View Full Version : Router won't turn on new Alpha upgrade

07-15-2005, 02:57 AM
PRT96 upgrade to Alpha ~ router won't turn on. Am familiar with the older PRT operation, SO1,1 / SO 1,0 etc etc .

The control box is a 240volt version, runs a Makita 110v router [with a voltage stepdown between]. I can get the router to work if I manually press Contactors 3+4 together. The output on the software is lighting up blue [when switched on, output 1], else everything appears fine & jogs smoothly at speed! If somebody can help/hint/guess much appreciated!

07-15-2005, 03:21 AM
and more info/update...

I can't get the router to activate via an SO command [1,1] BUT if I use the keypad [K] and activate the output switch 1 AND press the green START button on the control box the router works. [Have tried resets, reloaded software (winxp) & other idiot-proofs]

07-15-2005, 03:37 AM
Read this thread (http://www.talkshopbot.com/forum/messages/26/4698.html)

07-15-2005, 04:00 AM
Unfortunately nothing really there [on read this thread], Gerald. Similar problem to Jim R on the thread...
...[copy paste]"Thanks for the advice...The router is now wroking but only when I am in keyboard mode and flip the output switch 1 to on and hit the start button. When I close keyboard mode the router shuts off. If I try and turn on the router outside of keyboard mode by typing in SO 1,1 to the command line and hit enter the machine does nothing. Am I doing something wrong? ", but his problem still not [evidently] solved [per bottom of the page]
Much appreciated all the same!

07-15-2005, 04:57 AM
I can't do any better than to point you to that thread, because I don't have an Alpha. This same issue seems to have been discussed in a couple of places on this Forum, I think more often in thread drifts - so maybe it will help to dig with the Search button.

Tell the blokes that you are an Ozzie - someone is going to figure out that you have the manual upside down!

07-15-2005, 05:43 AM
Do routers turn the other way in the southern hemisphere?

07-15-2005, 05:45 AM
Apparently, they don't turn at all.

07-15-2005, 06:45 AM
Tony, you say " AND press the green START button" as if you aren't expecting to push it. It needs to be pushed to start the router.

07-15-2005, 09:48 AM
Except in Keyboard control mode, SO,1,1 is only half of the requirement for router power. With Switch one on, when either a .SBP is run or when a manual move (eg M2,3,3) move is executed, there should be a prompt window requesting that the operator press the green button. For manually entered moves, the router spins only durring the move and only if the green button is pressed. In programs, the router spins only if the green button is pressed.
When my Alpha was first installed my operation was slightly different. I can't remember the exact details, but it took a new control board to fix. If your system does not work as I have described, talk to Shopbot.

07-15-2005, 10:29 AM
..there is no prompt to press the green start button after a file part is run [thus may be a hint of the problem?]

www.cases.com.au (http://www.cases.com.au)

[none-the-less, appreciate all the replies]

07-15-2005, 10:41 AM
There are two jumpers on the control board (spindle/router) that should be jumpered to ROUTER. The jumpers are on the left-third of the board.

When you run the SO,1,1 command, a POPUP window will appear reminding you to press the Start Button and then press the Enter Key.

07-15-2005, 11:07 AM
...thanks for that, Mike. Currently midnight (Australia), I'll try it in the morning! Appreciate the response.

07-15-2005, 11:38 AM
Tony, let me see if I can help. I think there are a few things going on here that are really clouding the issue. First of all, I think your fundamental problem is procedural. I would like you to thoroughly read this post from Gordon that was on the other thread mentioned by Gerald.


I'll try to help. This seems to have become a very mysterious subject.

The biggest, potentially dangerous issue I've read in this thread is the router outlet box not being grounded. Even though the router itself is double insulated and doesn't have a ground the outlet, and box if it is metal, must be grounded. The ground in the SO cable should also be connected to the ground bar in the control box.

All of the commands to control a router/spindle are outputs. I will look for and correct the misplaced "input" in the documentation.

On single Z tools the router contactors are connected to OUTPUT #1. If you have 2 heads, the primary Z's router should be connected to OUTPUT #1 and the secondary router to OUTPUT #2.

As several of you have pointed out there are a couple of different ways to operate the router safely. Caution: connecting a router or spindle to power that is not run through the control box contactors is very unsafe and, as pointed out, bypasses the Emergnecy Stop System. The easiest way to turn a router on without having to edit your part file is to use the toggles on the keyboard control. Bring the keyboard control up and click on OUTPUT #1. Pressing the START button should power up the router. If the router doesn't start, check that the router's power switch is turned on and that there is power to the outlet that you installed on the Y carriage. When you press the START button you should hear the router contactors engage. Close the keyboard control and the router should turn off. Now run a part file that doesn't have the SO,1,1 command in it. As soon as the ShopBot Control software initiates the file the message box "Hit OK to continue running file after starting Router/Spindle. Cancel to terminate file." is displayed. This message box is prompting the operator to press the START button before clicking OK on the message box. The router should now run until the file has completed and the console returned to its ready state. I know at first this all seems like a real pain in the neck, but it helps to prevent injury to the operator or other person that may be changing a cutter or doing something else close to the cutter.

The reason this works so well and simply is that we have used OUTPUT #4 as a safety interlock. The relay that controls the contactors must have 2 outputs activated in order to energize the contactors. In the case of the primary router OUTPUTS #1 and #4 must both be on. The only way to get #4 on is for the tool to be in motion. This OUTPUT is automatically turned on whenever the tool is in motion. Once OUTPUT #4 is turned on the START button can be pressed to activate the interlocking relay. Now OUTPUT #1 can be turn ON or OFF as many times as you feel necessary until the file ends. Once OUTPUT #4 is turned OFF the START button will have to be pressed again when the tool is in motion to run the router.

