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Charmilles Robofil 300- Curious problem and boot up disks ?

Milacron

Super Moderator
Joined
Dec 15, 2000
Location
SC, USA
Just bought a 1994 Robofil 300, which was reported by two different ex employees to work perfectly, and yet when I turn it on the fans and all come to life, monitor comes on but get a "no signal found" error on the screen. So, one thinks graphics card kaput or something...but the weird thing is the company had another identical machine with a brand new LCD monitor, and damned if it doesn't have the exact same error !

The other issue is I think both machines were missing their boot up floppy disks... I have some floppies but they seem to be for diagonistics and such, not the main operations disk. Do the machines by chance require the right disk in the floppy for the monitor to work ?? Seems highly unlikely, but also seems highly unlikey that two Robofils would just happen to have the exact same monitor issue, so I'm wondering what the heck is going on.
 

harrytm

Cast Iron
Joined
Jun 18, 2002
Location
Corry,PA,USA
Just bought a 1994 Robofil 300, which was reported by two different ex employees to work perfectly, and yet when I turn it on the fans and all come to life, monitor comes on but get a "no signal found" error on the screen. So, one thinks graphics card kaput or something...but the weird thing is the company had another identical machine with a brand new LCD monitor, and damned if it doesn't have the exact same error !

The other issue is I think both machines were missing their boot up floppy disks... I have some floppies but they seem to be for diagonistics and such, not the main operations disk. Do the machines by chance require the right disk in the floppy for the monitor to work ?? Seems highly unlikely, but also seems highly unlikey that two Robofils would just happen to have the exact same monitor issue, so I'm wondering what the heck is going on.

What happens when you turn on a computer moniter when the CPU unit isn't on?

"no signal found"

Just something to think about. If computer hasn't been booted up, it is likely the monitor would act this way.
 

Milacron

Super Moderator
Joined
Dec 15, 2000
Location
SC, USA
Just something to think about. If computer hasn't been booted up, it is likely the monitor would act this way.
True but no computer or CNC control I know of acts this way just because there is no floppy in the drive. In fact I have some floppies and tried one and that didn't help. Hard to believe it has to have the "right" floppy for the CPU to work at all...but maybe...
 

rkdeckel

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 27, 2005
Location
michigan
My Charmilles sinker,Roboform 200 same vintage takes at least 15 min. to boot if its been powered down any length of time,(shut down and moved) max battery charge is 100 hrs, 60 to charge, so says the manual, not much on the screen during this time, would presume your control has a similar operating format.
RK
 

wesg

Titanium
Joined
Nov 4, 2004
Location
RC, CA
We've got a '96, 190 maybe? 290? Whatever. Loses it's mind if it isn't turned on every so often to keep the batteries charged. There are 2 discs to load the operating system, and a 3rd for the technology. I've done it a lot.

If this is the same, hold the blue button (next to stop and start) down while you power it up. Should show a diagnostics page and allow loading the OS. At least you'll know it's working. But you'll need the discs to actually run it. Can't copy these for you as they're 720k and I have no way to format a disc. Thank you Microsoft.
 

Ciaran

Plastic
Joined
Nov 23, 2008
Location
Dublin Ireland
Charmilles

I have three older machines. They do not need boot up disks unless the battery is wasted in the cabinet. On our Robofil 200 1988 the batteries are mounted in the back of the cabinet and have green and red led bulbs to show if they are working. If the battery is dead and the memory gone you will need the system disks and maybe an options disk and also the technologies disk I think.
On the older machines when you turn them on you get a couple of different options "Charger" to reload the software or "Continue" which is to turn on the machine if all the software is installed. The fact that you have a "No Signal" may mean that a cable is disconnected from the machine being moved.
Hope this helps.
 

