Best G540 Motion Controller?

Interested in stepping up to a Gecko G540. Was debating the pros and cons of getting either a USB or Ethernet motion controller like the SmoothStepper (USS or ESS) or the UC100 / UC400. I have heard some great things about the performance of the UC100. It’s got a lot of bang for buck. I’m not as familiar with the ESS or USS but read they are higher performing. As I understand it the ethernet versions are better than the USB version, regardless of manufacture, is that true?

I can’t really compare the choices, I have the Ethernet Smoothstepper and the Gecko G540 with a G251 for a 5th motor.

I have had no issues at all with this combination. I am using it with Mach3. I have read that the ethernet version is much better than the USB version, but again…I never tried it.

Instead of going that route, what about this computer…
https://www.automationtechnologiesinc.com/products-page/cnc-router/dell-optiplex-desktop-complete

Have it just to run Mach 3 and connected straight to the G540 through it’s parallel port.

One nice thing about the ethernet smoothstepper, you get 3 parallel ports which gives you plenty of input and output connections to expand.

This is a little off topic but I talked to Gecko support today about a power supply.
By going by Gecko’s formula for the 140 oz/in that the xcarve uses it should be a 48V power supply.
Here is the stepper motor: https://www.automationtechnologiesinc.com/products-page/nema-23/kl23h251-28-4ap

The forumla is 32 * (√2.2) = 47.456VDC (2.2 is the motor’s inductance in mh)

Inventables uses a 400W 24V power supply. I asked Gecko if that was under powered for the steppers and he said it was.

Here is the power supply I was asking about and going to purchase.

I am using a similar 48v 12.5amp power supply for my setup.

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literally any computer would work

get a pciexpress parallel port…

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/startech-pci-express-parallel-adapter-card-black/9658074.p?skuId=9658074&extStoreId=&ref=212&loc=1&ksid=6af18bdf-b04c-9c09-436c-0000765b53cf&ksprof_id=8&ksaffcode=pg199188&ksdevice=m&lsft=ref:212,loc:2

I would make sure that any parallel port you get to expand the system is recommended by the folks at Mach3 (Artsoft). I have read that a bunch of the addon parallel ports do not work.

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I can’t speak to this personally, as I don’t own Mach3. I run an XController myself.

I second what @erikjenkins said. Make sure your hardward is approved by the software vendor.

Have you ever tried Mach 4?

One thing I know is that I will never buy a dell computer, but thanks for the idea :+1:

Yes, that, plus the added performance is why I am now leaning toward to ethernet smoothstepper. Initially I was going to buy the UC100 because of all the rave reviews about it, but from what I’ve learned so far it’s going to be hard to beat the ethernet smoothstepper.

Interesting, thank you very much for this Joe. I want to make sure that the power supply that I buy is rated for the 262 oz. NEMA 23 stepper motors, plus 10-15% headroom. I wasn’t really interested in the X-Controller anyway because of how it was designed.

I thought about Mach 4 but the more I read the more I was convinced to go with Mach 3. There were still too many issues with it. I am sure it would work fine, but I wanted something that was rock solid and Mach 3 is.

The 48v 12.5 Amp power supply I am using is pushing my 269 oz/in steppers with no issues. I set up a test program to run my system at 1000 IPM. That was without cutting, so no load on anything, but the movement was smooth with no issues at all. I just did a rough cut in hard maple with a 0.25" endmill with a depth of cut at 0.125" and I ran it at 250 IPM with 500 IPM rapids just to test things out. So under load in hard wood and a nice sharp bit…all was good.

What are you hearing? I was told Mach 4 was much better than Mach 3.

Of course this was from the company that makes Mach 4 :grinning:

I am certainly not trying to sway you one way or the other. I spent a lot of time going through the mach forums, it was not big things that decided for me, just a bunch of little things that I didn’t want to deal with. I would recommend going through their forums before you made the purchase.

Requirements if using the parallel port for machine control:
Desktop PC (Laptops are not supported) with at least one parallel port
32-bit version of Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 (64-bit versions will not work)
1Ghz CPU
512MB RAM
Non-integrated Video Card with 32MB RAM(Large G-code files, especially 3D files will require a video card with 512MB RAM or higher)

Also you have to set the parallel port to EPP in the BIOS. Computers with an add on card will not have this in the BIOS.

That looks really nice Bill. I’ll be getting a wireless pendant and I think all those controls will be on it. If not then I’ll look into picking up one of those too.

I looked at Mach3/4 and the smoothstepper and went with UCCNC and the UC400ETH. Excellent combination for about $215. Good luck with your build.

Jim, in your opinion what does UCCNC and the UC400ETH offer that’s better than Mach3/4 and the smoothstepper?

I wanted to use a pendant, does UCCNC support this? I looked at the manuals for both UCCNC and the UC400ETH and I do like what I see.

Yes it supports a pendant. I got a wireless XHC pendant on eBay (about $100). Works great. And with the UC400ETH you don’t need a parallel port. I understand the 300 version works well too SMS may offer some advantages but I don’t have details. What I liked most about the UCCNC software was that it has great support. I had a few questions early on and got quick accurate answers.

So wait, mach 3 does not work with 64 bit operating systems?

I am having no issues with Mach3 on windows 10 64bit.

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