Problems with UGS... Any alternatives?

I have a new X-Carve with the X-Controller, and Z-Probe…

The entire machine was setup using easel. I have limit switches and homing all done and the machine works perfectly when using easel. I use VCarve Pro only for my projects and have been using easel as my g-code sender without issues. Right now I have no issues with using easel as my PP g-code sender, however…

I want to eventually upgrade to a laser by J Tech and Easel cannot be the g-code sender for both the laser and router, only the router per their FAQ’s regarding the X-Carve.

From the J Tech site:
We recommend not using Easel to control your X Carve when using the laser. If you are using the Inventables firmware in your machine (the firmware that came with your X Carve) then you can use Easel when routing. If you updated your firmware to the J Tech version, we recommend using another program for both routing and laser engraving. You do not need to switch firmware between laser engraving and routing, all firmwares will work with both."

So here is my dilemma, I downloaded the Nightly version of Universal G-Code Sender and although it does connect, talk somewhat to my X-Controller and X-Carve, I can’t get the machine to do any of the setup stuff and I’m getting alarms and stuff like that. I’m completely in the dark on what steps I need to do to home it, or get machine 0 identified, or anything else… It’s really greek, and I’m getting frustrated with the lack of clear and concise instructions on how to use it.

If I can’t get UGS setup on my machine I’ll never be able to use the laser.

Does anyone have recent experience setting up a new X-Carve 2.0 w/X-Controller that has already gone through calibration and full setup initially in easel, and then set it up right away to work with UGS? I need step by step instructions. I have read what the various commands are and have a basic understanding what they do, however I need guidance on how send G-code via Easel or UGS interchangeably.

Nazareth, Pa.

awesome post title… good luck getting to 3rd base :wink:

Since you plan on using a JTech laser with your machine I would offer an alternative and you can choose which way to go.

You can use UGCS (a little more manual work but it works fine) or you can use PicSender (not much manual work at all), and there are other options.

Either way I can help you get set up so that you can use the spindle and laser with one version of the firmware (grbl).

For about $25 you can have an integrated solution with PicSender and my version of grbl. The $25 is for PicSender. My version of grbl is free to anyone that wants to use it.

I recommend that you download UGCS version 1.0.9 as it is the most recent released version. The nightly build often has problems, but it does allow you to send larger G-code files.

I have some work to do this morning, but I can help later today.

Google for PicSender and check it out.

Let me know which way you want to go and I’ll help.


OK Larry,

I’ve downloaded the trial version and got it to connect with my machine… Now what do I do? (I’ll register it after I get it working)


I have to leave. Play around with the demo version and get familiar with it.

Download this hex file:

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I’m pretty much at the exact same place basically as Stephen. Bought the new X-Carve with X-Controller and setup with Easel and all works great there. I’ve also have UGS running (this is all on a Mac by the way) and I loaded the X-Carve/Jtech GRBL file that Larry links last night. On the windows install on my Mac I have installed the demo version of ‘PicEngrave Pro 5 + Laser’ and I get a G-Code file which when loaded through UGS is getting all the X,Y movement once I enter a $X in the manual entry box and clear the first alarm pop-up (so close but still not there). I bought the JTech 3.8w and it’s mounted and fires when I use the manual physical switch to turn it on. When I load the G-Code file I see the M03 command with the corresponding Sxxxxx codes as the X/Y movement lines begin. (Gcode attached). Laser is wired to the PWM and ground connectors on the XCarve per their install instructions. I checked the wiring and I have connection on the Red and Black wires at both end so that shouldn’t be the issue either. Still trying to get it figured out; my guess is I’m missing something in the G-Code since the machine is performing all the X/Y movement through UGS but I’m not ruling out wiring since I haven’t gotten the JTech laser to fire through software.chaos.txt (1.2 MB)


The new version (Nov) layout I have is different than the supplied Sept pdf file? do you have an updated pdf? Position sent and feedback check boxes don’t exist…


We are working on a new PDF. We elimintated those settings because we found Position Feedback was not needed.

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Did you press the enable button on the driver? The gcode looks correct.

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I think I’ve got everything enabled in that the fans on the laser are running (they won’t unless you press the reset switch on the driver board) and if I flip the switch to manual while the XCarve is running the laser does fire (I just end up with a black square). I don’t think it’s a PicSender - GCode issue at this point then. Most likely something isn’t set right in GRBL to enable the laser (as I said I flashed the linked HEX file last night). I really do appreciate any insight you can provide and I certainly don’t think it’s an issue with your software at this point but I do think I’ve got a software issue (most likely GRBL). Here is a youtube link to the machine running the G-Code I linked. enter link description here

Look and see if these grbl settings are $30=255, $31=0 & $32=1. If $30 is set to 12000, the S255 in the gcode may not increase the laser power enough to burn. That would be only 1/47 of full power.

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Most of the S values in your G-code file are less than 30. 30/255 is about 11 percent power. There are some values above 100.

Check this thread:



Drop me a note and let me know how far you have gotten. We can proceed.


I’ve been able to home the machine, that’s all so far… I have some information loaded in the probe section. If you were able to call me and walk me through that would be great…


Sorry, I don’t have enough time for a call, I can check in from time to time to answer questions, but I stay pretty busy most of the day.

What has you stopped at this point?


I can see right now I’m not going anywhere with this… Outdated pdf, and no idea how to get this thing to even jog or use my z-probe… I guess my plan to have a laser is dead in the water…


My GRBL settings were: $30=1, $31=0, $32=0 so I’ve changed the $30=255 and $32=1 and now we’re getting somewhere. I manually stopped the engrave after letting it run a minute or two. Thanks for the feedback; now I just need to get a full license copy running and try that.


It will work. There is a learning curve that you have to get past. It’s the same process no matter which software you choose to use it. Some are just a little more involved than others.

Take a look at this video - I’m not suggesting this is the way to go necessarily, but it will help you learn a little bit about the process so the program interface may make more sense to you.


The Tutorial PDF is current for most of the functions including the Jogging. We only made a couple of small changes in the latest version.

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I’m going to abandon this thread because there are now two complete different topics going at the same time… I’m just trying to get an alternative to running easel down the pike. Just trying out the demo PS and running it for the first time but having problems. I don’t have a laser yet… I started this thread to find out how to get out of the problem I’m having with UGS…Larry chimed in with a recommendation to go with PS. However, I’m not getting anywhere with the program either. I can get it to connect, home my machine but can’t even get it to do simple jogs even in the simplest base commands…

I’m really getting confused as to who the replies are going to…

I’ll sit back and reconsider my next move… Good luck if you want to keep this thread going…