Milacron

Super Moderator
Joined
Dec 15, 2000
Location
SC, USA
If this is the same, hold the blue button (next to stop and start) down while you power it up. Should show a diagnostics page and allow loading the OS. At least you'll know it's working. But you'll need the discs to actually run it. .
Yeah that is probably it...found out from Charmilles the other day but haven't tried it yet. According to them if battery dead CPU may not engage unless you hit the blue button.

I went over the disks I need with Charmilles and I seem to have all of them except the one I need most...disk no. 1.... 150 bucks per disk ! A "discount" for the whole set..."only" 500 bucks ! :angry:

On a related subject can one of you tell me which board the memory battery is on ? I want to make damn sure that little bugger doesn't leak acid on the board. Had that happen once on a similar vintage Charmilles sinker and it ruined the board. That one sat for 2 years without power however and this one has only been 2 months without power so far.
 

wesg

Titanium
Joined
Nov 4, 2004
Location
RC, CA
Again, if this is the same layout as ours: Should be obvious looking in the front cabinet. One of the boards towards the right, and they're right up at the top front.

There's also a switch, I think, for disconnecting them to dump memory. At least I think that's what it does. Bit of a pain to get the board out as there's some cables blocking it from what I remember.

The batteries are a really weird size on ours. But they're nothing more than AA's with (literally) a chunk of steel added to the end, and shrink wrapped, to make them look special.

I bought NiCad's with solder tabs from Digikey or wherever and soldered them in with some pieces of wire to bridge the gap. Better would have been a plastic holder so they can be swapped in the future, but I didn't figure the machine would last that long anyway.

If you can format a 720k disc I'll see what the file format looks like on disc 1. If there's nothing weird about it maybe I can copy and e-mail.

And just leaving the main turned on doesn't keep the battery charged. Have to run the machine every couple of weeks. Really dumb.
 

Milacron

Super Moderator
Joined
Dec 15, 2000
Location
SC, USA
The batteries are a really weird size on ours. But they're nothing more than AA's with (literally) a chunk of steel added to the end, and shrink wrapped, to make them look special.

I bought NiCad's with solder tabs from Digikey or wherever and soldered them in with some pieces of wire to bridge the gap. Better would have been a plastic holder so they can be swapped in the future, but I didn't figure the machine would last that long anyway.
Yeah I found the batteries this afternoon, 3 of them AA diameter but longer, as you say. 2 of them were are zero volts, one had about 1 volt. No label to indicate voltage...so 1.5 v (each) is it ?
 

wesg

Titanium
Joined
Nov 4, 2004
Location
RC, CA
A little further back on the board than I remembered. I have the files. I'll see if I can find your e-mail.

Discs are:

1: 8059580 (COM:MNA5X; EXE:MN99; PIL:FP18)
2: 208060830E (Englis.Cmd; Techno MN67; Wire MN66)
3: 8062060 B (DOC MN67; Techno DOC files)
4: 8062170 (Autodiagnostic client Ver:3gv10)

If the ones you have look the same, or similar, maybe you'll be good to go with this.

Ni-Cad's are 1.2V. So sounds like a couple of them are OK. But ...
 

Milacron

Super Moderator
Joined
Dec 15, 2000
Location
SC, USA
1: 8059580 (COM:MNA5X; EXE:MN99; PIL:FP18)
2: 208060830E (Englis.Cmd; Techno MN67; Wire MN66)
3: 8062060 B (DOC MN67; Techno DOC files)
4: 8062170 (Autodiagnostic client Ver:3gv10)

I have Disks 2,3 and 4.... exact same part numbers...but I knew that already from talking with Charmilles.

But what I didn't know until now is I apparently have Disk 1 as well. Disks 2,3,4 all have the official Charmilles labels on them, but in the pile of Disks there was one that was just a generic disk where someone scribbled "disk 1" with a felt marker. I had checked it's files on a computer but they appeared so "unimpressive" I presumed that couldn't possibly be the all important "real" Disk 1 ! (there were other blank disks with various EDM programs in the pile and I just figured it was one of them)

There may be a slight difference in my files labels from yours...mine are labeled-

COMMNA5X.LZ, EXEMN99.BX8, and PILP18.BX8 and CTDOS.

