Adventures converting Prototrak MX2 from Floppy Drive to USB - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mud View Post
    Does the machine boot OK? I thought you needed the floppy drive just to boot it up?

    Would just bolting in a floppy drive from Staples be simpler?
    Mine has 2 floppy drives one has the boot up disc that one is working. The other drive is for program storage that is the one I am having problems with. I got it to work but I am not sure for how long. I removed it and blew some air through it and it is working for now. I asked Joseph from SWI about just changing the floppy drive to a new one he said it may work but not to use a Sony floppy drive because they won't work for some reason.

  2. #22
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    Unfortunately, still no write up, but it is on my list. I know a few people are interested and sorry for the delay

  3. #23
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    You can do a direct download to the MX2. Call SWI. 4800 baud, even handshake, odd parity. (not sure what I just wrote). RS 232 from the back of your computer.

    Hope this is helpful.

    I have a SWI disc drive. I would have to check and put the main program from the master drive that is inside the cabinet into the portable drive to see if when I power up it defaults to the portable. (Am I making sense)

  4. #24
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    I would not blow any air anywhere. After you power up and the indicator light is out you can remove the disc with the master program, replace it with a 720k, load, run, save your work programs. JUST DO NOT REMOVE THE MASTER DISC BEFORE THE INDICATOR LITE GOES OUT. I you can find some 720 floppies and make copies of the master program disc would be a good thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FranH View Post
    I would not blow any air anywhere. After you power up and the indicator light is out you can remove the disc with the master program, replace it with a 720k, load, run, save your work programs. JUST DO NOT REMOVE THE MASTER DISC BEFORE THE INDICATOR LITE GOES OUT. I you can find some 720 floppies and make copies of the master program disc would be a good thing.
    FWIW, The master program can be downloaded from the SWI site.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundog View Post
    What ever happened to the write up? My floppy drive just died this morning I was running parts last night shut off the machine for the night and this morning I can't access any of my files on any of the floppy discs I have. I would like to upgrade to a thumb drive but it seems to be a crap shoot as far as getting it to work. I talked to Joseph @ SWI and he said they have tried doing the thumb drive conversion and they had mixed results some worked and some did not so they won't do them or support the conversion. My dealer says they have a new replacement controller coming out in the next 6 months to replace theses AGE 3 controls for about half the cost of the SMX conversion.

    I need to make parts now so Joseph suggests I drip feed it with a windows XP computer through the RS-232 port and I do have a DNC key on this machine. I guess I can load the floppy discs into a computer and run them through the RS 232 cable?

    I am guessing I can still write programs at the control and save them to the connected computer?
    If your external drive died, you can use space on the boot master disc inside the cabinet to load, save etc.

    I have an extra external floppy with the (32 ? pin cable) and am trying to remember how much I paid for it.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundog View Post
    What ever happened to the write up? My floppy drive just died this morning I was running parts last night shut off the machine for the night and this morning I can't access any of my files on any of the floppy discs I have. I would like to upgrade to a thumb drive but it seems to be a crap shoot as far as getting it to work. I talked to Joseph @ SWI and he said they have tried doing the thumb drive conversion and they had mixed results some worked and some did not so they won't do them or support the conversion. My dealer says they have a new replacement controller coming out in the next 6 months to replace theses AGE 3 controls for about half the cost of the SMX conversion.

    I need to make parts now so Joseph suggests I drip feed it with a windows XP computer through the RS-232 port and I do have a DNC key on this machine. I guess I can load the floppy discs into a computer and run them through the RS 232 cable?

    I am guessing I can still write programs at the control and save them to the connected computer?
    Although I haven't tried it I would assume if you can download from a computer via rs232 one should be able to save going back to the hard drive. I know there is room on the boot disc to save programs. If you interrogate the boot disc in your computer it will tell how much space is left. Also a company called "Tulip" located in Canada has extended memory. Whether they can help with usb I'm not sure. I do have an extra SWI external floppy drive (720k). For giggles I booted my MX2 up, shut it down, removed the boot disc, put in in the external floppy drive, powered it up, the computer would not go to the external floppy drive and generated an error. So I cannot help you with the floppy drive inside the cabinet. However if SWI says the drives are the same....just remove from the case and install in the cabinet maybe it will work. The cable has 25 plus pin cable from the floppy to the back of the cabinet. (Like an oversize parallel connection.)...probably a proprioratory thing.

