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Question #: 13825

Question: With the Mach3 USB board, my stepper motors are moving or spinning slowly.

Current Solution

If your motors turn very slowly using your Mach3 USB board, then either the pulse from the board is being output at a slow rate or the motor drivers are set to a higher than expected microstepping:

The Mach3 USB board outputs the pulse rather than the computer, but Mach3 controls this pulse frequency within the motor tuning section. First, determine if the travel distance is correct with the computer and the physical travel of the machine.

If the travel is different, then your stepper motor driver's microstepping is incorrect, or the steps per inch/mm in the motor tuning within Mach3 is incorrect.

If the travel is correct, then simply change the velocity and acceleration parameters to your desired level. If Mach3 will not achieve the velocity you desire, then decrease your stepper motor driver's microstepping setting, readjust the step per inch/mm in mach3 and readjust the acceleration and velocity to your desired levels.

Respond:

Other Possible Solutions to this Question

  • In a Windows configuration, Using the USB breakout board, is the Planet-CNC software used in conjunction with Mach3 or in place of it?

    Mach3 is not compatible with the USB breakout board, so you need Planet CNC in its place.

    Additional Information:

    I am confused by this same issue. I am using the Mach3 USB interface board with Mach3 and it works fine. In fact a video of it is on this very website. (link below)

    Is the Mach3 USB interface board the same thing as Planet-CNC USB board?
    It has been stated on this FAQ that it cannot be used with Mach3 and can only be used with Planet CNC USB software.

    https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/electronicsAndMotors-electronic-component-breakout-Mach3-USB-Board

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    In a Windows configuration, Using the USB breakout board, is the Planet-CNC software used in conjunction with Mach3 or in place of it?

  • Can I run two stepper motors off the same axis output on the USB controller?

    Yes, you can use 2 motors in the same axis output, however you will still need a driver for that motor! Also depending on the orientation on which you mount the motor you might have to invert the direction of the motor, and that will be simple by swapping the A+,A-, to the B+,B- locations and vice versa, from the driver to the motor wiring.

    Also you can run a slave motor using another axis on the board, and setting it up in the Planet-CNC settings.

    Planet-CNC/File/Settings/Axes, here you will enter 3 in the Number of Axes location, and then change the Function of the Axis 4 to Slave 1. There you will have the 4th axis or A-axis be a slave for the x-axis.
    Slave 1 - X-Axis
    Slave 2 - Y-Axis
    Slave 3 - A-Axis
    Slave 4 - B-Axis
    Etc...

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Can I run two stepper motors off the same axis output on the USB controller?

  • I have not used my CNC router (Mach3, USB interface board) for several months. When I tried to use it, all 3 stepper motors moved extremely slowly. Where should I start troubleshooting?

    If your motors turn very slowly using your Mach3 USB board, then either the pulse from the board is being output at a slow rate or the motor drivers are set to a higher than expected microstepping:

    The Mach3 USB board outputs the pulse rather than the computer, but Mach3 controls this pulse frequency within the motor tuning section. First, determine if the travel distance is correct with the computer and the physical travel of the machine.

    If the travel is different, then your stepper motor driver's microstepping is incorrect, or the steps per inch/mm in the motor tuning within Mach3 is incorrect.

    If the travel is correct, then simply change the velocity and acceleration parameters to your desired level. If Mach3 will not achieve the velocity you desire, then decrease your stepper motor driver's microstepping setting, readjust the step per inch/mm in mach3 and readjust the acceleration and velocity to your desired levels.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    I have not used my CNC router (Mach3, USB interface board) for several months. When I tried to use it, all 3 stepper motors moved extremely slowly. Where should I start troubleshooting?

