Laptop PCI-Parallel adapter
Tagged: parallel port
March 8, 2010 at 9:40 pm #2284
So I have been thinking about how I was going to run this thing. I could use the parallel port on my desktop but I don’t want to have to keep my Desktop near the cnc and I don’t want to buy a cheap desktop just to run this. There are no USB options, but what about a laptop parallel port. Would this be an option to use if you wanted to use a laptop? Has anyone had experience with these. Its a bit pricey considering one for a desktop is around $20. Thoughts?
-James-March 8, 2010 at 10:10 pm #3495
I believe an earlier thread mentioned that laptops may not be suitable because their power management systems may interfere with the critical timings necessary to run the DIYLILCNC.March 8, 2010 at 10:23 pm #3496
Buy it and you can use the Mach3 program which is a free download (limited to 1000 lines of Gcode) and use there port tester to test the latency of the connection. The problem isn’t the mill itself its more or less a stepper/controller problem. I have seen people online though use the parallel port on there laptop just fine with mach 3 etc. It really just depends on the laptop in the end. I would give it a go “Return for refund within: 30 days”.March 8, 2010 at 10:31 pm #3497
The following is from the Mach 3 Downloads page:
*You must use a Desktop PC running a 32-bit version of Windows if you are using the Mach3 Parallel Port Driver. Laptops are not supported because the power saving features of the chipsets disrupt the pulse stream. Mach3 will only be supported on laptops running an external motion controller, such as one of those found on the Plugins page.*March 9, 2010 at 2:52 am #3498
Generally you are stuck with on-board parallel ports in towers (as opposed to laptops) with both EMC and Mach3. This is frustrating for sure; we would love to have a less restrictive alternative. But due to the restrictions of open-loop stepper motors, you need to have really reliable timing between the controller and the driver board.March 11, 2010 at 9:53 pm #3499
Great thanks for the info. I have been talking to my brother (IT guy). He said hes got enough spare parts to build a desktop that can run everything. It would be great though in the future if using a laptop could be possible.
-James-March 22, 2010 at 1:45 am #3500
Personally I’ve always wondered about using a Parallel Port Adapter in an Express Card slot on a laptop. As some of the adapters connect directly to the PCI Express bus I believe that latency wouldn’t be an issue. Having said that I haven’t looked at the Mach 3 software site, and therefore did not realize that power saving features could pose a problem. I am curious if disabling the power management features from within the OS would solve that problem. Just because Mach3 does not officially support it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. When I get my machine up and running I’ll have to give it a shot.
Interestingly enough I used to own an IT firm and we built (or rather integrated bare-bone laptop enclosures) very powerful laptops for medical imaging applications. I still have a couple of them sitting around. The thing that made these laptops so interesting is that they used a desktop processor, and a motherboard with a desktop chipset and architecture. They were huge 12 lb monsters. I wonder if power saving features would be an issue here as they weren’t using chips designed to be run off a battery. Hell they only lasted 20 minutes on a huge battery. I guess I’ll have to give that a shot too.
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