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  #1  
Old Thu 10 May 2007, 12:30
Mike Richards
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Gecko G100 and Mach3 work finally

I know that many of you have been waiting to use a Gecko G100 (GRex) with Mach3 software for a very long time. This morning I downloaded the latest version of Mach3 and the latest plugin for the G100 - and they work! The slave axis feature that CNC routers require finally works properly - in fact, it looks like you could run two motors on the X-axis and two motors on the Y-axis if you wanted to.

The basic features of the G100 are:
6-axis
16-digital input lines
16-digital output lines
4-Analog/Digital input lines
4-Digital/Analog output lines
Maximum pulse rate selectable between 64kHz and 4MHz

The Gecko G100 costs $400 (US) from www.geckodrive.com.

The plugin license to run the G100 costs $50 (US) from www.artsoftcontrols.com, which is the home of Mach3. The license for Mach3 is $159 (US).
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  #2  
Old Thu 10 May 2007, 16:39
Jay Waters
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Mike, being electronically challenged I was wondering.....Could you use the G100 instead of the G202/G203's? If so, what (in a nutshell) is the advantage of the G100 over the G202/203's?
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  #3  
Old Thu 10 May 2007, 17:00
Marc Shlaes
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Mike, I second Jay's questions and add a little. I took a look at the G100 info on Gecko's site and saw that one significant advantage may be USB support. I am about to get started - haven't yet - and I would love get away from the dinosaur parallel port. Given the electronics guru that you seem to be, can you discuss the advantages / disadvantages of parallel vs. USB. Also, if USB is the apparent winner, can you dicuss how you would implement Gerald's pause button that he clearly described the other day.

Thanks tons in advance. We who are electronically challenged, salute you.
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  #4  
Old Thu 10 May 2007, 17:30
Gerald_D
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Mike, I would be much more interested in the ncPod, rather than the G100
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  #5  
Old Thu 10 May 2007, 20:22
Robert Masson
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Gerald, excuse my little know-how on these but could you explain me more on your choice of this cnPOD vs. the Greco one.
As you know, with the set up I?m hopping to built, I will need at least 6axis.
I?m still on the learning curve & wondering and appreciate learning more on these things !!
Thanks, Robert
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  #6  
Old Thu 10 May 2007, 23:44
Mike Richards
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Gerald, the ncPod is an excellent device that uses a USB port. I have NOT heard any negative reviews about it. If I didn't have such fond feelings for the G100, I would buy one and try it out.

Jay, the G100 basically generates pulses to drive the G20x stepper controllers. You need one $400 G100 to control up to six G20x stepper drivers.

Marc, the G100, as configured for use with Mach3 uses an Ethernet connection. The USB connection works very well, but not with Mach3. You would have to write your own software if you wanted to use the USB port. The advantage to Ethernet is that you, in theory, could control 253 G100 devices on a single class C network. A class C network has 256 available address, but address x.x.x.0 is the network address and address x.x.x.255 is the broadcast address. A third address would have to be used by the computer that actually controls everything else. BUT, think what you could do with 253 G100s all tied together! Yes, I know that I'm dreaming, but someday, someone will do something exraordinary with that device. As far as implementing I/O pins for non-standard devices, I'm right in the process of studying Gerald's post to see how it can be done. The Mach3 software has no special provisions to use all of the G100's capability, so allowing it to do all that it can do will take some time.

For the time being, if you have a parallel port available, a breakout board, such as the PMDX will still do an excellent job. I have two systems running on my test bench, each with four stepper motors attached. One of the systems uses the PMDX-122 via the parallel port to drive four G202 stepper drivers and four PK268-02 stepper motors. The other test system uses a G100 via an ethernet port to drive four G203 stepper drivers and four PK268-02 stepper motors. (The PK268-02 stepper motors are left-overs from old projects. I leave the larger PK296 and PK299 motors on the shelf except for the times when I'm testing those particular motors for a specific reason - old, white haired guys like me make an occassional mistake that blows something up and I would much rather lose a useless PK268 motor than fry a usable PK296 or PK299 motor.)
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  #7  
Old Fri 11 May 2007, 07:25
Marc Shlaes
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Mike,

Thanks tons. Very good information. I am sure that it will take me several months to complete my build. I will stay tuned for more information as you continue to figure things out. I was planning to order the metal package from Donald in the next group and work on the "kitchen table" simulation in parallel. I might now work solely on the table and give you some time to see where this goes. Thanks again for being so helpful.
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  #8  
Old Fri 11 May 2007, 07:48
Gerald_D
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The G100 or ncPod are potential replacements for the PMDX-122 "BOB" . They are both still experimental and not well supported. I still suggest building a system with a PMDX-122 today - it will be quite easy to replace the BOB when the other options become more stable.
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  #9  
Old Fri 11 May 2007, 08:01
Marc Shlaes
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Good thoughts Gerald. I thought more about this after my post. I am not looking to pioneer. Mike seems to be much better equipped than I will ever be. After the the last few posts, I better understand the role of the BOB, G100 and ncPod. I will do just as you suggest and "go conventional" and update later as I and others learn more.

This forum is the best! I promise to quit saying that soon. I just can't stop thinking it.
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  #10  
Old Fri 11 May 2007, 08:59
Mike Richards
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In Gerald's post about interfacing a pushbutton, found here (scroll up a little, the link points to the end of Gerald's post), he gave a lot of valuable information. When I followed his link to the OEM button codes I found the rest of the customization Wiki that is found here. It will take quite a while to work through all the information that is found there, but, after an initial quick scan through the document, it looks like the instructional material is there to enable us to do anything that can be incorporated into Mach software.
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  #11  
Old Fri 11 May 2007, 15:38
Jay Waters
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Thanks Mike and Gerald, very informative and just what I (we) needed to know.
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