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Question #: 6941

Question: I have nearly completed the CNC machine from the book, but I am using it with a USB breakout board, and have no idea how to wire the 6 limit switches to the board. I'm having difficulty following the diagram on the USB breakout board screen. Can someone please help me?

Current Solution

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.


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