First let me state that I am a mechanical engineer and firmware lingo and procedures are greek to me but I read a lot and make do. That being said I used to program G-Code a lifetime ago when punch tapes were around and my brain is very dusty. So here’s what I’ve done.
I installed a 2.8W J Tech laser on my 100mm X-Carve and X-Controller per J Tech’s instructions. I haven’t changed any firmware.
I have a DW611 with a digital logic signal switch to turn the AC power on and off. It is hooked up to SPINDLE (0-10V) and Ground on the X-Controller
The Laser driver is hooked up to the SPINDLE (PWM) and Ground
Here are my questions:
How can I find out what GRBL firmware is in the X-Controller, I got it about 6 months ago.
I tried to turn on the laser through UGS using M03 and both the laser and the spindle turn on.
Why is there a signal telling both to turn on? Is the command wrong or do I have to give it a different command first? Or should I just turn off the item not being used at the time?
These two signals are not independent. The 0 - 10 volt signal is derived from the PWM signal internal to the X-controller. The only way to change the value of the 0 - 10 volt signal is to manipulate the PWM signal.
Since both the spindle and laser are controlled by the PWM signal you should set something up external to the X-controller to select only the spindle or the laser when you have both attached to the X-carve.
The most simple way to do this is to only apply power to one device at a time. This is not limited to the X-controller. Using the Arduino/gShield should follow the same advice.
Thank you Larry and Shane.
Now on to learning how to switch grbl firmware back and forth.
There is a lot of threads on the topic of firmware and sending g-code.
It seems that the programs I want to use are:
Easel (for spindle) grbl that came with X-Controller
PicSender (for Laser) grbl from J Tech
UGS (for Spindle) BEST grbl firmware?
UGS (for Laser) BEST grbl firmware?
Eventually Vectric (for Spindle) BEST grbl firmware?
You can use Easel, UGCS, or PicSender to send your G-code. Pick your favorite.
PicSender is fully integrated with my version of grbl. Once you set up your grbl settings for the spindle and laser PicSender will automatically load in the correct set of values when you change from spindle to laser.
The other programs do not integrate as nicely with my version of grbl.
So I am looking at adding a laser to my repertoire ( I have it in the shopping cart ready to buy) What i am really wondering, is how difficult will it be to go back and forth to easel and the spindle? I use a DW611 router not on auto start so that part should not be a problem. I have had an x-carve for about 1 year now so it is the old controller and not the x-controller. I am not specifically code friendly but can figure it out if needs be. Just wondering how much of a headache it will be going back and forth or is it simple enough to just bite the bullet and make it happen?
It depends on how you set up your system and what software you want to use.
There is a really easy way, and then there are other options.
First the easy way. If you use my version of grbl (free) and you use PicSender (about $25 for a license) then after you set up your grbl parameters for spindle and laser in PicSender you can switch back and forth by selecting one of two buttons in PicSender (spindle or laser). Once you have made the correct selection in PicSender you can go back to Easel and do your spindle work.
You can also use the most current version of standard grbl (version 1.1e) with PicSender if you prefer that version.
If you want to do it with a different set of programs then it’s a bit more involved.
So far as I understand it your version of grbl is going to work with Easel and PicSender, which takes care of 90% of my work but eventually I want to use something a little more fancy like a Vectric V-Carve Pro or Cut 3D. Will your grbl handle that too?