View Full Version : Turning Router Off at End of Program

09-29-2006, 09:23 AM
I'm not quite sure what to look for in the archives, but did a few searches and came up with nothing. What I'm looking to do is rig up something to plug my router and dust collector into that will allow it to be turned off by a command at the end of my program. I often run fairly long programs (I build mandolins and guitars) and would love to be able to put a command at the end of a long program that would trigger a relay/solenoid to turn off these two items. I'm sure it's been done, but I don't have a clue as to where to start. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Lynn Dudenbostel

09-29-2006, 09:48 AM
Lynn, a simple option is to put a switch on top of the z-slide. Put a high z-value at the end of your file and the slide will go up and hit the switch. Heath Robinson, but easy to understand and implement.

09-29-2006, 10:02 AM
That makes sense. A friend of mine has a wooden finger mounted on his ShopBot and Z's up until the finger flips the switch on his Porter Cable router. I'm using a Milwaukee right now and the switch is on the side. Didn't think about using the Z axis for this. Would still be interested in seeing what it takes to do it from the control box. I'd think with the Z axis you'd have to be a bit careful with the mounting height of the switch and the amount of Z travel at the end of the cut.

I've been using my PRT48 since 2001 and just got moved into a new shop. Finally, I figure it's time to do a few things I've been thinking about for a long time. THis is one of them.


09-29-2006, 10:32 AM
An electronic relay connected to an output will do it, but the more competent electrical blokes around here should be able to explain more about sources/sinks....

09-29-2006, 11:05 AM
Lynn, check your manual, there was a diagram and Radio Shack parts list for a relay that can be assembled and wired into the output switch terminals in your control box. If you don't have it, let me know and I can copy that page for you.

Your parts file commands will be like this...SO,1,1 'Router on and SO,1,0 'Router off if you hook it up to switch terminal 1.

09-29-2006, 11:23 AM
Scott, thanks! That's what I'm looking for, My manual mentions the possibility of doing this, but stops short of giving specific instructions. As a matter of fact, it kind of discourages using a program to turn the router on and off for safety reasons... but, I'm a former safety guy from Lockheed Martin and think I can manage the safety aspects of it. If you could please copy the info for me, I'd greatly appreciate it. IF you will just e-mail me at knoxdude@charter.net (mailto:knoxdude@charter.net), I'll send you my mailing address. I'm trying to remember if my digitizing probe is connected to switch terminal 1. I'll check after the part I'm running now is complete. What would the command look like for output switch terminal 2?


09-29-2006, 11:25 AM
Now that I look at it, SO 2 commands would probably be SO,2,0 and SO,2,1 right?


09-29-2006, 11:30 AM
Scott, you reminded me now why I went for a mechanical switch - that circuit (which was at the back of the Programming Manual) was susceptible to interference from other electrics and caused spurious inputs to the control board.

Here are some threads on output relays:

09-29-2006, 11:44 AM
Controlling AC devices with your Shopbot is really easy if you use Solid State Relays (SSR), such as the SSR-240D25 from Tyco (Potter-Brumfield). The SSR is about the size of a squarish hockey-puck with four electrical connections. Two of the connections are AC, to control the AC device, i.e. router, vacuum, etc. Two of the connections are DC to turn the SSR on/off.

If you use the SSR-240D25, connect terminal 1 to the AC line (hot) side of your AC power line. Connect terminal 2 to the AC line (hot) side of the router/vacuum, etc. that you're controlling. Connect the neutral side of the router/vacuum, etc. to the neutral side of the AC line. Connect terminal 3 to the +5VDC connection on your Shopbot's control board. Connect terminal 4 to an unused output on the control board.

Assuming that you connected the SSR to output 1 on your Shopbot, when you give the command SO,1,1 you will turn on the router/vacuum (probably after pressing the START button - at least on my Alpha). You give the command SO,1,0 to turn off the router/vacuum.

It's always a good idea to put a mechanical SPST (on/off) switch between terminal 1 on the SSR and your AC line (hot) conductor. A SSR 'leaks' enough that you can sometimes get a good shock even though the SSR is OFF. By adding the SPST switch, you can turn the power off when changing cutters in the router or servicing the vacuum.

