I used to work on a tree mill years ago at the shop I worked at. I didn't
know anything about the control computer but it had Baldor servo motors and
If the controls don't come up easily I'd consider converting to a more
modern PC based control. I like EMC2 because it's free, hardware is
reasonable, it's very configurable, and many users & developers to help you
get it working right.
I may have persuaded you in that direction but it seemed a natural fit for
you with your programming, linux, and machining interests.
Thanks for taking the photos and taking us along through the conversion
process with you. It gives others details of what's involved and hopefully
some encouragement to convert old controls instead of paying big money for
old obsolete controls.
Making anything else on it? AR receivers or anything?
I'm not sure what vintage it is, but the serial # looks
like a date, as in 1985. If so, I REALLY would advise
against repair if it is more than a blown fuse or loose
connector. If you replace a board, then another board
will die within months. I had a slightly older control
that I hacked onto a manual Bridgeport, and had to do
board-level repairs 3 times in 9 months. I was overjoyed
to become one of the first outside users of EMC back in
Since this is a servo machine, I would recommend using
LinuxCNC (the new name of EMC2) which is most at home
You may be able to save the servo amps, depending on
the make, some of them are quite reliable.
1998 huh? That's the year i decided to go Camsoft after switching my
Bandit to Ahha and not liking steppers. I'm suggesting EMC to the kid
as it is SO MUCH more economical. Plus I expect Camsoft to be out of
business in less than ten years.
Now, I REALLY LIKE using Opto 22 brand isolated 24 volt IO and the PCI
bus cards to control them. what are the chance EMC will run this card?
Umm, it was discontinued 6 years ago, and is 5 V PCI ONLY! You may have
trouble finding a motherboard the card will even FIT into the connectors,
My interface boards for LinuxCNC already have optoisolated inputs
built in, and place to plug your SSRs for output. Mesa can interface
to Opto-22 boards, I think. But, you really won't need much digital
I/O on this machine. Spindle forward and reverse, coolant, and
servo amp enable are the outputs, and maybe there is a tool release
cylinder. And, a few limit and home switches for inputs. Does it have
a spindle encoder? If so, then you really want to go with LinuxCNC
for rigid tapping.
Really, the cost of the control program is small. But, with LinuxCNC,
you know you can get stuff fixed, often within a day or two, when a problem
You seen that too. I asked camsoft and they told me any card using an
8255 IO chip will work with their software. This just happens to be
the vendor I've bought from.
Doesn't have to be this card, I'm just asking if LinuxCNC can do 96
I/O cards or similar with cables to Opto 22 modules
I'm used to TONS of I/O. Don't think I can go back now <VBG> Most of
it is inputs for a real nice operator panel. From my perspective this
is the only area LinuxCNC is still lacking. Of course all this I/O
must be opto isolated and I think 24 VDC is the best for control
Have you ever looked at these? 16 relays per board, with 16 control
inputs & SPDT outputs. A couple 8 bit parallel outputs can easily give
you 256 relays. You could even do it with a couple USB to parallel
adapters. It can be done with a single parallel port, if you use a
microprocessor, or a string of 74HC595 ICs.
Well, in general, somebody has to write a device driver.
I see a driver for an Opto-22 AC5 card, don't know what that is.
It apparently handles up to 4 of them, however.
Also, there is an 8255 driver, it can handle up to 16 of those.
Can't say for sure it is compatible with your particular board.
Ah, there are a number of solutions for operator panels, such as USB
and serial, that get rid of the massive cables and dozens of Opto-22
And if you're just bent on scanning the keyboard yourself, you could use a
matrix instead of a separate input for each key.
There are lots of very simple ways to save on inputs. One 8255 (antique as
it is) could handle hundreds of I/Os, properly arranged.
Speaking of which, kindasorta, has anyone bought and used one of these
Chinese thangs on a CNC router? I'm wondering if they would be useful
for signmaking/carving. http://tinyurl.com/7mxbrzc
It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails,
admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.
-- Franklin D. Roosevelt
Well ... it depends. I've never used them, but the serious
machinist where I used to work considered them mechanically very good,
but that there were mostly problems with relays developing poor
contacts. This was back around 1990 or so, and I don't know how old the
machine itself was. (No, I did not get a chance to see it -- except
once at a distance going past on a truck to the surplus sales place
(Army base, FWIW.)
If this is of similar vintage -- the first thing is to try
plugging in new relays and see what that does. If that doesn't do it,
and if you don't get better advice, plan to upgrade it to a modern
It appears to have servo motors, and linear encoders, so it is a
really good starting point for a conversion using linuncnc (was EMC2),
but it might be more of a problem if you were using MACH instead, I
think that is more focused on steppers.
I know nothing about this mill. But, since you say that the "control is
dead", I assume you mean that nothing works at all.
I'd say this is likely to be good news. It could be as simple as a blown
fuse or a bad power supply. I'd start with google.
Apparently, at least, the company is still in business. I got to a site
(findamachine.com) that says it'll give me a phone number if I sign in.
I'd call them and ask some basic guidance and then for service and
operations manuals and see where it goes from there.
Even if they say you need to buy a new control or whole new machine, you
will be ahead of the game.
A couple of years ago, a friend had a failure with his optical/torch cutting
machine. The mfr said they didn't repair boards or sell them, but did
supply a manual that included a schematic. The friend took the problem to a
local electronics guy who diagnosed the problem and fixed it. I think it
was a $10 IC. If you can find a good old-fashioned TV repair type guy who
really understands discrete component electronics, that would be the way to
Urrk! That's SO 1980's. I can't IMAGINE drip feeding today,
it would be like torture. (water torture??)
As for the wiring diagrams, they are only of the "top level",
with no schematics of the boards.
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