THC post, macros??? Help!!!

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Tristar500
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THC post, macros??? Help!!!

Post by Tristar500 »

I've just finished the building of a plasma table.
I ordered a THC from CNC4PC called the THC-1 (it's about $170}
here's a link. https://cnc4pc.com/thc-1-plasma-torch-h ... ntrol.html

I've got it wired up correctly (I think}
It has a test mode that allows you to simulate torch up and down and the lights come on and off in Mach 3 like they should.

I'm not sure what to use as a post. The CNC4PC guy is working on a post for it but don't know how long it's going to take and I'm anxious to get up and running after nearly 3 months of building.

I'm running Mach 3 Ver R3.043.062
using eithernet smoothstepper and a C25XP BOB also from CNC4PC.
I have a floating head
PrimeWeld Cut 60

I have SheetCam and am learning it.

I've got motion on all axis but can't get any actual height control from the machine.

I'm really fuzzy on posts but I'm trainable, not exactly sure about macros..

Guess I'm really not sure where to start. :HaHa

Any help MUCH appreciated guys!
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Re: THC post, macros??? Help!!!

Post by robertspark »

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Re: THC post, macros??? Help!!!

Post by adbuch »

Les has always been so very helpful to me. I don't use Sheetcam, but when I was setting up my Scanything with camera/lamp for tracing parts on my Mach3 router table, he was invaluable as a resource for help with dialing in the program settings as well as sourcing the best components.

David
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Re: THC post, macros??? Help!!!

Post by acourtjester »

Here is a little big picture type help with some of the general things. There are other versions of Mach 3 some work better with different electronics
I think 067 is the last version they put out. There are reasons for the different Post Processors that are connected to the electronics used on a table. Things like if a THC is used, a floating head switch or ohmic sensor. Commands in the G-code will also be different as the software require variation to the commands they use for similar actions. This is why you see different Post Processors for Mach, UCCNC, and LinuxCNC. SheetCam has a long list of Post Processors to chose from for different variations of electronics.
This is a video about how to setup the floating head switch offset.
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Re: THC post, macros??? Help!!!

Post by Tristar500 »

PXL_20230527_151013619.jpg
I'm having trouble with a post and a new screen set for Mach 3.

In short, it's not doing what it's supposed to.

Installed all files and post into SheetCam.

Loaded simple file, 6 inch line.
Ran post in sheetcam and loaded g code into Mach 3.

Machine moves into position, torch moves down a small amount but doesn't go far enough to trigger probe.
It then pulls up sets the z (on the mach screen to .2 (pierce height) fires torch then drops it to .06 (cut height). Then arc goes out (plasma cutter gives up)


Something else,
I am unable to enter a negative number into the screen for "Z minimum height".
I set it at 1.
See screen shot.
Here's a link to a video of the machine running. It's supposed to cut a 6 inch line.


I'm using the CNC4PC THC-1 This is the documentation https://cnc4pc.com/blog/post/manual-mac ... oypXJiuKeC

On the page there is a sceenset for Mach 3, some macros and some bitmaps, as well as a post for SheetCam. Here's a link https://cnc4pc.com/mpattachments/file/v ... t_id/1895/


Thanks Guys!!!
Here is the Post,

function OnAbout(event)
ctrl = event:GetTextCtrl()
ctrl:AppendText("Mach3 CNC4pc Plasma no Z\n")
ctrl:AppendText("\n")
ctrl:AppendText("Generic plasma post for machines without THC\n")
ctrl:AppendText("\n")
ctrl:AppendText("Modal G-codes and coordinates\n")
ctrl:AppendText("Comments enclosed with ( and )\n")
ctrl:AppendText("M03/M05 turn the torch on/off\n")
ctrl:AppendText("Incremental IJ\n")
end



