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BlackBox

Discussion in 'Other Builds' started by Mark Carew, Feb 22, 2019.

  1. Gary Caruso

    Gary Caruso OpenBuilds Team
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    No this uses GRBL (I use mine with Estlcam control flash)
    For Mach 4 you need a Mach 4 compatible controller.
    Gary
     
  2. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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  3. Batcrave

    Batcrave Journeyman
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    If someone comes up with a way to drive a BlackBox (or any GRBL controller) with Mach3/4, it'd make me a very happy bat... but they sort of compete for the same position in the control chain (or a similar position in somewhat differently shaped control chains): Mach eats G-code & spits out step/dir pulses to the stepper drivers, while with a GRBL setup the software just hands the G-code itself straight to the board (or BlackBox), where the firmware then generates the pulses for the drivers.

    If you could get Mach to just spit the G-code back out again (after reducing/re-posting it to GRBL-flavored G-code), you might be able to do it - but it would likely lose a lot of Mach's fine control and configuration, while adding all of GRBL's problems and limitations to all of Mach's.

    Of course, there are also more complicated scenarios where Mach 3/4 hands off the stepgen to an intermediate hardware device like a Smooth Stepper, but, seeing as I've never been sure just how that setup works, I'm going to refrain from speculating on whether or not it's in any way similar.


    -Bats
    (appreciate this moment. refraining from speculation is not something that comes easily to me.)
     
  4. Metalguru

    Metalguru Veteran
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    You could certainly use a UC100 or an ESS or something similar to replace the Arduino on your machine, these have MACH3 drivers and output pulse and direction on hard wired pins. Which is essentially exactly what the Arduino does.

    All any motion controller does is take g-code and turn it into hardware pins to control the stepper drivers. The original MACH3 used to do this with a software motion controller driving a parallel port card which is essentially just a general purpose I/O port with inputs and outputs. These were connected directly to the stepper drivers and limit inputs through a BOB which just did some signal conversion and housekeeping. There are no smarts on a BOB. All of the motion control calculations were done on the PC.

    With the Arduino, it just provides a platform to run it's own motion controller, interface limits, and accept g-code over a USB port. You can certainly replace your Arduino/GRBL with any motion controller you want. The Black Box is just an arduino with stepper drivers built in. The ESS for instance has a much more complex motion controller than GRBL, and would make for much smoother operation. Not nearly as cheap, though...

    The ESS driver on MACH3 just replaces the MACH3 software motion controller with it's own hardware based motion controller, and replaces the parallel port card with it's own I/O. There is no mystery here.

    Trying to drive a GRBL based motion controller with a MACH 3 motion controller makes no sense. That's like using a laptop to force feed keyboard data through a USB port into a desktop computer. You only need the one computer...

    Problem solved. Think inside the box...

    MG
     
    #604 Metalguru, Mar 24, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2020
    Mark Carew and David the swarfer like this.
  5. Mark Carew

    Mark Carew OpenBuilds Team
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    Hi @Bill Jennings You will not need Mach4 as a controller software. With the BlackBox you can now use any number of grbl based controllers, in fact we have one here we call OpenBuilds CONTROL. Feel free to download and give it a look. Its completely free grbl control software.
    Hope this helps
     
  6. DarkPenguin

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    OpenBuilds CONTROL is lovely. I grbl it up in fusion 360 and use OBC to dump things to the machine.
     
  7. DarkPenguin

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    What are the symptoms of a a limit switch shielding issue with the black box? Or I guess any grbl controller. Had a surfacing job pause twice. I just punched run and it picked up again. Trying to figure out if it is a limit switch issue or if a hose or wire was smacking the keyboard...
     
  8. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    A big red error box telling you a limit has been hit.

    Pausing is more like USB EMI interrupting the serial stream (software sits there waiting for Grbl to say "OK" after receiving the last command, and that command never arrived or got scrambled)
     
  9. DarkPenguin

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    That's how I thought the limit switches worked. Cool. Thanks!

    90% chance my air hose hit the space bar.
     
  10. Batcrave

    Batcrave Journeyman
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    It doesn't sound like it's related to the limit switches - at least directly. If it were, I'd expect to see the usual "limit switch triggered, homing suggested, etc" alert.

    I hate to even suggest it, but that sounds like the beginning of my noise problem. Any chance you're using a VFD or any other noisy electronics?

    -Bats
    (the best part of waking up is ... what is the best part? It all seems pretty wretched)
     
  11. DarkPenguin

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    Nope. Just a Makita router.
     
  12. Batcrave

    Batcrave Journeyman
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    ... or, yeah, you could've just paused it.

    The difference is, pause makes it show up as being paused, while noise doesn't - you have to hit pause & then unpause again.

    - Bats
    (oh, right. Incoherence. That's the best part of waking up)
     
  13. DarkPenguin

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    Hmmmm... I'll keep an eye open for that. I don't remember the state of the pause buttons. I think they were out of sync but I didn't have to pause/unpause.

    What are the mitigations for this?
     
  14. DarkPenguin

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    Ferrite cores going into shopping cart.
     
    Peter Van Der Walt likes this.
  15. Batcrave

    Batcrave Journeyman
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    Umm...

    Well...

    Funny you should ask that...

    See, I don't actually know. I kinda toasted the VFD before I could get around to all the rewiring, shielding, enclosing, ferriteing to see what worked.

    You can check the lengthy, meandering, and terribly inconclusive threads that touch on it here:
    Escape from (VFD) noise?

    and here:
    Need Help! What's the story on 1.5kW 110V VFDs?

    ...but basically it all comes down to general shielding best practices and hoping for the best once I hook up the replacement noisemaker. Ferrites on the USB line are definitely the easiest place to start, though, and might've saved me from needing the replacement if I'd tried it rather than spending several increasingly frustrating days convinced I was going to find some other cause.

    There was also a fair bit of time being baffled at the problem sneaking up from nowhere & rapidly becoming worse, but I'm hoping you won't see that bit of it.


    -Bats
    (that's ferrite-ing, not ferreting. no matter how adorable they are, hyperactive stretch rats have no place in a proper CNC build)
     
  16. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    Of course Bat's has a VFD, your Makita wouldn't make a tonne of EMI (unless the brushes are worn out and its arcing very visibly inside)
    More likely a press of the pause button. EMI shows up a lot more (scrambled data, odd moves, weird alarms, etc)
     
  17. Batcrave

    Batcrave Journeyman
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    Oh, right. That was the other bit I wanted to mention. Trim routers usually aren't a problem in the way VFDs are, although if you've got a full-size router motor up there, I've heard of those being a bit noisier.

    Sometimes, but not always. Although you'll definitely know it's EMI if you start getting garbage in the logs like this:

    Code:
    .000|FS:0,0>
    .000|FS:0,0>
    .000|FS:0,0>
    :1.000,0.000,0.000|FS:0,0>
    :1.000,0.000,0.000|FS:0,0|Ov:100,100,100>
    .000|FS:0,0>
    .000|FS:0,0>
    s:1.000,0.000,0.000|FS:0,0>
    
    (which are actually the mangled tails of standard grbl status lines - the BlackBox just usually mutes them to keep the log readable)


    -Bats
    (there are some things I really never wanted to learn this much about. EMI is definitely one of them. the existence of the Bobbit worm is another.)
     
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  18. DarkPenguin

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    Thanks for the info. I'll toss some protection on the lines as a start and work from there if I have to.
     
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