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Thread: Getting a new control board or fixing the old one.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    KenCraft Co Inc, Toledo Ohio
    Posts
    86

    Default Getting a new control board or fixing the old one.

    I've had some issues with my control box for some time (2008-ish). I've managed to put band aids on the problem and get by. My newest problem is the control computer needs replacing. Since I have an older PRS Alpha with VSD will it even work without updating the control board with a new windows computer. The issues I've had with the machine all point to the main board. When the machine is first turned on I am prompted that the E stop is pushed and needs to be reset. It is not pushed. ( disconnected years ago) After several hours this goes away on its own and the machine will work fine until it is turned off. I've talked to shopbot and we have tried changing computers, usb hubs, disconnecting e stops. Nothing has been able to eliminate the problem. The last conversation was to send the control board in to have it looked at. ( I didn't ask a dollar amount).

    Now that I'm needing to change computers, do I need a new board anyway. Has anyone had to upgrade like this before. I have an old XP I could use if needed but don't know which control software works best with it.

    The bummer part is a local TV show films at our shop about 6 times and year. This last show we did in October I have to borrow a friends CNC (not a shopbot) for the show because of the above issues. I like using my own stuff, much more comfortable and it gives Shopbot some air time.
    Tracy Spitulski
    KenCraft Co Inc.
    PRSa 6096
    www.kencraftcompany.com
    Hardwood Lumber, Custom Millwork
    Dust Collector Fittings

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    467

    Default

    You should be able to upgrade the computer pretty easily as long as you have a USB connection currently between the computer and your machine.

    If you dig on this forum you'll be able to find some best practices for setting up a new computer so that it will work best with the SB3 control software. Some of this includes disabling power saving features.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2,310

    Default

    I just ran into a problem where it said the E stop was engaged and even after I changed the settings I could only move the x and z the y would just hum. I ended up uninstalling the SB software and reinstalling it that cleared up all my problems. I do have 2 controllers and both gave me the same errors. I am looking into changing over to the Centroid Acorn controller that Gary Campbell is using. It looks easy to convert and is only $299 for everything and it uses a network cable connection.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Rock Hill SC
    Posts
    478

    Default shopbot upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by jerry_stanek View Post
    I just ran into a problem where it said the E stop was engaged and even after I changed the settings I could only move the x and z the y would just hum. I ended up uninstalling the SB software and reinstalling it that cleared up all my problems. I do have 2 controllers and both gave me the same errors. I am looking into changing over to the Centroid Acorn controller that Gary Campbell is using. It looks easy to convert and is only $299 for everything and it uses a network cable connection.
    I have my Buddy 48 inch machine converted to the Centroid system. Much easier to run, works first time every time. It is also quite a bit more accurate and faster. It is going to cost quite a bit more than $299 though. I have enjoyed the setup so much that I am now converting my Desktop to the Centroid system.

    If you are into electronics and have a decent grounding in electrical theory you will have no trouble with a DIY project to do this. If you are not confident in your ability I would strongly recommend Gary Campbells services. Gary is a former Shopbot employee and he hangs out on the Centroid Acorn forum a lot.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    iBILD Solutions - Southern NJ
    Posts
    7,965

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tracys View Post
    I've had some issues with my control box for some time (2008-ish). I've managed to put band aids on the problem and get by. My newest problem is the control computer needs replacing. Since I have an older PRS Alpha with VSD will it even work without updating the control board with a new windows computer. The issues I've had with the machine all point to the main board. When the machine is first turned on I am prompted that the E stop is pushed and needs to be reset. It is not pushed. ( disconnected years ago) After several hours this goes away on its own and the machine will work fine until it is turned off. I've talked to shopbot and we have tried changing computers, usb hubs, disconnecting e stops. Nothing has been able to eliminate the problem. The last conversation was to send the control board in to have it looked at. ( I didn't ask a dollar amount).

    Now that I'm needing to change computers, do I need a new board anyway. Has anyone had to upgrade like this before. I have an old XP I could use if needed but don't know which control software works best with it.

    The bummer part is a local TV show films at our shop about 6 times and year. This last show we did in October I have to borrow a friends CNC (not a shopbot) for the show because of the above issues. I like using my own stuff, much more comfortable and it gives Shopbot some air time.
    Tracy,
    There are many things that can cause the situation you describe. For instance (and assuming this is an Alpha), if your 24v power supply is intermittent or flaky, it can cause weird things to happen - especially if it doesn't put out the full current required to suck in the electromagnetic contactors. The other thing could be the control card which sticks up from the board - electronics degrade over time. The main board (@8x12") is pretty much just a breakout board/interface board for I/O, but things can die on them as well. To put things into perspective...that's an electronic device already 12 years old. How old is your TV? Phone? Computer? That's a long time for anything electronic.

