New to old 1980s CNCs need advice.
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    Default New to old 1980s CNCs need advice.

    I had two 1980s cnc's practically fall into my lap recently and I have bee scratching my head trying to figure out how to convert these punch tape machines into something more modern

    The two machines are an Okuma Lc20 4axis

    SMT Pullmax ST14 2 Axis with cnc 220 programming.

    Interested in what options I have to get these to program manually with g and m code. Or something newer.

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    If they don't have RS232 capability, you will need a behind the tape reader. Pretty simple really. I would bet the Okuma has RS232. I don't know the other machine.

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    I have two BTRs old Okumas (one LC20 and one LB15) with OSP 5000L control. Even though it has RS232 I still use the BTR because we tried and tried and tried to communicate but always ended up losing characters in the transfer. I had Gosiger try and also a very knowledgeable DNC vendor try to get it to work.

    Ended up going with BTR from http://www.adrco.com/ . They were pretty helpful in getting me the right card and setup.

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    I have ADR BTR's on 2 machines and they work perfectly.

    RS232 is usually not that hard to set up. Running from program memory has some advantages instead of in tape mode from the BTR. I would want both working if possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bradleyk View Post
    because we tried and tried and tried to communicate but always ended up losing characters in the transfer.
    I found the magic number for RS232 was 4800 baud. Anything higher and we had the same problem with dropped characters. What rate had you been trying?

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    Back in those days 4800 baud was fast! I'm guessing your hand shaking and or wiring is not right. I had a whole lot of problems back then communitcating with one mill. finally made a two foot RS232 cord which worked but anything over 5 ft wouldn't...go figure... finally bought an old used computer and stuck it out by the machine. We were doing DNC also with it.

    BTR's sound like a great answer.

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    Mach3/Gecko candidate?

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    Quote Originally Posted by countryboy1966 View Post
    Mach3/Gecko candidate?
    Any 1980's control is lightyears ahead of that shit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    Any 1980's control is lightyears ahead of that shit.
    I'm not stuffing toilet paper in my mach3 system and expecting a miracle like they did in the 1980s. We're talking about classic controls here. Expect dumb shit even on the upgrade. Can't afford dumb shit? Shouldn't be screwing around with an 80s control to begin with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by countryboy1966 View Post
    I'm not stuffing toilet paper in my mach3 system and expecting a miracle like they did in the 1980s. We're talking about classic controls here. Expect dumb shit even on the upgrade. Can't afford dumb shit? Shouldn't be screwing around with an 80s control to begin with.
    ????

    What CNC controls of the 80's do you have experience with?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    ????

    What CNC controls of the 80's do you have experience with?
    Zero and prefer to keep it that way. Thinking back took my response in a wrong direction so I'm going to redirect.

    The OP asked for options. I gave him an option no one else listed that works for me. Feel free to say what you want, but at the end of the day, it works for me. A lot of people shoot it down because of the stigma of being associated with hobby machine controls but let me tell you something. The $5K machine I added this $750 control to has made me acceptable money to justify the low cost investment and I'm doing more than simple 2 axis work with it. In no way to I find the control to be my weak link. My crappy stepper motors are.

    What I liked about the upgrade: It replaced everything but my spindle control. When my spindle control goes, I'll upgrade that too. One weekend invested in conversion.

    Your ADR BTR is merely an interface only for $1500! What happens when the rest of those classic controls crap out?

    IMO - The best upgrade investment is the one that replaces as most of the controls as possible theoretically improving reliability. Just my opinion.

    FWIW - I've only retrofitted one machine in my life so take my thoughts for what they are worth.

    Good discussion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by countryboy1966 View Post
    Zero and prefer to keep it that way. Thinking back took my response in a wrong direction so I'm going to redirect.

    The OP asked for options. I gave him an option no one else listed that works for me. Feel free to say what you want, but at the end of the day, it works for me. A lot of people shoot it down because of the stigma of being associated with hobby machine controls but let me tell you something. The $5K machine I added this $750 control to has made me acceptable money to justify the low cost investment and I'm doing more than simple 2 axis work with it. In no way to I find the control to be my weak link. My crappy stepper motors are.