  • Is the USB hub ready for use with Mach3 at this time, or just Planet CNC?
  • got my stepper motors wired to the information on your website using USB Bob and the motors don't step they keep turning like an old drill until they stop

    So, if I understand correctly, the stepping motor will turn on command, but the motor will only turn in one direction. Check the output of your direction signal wire. Check the wire voltage when you command the motor to turn on one direction in the planet-cnc software. Then check the voltage when you command the motor to turn in the other direction. The voltage should be different in each case.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    got my stepper motors wired to the information on your website using USB Bob and the motors don't step they keep turning like an old drill until they stop

  • Will Mach3 USB Interface board fit in my redleaf, in lieu of the breakout board that came with it?

    The Mach3 USB board will fit in the redLeaf, but you may need to modify the Plexiglas top for proper mounting. However, the redLeaf has the proper parallel GPIO on the motherboard for use with the Parallel breakout board. If you have a laser on the machine you are using, then I would urge you to maintain the parallel breakout board as the Mach3 USB board will not work correctly using the Z-direction pin and you will need to determine how to use the output pins onthe USB board to ensure proper laser functionality.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Will Mach3 USB Interface board fit in my redleaf, in lieu of the breakout board that came with it?

  • WHAT CAUSES ONE OF MY TWO AXIS MOTORS TO STOP WHILE THE MACH3 PROGRAM IS STILL RUNNING

    If one of your stepper motors decides to stop moving and the others are moving during a CNC milling or laser cutting job, then there could be two things that could be causing this.

    - The motor found its limiting torque (usually comes with a not-so-pleasant sound). This is where the control software is trying to move the stepper motor too fast (velocity, or too fast too quickly, acceleration) and the load against the stepper motor (inertia of the machine, or the material against the end mill while milling). Recommended action is to lower the velocity and/or acceleration, and/or lower the feedrate when cutting.

    - There is a wiring issue with the wiring from the driver to the motor. This could be a loose wire, or a chafed wire (or two shorting together). It can also be a loose digital wire from the controller board to the driver. Sometimes wire ties can be the culprit. Recommended action would be to thoroughly inspect the wiring.

    It's probably not the limit switches since that would cause a stop to the entire motion of the cnc router or laser machine.

    Sometimes Mach3 will show a status when something goes wrong, but in cases where the motor is stopping due to its torque limit, then that would not be shown in the status. It's always good to check it anyway.

    Additional Information:
    I need to clarify my situation a little better after going to my shop and trying to run another program on Mach 3. About 15 minutes into the milling process all the motors (2-X axis, Y axis and Z axis)stop but the program continues to run. I stop the program and after a couple of minutes when I try to restart the program all the motors start working again. Then after another 15 minutes or so, all the motors stop again. I checked and rechecked my wiring. This has never happened to me before when running the same programs with the same setups and motor speeds. All of a sudden when I reloaded a program I successfully used before it does this. Do you have any recommendations?

    Additional Information:
    Yeah, it sounds like a more complex issue. Have you tried running in the air without using the spindle. This may be a power related issue.

    Additional Information:
    That's exactly what I did. I ran the program without the router motor on just to see if the motors would get through the whole program but they stopped working after about fifteen minutes and then I was able to start them again after about 3 or 4 minutes. I never had this problem before so you can imagine my frustration especially after ruining a couple of projects on expensive material.

    Additional Information:
    Sure. I can completely understand. Try this: disconnect all but one of the driver from power and digital connection and do the air run. Repeat this for each driver and note your findings. This will rule out the drivers causing a power failure.

    Also, is your stepper motors and drivers on a separate power circuit from the computer?

    Additional Information:
    I will try disconnecting each driver and digital connection, which will be a real pain because it will be hard to access.

    All the stepper motors, drivers and computer are plugged into the same power strip.

    Additional Information:
    Ok, so there is no power failure going on, but I believe it is necessary to test each stepper motor and driver pair individually. Hopefully that will lead to a conclusion.

    Additional Information:
    It will take a little time but I will do it and report back on my findings.

    Additional Information:
    Curious, what machine is exhibiting this problem?

    Additional Information:
    I purchased a BYCNC kit back in 2009 with an approximate cutting area of 2' X 4'. I later changed out the Z-Axis Motor and controller for a larger one and have two X-axis motors and controllers. In 2010 I rebuilt the machine out of birch plywood instead of the particle board that the kit supplied. I sent Patrick pictures to him. The machine never gave me a problem till now.