  8. #28
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    My AGE3 has dual floppy drives, one of which went bad on me a few months ago. SWI will sell you one at a hefty price but I found a new one on Ebay for $12. The numbers on mine are TEAC FD-235HF. Been a while since I had a MX2 computer apart but I think the drives would be the same?

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    Hi , Any update on the info? even a few tips? our IT department are struggling? Thanks.

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    I am also waiting on a right up or at least some sort of help. Any and all help would greatly be appreciated... I have a M2 ProtoTRAK and already own the Floppy To USB emulators, I am just kind of stuck on getting the board to load up. I have tried several different formats and disk copying software

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    I see there was never a Write-up on getting older ProtoTRAK's to work with Emulators.
    Short back story, the company I work for (primarily a Welding and sheet metals shop) just picked up an old ProtoTRAK K3 knee mill that has the M2 system on it (mill is in good shape minus a few bearings in the head that I currently have pulled apart and am waiting of the stuff to arrive to rebuild the head) and they got a hell of a good deal on it ($1200 for it).

    Anyways, I have a little bit of knowledge with the old Windows and DOS systems so I'm going to try to get this one that we got to run on an Emulator. If I am successful, I'll definitely do a how to write up and post it here in case any of you guys who were looking for one / to do the same should be able to.

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  13. #32
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    Ok, Got our M2 System to work on the Emulator today! Turned out to be easier than I anticipated too at that.

    Parts I used:

    Emulator: GOTEK SFR1M44-U100K


    from Amazon
    Amazon.com: Floppy & Tape Drives-3.5” 1.44MB Sfr1m44-u100k Updated Version USB Flash Disk Floppy Drive Emulator + CD Screws Black: Computers & Accessories

    and A Floppy to USB Adapter (this might not be needed for you depending on the PC that you happen to have)


    Also from Amazon
    Amazon.com: KOOBOOK 1Pcs 1.44MB 3.5" Floppy Drive Connector 34 PIN 34P to USB Cable Adapter PCB Board with Power Cable: Computers & Accessories

    Also need a Thumb Drive of choice (obviously)

    ------------------

    Since the ProtoTRAK Software has built in formatting service and installer, you need to first hook up the GOTEK Emulator to a PC to get the Software installed onto the Thumb Drive. This is where I needed the floppy to USB Adapter listed above. If you have a PC that has a FDD (Floppy drive) already or a port on the Mother board for one, you can just hook up the emulator either in place of the current FDD or to the FDD port on the motherboard. I only have a Laptop so no way to hook the GOTEK up to it without that adapter.

    From there, you need to Format the Thumb Drive as a Floppy. This can either be done directly through the GOTEK or by downloading Software from IPCAS (I got the IPCAS software from this guy who has a link to download it and also a pretty good video about the GOTEK emulator and the IPCAS software in general).
    GOTEK Floppy Emulator - philscomputerlab.com

    Once the Thumb Drive has been formatted and the Emulator is hooked up to the PC, you can then install the ProtoTRAK Software to the Thumb Drive.
    The KEY thing is, you HAVE to install it on Floppy 000.
    This is important. The reason why is because when the GOTEK is powered up, it ALWAYS defaults to Floppy OO0 of the Thumb drive that is in its USB port and since the ProtoTRAK computer looks for the floppy and the software to boot, the Software HAS to be on the floppy the GOTEK is going to default to which is 000.

    With he Emulator hooked up to the PC, the ProtoTRAK Software will recognize it as an available FDD and as long as there is the Thumb Drive in it that is formatted as a Floppy Disk (well many floppy disks depending on the size of the Thumb Drive), it will write to it. So just make sure that the Emulator is showing 000 and run the .EXE that you download from ProtoTRAK's web site.

    Once you are done, go install the Emulator in the ProtoTRAK computer in place of the original FDD and you're set. It should boot and work just like the original FDD is there (mine did).