-- created 26/5/23
-- Based on Mach2 metric.post



function OnInit()

post.SetCommentChars ("()", "[]") --make sure ( and ) characters do not appear in system text
post.Text (" (Filename: ", fileName, ")\n")
post.Text (" (Post processor: ", postName, ")\n")
post.Text (" (Date: ", date, ")\n")
if(scale == metric) then
post.Text (" G21 (Units: Metric)\n") --metric mode
else
post.Text (" G20 (Units: Inches)\n") --inch mode
end
post.Text (" G53 G90 G91.1 G40\n F1\n")
bigArcs = 1 --stitch arc segments together
minArcSize = 0.05 --arcs smaller than this are converted to moves
end

function OnNewLine()
post.Text ("N")
post.Number (lineNumber, "0000")
lineNumber = lineNumber + 10
end


function OnFinish()
post.Text (" M05 M30\n")
end

function OnRapid()
if(math.hypot(currentX - endX, currentY - endY) < 0.001) then return end
post.ModalText (" G00")
post.ModalNumber (" X", endX * scale, "0.0000")
post.ModalNumber (" Y", endY * scale, "0.0000")
-- post.ModalNumber (" Z", endZ * scale, "0.0000")
post.Eol()
end

function OnMove()
if(math.hypot(currentX - endX, currentY - endY) < 0.001) then return end
post.ModalText (" G01")
post.ModalNumber (" X", endX * scale, "0.0000")
post.ModalNumber (" Y", endY * scale, "0.0000")
-- post.ModalNumber (" Z", endZ * scale, "0.0000")
post.ModalNumber (" F", feedRate * scale, "0.0###")
post.Eol()
end

function OnArc()
if(arcAngle <0) then
post.ModalText (" G03")
else
post.ModalText (" G02")
end
post.NonModalNumber (" X", endX * scale, "0.0000")
post.NonModalNumber (" Y", endY * scale, "0.0000")
-- post.ModalNumber (" Z", endZ * scale, "0.0000")
post.Text (" I")
post.Number ((arcCentreX - currentX) * scale, "0.0000")
post.Text (" J")
post.Number ((arcCentreY - currentY) * scale, "0.0000")
post.ModalNumber (" F", feedRate * scale, "0.0###")
post.Eol()
end


function OnPenDown()
if (preheat > 0.001) then
-- post.ModalText (" G00")
-- post.ModalNumber (" Z", cutHeight * scale, "0.0000")
-- post.Text (" G04 P")
-- post.Number (preheat,"0.###")
post.Eol()
end
-- post.ModalText (" G00")
-- post.ModalNumber (" Z", pierceHeight * scale, "0.0000")
post.Text (" M03\n")
if (pierceDelay > 0.001) then
-- post.Text (" G04 P")
-- post.Number (pierceDelay,"0.###")
post.Eol()
end
end


function OnPenUp()
post.Text (" M05\n")
if (endDelay > 0) then
-- post.Text (" G04 P")
-- post.Number (endDelay,"0.###")
post.Eol()
end
end


function OnNewOperation()
post.Text (" (Operation: ", operationName, ")\n")
end

function OnComment()
post.Text(" (",commentText,")\n")
end

function OnToolChange()
end

function OnNewPart()
post.Text(" (Part: ",partName,")\n");
end

function OnDrill()
OnRapid()
OnPenDown()
endZ = drillZ
OnMove()
OnPenUp()
endZ = safeZ
OnRapid()
end
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Re: THC post, macros??? Help!!!

Post by acourtjester »

I have a simple G-code attached for you to test if you inch. This should move the torch to a position (X1.5. Y1.5), drop the z to touch the metal and retract to pierce height and fire the torch, turn torch off and return to X0, Y0 and stop. the Z should be at 0.140" above the metal at the end. You do not need to use Macros just use a post processor that is setup for a Floating head switch.
Another thing you don't need to have the water table with the water that high, just below the metal is fine not over it.
The plasma goes out due to not seeing the arc OK (torch to high)

N0020 (Post processor: Mach3 plasma toms mod.scpost)
N0030 (Date: 03/12/2013)
N0040 G20 (Units: Inches)
N0050 G53 G90 G91.1 G40
N0060 F1
N0070 S500
N0080 (Part: Merry Christmas ornament)
N0090 (Operation: Inside Offset, inside, T3: toms plasma)
N0100 M06 T3 F200.0 (toms plasma)
N0110 G00 Z1.0000
N0120 X1.5 Y1.5
N0130 Z0.1400
N0140 G90F30
N0150 G28.1 Z0.50
N0160 G92 Z0
N0170 G0 z0.25
N0180 Z0.1400
N0190 M03
n0200 M05
n210 G01 X0.0Y0.0
n0220 M30
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Re: THC post, macros??? Help!!!

