Retrofit Gloria Europa 2/40 machining centre

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17 Jan 2016 21:15 #68619 by backtime
Hi, this is my first post on the forum, although I follow you and use LinuxCNC for the past four years on a small 3-axis milling machine with much satisfaction.

In our workshop we have an old 3-axis CNC machining center (Gloria Europa 2/40), unfortunately the control unit has failed so we decided to proceed with a retrofit and some improvements (fourth axis, tool changer improved, and more). Honestly we took to get carried away, in fact we almost rebuilt the machine from scratch, including painting :whistle: .

Anyway I decided to use LinuxCNC to control the machine and, after collecting all the requirements, I started to look for the right combination of hardware for our needs. We have the electronics for driving the motors, spindle and tool changer, now I'm looking for the right combination of Mesa cards to control the machine.

We have to manage 4-axis step-dir with encoders, 1 VFD 0-10V with encoder, an MPG + some physical buttons on the console
some general purpose I/O (coolant, home and limit switch, etc. etc.)

The solution I found for now is to use one 7i76E for step-dir, spindle and generic I/O, one 7i85s for encoders and one 7i73 for MPG and console.
It may be a correct choice? Or are there other possibilities?

Some "work in progress" photos ...





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17 Jan 2016 21:33 #68620 by andypugh

We have to manage 4-axis step-dir with encoders, 1 VFD 0-10V with encoder, an MPG + some physical buttons on the console
some general purpose I/O (coolant, home and limit switch, etc. etc.)

The solution I found for now is to use one 7i76E for step-dir, spindle and generic I/O, one 7i85s for encoders and one 7i73 for MPG and console.
It may be a correct choice? Or are there other possibilities?


Do you have a particular reason to favour the ethernet option? An obvious alternative is the 5i25 + 7i76 combo with the same other cards.
However, you could consider using a 5i25 and 7i85 and then connect a selection of smart-serial cards on the other header. (7i73 for the pendant, maybe a 7i84 for field-IO with the option of another couple of MPGs. The problem there is that you lose the 7i76's VFD control interface, so might have to add a SPINX1 and find a PWM channel somewhere.

Don't forget the 50-pin style cards too. The 5i24 has a lot of IO for the money. A 5i24 and 7i47 more than covers your step/dir and encoder requirements, and then you can add a 7i44 and 8 smart-serial devices to fulfil your other requirements. And then you still have a connector vacant for more fast-IO if needed. (My latest build is 5i24 + 7i44 / 7i84 / 7i73 (and a 7i49, but that's no good to you)

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17 Jan 2016 22:54 #68630 by backtime
I Andy

Yes, I can achieve the same result with 5i25 + 7i76 combo (with the other two card), simply I felt more comfortable with the network cable instead of the PCI connection, the mainboard that I would use is a mini-ITX with only one PCI slot. Also the price of the two solution in similar, so if ethernet card is well supported on LinuxCNC 2.7 with Preempt-RT I can install all on wheezy distribution. There may be problems with the ethernet cards?

The solution with 5i25 and 7i85 is not clear for me, the smart-serial cards use a ethernet like cable, can i connect smart-serial card to the internal IDC26 connector of 5i25?

The 50-pin style solution is interesting, I want to see which cards should I use.

Thanks very much for your support.

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18 Jan 2016 00:22 #68638 by andypugh

= simply I felt more comfortable with the network cable instead of the PCI connection, the mainboard that I would use is a mini-ITX with only one PCI slot.

Unless you have any other use for the slot, what is the point in leaving it vacant?
How many Ethernet ports does the motherboard have? You need to dedicate one to the ethernet 7i76E, so I am not sure there is much difference.

Also the price of the two solution in similar, so if ethernet card is well supported on LinuxCNC 2.7 with Preempt-RT I can install all on wheezy distribution. There may be problems with the ethernet cards?

No, as far as I know they work fine. Absolute latency / round-trip time will be better with PCI, but probably not to any significant extent.

The solution with 5i25 and 7i85 is not clear for me, the smart-serial cards use a ethernet like cable, can i connect smart-serial card to the internal IDC26 connector of 5i25?

I think you can, but it is easier to use the breakout card designed for the job (7i74)

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18 Jan 2016 00:53 #68640 by backtime
Yes you are right, the mini-itx board have only one ethernet port so there is not much difference.
But now you have plant a seed of doubt about the 50-pin style cards, I will investigate better.

I think you can, but it is easier to use the breakout card designed for the job (7i74)

Also the 7i85 board have five chennel serial RS-422 interfaces, they can be used for smart-serial cards?

Thanks again.

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18 Jan 2016 00:59 #68641 by andypugh

Yes you are right, the mini-itx board have only one ethernet port so there is not much difference.


You can probably connect to the network with WiFi, But I would certainly prioritise having a network connection over having a spare, unused, PCI port.

t it is easier to use the breakout card designed for the job (7i74)

Also the 7i85 board have five chennel serial RS-422 interfaces, they can be used for smart-serial cards?
[/quote]

You need a channel each way (read and write) but it is possible. In fact the generic 7i85 firmwares tend to include a smart-serial channel on one set pf pins in addition to the stepgens and encoder counters. Have a look at the last section of this firmware file:
git.linuxcnc.org/gitweb?p=hostmot2-firmw...f8568c80b728818b9a8b

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18 Jan 2016 01:12 #68642 by backtime
Yes the board have integrated wi-fi but instead leave free the PCI socket i can use 5i25.

One more clarification, mini-itx board have PCI express socket, i have to use 6i25 in that case right?
And if i go for 50-pin board the 6i24 is the correct card.

You need a channel each way (read and write) but it is possible. In fact the generic 7i85 firmwares tend to include a smart-serial channel on one set pf pins in addition to the stepgens and encoder counters. Have a look at the last section of this firmware file:
git.linuxcnc.org/gitweb?p=hostmot2-firmw...f8568c80b728818b9a8b

I see the firmware, if I understand correctly this is for two 7i85 cards connected to one 5i25 or i'm wrong?

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18 Jan 2016 01:20 #68644 by andypugh

One more clarification, mini-itx board have PCI express socket, i have to use 6i25 in that case right?
And if i go for 50-pin board the 6i24 is the correct card.


Yes, that is correct.

I see the firmware, if I understand correctly this is for two 7i85 cards connected to one 5i25 or i'm wrong?

Yes, just as an example.

To be clear your original card selection will work and do all that you specified (and more). But you asked if there were alternatives and I listed a few. I am not saying that the alternatives are any better or worse than the original list. That is a choice only you can decide.

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18 Jan 2016 01:35 #68645 by backtime

To be clear your original card selection will work and do all that you specified (and more). But you asked if there were alternatives and I listed a few. I am not saying that the alternatives are any better or worse than the original list. That is a choice only you can decide.


Of course this is my choice but I accept with pleasure the advice of someone who has more experience than me.
Now I will evaluate possible solutions, it is likely that soon I will have a few more questions.

Thanks for your time.

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20 Feb 2016 23:32 #70417 by backtime
I finally found a combination of boards suited to our machine and available for purchase in Europe.
I know there were other combinations and with a lower price but the lack of supplies makes it impossible to make other choices.

So here we go, the boards are a 6i25 + 7i76 + 7i77 + 7i84. With this i can put my machine on service.

Now i have a question, for this combination i need a custom firmware?
And if yes can someone give me information or tell me the documentation on how to create it?

Thanks in advance

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