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It's (kinda) Alive!!!

Posted by qwindelzorf on January 8, 2009

Well, I went on vacation, but I am back now. There has been alot of progress, so this will be a pretty lengthy post.


While I was gone, the connectors I had ordered to wire up the motors arrived. I already had the cable I plan to use. They are 4 conductor, polarized, screw-together connectors. I bought 50 sets of one bulkhead-mount male and one cable-mount female on eBay. I should only need 8 sets for this project, but I'm sure I will find some use for the rest of them.


I spent the last two evenings working on this rat's nest of wires. The box contains all the control electronics for the mill. On the left is the paralell breakout board through which the controls arrive. The breakout board is sitting on top of the 36 volt power supply. To the lower-left is the back end of the emergency stop button.In the middle are the four motor KL-4030 controllers from Keling Technology. On the right are two bus-bars, which are connected to +5 volts and ground. On the far right is the cheapest power strip I could find at Home Depot at 8:30 last night. The whole assemblage is built into what used to be an Onyko stereo receiver, which had died, hence the random circuitry still inside the front (top of the picture).

The blue wires are for movement pulses, the yellow for direction. The black wires are all grounds. The red wires are all +36 volts. The small white wires are all +5 volts. The large multi-conductor cables go to the motor connection jacks on the box.

The documentation for this stuff is virtually non-existant, but through much reading of the Joe's 4x4 forum, I was able to figure it out eventually.


The next step was to wire up the motors. I soldered the male bulkhead connectors to the wires hanging out of the steppers, then mounted the motors to the machine. I make a short test cable to connect the male connector on the motor to the one on the control box for testing.

Then came the big moment. I flipped the switch. And nothing caught fire. It was a moment of rejoicing. My glee was somewhat tempered when nothing worked though. So I set about trying to figure out how to configure Mach3 to correctly drive the machine. It is pretty convoluted, but eventually I discovered got all the stuff in the "Ports and Pins" configuration page set up correctly.

And now... IT'S ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!


Admittedly, only one axis is hooked up, and my table is a terrible mess, but it's something. I still have to complete the Z axis, and make the hookup cables for the motors, and mount the actual table surface and come up with a cover for the control box, etc... But it's getting there. I hope to have all three axes moving by the end of the weekend. We'll see if that actually happens.