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Question #: 14682

Question: What's best, a usb controller or a parallel board for mach3 on a home built cnc router?

Current Solution

I would highly recommend the Mach3 USB controller:
https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/electronicsAndMotors-electronic-component-breakout-Mach3-USB-Board

This board is very easy to connect and there are many detailed videos on how to connect and configure this controller.

I would shy away from parallel port breakout boards unless you are going to use a controller that requires this breakout board as an add-on.

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Other Possible Solutions to this Question

  • Are there plans to release a USB Controller to work with the Planet CNC Output Board for more advanced spindle control from within Planet CNC?

    At this time we are working to release a new USB controller board that will be compatible with Mach4 software and do not have any immediate plans to update the Planet-CNC USB board.

    Click the link to respond:
    Are there plans to release a USB Controller to work with the Planet CNC Output Board for more advanced spindle control from within Planet CNC?

  • Does your 3 axis comboi have the same controller board (i.e. parallel option) as the 4 axis combo?

    Yes, you can select the price option for the electronics combos that include the interface board you desire.

    Go to the electronics category page:
    https://www.buildyourcnc.com/electronicscombo.aspx

    Select the motors and drivers combination you desire and select the price option that contains the interface card you desire.

    Click the link to respond:
    Does your 3 axis comboi have the same controller board (i.e. parallel option) as the 4 axis combo?

  • How do you install the software for the Mach3 USB controller?

    The Mach3 usb controller/interface has instructions and videos on this page:
    https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/electronicsAndMotors-electronic-component-breakout-Mach3-USB-Board

    There is a 5 step process on that page to install the plug-in and the configuration xml file that is necessary for the proper functioning of the controller.

    The videos on that page also demonstrate in detail how to install the software, plug-ins, xml file and wiring and testing most of the features of the Mach3 USB interface.

    Hope this helps.

    Click the link to respond:
    How do you install the software for the Mach3 USB controller?

  • Is there a wiring diagram for hooking up your hex inverter between your USB breakout board and the controller?

    The use of the hex inverter in the application to invert a direction signal to have a motor run in the reverse directions is relatively simple.

    First, go to this link and look at the chip diagram:
    https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/electronicsAndMotors-hex-inverter-breakout-newbiehack-integrated_circuits-hex-inverter

    Connect 5V from the USB interface tothe VCC pin. The pin on the keyboard jog header can be used. Connect the GND pin from the USB interface to the GND pin on the hex inverter. Connect the CW terminal from the USB interface to the 1A pin on the hex inverter. Connect the 1Y pin from the hex inverter to the driver.

    Additional Information:
    I got a question??? I am a dummy when it comes to cnc. I got 6040 1500kw water cold engraver 3 axis from china. I can not get anything out of them pertaining help they keep telling me the same thing over and over and over and I'm doing it and send them pictures that I know. Anyway email me a wiring diagram for the PRT 1500 watt spindle motor control box and has the emergency stop on and off switch manual PC and of course yhe screanm fultonsbusiness@gmail.com

    Additional Information:
    I got a question??? I am a dummy when it comes to cnc. I got 6040 1500kw water cold engraver 3 axis from china. I can not get anything out of them pertaining help they keep telling me the same thing over and over and over and I'm doing it and send them pictures that I know. Anyway email me a wiring diagram for the PRT 1500 watt spindle motor control box and has the emergency stop on and off switch manual PC and of course yhe screanm fultonsbusiness@gmail.com

    Click the link to respond:
    Is there a wiring diagram for hooking up your hex inverter between your USB breakout board and the controller?

  • Can I use your USB interface board and Mach3 on my 3 axis CNC router?

    Planet-CNC is the control software. If you decide to use the USB controller, you will need to use the planet-CNC software as the control software. You will be able to use any of the CAM software applications with the planet-CNC control software.

    Click the link to respond:
    Can I use your USB interface board and Mach3 on my 3 axis CNC router?

  • Any timing on the USB Controller board for Mach-4

    The board has been developed and we are currently waiting to receive developer info from the makers of Mach4 so we can proceed with testing compatibility. There is no definite time frame but we are hopeful it will be released within the next couple months.

    Click the link to respond:
    Any timing on the USB Controller board for Mach-4

  • What is the pinout of the 12-pin keyboard jog header on the V2.1 CNC USB controller?

