View Full Version : Setiing up new shopbot...Router won't power up...Help?

09-20-2004, 10:57 AM
Hey all,

This forum has been so helpful in the past I thought I'd try it again...I just finished taking my ShopBot for a test drive and everything works great...all the axis move in the right direction and the software works correctly...the only problem is the router will not power up. I am trying to surface the table and am slowly going step-by-step through the manual instructions and everything works fine until the point where it says to power up the router. I mounted a metal receptacle box to the y carriage and wired (rubber sheathed SO wire, black and white, no ground)and connected the black and white wires to the correct terminals in the control box, plugged the router into the receptacle and flipped the power swith to "on" and the rpms are set to 10000. I don't know what else to do...Any help would be appreciated.

Jim Russell
Rocklin, CA

09-20-2004, 12:28 PM

We might need a little more information to be of help; however, assuming that your new machine is like mine (new in July), lets check a few things.

Do you have two power cables going to the control box - one 220-240VAC cable to power the control box and steppers and one 120VAC cable for the router?

Is the power cable that feeds the router correctly connected inside the control box - green wire (ground) connected to the control box where the 220-240VAC ground is connected, white (neutral)connected in common with the white (neutral) of the 220-240VAC line and black (hot) connected to the contactor (relay)?

The reason I'm asking is that I intend to convert to a spindle in the near future, so I asked Shopbot to configure my machine electrically for the spindle. I had to reroute a few wires to use the Porter-Cable router.

As a last resort, until you get the answers that you need, you can connect the router directly to AC power and use the on/off switch on the router for control. In effect that's the way I use my router. Although it is powered through the control box, I don't turn the router on/off with software. HOWEVER, if you bypass the control box, you will have to manually shut off the router whenever you have an emergency condition.

In any case, an electrician should be able to check things out for you in a matter of minutes. The power circuitry inside the control box is straightforward and systematically laid out.


09-20-2004, 12:56 PM
Is your tool an Alpha? If so; did you read the add documents that's about "Running a ShopBot file? It says about pressing the GREEN START button to start the router AFTER starting the file... (I think you should be prompt to...) the other side of this doc. says about "Preparing a ShopBot file to run"; you need to input some command lines to turn on/off the router from the control box...
Now if this don't help you, like Mike say, give us more info about your problem AND get in touch with support...

09-20-2004, 01:55 PM
The router is not automatic when running a part file, it's an operator choice. To enable the router, add (in Edit) the command SO,1,1 to the start of the part file. To make the router stop, add SO,1,0 to the end of the file. When running the part file, you also have to push the control box green button when the prompt occurs, befort the router spins.
You can also manually control the router by mouse flipping the pictured S1 toggle on the controller screen. Or maybe you have done all this?

If you still have problems, have a volt meter and the have the knowlege to safely make voltage measurements I can help you troubleshoot further. Drop me an email.

Jim Frost
jim.frost@itron.com (mailto:jim.frost@itron.com)

09-20-2004, 04:04 PM
The instructions said to select the input 1 toggle switch on the screen and the computer wouldn't let me turn that switch on...I could turn on the output switches but not the inout switches. As far as power I have 240 (4-wire, black, red, white and green)from the circuit breaker to the control box. The router cord came with a 2 prong plug with no ground...so I mounted a 2 prong receptacle to the y axiz and plugged the router into that. I have a 3wire(green, black and white) rubber sheathed cable running from that receptacle over the wire guide and into the control box where I connected the black and whit wires to the corresponding terminals. The green wire in this cable is free floating. The manual did not say anything about connecting a ground for the router inside the control box and the router plug is a 2-prong plug anyways. My machine is an alphaPRT that I bought about 1-1/2 months ago. I have not tried adding the start command line in the part file...I have only tried following the "surfacing your table" project instructions and it didn't say anything about adding those commands..It did say to flip the input 1 toggle switch to on but the computer wouldn't let me do that. Maybe I need a software upgrade?

09-20-2004, 04:25 PM
READ DOCUMENTATION CAREFULLY... ALL... specialy thoses about the ALPHA... Assuming that your electrical connections are correct... router power is control via OUTPUT ONLY; you don't need to trigger input... are you using 3.3.2? Is your router working properly when plugged straight to electrical outlet? Have you mail your problem to support@shopbottools.com (mailto:support@shopbottools.com)?

