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Introduction to CNC Routers


Breakout Board Plus

Combo Board

Stepper Motors

Parallel Port Relay

Plasma Torch Height Control

MP2 CNC mini Pendant


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© 2005 Bob Campbell Designs
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Breakout - combo board

Breakout - Combo board
for Mach2 or Mach3
Revision 5 is now shipping

This is a new  Combo break-out board developed by Jim Cullins to be used with the Mach2 or Mach3 PC controller.   Jim Cullins removed the step and direction LED lights and put them on a small PC board. On the back of the board is a binary (2,4,8,16 count down) that lets you better view the step pulses. If you like you can mount the LED board to the front of your control box. The LED board is also available for use with the standard breakout board. The price of the LED board with the Standard breakout board is $24.95.  The LED board is provided free with every Combo board.

The Rev 5 board uses a PIC processor to process the spindle speed pulses.

The Combo board was requested by a large customer. The main advantage of the Combo board is space. The Combo board fits in the same space as a breakout board (6” by 5 5/8”). The cost is $20 less than the combined three boards. Even less now if you want the LED board. For some customers doing retrofits, space is a necessity. All combo boards ship with a LED board if requested.

 The purpose of the Combo board is to interface the PC parallel port to the Gecko stepper motor drives and to control four relays for powering on aux devices such as spindle, vacuum pump, and coolant pump from 115VAC. The combo board also includes the spindle speed function that can control a variable frequency drive (VFD) through an optically isolated 0~5 VDC or 0~10 VDC.  The Combo board also has an output for one Quadrature encoder that can be used for a manual pulse generator (MPG).

 Mach 3 can output a 15khz pulse string to pin 17 on the parallel port. The new break-out board detects this pulse string and enables  pins 1, 14 and 16 for outputs. the outputs can be uses to turn on things like spindles, vacuum pumps or coolants (through a solid state relay). If the 15khz signal is not present, the outputs will not be enabled. This will prevent outputs from coming on when Mach2/Mach3 does not have control. 

The PC parallel port break-out board was developed by James Cullins.  James is the owner of Sound Logic in Grapevine Texas.

The Combo break-out board was designed to interface to the Gecko drives or any step and direction drives. The board supports NPN inductive proximity sensors.

The Combo break-out board has screw terminal for all signals.

The Combo break-out board contains three power supplies. One 5 volt supply is used to provide 5 volts to power the optical isolators in the Gecko drives. A 12 volt power supply  is provided to supply power to the proximity sensors. A second 5 volt supply is provided to convert the output from the proximity sensors back to 5 volts before it is sent back to the PC.

The input connector is a 26 pin duel in-line connector.  The 26 pin connector is connected (ribbon cable) to a 25 pin parallel port connector which would mount on the outside of your control box.  

The cost of the Combo board is $245.00 US. 

The Combo breakout board can be ordered from:

Bob Campbell Designs
904 Chestnut Oak Ct
Euless, TX  76039

for $245 plus $8.50 for postage.  If you live outside the lower 48 states, please add $11.50 extra for postage. To Europe,  I usually mail by US air parcel  post. If you want me to mail  by UPS, just check the estimated postage on the UPS web page for a two pound package from ZIP 76039.

The breakout board can also be ordered through pay pal by clicking on the icon below.

I am currently shipping a ribbon cable with a DB25 connector on one end and a duel inline connector on the other end with each order. If you do not need the ribbon cable, please make a note in the order and I will not ship it.

The ribbon cable was designed to go inside a PC. It has a female DB 25 connector. This means that you will need a male to male cable to go between you PC and your control box.

A PDF version of the Combo break-out board  General User's Guide is available here.

A PDF version of the Combo break-out board  (Revision 2) General User's Guide is available here.



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© 2005 Bob Campbell Designs
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