A really nice feature of the SSR-240D25 is that it has a zero-crossing detector, meaning that it turns the power on/off as the AC sine wave passes through the zero point of the wave. I once connected a 100 watt light bulb to an SSR and cycled it one second on and then one second off to see how long the bulb would last before blowing out. I finally stopped the experiment after several days when a family member said that the test was driving her nuts. (A similar test with a mechanical relay blew another bulb in less than an hour.)

(Boy, you guys are fast - three posts between the time I started writing my post and actually posting it.)

09-29-2006, 12:03 PM
So, Mike, as I understand it, I could just put the relay AC connections in line with a powerstrip that the router and dust collector are plugged in to? In other words the neutral would just go thru from the power source to the strip, and the hot lead would go from the power source, thru the SSR to the hot lead of the powerstrip?


09-29-2006, 12:11 PM
Mike, I am a bit nervous of SSR's and dust collectors because the heavy impeller means a slow start-up and a longish period of very high current. I have seen 5 times rated current for about the first second....

09-29-2006, 12:57 PM

09-29-2006, 01:02 PM
I use an electronic box which turns the dust collector on when one of my DC connected machines is turned on. I know next to nothing about electronics but the control box mounts near the main breaker box and has a round disk which is inside the breaker box. The black wire for any machine I want to control runs through this disk which senses current and turns the DC on and then turns it off about 10 seconds after the machine is turned off.

I think that this would address Gerald's concerns because the relay would need to only control the router or spindle.


09-29-2006, 01:47 PM
Gerald, SSRs can be found with higher current ratings than the SSR-240D25 that I suggested. The SSR-240D25 is a DC controlled SSR handling up to 240AC at 25 amps.

Lynn, I would build something a little more robust than what you describe. I would use a metal box to contain the SSR and SPST and an AC outlet receptacle. Usually, I would run a dedicated line from the breaker panel to the 'box'. The hot conductor of that line would go from the breaker to SPST, from SPST's other terminal to SSR terminal no. 1, from SSR terminal no. 2 to the hot side of outlet receptacle. A neutral conductor from the panel would go directly to the neutral side of the outlet receptacle. A ground conductor would go directly from the common ground in the panel to the outlet receptacle.

09-29-2006, 02:02 PM
Gerald, although that (interference) could very well be, I've been using mine since early '01 with no problems. All my interference problems came before that. My bot would move by itself without interaction from me, the software, or the router. :^0

09-29-2006, 02:14 PM
Mike, I see in the spec sheets that a SSR can handle about 10x rated current for one cycle of the AC, but I can't see what it will handle for the first 60 cycles (1 second). Anyway, if I go that route again, I would probably use a smallish SSR to drive a contactor.

Scott, I probably should have been more careful with the cabling and screening. It doesn't help that out here we have 230V as our lowest voltage.

Now that we have a full-time operator, "Van", there is no longer a need for our ShopBot to "auto-switch" - Van does that. (Our MechMate "auto-switches")

09-29-2006, 08:04 PM
Lynn, are you doing anything for DIY currently? I gotta say I'm a big fan of your handmade music shows... maybe I just like to watch Kentucky Thunder jam... good stuff.

09-29-2006, 11:43 PM
Mike... I've got a dedicated 20 amp circuit in the new shop for the router and dust collector and turnning them both on at once doesn't trip the breaker, so this surge I'm hearing about shouldn't be a concern, should it? Seems like if I'm not tripping a 20 amp breaker, the 25 amp rated SSR should do it. Putting a mechanical switch in the line makes a lot of sense. Any chance of posting a photo of yours, or e-mailing one to me?

I'd just go with the finger on the Z axis like Robert shows, but I want to activate/deactivate the dust collector too.

What is the output voltage on the terminals in the control box (PRT, not Alpha)? Is it 5vdc?