Post by Tristar500 »

Gave that a try but it never drops the torch deep enough to trigger the probe (offset]

Re, water level. Don't yet have a sacrificial table (it will be the first project once I get the THC functioning} Some of the metal that is under water is just not supported, I don't cut there. :HaHa
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Re: THC post, macros??? Help!!!

Post by Tristar500 »

OK, tried the Mach 3 THC with scriber post in SheetCam. don't have a scribe yet but building one.

Here's a vid of what happens when I attempt to cut a simple file.
Starts out ok, torch drops till probe is triggered, <note red LED> Pulls back up then dances around for a bit before firing the torch way above the material. :Sad :Mad

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/aC6hqlOgs4Q
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Re: THC post, macros??? Help!!!

Post by Tristar500 »

Thought I'd post the settings portion of thee Mach 3 THC with scribe post as I have it set.

--************************************************
--*** Set these values up to suit your machine ***
--************************************************


--Use a reference switch
--Set this to false if you do not have a reference switch
useRef = true

--Use the home switch (G28.1)
--Set to false if you use the probe input (G31)
refHome=false

--this is the distance between each torch reference in MILLIMETRES
refDistance = 250

--this is the reference feed rate in mm/min
refFeed = 500

--Put your switch offset value here in MILLIMETRES
--Put a sheet of metal on your machine and place a sheet of paper on top.
--Slowly jog the torch down onto the paper until the touch-off switch just operates.
--Zero the Z axis then pull gently on the paper and slowly jog up until the paper slides out.
--The Z axis position is your switch offset.
switchOffset = 6

--Scriber X,Y,Z offsets in MILLIMETRES. Do not use inches here even if you want inch code
--Use the special code 'nil' on the Z axis to disable it.
--In that case no Z values will be output at all while scribing.
--e.g scriberZ = nil
scriberX = 110
scriberY = 220
scriberZ = 0

--scriber axis. Leave this as nil if the scriber is fixed to the same axis as the torch
--e.g scriberAxis = nil
scriberAxis = "A"

--This an extra delay for the first pierce. The time is in seconds.
firstDelay=0

--************************************************
--*** End of settings ***
--************************************************
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Re: THC post, macros??? Help!!!

Post by Tristar500 »

PXL_20230529_000813980-1024x768.jpg
I ran the code as suggested. Thank you BTW!

N0020 (Post processor: Mach3 plasma toms mod.scpost)
N0030 (Date: 03/12/2013)
N0040 G20 (Units: Inches)
N0050 G53 G90 G91.1 G40
N0060 F1
N0070 S500
N0080 (Part: Merry Christmas ornament)
N0090 (Operation: Inside Offset, inside, T3: toms plasma)
N0100 M06 T3 F200.0 (toms plasma)
N0110 G00 Z1.0000
N0120 X1.5 Y1.5
N0130 Z0.1400
N0140 G90F30
N0150 G28.1 Z0.50
N0160 G92 Z0
N0170 G0 z0.25
N0180 Z0.1400
N0190 M03
n0200 M05
n210 G01 X0.0Y0.0
n0220 M30

This is what my machine does with it.
Torch never even touches the material yet it pulls back and then just slowly retracts until I hit stop.

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/iJb2f2JXUP8
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Re: THC post, macros??? Help!!!

Post by asuratman »

maybe you need to calibrate THC ...
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Re: THC post, macros??? Help!!!

Post by robertspark »

first question, do you have a license for mach3?

your OWN licence not one given to you or one with a package of parts or one that came with the software?

if you use a copied licence then artsoft kindly put some code into mach3 meaning it will do strange things .... like begin cutting and then veer off to ruin what you were trying to cut. this was their "serves you right for using a fake licence code" trick. it also does other weird things

THC does not work with the free version of mach3 and there are some other things that don't work too. (bottom of the page in red) https://www.machsupport.com/software/mach3/

I am away for a day so you have two options.....
1) post your profile XML file
2) take screenshots of all of the configuration tabs

option 1 is best as it will provide all your machine settings.

option 2 is helpful as I would not be able to load the XML file for a day and just have to look at it line by line.