The other method for running a router is to insert an SO,1,1 in to you part file to activate the router and SO,1,0 to deactivate it. The same message box will be displayed prompting the operator to press the START button the first time it encounters an SO command in the file and will leave them alone from then on until they start the next part file.

These same methods can be used for the second router or a spindle as well. The exception is that you use OUTPUT #2 instead. In the keyboard control click on toggle for OUTPUT #2 and in a file use SO,2,1 and SO,2,0.

I hope this answers all of the questions on this subject. If not, please feel free to email them to me or give me a call.

Gordon Bergfors
Product Development
ShopBot Tools, Inc.


So, the gist is that no less than three separate conditions have to be the case.
1) Output 1 must be on.
2) Output 4 must be on - this happens when the machine is moving or has the ability to move
3) You must press the start button on the control box.

I believe that there is a bug in the CR command where it does not prompt you to turn on the router. Nevertheless, you should be able to test whether the system is working by simply turning on output 1 using the keypad command, closing it and giving the machine a MX command. When the command is issued you should get a dialog that prompts you to hit the start button.

Mike is correct that the jumpers on the board play a role here, but in this case it is unsafe to do as he suggests. The way a router is run is that the contactors are only energized, providing mains power to the router under the conditions described above where you intend for the router to be run. A spindle, which is what the other jumper setting is for has a dedicated controller box that needs to be on at all times. Consequently, when the jumpers are set to spindle the contactors will energize as soon as the control box is turned on. A spindle is then turned on and off by a low voltage remote cable. The reason following Mike's advice is dangerous is that with the jumpers set to spindle the router will start running as soon as the control box is powered. Not that Mike isn't a good guy for trying to help.

I'll try to keep an eye on this thread to see if this post gets you straight, but if you need anything further you might just want to email us directly. Use ShopBot Support (mailto:support@shopbottools.com) or Grant (mailto:grant@shopbottools.com). The support inbox is checked in the evenings, mine obviously comes straight to me. Either or.

Best Regards,

Grant Bailey, ShopBot Tools Inc.

07-15-2005, 06:59 PM

I hope that I haven't mislead anyone by writing about the jumpers. I believe that I wrote that the jumpers must be in the ROUTER position, not the spindle position. Just as you've written, the spindle position basically allows you to operate the router independant of the internal controls.

(I brought up the subject because I ordered my Alpha to be configured for a spindle, even though I ran a PC 7518 until this last week when I finally received and installed the 3hp spindle. It was several months after receiving the machine before I noticed that there was a way to control the router using software instead of simply turning the router on/off via its power switch. Also, if I remember correctly, with the jumpers in the spindle position, the SO,1,1 command did not work.)


There is one other clue that I just noticed in your original post. You wrote that the control box was configured for 240VAC. Here in the USA, that would mean that you really have two 120 lines via four connections: (Line 1, Line 2, Neutral, and Ground). Either Line 1 and Neutral OR Line 2 and Neutral could be used to power a 120VAC device; however, I believe that a machine wired for 240VAC would have Line 1 (at 240VAC), Neutral, and Ground. Splitting off a 120 line would require a step-down transformer. You wrote that you have voltage stepdown between. From that, I assume that you're converting 240VAC to 120VAC via a transformer.

(By the way, because we have to combine two 120 volt lines to provide one 240VAC line, we have to use double-pole switches/contactors to safely open a 240VAC line; otherwise, one-half of the circuit would still provide lethal voltage.)


07-16-2005, 03:52 AM
Ok, it's good news...all is going well. Appreciate all the responses (Mike, Gerald, Jim). As pointed out repeatedly, the operation of executing a file part on the Alpha is procedurally different to the original Shopbot. To any upgraders, just read Grants reply above [originally steered to me by Gerald]. I also found that spaces between code [eg: SO, 1, 1 should be avoided and converted to SO,1,1...the former causing either the software or control box to spit the dummy with a missing comm error]. I can't understand why Shopbot hadn't included instructions HIGHLIGHTING the procedural change for executing a file part for upgraders from orig PRT to ALPHA [we're creatures of habit]....that being totally outweighted by a cost effective, easy to maintain and flexible tool that is extremely great value! Thanks to all for help.
[Keywords for people with the same problem: router won't turn on operate start can't didn't unable go]
Tony www.cases.com.au (http://www.cases.com.au)

07-16-2005, 10:43 AM
Hey Tony,

We'll look into the problem you had with the SO command...you should be able to put a space (or several) between the comma and a parameter in a command without causing a problem. I actually think it makes the file more readable and do it all the time.

The exception is if it's DIRECTLY after the command. You can put either a comma or a space after a ShopBot command and it acts the same. So if you write...

M2 , 12, 12 (with a space between the M2 and the first comma)

it's the same as writing...

M2,, 12, 12

and the tool will move 12 in Y but won't move at all in X (because the first parameter is empty), instead of moving to 12,12 the way you wanted. To get it to move to 12,12 using a space instead of a comma, you would have to type...

M2 12, 12

As you can tell I really think that using a space after the command instead of a comma is a bad idea...it's too easy to mess up in my opinion and it makes files harder to read. If you accidentally add a space after some commands they will make an unexpected move (like the first one above), but others will give a parameter error. I don't think any should give a com break though...we'll look into that one.

Probably more than you wanted to know,

07-16-2005, 04:43 PM
I couldn't duplicate the spacing problem. Most of my programs have 'added' spaces so that I can proof-read them more easily. However, I have had a problem from time to time typing 'S0' (number zero) instead of 'SO' (letter O). That's a hard one to spot unless you're one of the lucky ones whose screen displays zeros with a slash.