Rob... no, I've not done anything for DIY since we taped the 7 episodes back in 2002. The producer is still doing Handmade Music though. We just got DIY back at the house as part of a digital cable package, and I see they've done a series on violin making, banjos, and I hear even one show on steel drums! I saw one a couple of weeks back on electric guitars. I'm glad you enjoyed the shows. It was a blast doing them.

Everyone here has been a big help today. I appreciate all the input.


09-30-2006, 12:20 AM
The reason I mentioned the surge is because our shop's circuit breakers were all okay until the dust collecter arrived. The DC nameplate said 11 Amps and it immediately started tripping a 20 Amp breaker. So I put an Ampmeter on it and saw it starting off at near 60 Amps. We got a "slower" 20 Amp breaker to cure the problem.

09-30-2006, 02:09 AM
Sorry, I don't use the device that I described (my Colombo spindle is already controlled by the Shopbot - factory settings). The circuit is something very similar to circuits that I used to design in process control computers for the photo industry. I would normally install an SSR that is rated 2X the breaker current, not that it's necessary, but having a $30 device fry and stop all production is false economy. Gerald's advice about having the SSR control a contactor is excellent. You'll lose the zero-crossing feature, but a mechanical contactor would handle on-rush surges. However, as you said, you're not tripping a twenty-amp breaker, so the contactor option might be something that you would add if needed. Be sure to use shielded cable on the low voltage control side of the SSR and ground the shield (one end only) to your common chassis ground to avoid electrical noise.

Typically, TTL-style logic (the electrical stuff in the control box) usually 'sinks' current, meaning that one side of the control circuit is connected directly to 5VDC and the other end is connected to the output. When the output is 'off', it is actually at 3 to 5VDC. When the output is 'on' it is low, somewhere between 0 and 0.7VDC (at least that's the range of voltages acceptable to TTL logic, which most controller cards use). The whole object of the control circuit in an SSR is to turn on an internal L.E.D. That L.E.D. expects to see about 10ma of current and a voltage between 3 and 30 VDC. Because of the L.E.D. circuit, there is no direct connection between the control side of the SSR and the high voltage AC side. Opto-isolation is probably the main reason to use an SSR. At any rate, depending on where you buy the components, everything should cost between $50 and $100 and take about 30 minutes to wire up.

10-01-2006, 11:02 PM
Mike... the circuit I have for the router and dust collector is a 20 amp 120v. So, the 240D25 SSR you recomment whould be more than double the rating I need, right? (240V 25 amp would be 120v 50 amp capacity?). I happen to have a GE contactor, 30 amp, 3 pole with a 110-120v coil. I should be able to drive that with the SSR and just use one pole to break the hot side of the my power line. Sound like I'm up to speed here?

The shielded cable you metion for the low voltage side... is this like coax cable?


11-21-2006, 11:30 PM
I know this is an older thread but i got interested in it while thinki8ng about a way to automatically turn off my dust collection when the router turns off after the file is done. Sometimes I do lithopanes that mean the machine is running 4-5 hours and I have a camera setup so i can keep an eye on the bot working while i'm watching football. Now the shopbot tech guys could answer this, but i'm wondering since I have my router power supply run into the shopbot control box that turns the router on/off why couldn't you run a power line from the same terminals to a receptacle box, plug your dust collection into that and it will then turn on/off same as the router? Is there same voltage constraints or surge issues that would cause a problem?

Brady Watson
11-22-2006, 12:47 AM
I wouldn't use the contactors in the box to turn anything but the router on/off. They are rated to run a single router and nothing more.

If you want to turn the DC or any other accessory on/off, use a relay board in conjunction with your accessory. Output switches on the board can be used to toggle the accessory on & off from the software. There should be a few references to making a relay board for this purpose if you use the search function.


11-22-2006, 12:52 AM
Relays board/box; I believe SB has one or you can build up your own. The schematic is somewhere in the documentation but here what I have about the Alpha (24V) system.

relay circuit.zip (http://www.talkshopbot.com/forum/messages/27/relay_circuit-16439.zip) (49.9 k)

I'm in the process of building mine but it won't be switching until a few days or weeks... more later...