    What I liked about the upgrade: It replaced everything but my spindle control. When my spindle control goes, I'll upgrade that too. One weekend invested in conversion.

    Your ADR BTR is merely an interface only for $1500! What happens when the rest of those classic controls crap out?

    IMO - The best upgrade investment is the one that replaces as most of the controls as possible theoretically improving reliability. Just my opinion.

    FWIW - I've only retrofitted one machine in my life so take my thoughts for what they are worth.

    Good discussion.
    I paid $0 for both of my ADR BTR's as they came on the machines, however, $1500 is a very reasonable price for what they are. ADR BTR takes 30 minutes to install and learn to use. Your entire weekend is what? 10+ hours? That's $1000 in shop time right there.

    Your theoretical reliability improvement is just that. I have 3 CNC's from the 80's and even late 70's that run everyday. They have no more, maybe even fewer, issues than a brand new machine and are impressively capable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    I paid $0 for both of my ADR BTR's as they came on the machines, however, $1500 is a very reasonable price for what they are. ADR BTR takes 30 minutes to install and learn to use. Your entire weekend is what? 10+ hours? That's $1000 in shop time right there.

    Your theoretical reliability improvement is just that. I have 3 CNC's from the 80's and even late 70's that run everyday. They have no more, maybe even fewer, issues than a brand new machine and are impressively capable.
    I'm glad it works for you.

    Let me know if you disagree with that too.

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    The ocuma should def have and rs232, and yeah try with low boud rates, no problems on our Ls4 from early -80.

    Marko

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    Quote Originally Posted by countryboy1966 View Post
    Zero and prefer to keep it that way.

    FWIW - I've only retrofitted one machine in my life so take my thoughts for what they are worth.

    Good discussion.
    Ugh, me trying not to be negative is getting really hard.

    Merry Christmas!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by B-Mathews View Post
    Ugh, me trying not to be negative is getting really hard.

    Merry Christmas!!
    I love these kinds of comments. I hope you feel better about yourself as well.

    I would appreciate if you and others would leave me the fuck alone. All I did was make a suggestion for what worked for me and nothing else. I don't need your or anyone else's bullshit. I'm not here to debate anything with any of you.

    All I did was answered the OP's thread:

    "Interested in what options I have to get these to program manually with g and m code. Or something newer."

    My suggestion worked and is profitable for me in my application. I appreciate reading about what worked for others because I do want to be educated about other processes that might or most likely are better than the path I chose, but you don't have to screw with me in the process.

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    Quote Originally Posted by countryboy1966 View Post
    I love these kinds of comments. I hope you feel better about yourself as well.

    I would appreciate if you and others would leave me the fuck alone. All I did was make a suggestion for what worked for me and nothing else. I don't need your or anyone else's bullshit. I'm not here to debate anything with any of you.

    All I did was answered the OP's thread:

    "Interested in what options I have to get these to program manually with g and m code. Or something newer."

    My suggestion worked and is profitable for me in my application. I appreciate reading about what worked for others because I do want to be educated about other processes that might or most likely are better than the path I chose, but you don't have to screw with me in the process.
    I don't think anyone's calling you an idiot, just informing OP that he probably won't be happy with a Mach3 conversion. Besides, they're probably servo machines so it'd be way more complicated than yours and probably would never work right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by isaac338 View Post
    I don't think anyone's calling you an idiot, just informing OP that he probably won't be happy with a Mach3 conversion. Besides, they're probably servo machines so it'd be way more complicated than yours and probably would never work right.
    I looked it up and it goes without saying you are correct, Mach 3 would only work for stepper motor configuration and its pretty clear if I ever change to servos or if the OP's application uses servos it is not a good option.

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    Quote Originally Posted by countryboy1966 View Post
    I'm glad it works for you.

    Let me know if you disagree with that too.
    Let's agree to disagree...

    I got no irons in the fire I was just stirring the pot

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    could you please post some photos for that innards of those old Okuma controls?


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