Noob question- why a Mesa motion board vs. BOB?

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22 Feb 2024 15:07 #293986 by ironandsteel
I am confused about what is the benefit of using a board like the Mesa 7i96s as compared to, say, a basic cheap parallel port breakout board? I understand that the Mesa can be connected via ethernet, which is obviously better. But you still need a dedicated computer running LinuxCNC, no?
What I am confused about is what functionality the Mesa provides that you do not get with a simple BOB and LinuxCNC?

I'm not trying to put down the Mesa- I'm trying to understand its purpose.

For the money spent towards a Mesa board, it seems you could spend a little more a get a dedicated controller which will not require a dedicated computer. 

I'm trying to get the lay of the land here. Thanks

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22 Feb 2024 16:15 #293991 by silar
I'm new to this but my guess is mostly for configurability and customization. If you have a parallel port, that would make more sense, but for me I am using a small form factor PC that doesn't have one and also doesn't have PCI or PCIE connections. So if I want to use this PC as my controller with LinuxCNC, the only option I have is to use a Mesa FPGA through ethernet.

Like I said, I'm completely new to this and learning as I go so take what I've said with a grain of salt. lol.

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22 Feb 2024 16:39 #293992 by PCW
The main advantage of using external hardware
(EtherCAT, ESP32, Mesa, Pico, Remora etc) on
LinuxCNC rather than a parallel port is improved
performance and more I/O expansion capabilities. 

If the parallel port speed limitations do not
impact performance on your system, using a
parallel port is a good inexpensive LinuxCNC
interface choice.
 
The following user(s) said Thank You: JT

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22 Feb 2024 16:46 #293994 by tommylight
Parallel port:
17 pins, can be configured as
-mode out = 12 out 5 in
-mode in = 4 out 13 in
-mode X = 8 out 9 in
Can do 10000-50000 pulses per second, if lucky with a good latency PC
Can be used without a BOB, but does require caution wiring and shielding/grounding
Can use more than one with add on PCI to parallel or PCI-E to parallel, good for more IO, cheap, but some new PCI-E do not work as they use software emulation while full hardware access is required for machine control.
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Mesa boards:
Wide variety
Very reliable
Fully programmable
Plenty of ready made firmwares
Full support, by far the best, ever
Can be combined or extended to whater needs
A single 7i92 or 5i25 or 6i25 has equivalent of two parallel ports, each pin can be used as input or output or stepgen or encoder counter or PWM
Can do up to 10MHz of pulses per second, yes 10 million.
Most have screw terminals making wiring easy
Pretty much there is a solution for everything you might need, even non standard machines
-
Personally, whatever the price of Mesa boards is, i have to pay double just to get them here, and i pay it gladly, just the piece of mind i have with them is bloody worth it. I have industrial machines with Mesa boards in use daily for many years, never had a single issue.
I have no affiliation with Mesa.
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22 Feb 2024 23:16 #294032 by rodw

For the money spent towards a Mesa board, it seems you could spend a little more a get a dedicated controller which will not require a dedicated computer. 
 

But you would not have us to help you. :)
And you could eventually face limitations from a hard wired board. LInuxcnc has no llimitations but can be a bit more difficult to get going due to siad flexibility

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23 Feb 2024 12:45 #294074 by smc.collins
I think the danger of a BOB is the lack of circuit isolation.  

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