    If you want to write programs to "Other available floppy's" on the Thumb Drive, all you have to do is push the button(s) on the Emulator to the Floppy number (like 001 or 002, 003, etc...) that you want and that will be the active "Disk"... Basically like you took the software disk out of the ProtoTRAK computer and put in a different blank disk. I verified this by both writing a couple offline programs with HSM Express and saved them to "Floppy 002" using the IPCAS software and put the Thumb Drive back in the ProtoTRAK, changed the Emulator to "002" and sure enough, the ProtoTRAK saw them and was able to open them... Same thing, wrote a quick generic program of a couple events and saved them to "floppy 002" and then put the Thumb Drive back in my laptop and the generic program I did was there when I viewed that floppy through the IPCAS software.



    Now I Dont know exactly how this would work for the earlier MX2 / MX3 based systems since they had 720k FDD's in them. I do know that GOTEK makes a 720k version of the Emulator and I also do know that the IPCAS software allows you to format to 720k rather than 1.44m format. Should be a simple matter of getting the 720k emulator and following the same procedure outlined above.


    -----------------
    On a separate note, to me it seems like more hassle than its worth to have to use the extra software on the my laptop if I do anything using offline methods like Solidworks with HSM Express or Fusion 360 or even the ProtoTRAK EX offline software (which in case anyone doesn't know this, that is free download from Southwestern Ind.'s website) so I think I'm going to pick up an extra GOTEK Emulator. Since I have the USB adapter, with a 2nd emulator and the adapter, I can then directly access any of the disk's that are on the Thumb Drive and read / write to it directly rather than having to open an extra piece of software to be able to read / write to a particular "disk". This might be a desirable thing for any others who might already use or want to use offline methods of programming.

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  15. #33
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    I would like to give this a try. My machine has 2 FDD one is for the boot up disc and the other one is for program storage I am not sure if they are all that way or not. Would I replace both drives with one emulator or put in 2 emulators The only one I am having problems with is the program storage FDD the programs keep becoming unusable. The machine just stops opening the programs on the disc. I can write new programs but retrieving them again is a crap shoot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gundog View Post
    I would like to give this a try. My machine has 2 FDD one is for the boot up disc and the other one is for program storage I am not sure if they are all that way or not. Would I replace both drives with one emulator or put in 2 emulators The only one I am having problems with is the program storage FDD the programs keep becoming unusable. The machine just stops opening the programs on the disc. I can write new programs but retrieving them again is a crap shoot.
    Our M2 system only has a single FDD (although I did notice that there is a port on the motherboard for a second drive but not sure if its configured to be used by the software or not).

    On your system, can you select which drive you want to save on?

    If so, then you could most likely replace just the one that has the boot disk in it and use that one for everything.
    If however you cant save to and open from that one, then that is the way that they have the drives configured so you would have to do them individually. You should be able to do just the one that is for storage by just getting an emulator and thumb drive and not have to do anything special.

    If you wanted to do both or if you can write to and open from the system disk / drive then you will have to do all the outlined procedures for getting the software onto the thumb drive and making sure its on the default "disk" (i.e., 000).

  17. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJMR2T View Post
    Our M2 system only has a single FDD (although I did notice that there is a port on the motherboard for a second drive but not sure if its configured to be used by the software or not).

    On your system, can you select which drive you want to save on?
    I don't think there is any access to the boot drive but I could be wrong. My control is an AGE 3 1997 vintage.

  18. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundog View Post
    I don't think there is any access to the boot drive but I could be wrong. My control is an AGE 3 1997 vintage.
    The AGE3 control has two drives. One has a disc with the AGE3 operating software, the other a disc for loading and running programs. You mentioned having trouble with the latter so that would be the drive you want to replace. Of course you can replace both drives with emulators. Format the boot drive with the AGE3 software in partition 000 as in CJMR2T's excellent write up. The PC will boot from that drive only. Your program drive should just be partitioned as a 1.44 floppy, no need to load the AGE3 software on it as the PC will use the drive only for storing, loading and running programs.

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