    Additional Information:
    Thanks for the update. This is Patrick by the way. I answer pretty much all of the Customer Service questions. That machine has given quite a good history.

    Additional Information:
    I love the machine and made a number of samples of my work for my e-commerce site, but I can't start selling product until I know this problem is solved because I will not be able to fulfill orders. I finally got all the electronics out of its enclosed protected area near the machine so that I test each controller as you recommended. I hope the problem can be rectified. Will let you know.

    Additional Information:
    Thanks.

    Additional Information:
    I tested each stepper motor and driver pair individually and they worked so what might be the next step?

    Additional Information:
    Did each stepper motor driver pair work for the full +15 minutes?

    Additional Information:
    Yes, I had them in operation for over 30 minutes.

    Additional Information:
    Ok, well it’s good that the motors and driver are ok. We are now down to the power supply and the breakout board as possible causes for the stop. I have a feeling it may be the power supply where with all three drivers drawing current and the power supply maybe getting too hot. Is the fan in the power supply working? You can also test to see if there is 36 volts on the power supply voltage output (V+ and V-).

    Regarding the breakout board, if you have an oscilloscope, you can test if the driver pulses are outputting, but I would consider this as a last resort after you determine if there is a problem with the power supply.

    Additional Information:
    I tested the power supply with a voltmeter and each output was registering 39-40 volts. I think the problem may be the g-code. I am using V-Carve pro to do design and output to Mach 3 Mill g-code. When I studied the g-code lines I noticed that further into the program the z-axis g-code stopped zeroing out to move to the next part of the carving. In other words both the x and y keep moving and the z just stopped working because there was g-code missing. I think something is missing when the design was converted to g-code. I noticed that when I ran a simpler project it worked without problems so I need to investigate this further.

    Additional Information:
    New Update, Its not the g-code. I started to run the long program and everything was working fine until about 45 minutes into it, all the motors stopped working (but the program was still running) and there was a high pitched hum. When I put my hands on the motors they were all trying to move but it seemed they were all stalled. I turned the power off, gave it a minute and when I turned it back on I was able to move the motors again. Could this be a power supply problem?

    Additional Information:
    It does sound more and more like a power supply problem. Did you test the power supply after the motors stopped?

    Additional Information:
    No, I did not. What should I be looking for.

    Additional Information:
    It’s good that you know the voltage during normal operation, so you have a base understood. If the power supply is the problem, the voltage will be reduced or non existent when measured after the problem.

    Additional Information:
    Also, check to see if the fan is running on the power supply when the motors stop. That may (not absolutely) be an indication.

    Additional Information:
    I'll run another test, check the voltage and fan when the problem occurs and let you know. Thanks for hanging in there with me as we try to resolve the problem.

    Additional Information:
    It’s my pleasure. This service is rarely used and is faster then email. Odd nobody uses it. Any recommendations you can give would be great. No problem using this FAQ to pose ideas as this resolution will be cleaned up later.

    Additional Information:
    It might be that people do not realize you can communicate through the sight like this because they are so used to e-mail and texting. You may want to explain this feature in the customer service section.

    I ran the program this morning and it did not take long before the motors stopped. While operating the voltages for all three motors was 46 volts, when the motors stalled (and again there was a high pitch hum) the voltage went up to 60 volts and the fan on the power supply was operating.

    Additional Information:
    So, the driver work individually, but not all together. There is a high pitch sound when the motors fail. You have noted 60 volts from the power supply and the supply fan remains on. This is a difficult issue to resolve, but it seems to me that your power supply may be bad. The 60v measurement tells me that the current dropped and ohms law tells us that is current drops, volts will rise if the resistance stays the same.

    Additional Information:
    As one last test I am going to test each driver again and let them go through the entire program because it seems that the failure can occur at the beginning or towards the end of the program. When I originally tested ach driver I let them run for about a half an hour and the program takes over an hour to run completely. I just want to make sure that it is not the drivers. I will report back when I finished but as you noted it may be the power supply but I want to make sure.

