View Full Version : Hidden Control Software

12-29-2008, 04:40 PM
Sometimes when I open the control software, it doesn't show up on the screen. I go into Windows Task Manager, select it under 'applications', and choose 'end task'. Generally the next time I start the software, it shows up fine. Anyone know why this happens?

Gary Campbell
12-29-2008, 06:27 PM
I have noticed the same thing. Also, sometimes it seems that SB3 doesnt have Windows XP's "attention" as you need to enter a command (usually the 1st of the day) such as JH twice or requires hitting enter.

12-29-2008, 06:41 PM
Missing commands here also.

Gary Campbell
12-29-2008, 06:44 PM
Do you think we should do the prudent thing and tell tech supt?


12-29-2008, 07:13 PM
Way too responsible and straightforward. I'd much rather hang out in here and unearth someone's 'magic fix'!

12-30-2008, 08:48 AM
Ummmmm ....

What version would you guys be running? Not showing up initially is not one we've heard. When that happens, does anything at all show up on the windows task bar at the bottom?? Is there any other particular software running when you get that behavior?? Does this happen right after the computer has been started, or later in the day??

One possibility for what is going on is that it may be that a previous version of ShopBot did not fully shut down on your previous termination and a component of the program was still persisting in the windows background. Then, when you tried to start ShopBot -- it automatically checks around for other running copies, saw something, and aborted the start up. Afterwards, when you went to the task manager what you saw may have been the earlier persisting component which you then shut down and all was well again. Could this fit your scenario??

Thanks for input. [BTW, the current beta has some changes that are intended to improve several responsiveness issues.]

Ted Hall, ShopBot Tools

12-30-2008, 08:59 AM
One thing that happened to me, that may have some relevance is that the preview window wouldn't show up and I couldn't figure it out till i went and changed my "Display properties" for my screen resolution up to 1600X1200 and found it way off to the side where i couldn't see it when my resolution was 800X600. So next time this happens you may want to change your resolution to see if it is there but just placed where you can't see it.
This has only happened a few times, so i have nothing to base it on...just a thought

12-30-2008, 05:50 PM

I'm not sure what version, I'll check tommorrow.

When it's hidden the only place I see any signs of it are in the Windows Task Manager.

I tried opening and closing the program a number of times today (*with the control box off*) and the task manager window open, to see if the program seemed to remain on when closed. It didn't, but also the issue of the program remaining hidden didn't occur either.

When I turned the control box on, and tried to open the software, it didn't show up. (I had closed the task manager, so can't say whether or not it was diplayed there before trying to open it or not).

It does seem as there is some connection between the control box being on and it happening. It may be that it happens each time immediately after the control box is turned, but I'm not sure, I'll keep an eye on it. I'll also try to see if it does remain on in the task manager when shut down, and if so, whether this seems connected with the issue.

Gary Campbell
12-30-2008, 06:40 PM
To add to above, Version 3.5.12 and 14. It did become noticable, occasional and non repeatable with version 12.

Computer off at nite, on in the AM, start SB3, occsionally "invisible" as Nat says. Tried a re doubleclick on the SB3 icon on desktop to no avail. Usually requires restart of XP. When second attempt works and opens SB3, there appears to be a copy of the software that "hangs" in the backround and only becomes visible during the last few seconds of XP upon shutdown of OS.

Nothing visible on taskbar. Task manager not checked. (my bad)

Computer: Pent 2.4ghtz dual, 2 gig ram, 256meg vid ram and XP pro

BTW Re:Beta Installed 3.6.1beta16 and upon start of SB3, got mem dump and blue screen shutdown... and all the associated Vista "fun"

Computer: 2.4gtz quad OC'd to 3+, 4gig ram. dual 512meg vid ram running vista

Hope this helps, and thanks for listening in.

12-30-2008, 07:40 PM
Version 3.5.9 here.

12-31-2008, 10:34 AM
Hello all- I figured this one out.

The SB3 program does not always do a clean shut-down and is still running in the background after "exit". I use the "process manager" (A free download from Microsoft) and kill the SB3.exe program that is still waiting in the background for some signal it never receives, that prevents a new copy from starting up.

The bug is clearly in the shutdown logic for the SB3 program. It does it to me about 1 time out of 10. I am running 3.6.1 Beta06 if that helps any. I have not noticed any pattern as to what the situation is that causes the control logic to enter the "wait forever" loop.