    The pinout of the USB interface's keyboard job interface can be found here at the usb interface page:
    https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/electronicsAndMotors-electronic-component-USB-Controller-Breakout#prettyPhoto/2/

    Scroll down to the instructions below the description and it's the first instruction step. Click on the picture. Just copy and paste that link into the address bar and the diagram should appear.

    Click the link to respond:
    What is the pinout of the 12-pin keyboard jog header on the V2.1 CNC USB controller?

  • I am installing a mach 3 usb controller into a wright cnc plasma table and I need instruction on wiring the thc (proma compact ) torch height controller to this board. IE will this board work to replace the parallel port board with usb controller board?

    Yes, you can connect a THC, Torch Height Controller, with the Mach3 USB controller. The THC uses the inputs to determine if the z axis needs to move up or down according to the arc of the plasma torch. The THC connects its outputs to the inputs of the controller so the controller will be informed of the states of the plasma torch.

    Click the link to respond:
    I am installing a mach 3 usb controller into a wright cnc plasma table and I need instruction on wiring the thc (proma compact ) torch height controller to this board. IE will this board work to replace the parallel port board with usb controller board?

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

  • how many controllers board will i be able to used per one purchased of usbcnc software?

    We do not sell PlanetCNC licences directly, but our understanding from customer input is that PlanetCNC requires a license for every board. For complete and up to date information, you would need to contact PlanetCNC directly.

    Click the link to respond:
    how many controllers board will i be able to used per one purchased of usbcnc software?

  • 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 respond:
    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?

  • do you not have a usb controller for planet cnc since yours is discontinued

    Unfortunately not. As much as we like the Planet-CNC software and control, they made a change in their Planet-CNC software that eliminates support for our board.

    Click the link to respond:
    do you not have a usb controller for planet cnc since yours is discontinued

  • On B-Y-CNC USB Controller, I built a Kybd Jog pad to connect with on-board header. Jog seems to be backwards (Y+ moves it in the Y- direction). I've checked wiring. Could there be an error in the firmware?

    When you have Jogged the motor using the Keyboard Jog header, did you also try Jogging it with the on screen arrows? If it is also inverted, you will have to invert the axis to move it in the direction you require: Planet-CNC/File/Settings/Axes/Reverse (check box) on the axis that is running in reverse.

    Additional Information:


    Additional Information:
    The on-screen jog works properly, but the keyboard jog header runs the motors backwards. I had played with the software reverse function too, but couldn't get the on-screen and the keyboard pendant to work in the same direction. That's what lead me to check my wiring (maybe I had wires going to the wrong side of the header), and then to suspect a possible firmware error. I get the same story with all three axes.

    I wanted to see if anyone else has any experience with the keyboard jog header.

    Click the link to respond:
    On B-Y-CNC USB Controller, I built a Kybd Jog pad to connect with on-board header. Jog seems to be backwards (Y+ moves it in the Y- direction). I've checked wiring. Could there be an error in the firmware?

  • I have a planetcnc USB controller to run my project and when I start the 240v router the USB connection shuts down.

    The USB controller will only work with the Planet-CNC software. This software is well made and will provide great functionality. The planet-cnc software delivers instructions to the microcontroller on the board and the microcontroller will send out the pulse trains needed to move the machine correctly.

    There are two main alternatives if you want to use the mach3 software:
    First, get a parallel port card and add it to your computer and get a parallel breakout board. If you have a laptop/notebook computer, this will not be possible.
    Second, if you have a laptop, or really want to use the USB as the main interface for controlling the machine, you will need to get the smoothstepper board which works with mach3. The price combination is much higher than the USB controller with planet-cnc, but will work with Mach3.

    Additional Information:


    Additional Information:


    Additional Information:
    The planet cnc controller can be prone to electrical interference and has been known to cause such problems. In the first instance try to use a quality double sheilded USB cable, hopefully this will fix your problem. Alternatively you may need to sheild your limit switch, estop and or motor cabling. My pick is that a quality USB cable will fix it though, worked for me.

    Click the link to respond:
    I have a planetcnc USB controller to run my project and when I start the 240v router the USB connection shuts down.