    Additional Information:
    That’s a great idea.

    Additional Information:
    I just ran the x-axis through the whole program and there was no problem especially since I have two NEMA 23 motors moving that axis. Before I check the Y and Z could having a NEMA 34 on the Z axis with appropriate controller be a problem. I used the larger motor on the z axis because the router I am using is a large 1 1/2 hp. I've run this program in the past with this set-up and have not had a problem.

    Additional Information:
    Having a, say 3.0 amp driver, driving a stepper motor that typically requires a 6 amp driver would not seem to be an issue since the driver is limiting the current draw, but the driver may not be able to handle larger coil and back EMF with the protection on the 3.0 amp driver. With that said, I don’t believe that is the issue in this case.

    Additional Information:
    I don't either because I was able to run this and other complicated programs with this set-up in the past. I will let you know on the y and z axis.

    Additional Information:
    Thanks

    Additional Information:
    I ran the Y axis and z axis separately through the entire program and there was no stopping or problem. I guess the culprit is the power supply and I'll order a new one and hope that resolves the problem.

    Additional Information:
    Yes, that is the most probable cause. Please keep me informed. Thanks!

    Additional Information:
    Received and installed the new power supply. I ran the program with the router on and it worked flawlessly. The program runs for an hour and a half and I did not have a single problem. I guess it was the power supply but I was glad to go through all the diagnostics we discussed before replacing it. I hope this power supply lasts a lot longer than the last one. Thanks much for hanging in there with me and coming up with the solution.

    Additional Information:
    It’s my absolute pleasure and I am so happy to hear that the power supply replacement solved the problem.

    Additional Information:


    Additional Information:
    Y axis stop working X & Z work fine Y axis has two motors have check wiring & connections new breakout board still the same port & Pin set OK dont no were to go next David

    Additional Information:


    Additional Information:
    my cnc plasma cutter will run out the program when cutting. what is the cause?

    Additional Information:
    The cnc plasma question shod be a separate question. Can you pise that question by clicking the customer service live menu button at the top? Thanks.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    WHAT CAUSES ONE OF MY TWO AXIS MOTORS TO STOP WHILE THE MACH3 PROGRAM IS STILL RUNNING

  • Can I power the Mach3 USB interface 24V with a 48V power supply?

    The Mach3 USB interface card uses 5V (powered from the computer's USB) and a 24v to power the inputs, outputs and spindle control

    the mach3 usb interface can be found here:

    https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/electronicsAndMotors-electronic-component-breakout-Mach3-USB-Board

    But the mach3 usb does not absolutely need the 24V supply. The 24v supply is only needed if you will be using limit switches (I1-4), VFD controlled automatically and for use with the outputs (O1-4)


    Additional Information:
    The 36v 8.8 amp power supply we typically recommend is for powering the stepper motor drivers.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Can I power the Mach3 USB interface 24V with a 48V power supply?

  • Mach3 USB Interface Board, Backlash Compensation in Mach3 is not working. Does this board support the backlash function?

    In our experience, the backlash compensation is not an ideal mechanism to solve backlash issues. It is best to resolve the backlash issue mechanically regather than through software.

    Boards that handle all instructions on its own chip (which is the case for this all other USB boards) take some control away from Mach3. Without Mach3 having granular control. With that said, we do not have experience with the backlash compensation with that particular board. Our experience with backlash compensation with other boards have resulted in very poor accuracy and undesirable geometrical moves.

    Additional Information:
    zokkj

    Additional Information:
    zokkj

    Additional Information:
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    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Mach3 USB Interface Board, Backlash Compensation in Mach3 is not working. Does this board support the backlash function?

  • Hi I recently replaced my parallel port breakout bored with a USB breakout board, Motors Earl working properly but my wireless MPG is not working properly, it is jerky when to try to move across the table, is there a setting that I missed?

