Welcome to Our Community

Some features disabled for guests. Register Today.

xPro v3 or Gecko G540?

Discussion in 'Controller Boards' started by Batcrave, Nov 24, 2018.

  1. Batcrave

    Batcrave Journeyman
    Builder

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2018
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    18
    Due to my frantic and unthinking rush to order my Lead Machine as quickly as humanly possible, I'm apparently also the proud soon-to-be owner of a shiny new xPRO v3.

    Also due to said unthinking, I really don't know a **** thing [err... a water-containing thing? a water-containing thing thing?] about it.

    I was initially planning to just move the Gecko G540 from my current machine to the new system (driven by Mach3 or LinuxCNC over parallel), but, having the new board on the way anyhow, I figured I should look at whether it would make any sense to change over.

    If I'm interpreting what I'm seeing right, the xPro looks like it can run over USB or (with an XBee) wifi, which could be more convenient - as the Gecko's parallel port means that I'm currently stuck running off an antique PC - and the assorted 12V/5V outputs are a fun (if not particularly significant) little addition. On the other hand, it would require downgrading to a new 24V PSU in place of the current 36V/10A unit (I'd previously run off a pair of ATX PSUs hacked together to provide 24V, but it was... less than ideal), and, at least on paper the xPro's advertised 2.5A drivers seem like a significant step down from the Gecko's 3.5A - especially since I'm running 3.0A peak steppers - but I don't know how that translates into the real world. And then there's that sticky thread at the top of the forum showing some pretty intense hostility to xPro... but, being from 2015, I don't know how much of that hate still carries over to the v3.

    So... any thoughts from people who've worked with one or both? The Gecko is rock solid - it's the one piece of the current build that's never given me trouble, I love it, I'd recommend it to anyone, and I've never once felt the need to replace it with anything else... but I figure I'd be doing the xPro a disservice if I just shelved it without consideration.

    Is there anything really exciting that I've overlooked, or any compelling reason to consider waging a brutal war against inertia to switch? Or should the xPro just go on the shelf to wait for the next project? (It likely won't be long - I do have quite a lot more steppers than drivers, after all...)



    -Bats
    (ooooo, including those nifty ballscrew actuators collecting dust in the corner! the NEMA34s might be just a little more powerhungry, though)
     
  2. Kyo

    Kyo Master
    Staff Member Resident Builder Builder

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Messages:
    664
    Likes Received:
    648
    I have used both depending on the build. The X-pro V3 is a good controller if used within its capability. The on board drivers run warm and will need active cooling. ( Heatsinks and a good fan ) I mostly use X-pro's on my nema 17 ( < 2A ) powered machines now. The Gecko G540 is a rock solid driver. Simple , reliable and perfect for most of my Nema 23 builds. The major draw back to the Gecko is as you already know the parallel port. However we can deal with that. :) as you already have the Gecko G540 and the X-pro is on it's way. I would probably use both. The X-pro will give you control over USB and the ability to run newer PC's while the G540 can do what it does best. Drive steppers. All you would need is a DB25 Screw Terminal like "Here" and the x-pro / G540 manuals to wire it up.

    Another option if you don't mind a little soldering and wanted something a bit more plug and play. Is my open source Gecko G540 USB Controller. I do not currently sale these boards so you would need to build your own. All required source files are on my Github account "Here". Works with both GRBL and ESTLCam allowing you to run over usb and newer PC's feel free to check it out.

    They are both good options that would serve you well. The major deciding factor for me would be navigating away from the parallel port, while I like the G540 I do prefer to run it over usb or Ethernet as my supply of parallel port equipped PCs dries up.. I also like my X-pro controllers for smaller builds. Compact , reliable with nema 17's and a number of cross platform gui options to choose from.
     
    Batcrave likes this.
  3. Rob Taylor

    Rob Taylor Veteran
    Builder

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2013
    Messages:
    264
    Likes Received:
    99
    Look into Mesa boards, specifically the FPGA PCIe parallel port expansion boards. They're extremely well-reviewed by the LinuxCNC crowd, and bring beautiful realtime parallel control to modern PCs. You can use them for anything- the "Anything I/O" isn't a misnomer- they're basically for turning a full PC into a Raspberry Pi.

    What you want (in a newer machine, with PCI Express) is probably the 6I25: 6i25 picture

    The 6I25/7I76 Plug'n'Go kit is what I was going to get for the mill until the budget spiralled a little too much and for now I'm going to run grbl (because it's phenomenal, if a little limited in some cases). Later, I'll upgrade to LinuxCNC with a dedicated mini-ITX PC build that can integrate into an enclosure.

    They also do Ethernet cards, for, say, the Ethernet SmoothStepper.

    I use closed-loop steppers, so I don't get the option, but my vote would be for Gecko every time, of course.
     
    Kyo likes this.
  4. Kyo

    Kyo Master
    Staff Member Resident Builder Builder

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Messages:
    664
    Likes Received:
    648
    Mesa makes some great boards :thumbsup:. For a driver like the Gecko G540 I Like there 7I92H Anything I/O Ethernet card. Supports Linuxcnc, cheaper then a X-pro, Ethernet communication, has a second port unused by the G540 for additional I/O. ect. This is the same combo going into my current Sphinx 1050 build.
     
  5. Batcrave

    Batcrave Journeyman
    Builder

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2018
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    18
    Wait... I can do that? :jawdrop:

    I can see how it would would work if the xPro had signal-level step/direction outputs, but all I'm seeing are the terminal blocks from the DRV8825s, which seem like they'd output more smoke than the G540's parallel input is designed to handle.

    Or am I misunderstanding either your suggestion or the xPro's design?

    Ooooo.... I was familiar with the smoothsteppers (which I'd always assumed would by my eventual upgrade path), but yours slipped under my radar. I'm going to have to keep that in mind, once I finally run out of patience with the old PC and decide to upgrade to something that's actually capable of bleeding edge tasks like, say, playing youtube videos.

    Well, I've also got a big bag of little NEMA 17s crying out to be used (I've got a brother working in copier repair who habitually pulls them from scrap machines), so it looks like one way or another it's not likely to go to waste.


    -Bats
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice