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New Blackbox freezes during job. Need Assistance - Please

Discussion in 'CNC Mills/Routers' started by Rod Jara, May 16, 2020.

  1. Rod Jara

    Rod Jara New
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    I have a brand new windows 10 gaming type computer. I was using UGCS prior to buying the Blackbox controller. Had some minor annoying issues with UGCS and decided to go with Blackbox.
    Problem: while running a job with OpenBuilds control, it freezes about an hour into the job.
    The Controller say "Idle". I have to push Pause and then Start to get it going again. this will happen about 6 times before it will not start again.

    Machine is wired correctly. Spindle cable is suspended from ceiling away from all other components.
    All cables are shielded and drain wire is grounded at controller end enclosure only.
    I have a good USB cable 12' long with ferrite cores at both ends. It too is isolated from other cables, stepper and spindle motors.
    The Frame of the Workbee is grounded with 14awg wire to the controller enclosure in several frame locations.
    I have a EMI filter supressor on the power cable for the Spindle.
    I have installed Ferrite cores on all cable for Limit switches and Stepper motors.
    OpenBuilds Control Software is only 2 months old.
    Updated all my Usb drivers.

    Would appreciate any input you have.
     
  2. Gary Caruso

    Gary Caruso OpenBuilds Team
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    Gaming type desktop or laptop? did you check USB suspend setting?
    Could it be thermals? what motors are you driving and how high do you have the current set? is the fan on the BB clear to do its air moving thing?
    Post your settings and if you can a cnc file for us to look over, how are you generating your G-code?
    Cheers
    Gary
     
  3. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    Please post the gcode file, so we can give it a run on in instance here and see if we can reproduce it
     
  4. Rod Jara

    Rod Jara New
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    Gary
    I tried again this morning to use OpenBuilds controller yet another fail.
    At first it failed very quickly. I tried again without opening the 3d viewer and it completed a gcode file of 30k lines.
    As this was only the rough cut that finished, I ran the finish cut. Upon which it froze up within a few minutes.

    I use Vcarve desktop to generate the gcode.
    Powerspec Desktop computer with Usb 3.0 connection.
    The BB is in an enclosure with an additional fan and is cool to the touch.
    The motors are Nema 23 with current set about 3/4 turn.
    On this last attempt, the gcode stopped at line 3540.
    Controller indicator was at Idle.
    Could not pause or restart.

    Much frustration. Appreciate your help
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    Thats very long, standard USB cables are 1.2-1.5m (4-5 feet)


    Thanks for the file, while we look into it: (setting up to run it now)

    Next time it happens, before you click pause/play to get it going again, can you snap me a screenshot of the Troubleshooting tab please, as well as the Serial Log tab - but does look like EMI from the description though

    file screenshot.PNG
     
  6. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    About halfway through your file, no pause yet (running same v1.0.235 you should be on by now) - and no sign of a hickup/pause yet.

    halfway.PNG
     
  7. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    Nearing the end of the file, and still not a single hickup / pause on the test setup over here...

    - double check you remembered step 4.2 in OpenBuilds BlackBox 4X Documentation
    - try much shorter USB cable

    Do you a VFD spindle by any chance?

    NEAR END.PNG
     
  8. Rod Jara

    Rod Jara New
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    Gary,
    I have a vfd for the spindle. The cable is isolated from all the others. Suspended from above.
    The EMI filter is on the 120V supply cable. Ferrite cores on all cables.
    To use a shorter Usb cable would be impractical as I would need to rewire the entire machine.
    At this point, with all the frustration this workbee has caused me, I 'd start looking for another machine.

    You had mentioned earlier about "Usb suspend". please explain where that setting is.
    Also, even though it's a brand new computer with nothing else running on it. I am willing to buy another USB adapter card.
    Which brand do you recommend?
     
  9. Alex Chambers

    Alex Chambers Openbuilds team
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    To Enable USB Selective Suspend in Windows 10, do the following. Open Control Panel. Go to Control Panel\Hardware and Sound\Power Options. On the right, click the link Change plan settings. On the next page, click the link "Change advanced power settings". In the next window, expand USB Settings -> USB Selective suspend.

    USB suspend.png

    Alex.
     
  10. Rod Jara

    Rod Jara New
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    FYI. That setting was already disabled.
     
  11. Rob Taylor

    Rob Taylor Master
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    Have you tried using another G-code sender? Try your original UGS, install bCNC, or something similar. CONTROL is just another g-code sender to the (Arduino/grbl-based) BlackBox, so you're not limited to it.

    The USB tech specs limit high speed devices to 16ft and low speed devices (which I imagine the 115k baud of grbl to be) to 9ft. There's a real chance a "?" or a "ok" was lost somewhere along the line and things just... Stopped.

    Consider a powered repeater USB hub halfway along your cable run, if it's possible.
     