By nuking the sb3.exe process, everything restarts correctly. I have gotten so accustomed to killing the process when needed that I didn't think of reporting my findings.



Gary Campbell
12-31-2008, 04:00 PM
Hey Dana...
Would this apply immediately after an overnite shutdown? I find it hard, as in my case, that a copy would be running in the backround after a shutdown.

I would like to add that this is something that I have not paid much attention to, and may have the chronology bass-ackwards. Will try and pay attention over the next few days.

Happy New Year to all.

01-01-2009, 03:38 AM
Dana is right... I am programmer in Visual Basic... If the program is not close completly this will happen...
When you press Exit Button in Menu, if in that button it is not commanded to close all processess running..this thing will always happen...
After shutting the programm, if u want to open it again the program will just open and blink and disappear..

01-01-2009, 09:44 AM
Gary- The SB3 program conceptually is just exiting.. however it seems to be waiting for something, perhaps a signal from the control board in the bot. Its the sort of symptom that the USB/serial driver has been closed then the software is waiting for one more packet of information from the control board. If something like that occurs a race is set up, such that on one setup it will appear to work "bug free", when in fact the bug is hidden, and the program has unpredictable behavior.

That is probably not the exact problem, but typical of the a shutdown bug. And the problem may not be waiting on a signal that cant arrive. It definitely is after the SB3 program has closed all the open windows, as nothing is showing on the screen when it happens.

If you shutdown the PC at the end of the night and never close the SB3 program, eventually the PC will send a message to the running program that says "exit or be killed", then the process will be terminated as part of the windows power down sequence- hiding the problem in that case.

I have made my living with software enough to find these things maddening to find. Sometimes they are obvious once the symptoms are known.

Either way, I expect a beta 07 in the near future ;)


01-01-2009, 01:37 PM
Latest beta appears to be 15, posted 12/15/08. So you may be waiting for beta 16, Dana!

01-01-2009, 02:12 PM
I am probably way behind.. I dont check for updates unless I hear about the good things I am missing on the forum.


Gary Campbell
01-12-2009, 05:54 PM
For an update...
Assuming that even tho tech support or the beta dept. may not monitor the forum, their boss does!

I installed 3.6.1beta16 on my SB computer for a few days. the beta did NOT "go into hiding". I had a few other issues with it. One of them was that it did not deal with prox switches as well as ver 3.5.12 does.(or the firmware included) I am impressed with some of the features in this version and cant wait til it goes mainstream.

I reinstalled 3.5.12 and had much more reliable prox reaction (no change on X,Y, but improved on Z, A and my drills). a copy of 3.5.12 also goes "into hiding" NOT visible on task manager. only presents for a brief second during OS shutdown.

I dont know a lot about how all this stuff works, but this doesnt make sense to me. Dana?


01-13-2009, 08:35 AM
Gary - So far B16 has not done that to me either. But the older one didn't do it every time. I will give it a while to see if the problem seems to be resolved.

I use ProcessExplorer, a free download from microsoft, much better than task manager, and you can have it replace TM. PE always shows the hanging processes and allows me to kill them. Then I could re-launch SB3 without problem.

Interesting observation on the prox switches, since I have been using B16 all my XY zero has been done by laser, I haven't been using my prox switches. I use the prox switches when the work is bolted to the "slab of aluminum", then the prox switches give me a zero that is consistent to about 0.002. The laser isn't that good, but I use it to point to an X on the material where I want the cut centered and it doesn't need to be as precise.


Gary Campbell
01-13-2009, 04:17 PM
I used to think that I had very consistant zeroing by the prox switches. I can now run the XY zero and see differences ranging in the .050 range. possibly less with ver 12, but not much. I ended up making a zero fixture that uses a circle on a plastic template of known dimension to regain accuracy. (sigh) as frustration of trying to make accurate parts sets in.

01-13-2009, 04:39 PM
As usual I wrote some test routines, they go to the prox switches but do not re-zero the axes. That way they read the repeatability of the prox switches to get to the same position.

Like some of my other stuff I will have this at your camp in Feb, so if you would like to try it out it helps to know just how much error there is in using the C1 command. I dont mind sharing these little utilities.. it really helps with knowing how well the SB is performing.


Gary Campbell
01-13-2009, 07:49 PM
Thanks.. I will take you up on those.. and I may have a few little goodies to trade