09-20-2004, 04:39 PM

I had exactly the same problem when I first put my alpha together. This is what I would try...

Create a test.sbp file with the following info..


Then execute this file... What will happen is that the 2 Jump commands "JZ and J2" commands will happen before the router start. The SO,1,1 starts the router. You computer screen will pop up a window that will say something like "Press ok after starting router" at this point you press the green start button on the control box. Your router should spin up, then hit the "OK" button.

If this doesnt work you have some kind of problem in the wireing or the control box.


09-20-2004, 04:43 PM

If you have wired the router properly, the router should turn on when OUTPUT switch #1 is on, and should turn off when output switch #1 is off.

Of course, the power switch on the router itself must be on as well (don't be insulted - sometimes people overlook the obvious, so it must be mentioned). If the router's power switch is on, and you turn output switch #1 on either via mouse, keyboard input, or file command (SO,1,1), and nothing happens, either the router is defective (unlikely, but easy to rule out by plugging directly into AC receptacle), or there is a problem with the way it is wired into the control box, or there is a problem with the way the control box is wired.
My machine was originally wired for a spindle as well, and I had to make some changes to the control box wiring as the good folks at ShopBot had not left it set up properly for my use.
If the simple fixes don't work, definitely call ShopBot and get them to go over the control box wiring with you to find the problem.

David B.

09-20-2004, 11:16 PM
You might try this. Turn Control Box off then on, Push reset button, Start Shopbot3, Shopbot Position should show imp 4 (Green), Flip Move/Cut to on, At shopbot control consle do a K for keyboard, flip imp 1 to on, (router should start), x out of that box and the router should turn off. Next load your part file, (when you push start the router should turn on again. (you will also get a note to start the router) however, it should already be running. Press enter and you should be off to run your part file. Good luck ........ Bob
I am from Fair Oaks,

09-21-2004, 12:45 AM
Just a thought.....if you had your control box wired for a spindle and a router, your router will be on input 2...... Assuming the wiring is correct, just as Robert said, flip the switch on in the "K" keyboard screen, then when you start your file a popup box will appear telling you to hit the start button on the control box and your router should start. Then you hit OK on the popup box and your file starts and shuts down after the file returns to home. No need to add anything to your files.

09-21-2004, 11:19 AM
Jim - Nothing that relates to the problem your having with the router not turning on, but a potential safety issue.....

I believe you should attach the "free floating" green ground wire for the 120 VAC router receptable you added to ground in the control box. Even if the router does not need the grounded connection, you still want to ground the receptacle box to give the current another path to ground other than you if you were to touch the box after something shorted or worked it's way loose. On the receptacle side, you should be able to attach the green wire to either the receptacle case (in the case of a metal box) or somewhere on the receptacle itself. I could have misread your post or be misunderstanding this, but this is what I've always been told to do. Wouldn't want to see anybody get hurt.


09-21-2004, 03:43 PM
Thanks everybody for your posts...I am always amazed at the many responses whenever I post a question. Due to distance I can only work on the machine on the weekends so I will try some of these suggestions and safety tips this weekend and see if they fix the problem. If not I will be back on Monday asking for more help!

09-22-2004, 12:47 PM
I'll try to help. This seems to have become a very mysterical 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.

09-24-2004, 12:18 AM
This thread has been educational. Until I read your posts, I hadn't realized that my control box was setup wrong (not Shopbot's fault - I asked for things to be setup for a spindle even though I knew I'd be using a Porter-Cable router for a few months.)

A quick call and email to shopbot informed me of the two jumpers to change on the main controller board. Now the machine works just like it should.

09-26-2004, 10:45 PM
Hey Guys,

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?

Jim Russell
Rocklin, CA
therussellhome@hotmail.com (mailto:therussellhome@hotmail.com)

09-26-2004, 10:55 PM

I think I've figured it out, now that I finally hooked up my own router to my new machine. If you turn output switch #1 on, nothing will happen until the next time you run a part file. Then, you will get a screen prompt to "press enter when router is on", or something like that. At that point, when you press the start button on the control box, the router will turn on. The control box will turn the router off when the part file is completed (or if the output switch is turned off within the file).

