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Thread: 3G & 4G Upgrade/Spare Control Boxes For Sale

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    iBILD Solutions - Southern NJ
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    Default 3G & 4G Upgrade/Spare Control Boxes For Sale

    I have 2 control boxes for sale. Both are in 100% working condition. Both in storage for many years. I've taken them apart and cleaned them, tested all the critical components and tuned them (4G) for maximum speed and smoothness using SB originally equipped motors.

    3rd Generation PRT Control System:

    The 3G is my original control box from 2001. It has been preserved in a storage tote since 2005. All 5 drivers are perfect & have never been blown or replaced. Power supplies are in great shape still putting out 5,12 and 44v as expected. (48v PS is detuned from SB in order to account for back EMF when decellerating so you don't over volt a motor drive)

    See the 3G box with 5 motors hooked up (X1, X2, Y, Z, B) running on an i5 3.4GHz 8GB RAM Win7 Pro computer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96CMrk19RYw

    These old control boxes in good running condition are getting to be rare as hens teeth. FYI - These boxes can run SB2.39 in DOS or up to v3.4.27 in Windows. The computer shown in the demonstration is running v3.4.27 AND it has a serial port on the motherboard - so it hooks right up using a serial cable with no converter & works perfectly. A USB to serial converter can also be used on another computer if it doesn't have a serial.

    The 3G control box is listed at $750 + shipping. If you want the computer for a turn-key solution, add $400.

    In case it isn't obvious, this box can be used to upgrade a PR control (using unipolar or IMS drives) to 3G or as a spare/replacement for a clapped out early PRT system. If you plan to use it to upgrade a PR - let me know when you purchase & I will include special wiring instructions for your motors. If you don't rewire the motors when going from PR to PRT controls, you'll wipe out the drivers.

    The box is in VERY good condition. There is a small screw covering up where the voltage divider knob was for my plasma cutter setup because that looks better than a 10mm hole...


    4th Generation PRT Control System:

    The 4G is from around 2006-2007. It is a complete control box from SB, not a 3G to 4G upgrade since it has a v204 controller (direct USB not USB to Serial converted) and a 63v toroid power supply compared to the 3G 48v power supply. The higher voltage permits higher speeds and a wider power band. This box came off of a BT32 and only had 3 drives. I bought 2 more G203v drives ($150 each) to populate the other 2 slots.

    This box has 5 Gecko G203v 'vampire drives', which are way better in terms of durability than early 4G boxes with the black G202s. 5 drives will allow you to run X1, X2, Y, Z, B or X1, X2, Y, Z, A (2nd Z) - or a Benchtop/Buddy Standard 32/48 with a spare drive.

    I've taken the liberty to tune out most of the mid-band resonance inherent with the Vexta motors at certain speeds. You can see the box setup and running full tilt here (it totally rips, by the way): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiiQQrxyUYo This is running on the same computer as the 3G, except running USB directly. This computer was just refurbished with new install of Win7 Pro, all the updates and wiped clean of any nonsense that would interfere with CNC work. If you have COM problems and want something that 'just works' this is the setup for you.

    I'm listing the 4G box @ $1495 + shipping. Add $400 if you want the PC shown. (no kb, mouse or monitor add your own) FYI, the cost for just a 4G board and nothing else from SB back in 2005 was $1795 or $1495 with old control card trade in. The 4G is no longer available from SB, which is a shame because it is a nice setup. I think the only upgrade option right now is a complete RBK control which will run you about $3000 or so...and the performance is no better than a 4G in my experience. This control box is compatible with any SB Tool from PR, PRT (including Benchtop) and Early PRS Standard. There are no provisions in either box for spindle control, but you could add it if you wanted. If you plan to run this on a PR, let me know because you will have to change some wires around at the motors.

    (FYI - each control box includes the ShopBot software licence/control card a $345 value - no trade in required) The case is in good shape, but does have some dings and dents here an there.

    For those that like to tinker...the 4G can be used to run other motor & drive combinations as well. You aren't stuck running the SB motors...I can give you details about this upon purchase, if interested.

    PM or email if interested.

