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J Tech Laser and Spindle turn on together on X-Controller

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:

  1. How can I find out what GRBL firmware is in the X-Controller, I got it about 6 months ago.
  2. I tried to turn on the laser through UGS using M03 and both the laser and the spindle turn on.
  3. 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?

Any Help/Education is appreciated.
Domenick

Please excuse my lack of attention it’s late I just seen you use the x controller so this may not apply.
Only connect the item you are using they are fed from the same signal.

https://discuss.inventables.com/t/xcarve-jtech-grbl-update-11-12-2016/28943

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?

Does this make sense?

@DomenickSalvemini

Check out this thread:

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.

Also, check this out:

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could you wire in a 3 position switch. signal goes to the center position, then on one direction to the spindle, on the other direction to the laser? just and idea.

That might work, however, you would have to determine what the voltage level would be on an open input to the spindle and laser controller.

For example, if the laser input is pulled high, then when you moved the switch to open the input on the laser then the laser would come on full power. Same thing for the spindle.

If the inputs to the controllers are pulled low then the disconnected device would be off.

If inputs are floating, it’s anybody’s guess as to what you would get.

If you put that same three position switch on the power wire (assuming both used the same voltage) to the spindle and laser then it would work as you want it to.

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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?

@TysonKunz

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.

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@ LarryM
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?

It’s based on the Inventables 1.0c release.

Short answer, yes. It will do anything that the Inventables grbl will do plus the JTech laser.

1 Like

@ LarryM
Cool cant wait to try it.