The short answer is: the control box will only turn the router on while actually running a part file, and then only when output switch 1 has been previously activated, or is activated within the file. (When in keyboard mode, you can turn the router on and off as you found out. It sounds like your system is working as intended.)

Hope this clears it up - I ended up re-checking all my wiring before remembering Gordon's post and realizing that this is how it works.

David B.

09-27-2004, 12:01 PM
Thanks David...

So if I run the "CR 48,48" command to surface my table after I type in SO 1,1, the computer will prompt me to turn the router on then?

Jim Russell
Rocklin, CA
therussellhome@hotmail.com (mailto:therussellhome@hotmail.com)

09-27-2004, 01:40 PM

Yes, exactly.

As I found out from further experimentation, if you leave output switch #1 on, the software will prompt you to turn the router on each time you enter a move command, whether it is a circle, rectangle, part file, or simple 1 or 2 axis move. then it will turn the router off at the end of the move. This was actually a little annoying as it kept prompting me when I was just trying to position the router, without doing any cutting. I quickly figured out that if I want to do the move without the router running, I can just hit enter without pressing the Start button, and the software will execute the move (it doesn't check to see if you've actually started the router, it takes your word for it).

Happy cutting,

09-29-2004, 01:43 PM
Isn't this exactly what I was saying in this thread on the 20th?


09-29-2004, 04:10 PM
Unless I missread, you have stated one method exactly Scott, while portions of the thread (including David's post) suggest doing it other ways. Until know I only knew how to do it your way, now I see alternatives, which is best? At this point I'm confused by the choices.

From this thread and experiments, there are at least three ways to start a "through the box" wired router on an alpha with 3.2.2.
1. Your method. Internal to a part file, add SO,1,1 at the beginning and SO,1,0 at the end. This option brings up the "start router" message when the file executes, and if the green button is pushed, the router starts. The router shuts down on either end of program or a Panic Stop using the emergency switch. If the stop is requested by the space bar or on screen STOP button, the router keeps going until the file is exited.
2. Enter SO,1,1 on the command line. Initially nothing happens. The "start router" message appears each time a file is executed and whenever a command line Move is requested. If the green button is pressed the router runs until end of part file or end of move.
3. Enable keyboard control with SK, and flip the soft switch turning S1 on. Behavior seems exactly as in 2.

09-30-2004, 02:10 AM
Actually, Gordon described the function of the contactor very well (maybe too well!) in his post on the 22nd, but reading about it and doing it are two different animals. It wasn't until I wired my router to the control box (I ran it the first week or two manually until I had time to hook it up right), that I understood what Gordon was saying.

Jim, I believe the only error in your otherwise quite excellent summary of the options is that in keyboard mode, once you turn on the output switch and press the start button, the router will stay on until you turn the ouput switch off or exit keyboard mode. If I am correct you can turn the router off and on with the output toggle switch as many times as you like after pressing the start button the first time, until you exit keyboard mode. Then the operation reverts to your option 2 (if you have left the toggle switch on).

I may be wrong, but I'm not going back downstairs to find out right now.

10-06-2004, 01:54 AM
Hey guys,

I typed in SO 1,1 and then tried to run the CR command to surface the table and the machine started running the CR command but the router did not turn on nor did I get the pop-up box telling me to turn on the router...I e-mailed shopbot support and they told me to make sure when I select the settings for the SO command that the "1" turns from from red to blue...Anyone know what this means? This is getting frustrating. This can't be rocket science. All I want to do is surface the table using 2 simple commands.

Rocklin, CA

10-06-2004, 11:01 AM
Here is exactly what support told me...I'm not quite sure what he means though. I type in SO 1,1 in the command line and hit enter...I don't remeber any "settings" that I have to fill out. Any help?

"Make sure that when you click on settings and then type 1 for the output
and then click the down arrow to select on that output 1 turns blue.
This lets you know that the output is on. You should then get the
prompt to turn the router on when you run the CR command. Push the
green start button and you should be in business."