I suspect that you have set the z axis heights as something quite small or the wrong way around....

Z is vertical to the cutting plane.... + or positive motion is UP away from the cutting plane and - or negative motion is down towards the floor.

with plasma we use an ohmic touchoff or floating head or a combination of both, so the machine will always probe down towards the ground and we normally set this with a big negative limit number, because the probing cycle will set the z axis to zero...... some people use "homing" (g28.1) to set the z...... (which is what you are doing in the gcode below)

some use use the probe cycle G31

I suspect you have g28.1 set to HOME in the wrong direction.... in a Plus or positive direction, as explained below, g28m1 will move the axis AT the current feedrate to Z0.5 AND THEN home at the defined feedrate
https://machmotion.com/blog/knowledge-g ... rence_Axis

using G31 is sometimes better..... but they are very similar functions but NOT the same as G31 is a probing function ..... it will move from the current position in the direction that you define to the location that you define at the feedrate you define.... if it does not get a signal triggered before reaching that distance it will return a fault signal and pause

https://machmotion.com/blog/knowledge-g ... ight_Probe

G92.0 sets the temporary offset..... really if you are using g28.1 you don't need to set a temporary offset as you would define it in the homing sequence what the offset was (in the machine configuration).... but with probing you set the offset.

personally with plasma, I use G31 (or it's equivalent as some CNC motion control software use different g codes), and I set my z axis limits large, and define the machine to have a zero z axis location in machine coordinates at start.

please note I have not used mach3 for a very long time now, I then used uccnc as that was promising and was being regularly developed (not for quite a while now despite promises.... ), very similar to mach3 but much better for plasma. I now use linuxcnc on all my machines (plasma, lathe, mill, router), just not 3d printer (klipper) or laser cutter (FluidNC).
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Re: THC post, macros??? Help!!!

Post by Tristar500 »

asuratman wrote: Mon May 29, 2023 1:01 am maybe you need to calibrate THC ...
Not sure. I think that sample code that I ran doesn't even take the THC into account? It was just supposed to touch off , pull up and return to home.

Looking into Robert's post below. Lots of info in there.

Thanks!
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Re: THC post, macros??? Help!!!

Post by Tristar500 »

Yes, I have my own license for both Mach 3 and 4. Mach 3 license what a barter deal for a high altitude drone project I did back in 2000.
Any way to verify a Mach license? It sure would explain a lot if some wonky code was interfering with my machine because it didn't recognize my license. I can reach out to Artsoft about that.

Z axis is set up the correct way so far as direction and value. Raising the torch increases + positive and lowering drops the DRO value. I went to bed last night wondering if I had overlooked that or that it should be the other way around. In short, I have it set up the same way as my 3 axis mill, my 4 axis carving machine, and all the others I've built over the years.

I think you may be on to something about the homing direction. On all my machines I home to top of Z and reference starting with Z , then Y and finally X (both x and A (slave).
If I understand now how this could be an issue depending on whether It was g28.1 or G31. G31 should send the torch to the material where as the g28.1 would send it upward.
In Mach 3 in the homing/limits settings. I have the X and Y set to home negative (back to 0,0) The Z is set to home to switch at top of Z (fully retracted).

I can change that and run the G code you sent and see what happens.

Thanks so much for the help! I can see you put a lot of time and thought into my issues and I greatly appreciate the help here from everybody.
I'll post my results and my XML later today and a full set of screen shots.
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Re: THC post, macros??? Help!!!

Post by Tristar500 »

Another thought. I'll also run that G code in Mach 4. I believe I still have all the settings in place to run the plasma. I was going to use it with Warp9's WarpRunner THC but could not get it to work after weeks of trying so gave up and went with the THC-1 from CNC4PC.

I'll report back with my findings.
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Re: THC post, macros??? Help!!!

