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Trionics Handyman CNC Serial Communication instead of Tape


May 21, 2021
Well I will start off with saying I am a new owner of a 1987 Tri-onics Handyman CNC Vertical Mill.
I know almost any of these still running have had there old Centroid CNC3 control entirely gutted on behalf of
something missing or blown, but mine is in perfect running condition (for now). I plan on retrofitting with new
control board, drive boards, Steppers with encoders, and a laptop to run it all. But for now I am trying to stick
with what still works. Now this machine came with a Magnetic Tape player for its external storage. this would plug
into the screen up top via a 6pin plug. next to that port on the screen is a DB25 Connector with 3 wires going to
the control boards RS-232 Ground, Tx, and Rx. The machine also came with a 20ft DB25 Cable that had adapters on
each end, one being a Null Modem adapter. now I have searched the internet high and low and came across someone by
the forum name of yaddatrance who listed the Serial Settings of 2400 7-E-1. I Have a PC with a 9 pin Serial which
is adapted to the 25pin Null Modem Adapter and straight to the control box. With such dated tech, there is no
information that explains how to put a machine like this into a receive mode. I can instruct it to load from tape
but it asks for a two digit program number and then says press play on the tape player. This here is what I hope
to be the final roadblock of sending some simple 2.5 Axis G-codes from my CAD/CAM software through a DNC and to
this mill. Is there Anyone who could shed some light on anything related to this late 80's tech and how to start
this communication? Thanks To Anyone Who took the time to read all that by the way.



Oct 10, 2009
CNC controls were pretty advanced by 1987.

That thing looks right for 1977.

I wouldn't trust an RS232 cable with adapters on it. Buy DB25 and DB9 ends and solder them to a cable with jumpers. Very good $20 investment to preventing a ton of frustration.

Make sure your computers port settings are correct. You really have to go through every port setting. Turn FIFO buffers OFF.

I don't know how you set it up to read a program.

Most controls have an edit mode and will have a read option to read into program memory.

If it only has a tape mode does it have a BTR added somewhere? A BTR would hold the program and drip feed it to the control in tape mode.