10-06-2004, 12:44 PM

I don't use the typed commands. I use my mouse for most things. You can do the same things with it. To turn on the #1 output switch open the manuel mode and just click on the #1 output switch. It will turn blue and then you should be able to start the router.

10-06-2004, 01:30 PM

Are you using the DOS or windows version of the ShopBot software? The instructions you are getting from support refers to the windows version, but from your questions it sounds like you are using the DOS version. In windows, when you type SO, you should get a fill-in screen that allows you use the mouse (or keystrokes) to select a switch and whether you are turning it on or off.

Support is trying to tell you to look on the information screen where the output and input switches are shown. The status of the output switch #1 should change when you turn the switch on.

10-06-2004, 01:35 PM
Hey Jim,

I don't have an Alpha tool so my results might not be the same, but if I follow those directions using the PRT version of 3.3.2 it turns the output switch on the way it's supposed to. Here are some things to check...

* Can you successfully connect to the tool and move it around using commands or the keypad? I don't think that you can activate and de-activate the output switches unless you have a connection to the control box.

* Are you in Move mode...you can't turn on the output switches in Preview mode.

* I'm not sure why you don't get the fillin sheet when you type SO at the command line, but it's possible to turn off the display for fillin sheets. Try typing SO and then move the cursor to the far end of the yellow command line section and click on the icon for the fillin sheet...you can tell you're on it when the cursor turns into a hand. The fillin sheet should then appear. Look at the lower-lefthand corner of the fillin sheet and you should see a checkbox labeled "Display". Make sure that it's checked and the fillin sheet for that command should appear from then on.

Hope this helps,

10-06-2004, 04:54 PM
Are you typing SO (the letter 'O') and not S0 (the number zero)? I've made that mistake many times over the years in programming.

I've used the SO,1,1 and SO,1,0 to turn the router on/off on my alpha, as well as clicking on the output switch. Both work equally well for me. Personally, I prefer to add the SO,1,x command directly into the program so that I don't have to remember to toggle the output switch, but that's just a matter of preference.


10-08-2004, 10:26 AM
My previous table leveling efforts used a toolpath created in Part Wizard rather than the CR command, so I spent some time early this morning doing leveling as the manual suggests. I made an effort to think like I know nothing (close to the truth) and took careful notes. My machine is a new Alpha with PC router wired as the documentation suggests. I'm restating several things mentioned in other posts and being a bit anal in an attempt to capture the entire process and possibly to help isolate where your problem is, if in fact your issue is procedural rather than hookup or hardware.

1. Turn on the control box, press the Control box reset switch and boot the control SW. If necessary, place the SB in move/cut mode.

2. Zero X and Y if needed. Zero Z far enough in the air that any attempted cut is air only.
3. Using the method of your choice, turn on output switch 1. SO {fill in sheet} Output >>1, setting >>1-on in command mode should work. On the red display the OUT 2 "light" should turn blue. Nothing else happens at this time, and until the "light" is on, the SB "brain" does not see the switch as on.

4. Enter CR >> [fill in the sheet]. If no sheet, use Bill's instructions to bring one up. Fill in the sheet per the manual. Exception, I used 4 for X and y length to make less noise and cut less air.
Length in X >> 4 (96 later)
Length in Y >> 4 (48 later)
-.01 (necessary depth later)
Plunge from 0 >> 1-on
Tab Pocket >> 2-Pocketing outside
Rotation angle >> 0

Note for real run, VC to enter the bit you are using.
5. Here, my notes missed something, but select OK or the equivalent at the bottom of the fill in sheet
6. This should bring up the "Pause in file to start router/spindle" message box. Do not check OK at this time. If you do the CR runs with no router.
Note to Shopbot:the text in the box needs clarification. There's not a word about the necessary green button push.
7. Press the control box green button. Expect some noise. If no noise, call SB.
8. Press OK in the message box. This should pocket a 4x4x.01 aircube.

Good luck
Jim Frost

10-08-2004, 02:03 PM
Ok I think I know what my problem is...When I type in the SO 1,1 command (I do get the pop up box where I put in the parameters 1,1) but the switch over in the red display area to the right where all the switches are located does not light up blue...so the computer, even though I typed in the SO command to turn it on still thinks that the switch is off I guess. Jim, in your post you said..."On the red display the OUT 2 "light" should turn blue"...did you mean OUT 1?