I wonder what the "BX8" is all about ?

I also have one other with original Charmilles label, titled "wire brake powder installation procedure" with files powder.cmd, powder.iso and powder.tec... what is that one for ? :confused:

=========================
(on edit) Got your email after posting, I downloaded your zip and now see your files are labeled exactly the same as mine, so I am good to go now... thanks Wes ! :Ithankyou:

(btw, that's hilareous about the batteries being regular AA but with steel slug added.... I wonder if there was any logic in that other than creating the illusion of propritary batteries ? If not, what greedy doofuses...sheesh, it isn't dumb enough for the batteries to be soldered to the board....)
 

wesg

Titanium
Joined
Nov 4, 2004
Location
RC, CA
Who knows. Lots of weird file formats out there. Re the batteries, I have an '85 Sodick sinker that has a nice commercial battery pack on the board ... that isn't available anymore. And it was more trouble to solder AA's into than the Charmilles.

No idea on the wire brake. Don't think we have that one. Got the wire tension gauge though. Pretty nice piece of hardware.

Good story about proprietary parts; Company had a fairly late model EDM. Not sure, maybe an Agie. Hard disc went bad in it. They pulled it, went to the local computer shop and found a replacement for $60. Called the mfg'r to see if it was OK before buying. They were told the disc is the same, but it's specially formatted so a normal one won't work with the old files copied onto it. A replacement was something like $4k. They said that's the last machine they ever buy from them.
 

Milacron

Super Moderator
Joined
Dec 15, 2000
Location
SC, USA
. The fact that you have a "No Signal" may mean that a cable is disconnected from the machine being moved.
As it turns out, the power supply for the CPU rack is not working. It has 115 VAC going in but zero VDC coming out. I had the same problem on a Charmilles sinker years ago...exact same power supply...must be a POS power supply...made by Weir in the UK, model SMM200NT. Charmilles wanted about $1,200 for a new one back then...I replaced with equivalent Condor GPC200....found a NOS one on eBay for $17 ! New Condor GPC200 is about $280.

What really blows my mind though is the other Robofil 300 must have had bad power supply too.... so that makes 3 bad ones. Must be something about 12+ year old Charmilles sitting around without power for months that allows those Weir power supplies to go bad ?
 

Milacron

Super Moderator
Joined
Dec 15, 2000
Location
SC, USA
For your humor, just got off the phone and Charmilles now wants ***$3,055*** for the power supply ! :eek:
 

Jay Cee

Hot Rolled
Joined
Apr 24, 2006
Location
North East Ohio
Sorry for the delay in getting back to this...
Hold down the shift button as you power up and the machine will run a self diagnostic.
Sounds like you may have found the problem anyhow.
 

Milacron

Super Moderator
Joined
Dec 15, 2000
Location
SC, USA
Hold down the shift button as you power up and the machine will run a self diagnostic.
Not without some diagnostic software in memory. I finally got around to fixing the power supply (two dead capacitors), so the CPU is working at last, screen working fine... but the new problem is I can't load any of the floppy disks except the no. 4 disk, which is the diagnostic disk.

So I know the floppy drive works, and all I can guess is Disk 1 is corrupt and the control won't read any of the other disks (except diagnostic) until the information contained in Disk 1 is in memory. Reason I say this is on screen (no matter which disk I insert) is-

COM: No disk
EXE:No disk
PIL: No disk

It does attempt to read Disk 1...there is a brief "loading" message at COM, EXE and PIL...but after a few seconds of trying it goes to "No disk" message on each. I think COM, EXE and PIL is the data on Disk 1.

Does my theory of the "issue" sound correct ?

FWIW, since the Diagnotic disk loaded I went ahead and ran a diagnostic on the control and power supply and everything checks out "OK".. no errors.
 








 
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