    In my experience, SB only charged for return shipping to test the board. If the control card is found to be flaky, they'll let you know. This would be the direction I would try first.

    If you get a new PC, make sure you go through it and set it up by going through power management with a fine toothed comb...Leave the screen, hard drive on always and turn off USB selective suspend. Be sure to ask what configuration and specs SB recommends for a solid COM connection on a new Win10 PC.

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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Marietta GA
    Posts
    460

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jerry_stanek View Post
    I just ran into a problem where it said the E stop was engaged and even after I changed the settings I could only move the x and z the y would just hum. I ended up uninstalling the SB software and reinstalling it that cleared up all my problems. I do have 2 controllers and both gave me the same errors. I am looking into changing over to the Centroid Acorn controller that Gary Campbell is using. It looks easy to convert and is only $299 for everything and it uses a network cable connection.
    That 299.00 is for the acorn. You will need to purchase their cnc12 software as well. I believe it’s another 200.00 or so. Theres going to be some other expenses as well.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    KenCraft Co Inc, Toledo Ohio
    Posts
    86

    Default

    I talked to Ryan at IWF and he explained about the contactors. From what I've checked they seem to be operating properly. I am still thinking I need to send the boards in and have them checked.

    I didn't have much problems if I never turned the control box off. However recently I did some simple v carving. When I drew it up in Aspire the projected time was 45 minutes. In the control software it estimated 2-1/2 hrs. I tried it any way and it was very slow. When ever it got to a corner it moves very slow and would then jump in a jittery motion to the next corner. I don't know if these symptoms are related. I redid the file and saved it directly to the computer versus and thumb drive but no difference. I was using windows10 laptop with version 3.8.42. I started to think the laptop was causing the problem, but with all the other issues that board is the only thing I have not confirmed. Is it difficult to pull out and send in to SB.

    You are correct on the Alpha.
    Tracy Spitulski
    KenCraft Co Inc.
    PRSa 6096
    www.kencraftcompany.com
    Hardwood Lumber, Custom Millwork
    Dust Collector Fittings

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    iBILD Solutions - Southern NJ
    Posts
    7,965

    Default

    Tracy,
    The computer is a very important part of the SB controller. From what you mention, it could be either slow communication speed between the PC and the control box (USB) or something as simple as the firmware loaded in the control box does not match the version of SB3 you are running. Running the UI command in SB3 will install the correct firmware.

    If the tool still does not move as expected (soggy etc) - I would make sure that you have the proper tool configuration by running the UR command and picking the correct tool from the list. (You'll be prompted with 2 or 3 msgboxes before you can pick the tool...just hit enter each time and then pick). By doing a UR, it will reset your VR settings (accel/decel) in the event they got corrupted or changed somehow.

    Make sure your laptop's power configuration is set to high performance, and be sure USB Selective Suspend is OFF.
    High Definition 3D Laser Scanning Services - Advanced ShopBot CNC Training and Consultation - Vectric Custom Video Training IBILD.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    KenCraft Co Inc, Toledo Ohio
    Posts
    86

    Default

    Hi Brady

    I just updated the the firmware with the UI command. It seemed to update ok. Now that I've turned the control box on/off I've restarted the control software. Within a few minutes the system paused stating an e stop was pushed, it wasn't. I started a basic toolpath, pocketing a rectangle. It made it 2/3 through the file and the STOP button is on connected to input #4 came on. It stopped the machine and then shut down the software.

    I guess the next step would be to redo the UR settings just to see if it makes a difference.

    The mysterious estop shut down is frustrating.

    You've been very help now and in the past.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Tracy Spitulski
    KenCraft Co Inc.
    PRSa 6096
    www.kencraftcompany.com
    Hardwood Lumber, Custom Millwork
    Dust Collector Fittings

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    iBILD Solutions - Southern NJ
    Posts
    7,965

    Default

    Tracy,
    When inputs get unreliable or flaky it's been my experience that the controller card is starting to go.

    My advice would be to open the control box, remove the 4 Phillips screws holding the main board down, carefully tilt it up and remove the 2 screws holding the control card onto the main board. Then pull the control card out. Unplug the USB and ribbon cable (noting orientation) - then send it to SB for testing.

    It's rare for things to go bad on the main board - but there's an outside chance the ice cube relays on the main board are shot... you'll have to decide how involved you want to get. At the very least I would contact SB support and get the ball rolling. (The ice cube relays are part of the estop circuit)

    If all else fails, don't worry...there are other options as some have already mentioned.
    High Definition 3D Laser Scanning Services - Advanced ShopBot CNC Training and Consultation - Vectric Custom Video Training IBILD.com

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