    Does the machine move smoothly when using the keyboard to jog the machine?

    Additional Information:
    Sorry it took so long to respond. Yes the table moves very smoothly using the keyboard. I try to reinstall of the drivers but it still moves very jerky with the MPG, sometimes moving back-and-forth.


    Additional Information:
    Sorry it took so long to respond. Yes the table moves very smoothly using the keyboard. I try to reinstall of the drivers but it still moves very jerky with the MPG, sometimes moving back-and-forth.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Hi I recently replaced my parallel port breakout bored with a USB breakout board, Motors Earl working properly but my wireless MPG is not working properly, it is jerky when to try to move across the table, is there a setting that I missed?

  • WILL THE USB BREAKOUT BOARD WORK WITH MACH3?

    Sure, the USB interface has a place for 4 axes of limit switches.

    Each axis can have two limit switches: one for the ++ (positive) end and one for the -- (negative) end. The positive end would be the limit switch at the end of the machine that, say the machine has a 4'x8' area, reaches a bit after the 8 foot mark. The negative end would be the limit switch behind the 0 foot location behind the origin. If the origin is in the middle, the negative would be at a little more than the -4 foot end and the positive would be at a bit more than the +4 foot end. Note that you can have more than one switch on each pin where the NC is connected in serial fashion and the NO is connected in parallel fashion (this can be seen on the diagram in the multiple limits switch section). The software configurations for the limits switches are under File -> Settings -> Limit.

    A typical limit switch has three connections on it. These connections consist of COM (common), NC (normally closed) and NO (normally open). The COM would generally go to GND and the NC or the NO would go to the pin. If the NC is used, then the the switch is constantly connected until the switch is pushed (engaged) then the connection from the pin to gnd is broken (open). Use the settings in software to set whether in NC or NO configuration.

    Let me know if this information was helpful (or not) by adding information to this question. Thanks.

    User response:
    Thank you very much for this helpful information. I'm still a little fuzzy on how the 6 limit switches physically connect to each other and to the USB breakout board. You've stated one switch (home) goes to positive and another switch (limit) goes to negative. Are all the GND prongs from all 6 switches connected to each other and going to GND on the breakout board, or no? And the NC prongs, how exactly are they connected to each other? And to the board? There has to be a diagram somewhere shows this visually, no? I don't know how to wire the switches in series or in parallel. I have already physically installed all the switches on the machine and ran the wires to where the board is. Now I just need to know where to plug these wires into the board. Also, taking into consideration that I'm using the Planet CNC software, the only settings I have pertaining to limit switches is "Enable/Disable" for each axis, and the actual limit for each axis. Nothing about NC or NO. Is that only in Mach3?
    Thank you.

    buildyourcnc response:
    On the USB interface, the COM on the switch connects to GND and the NC or NO connects to the input pin (i.e. x++, y--, etc.)

    Limit switch configuration is rather difficult to understand, especially with series and parallel. You can think of series as a single wire going from GND to the axis letter input terminal (i.e. X++ or X--). If the wire is broken, then the circuit is open (or the switch is engaged in a normally closed scenario). Normally closed is like an actual wire, and when engaged, the switch "opens" (breaks the wire). This is why we recommend in some systems that you can put many switches in series on a single pin. When one of the switches is engaged (breaking the connection) then the entire circuit of switches is broken and the machine stops.

    In a parallel scenario, the state of the circuit is always broken until the one of the switches is engaged and the circuit is then closed or connected. The topology looks like a ladder. All the switches connect to both sides of the ladder and the switches are like the runs of the ladder (the horizontal bars that the feet are placed while climbing). Imagine all of the switches broken in this scenario (normally open). It would be like the ladder could be split in two, but if one of the ladder runs (switches) is closed by engaging it, then that run would connect both sides of the ladder and the two sides of the ladder would have a connection.

    There is a diagram on the USB page of the various limit switch configurations. If you need more information (visual and/or otherwise), please let us know and we will immediately add that information to benefit everyone.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    WILL THE USB BREAKOUT BOARD WORK WITH MACH3?