Post by acourtjester »

Here are some thing that will help to clear things up. First off the THC is like an independent operation that comes into play after the pierce and first torch movement. You can run G-codes when it is use or not that is why there is a easy way to turn it on/off. The touch off is added to the G-code by the Post Processor that you use, and you can run G-codes with or without a touch off, not many do that. There are 2 types of touch off, floating head switch and Ohmic sensor circuits. You can use both with the floating head switch used as a safety or alternate touch off. It depends on how the G-code and electronics view it. When using a Floating head switch I tie it to the home/limit circuit that is in series (see attached image). This circuit is connected to one input on the BOB/interface electronics. The requires you using the G28 G-code in Mach and UCCNC. Now to the Ohmic sensor circuit this is different as in Mach it must have the Probe input wired to the the ohmic circuit. And you use the G31 command (again in Mach and UCCNC) see attached image.
In Mach on the top left if you have a license it will show the name there, if it says Demo ( no license), as Robert said it does not do many things without a license.
Another tip when watching how things happen you can use the single step mode, each hit of the cycle start key will advance the G-code one line at a time. You can have the plasma off and look at the torch fire button to see if it will light the torch.
I will rework the simple G-code I sent to be more clear and a post processor you can use.
Attachments
torch on.JPG
torch on.JPG (56.8 KiB) Viewed 4010 times
probe input.JPG
switches.JPG
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Re: THC post, macros??? Help!!!

Post by Tristar500 »

I made some progress today. CNC4PC the THC-1 manufacture tweaked the screen so I can enter negative values when needed and it's now moving into position, dropping down tripping the probe switch and firing as it should.
What it isn't doing is pulling up to pierce height before firing torch, It's also not doing any real THC as I am getting no Z movement at the axis and no torch up/down LEDS on the Mach screen.

vid link. https://www.youtube.com/shorts/HocaMGFLvUY
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Re: THC post, macros??? Help!!!

Post by acourtjester »

Can you attach the first part of the G-code for me to look at.
Did you enter the pins and enable Mach in the THC inputs??
Is this how its wired
https://www.cnc4pc.com/blog/post/connec ... -and-pts-1
THC 1.JPG
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Re: THC post, macros??? Help!!!

Post by Tristar500 »

SS1.jpg
SS3.jpg
Here's the whole G code. It's a simple 6 inch line.

N0010 (Filename: 6inchline.NC)
N0020 (Post processor: THC-3N1 MECHANICAL TOUCH.scpost)
N0030 (Date: 16/05/2023)
N0040 G20 (Units: Inches)
N0050 F1
N0060 G53 G90 G40
N0070 (Part: 6inchline)
N0080 (Operation: No Offset, Default, T1: Plasma,1/8" Steel)
N0090 G00 X0.0000 Y0.0000
N0100 M62P4 (+++THC Allowed, AD2+++)
N0110 G00 X0.0000 Y0.0000
N0120 G31 Z -100 F39.3701
N0130 G92 Z0.0
N0140 G00 Z0.2283
N0150 G92 Z0.0
N0160 G00 Z0.2000
N0170 M03
N0180 G04 P0.6
N0190 G01 Z0.0800 F10.0
N0200 F80.0
N0210 X6.0000
N0220 M05
N0230 G04 P1.8
N0240 G00 Z0.9000
N0250 X0.0000
N0260 M05 M30

Right now having some issues with the preliminary torch height and getting some strange voltage readings in the display of the THC. It's displaying 512 VDC but I verified with multimeter it's 1,2-,8 VDC at 1/50 terminals.

The parameters are set on the Mach screen. Look near bottom just to right of the Feed Rate box.
Yesterday it wouldn't accept a negative value for the -Z height but they got that fixed. I think I need a negative value for my offset but ##%$! won't take it.

Hopefully fixed soon. :Sad
5X7, 6x11 plasma own design
Mach3,4 SheetCam, CorelDRAW 2020 Inkscape .0.92
Homebuilt 3 axis mill
Homebuilt 5 axis mill
PrimeWeld cut 60
Hypertherm 350
Miller Symchrowave 250 DX
Several mig welders

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acourtjester
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Re: THC post, macros??? Help!!!

Post by acourtjester »

I am confused I thought you were using a floating head switch for metal surface detection. If that is true line 120 should be using a G 28 and no negative value is needed. Can you turn off the THC portion, I think you are fighting the THC setting and the G-code setting. It is better to troubleshoot one problem at a time. Also line 140 shows a 0.2283" switch offset that is large I used about 0.040" with a standard micro switch, it looks like you are using a proximity sensor for that. the G-code is setting the torch about 0.500" as a pierce height adding lines 140 and 160. Firing the torch and then dropping to 0.080" As I said before you can run in the single step mode for testing, look at each step as to the Z DRO to see how things are going. after M3 you should also see the torch on led in Mach, no need to burn metal until the table is working correctly.
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Tristar500
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Re: THC post, macros??? Help!!!