    Thanks!
    -B
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    High Definition 3D Laser Scanning Services - Advanced ShopBot CNC Training and Consultation - Vectric Custom Video Training IBILD.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Lakin KS
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    276

    Default

    Brady, what would I need to do to utilize the 4G controller on my PRT? It is an unplug the old and plug in the new? Update the control software on the computer?
    Tom Bachman,
    Drafting/Woodworking Instructor RETIRED!
    Lakin, Kansas

    2001 PRT4896
    https://i.imgur.com/xWEFfDk.jpg

  3. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bachman View Post
    Brady, what would I need to do to utilize the 4G controller on my PRT? It is an unplug the old and plug in the new? Update the control software on the computer?
    Tom,
    Yes. The 4G is literally plug and play. It used to take me only about 10 minutes to upgrade a 3G to a 4G board using the existing 3G control box when I'd do them on the road. That included swapping out boards, wiring, loading SB3 and testing it out. If you're running a 3G now, you're in for BIG surprise with the 4G! Not only will the tool have 2.5x finer resolution, it will sound MUCH smoother and the motor resonance will no longer telegraph into your cut. Acrylics and aluminum will cut much cleaner. Furthermore, depending on your computer and how good the USB speed is on it, you'll be able to cut faster and jog at least 2x faster right after you hook it up.

    Remove your entire blue input and output blocks from your 3G and plug them right into the 4G. No need to remove any wires from the screw terminals. Unplug your motor cables from the old box and plug them directly into the 4G box. Load v3.6.46 on your PC, configure it for your tool and you're ready to go.

    -B
    High Definition 3D Laser Scanning Services - Advanced ShopBot CNC Training and Consultation - Vectric Custom Video Training IBILD.com

  4. #4
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    Sep 2013
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    Lakin KS
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    Default

    The computer I use to run my system now is a HP fairly new running Win7 and has a serial to USB.
    Tom Bachman,
    Drafting/Woodworking Instructor RETIRED!
    Lakin, Kansas

    2001 PRT4896
    https://i.imgur.com/xWEFfDk.jpg

  5. #5
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    Default

    Tom,
    You should be good to go then. You won't need serial for the 4G - USB only.

    Depending on how good your USB hardware is in the HP, you may or may not need a USB self-powered hub to get good communication speeds. The faster the communication speed, the faster the tool will go. The computer I show in the video is very good - so if yours runs a little slower, the computer is the culprit. (That's why I offered the computer for sale too...)

    Send me a message if you want to proceed.

    Thanks!
    -Brady
    High Definition 3D Laser Scanning Services - Advanced ShopBot CNC Training and Consultation - Vectric Custom Video Training IBILD.com

  6. #6
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    Sep 2013
    Location
    Lakin KS
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    Default

    I think it has USB 2.0.
    Tom Bachman,
    Drafting/Woodworking Instructor RETIRED!
    Lakin, Kansas

    2001 PRT4896
    https://i.imgur.com/xWEFfDk.jpg

  7. #7
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    Jan 2004
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    Default

    Sale on 4G Controls pending payment...

    -B
    High Definition 3D Laser Scanning Services - Advanced ShopBot CNC Training and Consultation - Vectric Custom Video Training IBILD.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Lakin KS
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    Payment sent, should be there Saturday. Thanks Brady!
    Tom Bachman,
    Drafting/Woodworking Instructor RETIRED!
    Lakin, Kansas

    2001 PRT4896
    https://i.imgur.com/xWEFfDk.jpg

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Springfield Mo
    Posts
    797

    Default Upgrades

    Tom, or Brady...

    So what computer are you using for the 4g ? Working on trying to get an HP laptop with Windows 10 to run a 4g Bot here. Seems it cannot find an active port or needs a USB driver ? loaded ?

    So all laptops need a "powered hub" to work properly? Do not plug directly into a Windows 10 laptop ?

    Searching the forum for the proper sequence of steps...
    which USB driver for a 4g system ?

    thanks
    The decimal point seems to be the most important on the z axis... x & y not so much....
    ShopBot... Where even the scraps and things you mess up and throw away are cool....

  10. #10
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    Jan 2004
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    Default

    Run SB3.6.46 for the 4G. Load the USB driver via SB3 initial installation. If it doesn't load, use Device Manager. Load Firmware using UI in SB3. Try running it WITHOUT the USB hub. All computers are different - some need the hub. Preference would be a 2.0 (black) and not USB 3.0 (blue) port on the PC.

    A lot of people have difficulty getting good COM which is why I offered, at a reasonable price, a tested, known good PC for sale with either box for sale. I have ZERO control over the PC others use...and therefore can't guarantee their PC is going to connect and run as well as what I showed.

    You should really start a new thread for this since this is in the FOR SALE section. So...um...ya know....

    -B
    High Definition 3D Laser Scanning Services - Advanced ShopBot CNC Training and Consultation - Vectric Custom Video Training IBILD.com

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