  • Will the USB breakout board work with Mach3?

    Our newer USB board will work with Mach3 and can be found here at this URL:

    https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/electronicsAndMotors-electronic-component-breakout-Mach3-USB-Board

    Additional Information:
    Mach3 breakout board including software

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Will the USB breakout board work with Mach3?

  • Developed an issue, when moving the y-axis it started to move, than stalled and sounded like gears grinding. Had to re-zero the y-axis. Using the USB controller with Mach3 software. What would cause this?

    The velocity is too high and/or the acceleration is too high and/or the axis is not calibrated and the motor is trying to move too fast, or trying to move too much inertia that the rated torque cannot overcome.

    The recommended action would be to lower the velocity and the acceleration and do a calibration using the "set steps per unit" wizard on the settings tab of Mach3.

    Once the calibration is completed and you have confirmed that the motor is moving the correct distance in reality compared to the DRO (digital readout) in Mach3, then you can increase the velocity and acceleration in the motor tuning section of Mach3 (config -> motor tuning).

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Developed an issue, when moving the y-axis it started to move, than stalled and sounded like gears grinding. Had to re-zero the y-axis. Using the USB controller with Mach3 software. What would cause this?

  • Mach3 USB Interface Board, My switch inputs are def wired active-LOW but I need to set them as active-HI (red x) in ports & pins to make them work correctly, why would this be?

    The inputs on the Mach3 USB board require that you complete the circuit with the V-, so that means that the inputs will fire on a high signal, hence the "Active High". That is simply how the Mach3 USB board is designed. The inputs, output and spindle connections on that side of the board require the V+ and V- to be connected to a 24V supply (most spindle VFDs have an available 24V output terminal for this use).

    Additional Information:
    Touch plate signal works and script is loaded but no touch plate function

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Mach3 USB Interface Board, My switch inputs are def wired active-LOW but I need to set them as active-HI (red x) in ports & pins to make them work correctly, why would this be?

  • Can I use Mach3 or 4 with your USB controller PCA?

    The USB controller board is currently only compatible with Planet-CNC software.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Can I use Mach3 or 4 with your USB controller PCA?

  • Whereb can I find directions on how to install the Mach3 USB board with Mach 4 software? I do not have a parallell port.

    You can find instructions for the Mach3 USB here:
    https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/electronicsAndMotors-electronic-component-breakout-Mach3-USB-Board

    You will probably need to use the Mach3 USB board with Mach3. We have not tested the Mach3 usb card with Mach4.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Whereb can I find directions on how to install the Mach3 USB board with Mach 4 software? I do not have a parallell port.

  • Is there a way to use an X,Y plate that will only be responsible for corner finding in Mach3 with the Mach3 USB controller?

    Yes, you can use a corner plate very easily. You will want to make a corner plate that has three independent plates that do not conduct with each other. Each of these plates will be connected to a different input (i.e. IN1 for X, IN2 for Y and IN3 for Z). The end mill or tool that is inserted into the spindle will connect to V- of the 24V power supply, or the DCM on the controller, which is connected to the 24V V-. Then, you can use the ref all home button on the program run screen of Mach3.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Is there a way to use an X,Y plate that will only be responsible for corner finding in Mach3 with the Mach3 USB controller?

  • Are the 3 axis electronics combos with the Mach 3 USB breakout board compatible with Mach 4?

    These boards are compatible with Mach3 only at this time. We will be adding a Mach4 board in the near future.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Are the 3 axis electronics combos with the Mach 3 USB breakout board compatible with Mach 4?

  • For your USB breakout board, do you guys have, or have a source for a connector that fits over the "keyboard jog" pins?

    At the current moment, we do not have a connector/attachment for the keyboard jog pins on our USB Breakout board. We are currently under development of a keyboard jog panel, that will connect to the keyboard jog pins.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    For your USB breakout board, do you guys have, or have a source for a connector that fits over the "keyboard jog" pins?

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