop with parallel port card/s to run Mach 3 properly.
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« Reply #21 on: October 07, 2013, 11:57:24 23:57 »

My old IBM T42 can work with Mach3,.

I too run Mach3 on a T42 ( 1.8 Mhz CPU ) , also with Acer Travelmate 2000 ( 2.53 Mhz CPU ). Both have integrated LPT port.
 But , i must credit many comments in this threat, it is unreliable and sometimes ( really few ocations ) , it quits in middle of a job.

At the end of the day ,.... better grab a single core old PC , especially if you use more IO's , hence the need for a second LPT port....
 Of course , I have had an PC quit on me too.....  Grin

Greetings
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« Reply #22 on: October 08, 2013, 02:51:30 02:51 »

See? No problem.

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« Reply #23 on: October 08, 2013, 03:46:18 15:46 »

 Cheesy Sometimes a little problem may occur, perhaps..  Grin



-ichan
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« Reply #24 on: October 08, 2013, 11:38:19 23:38 »

There are no difference between parallel port in a laptop or built in on desktop mother board or additional parallel port cards on desktop, they all run the same, it is the software power saving that differentiate the behavior of the system.

Your laptop will quit in the middle of the job if you set it up with laptop settings that is with power saving mode on since as far as the system concern, even with the data flowing through the port, you have entered a period of inactivity since your keyboard or mouse states have changed for a long time.  And so the system will enter power saving mode and sleep thus stopping your CNC job in the middle of the work.

Naturally if you wish to use it to run long CNC program, you would set it to work as desktop model with no power saving and never shut down or sleep.


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