Post by Tristar500 »

I am using a floating head with a prox sensor as a switch.
I played around with the various height height, offset settings in the Mach screen until I got real results on the plasma table. My goal was to pierce at 0.2 (not sure if this is optimal) then move down to 0.06 or about the thickness of a business card for cutting. I'll have to mic that again to be sure.

Machine is behaving properly except for the THC so that is progress..

Cut a few brackets (no THC) that came out ok. Not sure why the machine is stopping along some of the cut lines like they are segments?

Here's a vid of the progress thus far.
5X7, 6x11 plasma own design
Mach3,4 SheetCam, CorelDRAW 2020 Inkscape .0.92
Homebuilt 3 axis mill
Homebuilt 5 axis mill
PrimeWeld cut 60
Hypertherm 350
Miller Symchrowave 250 DX
Several mig welders

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Re: THC post, macros??? Help!!!

Post by acourtjester »

The pierce height many use is 0.160" unless thinner metal then maybe 0.080" to reduce the pierce hole size with no delay.
the control follows the G-code are you using any cut rules, (having it slow down in corners). How are you drawing your shapes there may be to many nodes in some areas causing the slow down. Each node creates a line in the G-code, a square should only have 4 lines for movements.
You have made progress, now with the THC you may contact the vendor to see about testing it, maybe its bad.
Look at these setting you may need to read the Mach manual for the exact settings.
CV.JPG
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Re: THC post, macros??? Help!!!

Post by Tristar500 »

Did some testing with the vender today.
We have some really strange things going on.

First up:
Primeweld Cut 60 plasma cutter
THC-1 from CNC4PC
C25XP BOB from CNC$PC
Windows 10 pro
Mach 3.043.062
Ethernest (ESS) M3-180220-u4-f1-L


Had THC wired to 1/50 pinout on Plasma pins 4(-) and 6(+)

Fired torch and observed digital readout on THCshowing 250+ VDC

Fired torch again this time with multimeter on the divided ouputs and got a value of 1.4 (about where it should be.)

THC works in test mode and I can move Z up and down and LEDs on Mach screen light as they should.

Further tested the THC by connecting to a digital variable power supply and fed it from 2 to 4 volts, (z axis moved up and down as it should)

Fired torch again, this time connected to THC and multimeter. https://www.youtube.com/shorts/9a5byH5RN4c

This is no sensible! Both me and the Vender/designer are very puzzled.

THC can take raw voltage, hooked that up. Not getting any Z movement. Maybe settings in the THC? IDK.

Long unproductive day. :Sad :Mad

Thinking about connecting a voltage divider to the Primeweld instead of using theirs.
5X7, 6x11 plasma own design
Mach3,4 SheetCam, CorelDRAW 2020 Inkscape .0.92
Homebuilt 3 axis mill
Homebuilt 5 axis mill
PrimeWeld cut 60
Hypertherm 350
Miller Symchrowave 250 DX
Several mig welders

You are only as old as the woman you feel.
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Re: THC post, macros??? Help!!!

Post by adbuch »

My understanding is that Mach3 is no longer supported by Artisoft.
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Re: THC post, macros??? Help!!!

Post by acourtjester »

I'm not sure but you may check with the vender about the Com connection on the THC going to the power supply negative connection.
I have not used this THC but with the Proma 150 I have used they say in the installation instructions that the signal Com should not be connected to the power supply negative. It should be connected to the Com connection on the BOB board.
See attached screen shot of your setup from their web page. The voltage out from a plasma unit maybe 150 volts your showing on 250 on the units is not right
wrong settings.JPG
wrong conncetion.JPG
DIY 4X4 Plasma/Router Table
Hypertherm PM65 Machine Torch
Drag Knife and Scribe
Miller Mig welder
13" metal lathe
Small Mill
Everlast PowerTig 255 EXT
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