General CNC control to LInuxcnc config

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22 Feb 2021 20:10 #199760 by dansawyer
I am a newbe to linuxcnc and CNC in general; gut I have a fair software and electronics background. I came about a partially completed Bridgeport BOSS 5 upgrade with PC, parallel connect to a PICA board, Gecko drivers, and steppers in place.
I have the live CD version of Linuxcnc running in a VM. I can work through the stepper wizard and find what looks like the right path for Gecko config, but I do not see any way to configure the PICA board from that wizard. Conversely from the pins wizard I see a configure for MESA (not PICA).
My questions are what is the right path to configure linuxcnc for a PC, a PICA board, and Geiko drivers? Is there a wizard, if so which one? Where are the PICA pins configured?
I apologize for the basic question but I am stuck on which path to start down. Thank you in advance. Dan

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22 Feb 2021 21:14 #199768 by Todd Zuercher
First of all Linuxcnc can't control hardware from a virtual machine (mostly because real-time does not work there, but also can't really connect to physical hardware.)

Second, I don't think a PICA board can be supported, that would be a GRBL thing. (Unless it can be plugged into and used with an ordinary parallel port like a breakout board.)

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22 Feb 2021 23:01 #199781 by dansawyer
Thank you. Yes, I am not trying to operate linuxcnc from a virtual machine, only experimenting with becoming familuar with the tool. It was a dry run to learn about general configuration.
The PICA board is listed as part of supported hardware. I thought its visibility to linuxcnc would be limited to the pin layout of the Geiko connections? Is this an invalid assumption?

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22 Feb 2021 23:13 #199783 by tommylight
Not PICA,
PICO boards are supported by LinuxCNC, and the owner is a very helpful member of this forum that goes above and beyond to help users of those boards.

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23 Feb 2021 01:31 #199790 by dansawyer
You are correct, it is a PICO universal stepper. It is connected to the PC via a parallel port and to the Geico drivers. Is this hardware configuration supported by the stepper wizard? Where can I find a 'how to' to configure the PICO board hardware setup in linuxcnc?
Thanks again, Dan

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23 Feb 2021 03:26 #199794 by dansawyer
Progress, a search of the Pico documentation found a wireing diagram:
pico-systems.com/images/uscgecko.pdf
This documents how the pico board is set up to connect to Geiko drivers. I assume that the mapping from the wiring pins is reflected in the parallel port configuration page.
Thanks for the pointers. Dan

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28 Feb 2021 02:02 #200365 by andypugh
I have moved this post into "Driver Boards" where there is a good chance that the Pico chap will see it.
The following user(s) said Thank You: tommylight

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28 Feb 2021 10:37 #200386 by tommylight

andypugh wrote: I have moved this post into "Driver Boards" where there is a good chance that the Pico chap will see it.

Was wondering that i read this before... :)

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28 Feb 2021 15:53 #200428 by jmelson

dansawyer wrote: You are correct, it is a PICO universal stepper. It is connected to the PC via a parallel port and to the Geico drivers. Is this hardware configuration supported by the stepper wizard? Where can I find a 'how to' to configure the PICO board hardware setup in linuxcnc?
Thanks again, Dan

Sorry, I did not see this thread until Andy alerted me.
No, the stepconfig wizard is for Mesa boards, not Pico. We do have sample configs under "by interface/pico/univstep"
that can be used as a starting place for your particular setup.

Here's a link to a wiki description of the hardware : wiki.linuxcnc.org/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?Universal_Stepper_Controller

And, a general article on first-time startup:
forum.linuxcnc.org/27-driver-boards/14977-pico-systems-faq
Note: this has sections on all 3 of our product lines, you want to concentrate on the part for the universal steppper controller.

The USC is not a breakout board, it is a step generator and encoder counter. The encoder counter can either count real encoder position or count the steps issued to a step driver for open-loop operation. The selection is made for each axis with a DIP switch. See :
pico-systems.com/univstep.html
for more info on switches and connectors.

And, if more questions arise, certainly contact me directly or here on the forum.

Jon

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01 Mar 2021 23:21 #200749 by jmelson

dansawyer wrote: Progress, a search of the Pico documentation found a wireing diagram:
pico-systems.com/images/uscgecko.pdf
This documents how the pico board is set up to connect to Geiko drivers. I assume that the mapping from the wiring pins is reflected in the parallel port configuration page.

No. The parallel port is used as a communication port to the stepper controller FPGA. There is no 1:1 correspondence between the parallel port pins and the step outputs or digital I/O. Do not pay any attention to the parallel port setup, that is used for software generated stepping. The USC board provides hardware step generation.

Jon

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