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  12. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    Another machine will still suffer EMI issues unless you fix the bench layout. USB is designed for short runs, as Rob suggests, a USB hub in the middle may help, but it could also be another "susceptible" device for the tonne of EMI coming off a VFD to affect. I still vote for short as possible (300mm even better) USB cable. USB signals are the weakest of all the logic signals as its high speed and very low power (3.3v peak to peak - so even a couple mV of EMI ripple is enough to wrech havoc)

    Also have a (in depth, really spend time on it) look at For those with noise issues.
    There's a lot of "truths" out there about shielding a VFD that are nonsense, this article is great one at telling you the exact issues and how to fix them

    Another CNC (with the same pc, and save VFD) is going to be the same frustration... It will be a lot cheaper to just move the controller closer to the PC

    I know the spindle is nice, but swop in a router into its place for a week, and you'll see the other issues just disappear :)

    Just for the sake of history, where these niggles with the old controller also EMI related?
     
  13. Rob Taylor

    Rob Taylor Master
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    This is the biggie. VFD noise is kinda more of a physics problem, less an electrical engineering problem. Common sense goes out the window when you start getting into high frequencies, you have to know how it's going to behave. Transmission reflections and power transfer, skin effect, all that stuff. The winding-case capacitive coupling one was an interesting one I hadn't thought of with @Batcrave's build though- hard to mitigate the dielectric constant of a fixed air gap, unless maybe you fill it with a high-dielectric gas, maybe.
     
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  14. Rob Taylor

    Rob Taylor Master
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    Addendum! Earlier I was thinking "y'know, just putting a low pass filter on the VFD output super close to the unit where it can be inside the shielding cabinet, would eliminate like 80% of the problems with a VFD by dropping the crazy HF noise down to like, regular hum". Turns out... Someone already invented that. They're called "sine wave filters", because reasons. Not sure about pricing, but figured a heads up would be in order.
     
  15. Rod Jara

    Rod Jara New
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    would be interested in your opinion now

    Mr Van Der Walt
    I know that emi noise is usually the culprit for this kind of problem so i decided to run the file Without running the spindle. In fact i even went so far as to unplug the power to the Vfd. this time it froze up within a few minuted. i took screen shots of the troubleshooting page as requested by another member of your team. One image is from running the cnc normally ( with spindle). the others are after i disconnected the spindle.
    I would be interested in your opinion now that the spindle is completely out of the loop. There are also NO other equipment functioning in or about my entire house during this time.
    Please let me know what you think.

    Thanks
    I Screenshot (75).png Screenshot (76).png Screenshot (77).png
     
  16. Rod Jara

    Rod Jara New
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    Mr Taylor,
    Thank you for trying to help out. The following is a pic of the filter I have on the power cable for my vfd.
    I think it is the same or close to what you had mentioned.
     

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  17. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    Well, I did run your file through twice (CONTROL + BlackBox) without issue, as per the screenshots I posted yesterday (PS was me all along, not another staff member)
    Have you got a different PC to try on?
     
  18. Rod Jara

    Rod Jara New
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    Mr Van Der Walt
    I was about to try that very thing. I have a laptop which should be able to handle UGS but I'm sure I won't be able to download Vcarve or any big software, I will have to email myself the file and then try that.
     
  19. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    Please do.
    Also, still keep that "too long" usb cable in mind.
     
  20. Rod Jara

    Rod Jara New
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    Mr Van Der Walt the following file is the serial comm output between my computer and the Blackbox. As you will note that it runs fine ( communicates both directions) until line 15:20:25. The Blackbox does not respond with the expected OK signal after the command.
    It appears that the response is some other data, a Push message or a dump of the buffer but not an Error message.
    Therefore, I do not think that this is an EMI problem, especially since the Spindle and all other devices are OFF.
    I think there is a communication issue with the Black Box itself.
    I would appreciate it if you could look over the attached file and give me your opinion.
    just so you know I am going to try another computer as discussed as well as an Active USB cable.

    looking forward to your response.
     

    Attached Files:

  21. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    The corrupted responses indicate a comms issue yes, but unlikely to be BlackBox itself. Unless you recall some event that you know happened that could have damaged it.

    - different shorter USB
    - PC itself (try different PC)
    - ftdi driver version

    Which version of BlackBox do you have? (printed on brains PCB, 2.4-2.7)
     
  22. Rod Jara

    Rod Jara New
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    The Black Box version is 4X Ver 2.6. Purchased about two months ago.
     
  23. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    Those are quite solid so yeah, unlikely to the BlackBox itself. Ps instead of an Active USB, just unplug the BlackBox, put it near the computer with a short USB for some testing. Active but long cable is still bad. Usb spec is max 5m in IDEAL conditions (pc to a modem or printer in an office setup) - a workshop near a CNC, is not an ideal environment.
     
  24. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    Those are quite solid so yeah, unlikely to the BlackBox itself. Ps instead of an Active USB, just unplug the BlackBox, put it near the computer with a short USB for some testing. Active but long cable is still bad. Usb spec is max 5m in IDEAL conditions (pc to a modem or printer in an office setup) - a workshop near a CNC, is not an ideal environment.
     
  25. Rod Jara

    Rod Jara New
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    I will give this a try tonight. When this issue began weeks ago , I contacted Customer Service and was told to hash it out with you guys with the understanding that a replacement part would be provided if it was determined to be the BB.
    I will get back to you tomorrow.
     