  • I have a planetcnc USB controller to run my project and when I start the 240v router the USB connection shuts down.

    The USB controller will only work with the Planet-CNC software. This software is well made and will provide great functionality. The planet-cnc software delivers instructions to the microcontroller on the board and the microcontroller will send out the pulse trains needed to move the machine correctly.

    There are two main alternatives if you want to use the mach3 software:
    First, get a parallel port card and add it to your computer and get a parallel breakout board. If you have a laptop/notebook computer, this will not be possible.
    Second, if you have a laptop, or really want to use the USB as the main interface for controlling the machine, you will need to get the smoothstepper board which works with mach3. The price combination is much higher than the USB controller with planet-cnc, but will work with Mach3.

    Additional Information:


    Additional Information:


    Additional Information:
    The planet cnc controller can be prone to electrical interference and has been known to cause such problems. In the first instance try to use a quality double sheilded USB cable, hopefully this will fix your problem. Alternatively you may need to sheild your limit switch, estop and or motor cabling. My pick is that a quality USB cable will fix it though, worked for me.

    Click the link to respond:
    I have a planetcnc USB controller to run my project and when I start the 240v router the USB connection shuts down.

  • Do you sell the 3 axis electronics combo , for heavy gantry , with the new Planet CNC usb controller ?

    Unfortunately, we don't sell the planet-cnc controller anymore. They made a change to their software that prohibits us from creating the open source board.

    We do sell three other boards that may work for you.

    The Pokeys57CNC board is the mose feature rich and will work with both Mach3 and Mach4:
    https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/electronicsAndMotors-electronic-component-breakout-Mach4-mach3-USB-ethernet-Board

    The MAch3 USB board is a good inexpensive interface that will work well if you need the interface to be USB only:
    https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/electronicsAndMotors-electronic-component-breakout-Mach3-USB-Board

    Our in-house parallel breakout board (ytou need a parallel port for this interface to work):
    https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/electronicsAndMotors-parallel-breakout-relay
    Most motherboards have the parallel port connector on the motherboard, but not as a connector on the back of the computer case.

    Click the link to respond:
    Do you sell the 3 axis electronics combo , for heavy gantry , with the new Planet CNC usb controller ?

  • How can I connect an inductive proximity sensor to the Mach3 USB controller?

    I would suggest using the NPN proximity sensor for the Mach3 USB or the Pokeys57cnc. The proximity sensors have a top DC voltage limit of 30 volts, so it would be best to use the 24V power supply that is used to power the controller. Both controllers have a 24V power requirement, so that is convenient.

    The blue wire of the proximity sensor is the GND wire and is connected to the 24V power supply's V- terminal. The brown wire is the positive wire and is connected to the V+ terminal of the 24V power supply. The black wire is the signal wire and is connected to the input terminal of the controller.

    Click the link to respond:
    How can I connect an inductive proximity sensor to the Mach3 USB controller?

  • WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PARALLEL BREAKOUT BOARD AND USB ITERFACE?

    The parallel (printer cable) port is uses the computer as its main source of pulse trains to operate the motor driver directly. Parallel ports are a direct connection from the processor commonly referred to as GPIO pins (General Purpose I/O pins) and provides a convenient and powerful way to interface with the computer. The parallel breakout board is included in those kits only to condition those signals for use with the drivers.

    The USB serves at the actual controller, sending the pulse trains, but the computer sends simple human readable instructions to the USB controller to tell the controller how to send pulses.

    The non-technical differences that may serve as the most important information to you is that the parallel configurations allow for a wider variety of industry standard software that can be used to control the cnc machine. The USB that we offer requires the operator to use a software called Planet-CNC software which is a very well made and feature full cnc control software.

    Additional Information:


    Additional Information:

    Click the link to respond:
    WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PARALLEL BREAKOUT BOARD AND USB ITERFACE?

  • Is it possible to add proximity sensors with your USB Controller Board

    Yes, proximity sensors work similarly to limit switches. There are three connections that connect to the signal (input terminal) and two power connections that is connected to the 24V power supply that supplies the Mach3 USB controller. I have only tested NPN proximity switches with that controller in NO (normally open mode).

    Click the link to respond:
    Is it possible to add proximity sensors with your USB Controller Board

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