10-08-2004, 02:41 PM
Yes, it's Out 1. Once you find a way to turn on the blue light, I think the rest will work. Explore the SO,1,1 using other methods or different mouse strokes until the light is on. If I could just hold your mouse for two seconds!

As always, read what I mean not what I write.

10-10-2004, 09:12 PM
Ok I don't know exactly what I did--but the blue light comes on now when I enter the "SO" command...Still don't get a pop-up box to start the router after entering in the "CR" command. The bot will execute the "CR" command just fine without power to the router and the output switch #1 light is on the whole time...Any ideas?

I can turn my router on and off in keyboard control and the SO command works fine if I include it in the part file code but for some reason it won't work right if I just enter the SO in the command line.

Thanks for all the great tips. I know we can get this one figured out. It's just a matter of time.

Jim Russell
Rocklin, CA
therussellhome@hotmail.com (mailto:therussellhome@hotmail.com)

10-11-2004, 08:50 AM
From Gordon's post "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." It seems very likely that you are doing everything correctly now, so (guessing) there may be a hardware problem in the control box preventing the S4 from being detected when the tool is moving. I would call SB and get their opinion.

You mention that, when running a part file with SO,1,1 the router runs. Do you get a message to turn on the router when running from a file? When running from command line with S1 on (with blue light), does the router run on moves (M2,x,y)? Mine does.
Since the router will start and stop from a part file, you can use PW to create a 96 by 48 rectangle, then create a toolpath to clear the rectangle with your desired bit, edit in the SO commands and use this to level the table. You can set the depth to clear by toolpathing at say Z=-.1, then adjust Z as necessary in the pop up window when the file is run. This is not suggested as a final solution, but I think it is a safe workaround that will allow you to use the tool immediately.
Jim Frost

10-11-2004, 08:52 AM

Call ShopBot on this one - either something is not wired right, or something is not working right. They should be able to get you straightened out.

09-20-2005, 01:40 PM
Just a quick question on this subject.

When you use the SO,1,1 command in a part file DO YOU NEED to use the SO,1,0 command to turn the router/spindle off. The router/spindle just shuts off automatically at the end of a part file anyhow.

I just wondered if there was a reason (good practice, safety etc..)

Cheers Rob

09-20-2005, 01:51 PM
Hi Rob

Glad to see you got home OK, as I do not have an Alpha I cannot answer your question directly but you could ere on the side of caution and put it in. You can also use the SO commands for starting and stopping the Vacuum table and Extractor.



09-20-2005, 02:14 PM
Paul, that's a good idea. Could you post a link to a suitable relay to control an extractor (1500W). I think you suggested RS?


09-20-2005, 02:53 PM
Hi John,

The relay I used for my routers etc. was a 358-2892 from www.rswww.com (http://www.rswww.com) I am sure ther will be something in this range to match your loading.
I do not know the voltage for the "SO" switches on the Alpha but the relays I used have a 4.5-32Vdc control.

If you need any more info let me know.


09-20-2005, 03:26 PM
Thanks Paul.

09-20-2005, 03:30 PM
Hi Paul and John,

Paul... I've already started using some of the tips you showed me....

John... Looks like I'll be buying an axminster shortly....

All the best ...... Rob.

09-20-2005, 09:29 PM
Hi Rob,

In response to your question about 'needing' to use the SO,1,0 command to turn off the router/spindle. I always use it as a safety measure at the end of a file, but I also use it to do a programmed stop whenever I need to do something around the table - vacuum the sawdust, adjust clamps, remove scrap, etc.

When I use a downcut spiral and make two passes, I often add a programmed spindle stop between the two passes to give me time to vacuum up the debris so that the cutter doesn't have to recut the saw dust that tends to pack in the cut channel. I just finished cutting a file that always leaves the remains of rounded off corners floating around. As soon as I finish the pass that cuts the corners, I move the spindle to a safe distance, issue the SO,1,0 command, pick up the debris, and then continue on with an S0,1,1 command.