  26. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    Of course yes, if i had any suspicion that it was the BlackBox you'd have been sent over for an RMA request long ago already. But none of this is pointing to a faulty BlackBox, more environmental and we see a lot of support tickets and forum threads, so we know what to look for (;
     
  27. Rob Taylor

    Rob Taylor Master
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    That output file looks like your sender is losing the "ok"s and instead picking up part of the garbled "?" responses. So far, still looking like it's the USB cable.

    An EMI filter for AC is, I would believe, a bandpass filter set at 50-60Hz. That protects the power input side from supply issues and the supply from noise injection. I'm describing something that converts the extremely high speed PWM output (with its associated conversion switching noise) to something very close to a true sine wave. Looks like they're in the $500+ range: Siemens | 6SL3202-0AE21-4SA0 | Used & Repaired | Sine-Wave Filter - not something anyone on this forum has, as far as I'm aware, just something I found whilst thinking about it (@Batcrave, I might have found something to use those microwave capacitors for...)

    With the issue persisting without the VFD turned on, I'm still currently convinced it's the USB cable. This length of run is more suited to an Ethernet-based control system like a (non-grbl) SmoothStepper.
     
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  28. Batcrave

    Batcrave Journeyman
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    What that output file looks like is exactly what I spent the past couple months battling. The description in the initial post about the not-quite-pausing matches up, too. The only thing that doesn't match up is that "without the VFD turned on" bit - since the VFD on/spindle running was the only thing that was constant in my case.

    One kinda out-there suggestion, though... is there any chance you have an LED ring (or anything else, for that matter) plugged into the same power supply as your BlackBox? While I never managed to pin it down as the cause in my case (and it certainly wasn't the only cause), it was definitely a significant contributing factor (not because there's anything wrong with the LED ring, mind you - it just seemed to be acting as an antenna for the noisy VFD/spindle, through the largely unprotected power input). When I'd unplug the ring, the problems would either go away or drastically diminish, and I eventually got things more-or-less-sorta-kinda under control with a whole mess of ferrites on the cable (well, a whole mess of ferrites and a separate routing, an EMI filter, shielded spindle cables, grounded steel enclosure, loads of profanity, and a fair bit of threatening with whatever power tools were on hand)

    Again, though, it doesn't exactly fit when the spindle isn't running (Peter had speculated that the way the ring wrapped around the spindle played a large part in its antennaness).

    One other thing I might be inclined to suggest is the AM radio test. Wandering around waving a battery-powered radio tuned to a dead AM station (I had the most luck down in the low end of the spectrum) can help identify any big emitters of RF noise in the environment that your system might be picking up. The VFD/spindle is usually the biggest source, and you'll hear some from the steppers too, but maybe there's something else that's been overlooked - maybe the rats in the walls have a microwave, or your neighbor's been mowing the lawn with an unlicensed nuclear accelerator.

    Of course, finding the source of the source of the noise isn't the same thing as blocking it from interfering. :banghead:

    USB cables can definitely play the antenna role, too. As I've mentioned in a couple other threads, on a previous system the USB cable on the gamepad/jog controller would, despite ferrites on the not-even-especially-long cable, pick up enough VFD noise that at certain speeds it would cause the PC to bluescreen. I'm with the others in thinking the 12ft cable should at least temporarily be taken out of the picture, long enough to see if it makes a difference.

    At $219 refurbed, I probably would've considered it, if I'd thought it would actually make the problems go away.

    Great! if only I had some microwave capacitors. I thought the only major components I'd cannibalized were transformers and a magnetron or two (and a whole mess of powder-coated sheet metal that I'm sure there has to be some sort of use for)... but I do seem to have a couple caps sitting in the salvage bin.

    -Bats
    (think you could inventory the rest of my junk collection for me like that, too?)
     
  29. Rob Taylor

    Rob Taylor Master
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    This could actually be a problem too. I've been doing some reading and apparently double-grounded shielding ground loops are something of an electrical engineering old wives' tale and all shielded cables should absolutely be terminated at both ends.

    Right now I think you're the foremost expert on dealing with VFD noise! Scary, eh?

    As long as both it and the VFD are fully enclosed in a thick, grounded enclosure, with appropriate filtration on mains/signal wires and all the rest of the guff for direct interfacing, I don't see why it wouldn't work. 100kHz RF square wave + harmonic noise vs 50-400Hz sine wave? I think it'd be night and day.
     
  30. Batcrave

    Batcrave Journeyman
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    Just don't say that too loudly or we'll suddenly have a dozen old engineer's wives in here screaming about how you're wrong.

    Terrifying, frankly. The foremost expert on Things That Won't Help. Probably not something likely to inspire much hope in Rod, either.

    Sure... but no one could see why any of a dozen other things wouldn't have worked either. And while it would've seemed almost affordable if it was guaranteed to solve the problem, it'd still look pretty steep for something that would probably help, after so many other probablies (and at least a few definitelies) had failed.

    As frustrating as it is not to have some sort of solid closure, for the moment I'm just going to hope that the problem stays in remission.


    -Bats
    (..or that it can be beaten back into submission with another dozen ferrites. per wire.)
     

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