UC100 Just wondering

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bnelson
Posts: 64
Joined: Sat May 01, 2004 3:35 pm

UC100 Just wondering

Post by bnelson » Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:40 am

I noticed a lot of UC100 motion controller posts lately. One on each build you have up on your site. Any particular reason for this? Should I be migrating from my PC parallel port over to the UC100?

msimpson
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Posts: 2856
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2004 6:19 pm

Re: UC100 Just wondering

Post by msimpson » Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:23 pm

In an attempt to keep things current and to give my builders options, I am always on the look out for controller options. This helps keep my workbooks up to date.

A while back I tested the UC100, UC300, and even the UCCNC software. I found the UC100 to be the easiest and most straight forward approach to using a PC without a parallel port on the KRMx02, KRmx01, KRmf70, KReduCNC or any other build for that matter.

While it does not have the extra DB25 connectors the SmoothStepper or UC300 has, its (as I stated in the articles) a no-brainier. Install the software with their universal installer and plug in the controller. BAM! every thing works.

In addition some of you have had some issues with the parallel port running kind of rough. This has to do with internal timing on the PC and the way the PC interfaces with parallel port. I have this issue with both built-in parallel ports and add on PCI and PCIE cards. The UC100 fixes this issue.

One other thing, Mach3 has a parralel port bug, where the background engine just stops working. You have to stop and start Mach3 when this happens. The bug is in the actual parallel port engine (the same engine used with Mach4). When using the UC100 or UC300 you dont have this issue.

I have been working alot with CNC4PC and the manufacture of the UC100 (CNCDrive) and they like my videos and articles. After my initial testing on the KReduCNC, I liked the UC100 and wanted to consider migrating all my builds over to the UC100/UC300 controllers.

Full Disclosure
Since I needed 9 controllers, they offered me a bundle deal on several UC100's and UC300's. I still paid for them, but at a substantial discount.

Don't get me wrong, I would not be using them If did not like them. Note that I also have several SmoothSteppers, but have not migrated to those.
Also note that the UC300 works identical to the UC100, but offers several more ports. Its use is a little more complicated, because you have to use the second port as a parallel port replacement so this means changing all the port numbers in the Mach3 configuration settings to 2 instead of 1. In addition you also must supply a 5V power source and a special mounting board for the UC300.

Another note on the UC300. They no longer are offereing the USB version of the UC300. Only the Ethernet version. This adds a lot more setup to get it up and running, which is the reason I did not got full boar on the UC300.

I have been using the UC300 on my CNC construction set build and so far its a pretty all inclusive controller.

Now a note about UCCNC software.
First let me say, there is nothing wrong with Mach3. I am still using it on all my builds.

I have been looking for a good Mach3 replacement for a few years now. I just want something in case they stop selling it in favor of the newer Mach4. Mach3 is a very mature product, and is no longer being updated. That said the sales of Mach3 is still magnitudes higher than that of Mach4 and I strong suspect if it would not work on the latest OS, they would be forced to fix it. In honestly, I think Mach3 will be around for some time to come. I wont go with Mach4 as its not very mature as still buggy. It also has a licence system that I dont like.

UCCNC Enter Stage Left
The UCCNC software is free to download. What you do is pay a $60 licence for each UC100 or UC300 you connect. So this gives a migration path from Mach3 to the UCCNC software. If you wanted to move over to the UCCNC software from Mach3 and a UC100 controller, All you would need to do is purchase a $60 licence for the UC100. When the UCCNC software is started it detects the UC100 and updates the firmware.

I have used the UCCNC software, and I really like it. While its not as advance as Mach3, its pretty darn close. It is much more accurate about keeping the proper speeds and feeds. The UCCNC software also has a Mach3 configuration File reader that converts about 99% of the settings in Mach3 to UCCNC.

While I have tested the UCCNC software, and I do like it, I am not ready to go full board on replacing my Mach3 builds with it. Maybe in time, but I want a few years under my belt with it.

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