Esab Ultrarex UXD-P2000 Upgrade Project

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02 Jun 2020 09:16 #169780 by Esaber
Great stuff there Mister. I'm really beginning to enjoy this project.
My friend has the esab schematics. I will upload them later so that everybody can benefit from this.
He is reporting that the esab wiring is all documented and labeled. He managed to wire his small plasma cutter to the machine using the Hypetherm max200 schematics. So we are ready for the upgrade.
On cnczone a forum member gave me some info too. My friend has never used linux but he has never used Dos too so he will learn. And I don't think this is really important as long as he has a modern windows interface. I prefer an open source project for future maintenance and upgrades. Which of the cards would you go for if you had 3000$ to put into this project? Maybe the 7i77 is commonly used over here and more compatible with the linuxcnc software.
I will use one of his old desktops to start with. So we have that less to pay for. Looking good.
Did you document the wiring of the new board?
Can you help with wiring this beats when I upload the schematics? We have a guy who is good with wiring stuff.

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02 Jun 2020 09:20 - 02 Jun 2020 09:22 #169781 by Esaber

rodw wrote: I think you should invite Tommy to your part of Europe for a holiday. There is none better qualified to get your machine up and running.

Its a shame you are not considering keeping the MAX200. It might be cheaper to upgrade your power supply than replace it. But I am sure Tommy will help you to dispose of it once he's got you up and running.

I was having a good look at the MAXPRO200 manual the other day. I don't know how much different it is to your model. You just need to be particular with your wiring.


My friend thought about upgrading his electrical installation so that he can use the max200. If we can get this machine up and running he might change his plans and keep it. What bothers him right now is the very old computer running this thing.
We have someone who already wired a small plasma cutter to the esab based on the max200 schematics. I will be buying the parts for the upgrade this week. I just need to get my head around all the jargon :-)
Thanks for your help. I will upload the schematics. The previous owener did a good job keeping all the documentation and the schematics and floppy disks. The user manual is in a pretty good shape, but in french :-)
I will add it here soon.
Tommy is welcome to stop by and get this thing up and running but this is gonna be difficult in the current covid 19 situation.
Last edit: 02 Jun 2020 09:22 by Esaber.

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02 Jun 2020 09:29 #169783 by rodw
I'm no expert with retrofits but typically I thought you would gut the electronics except the motors and drivers and all of the home and limit switches and the like. Then add the Mesa cards that suits the drives. Often that is a 7i77. Then tune the drives and finish off the machine.

I think if I had a budget of $3k for cards, I would put $1k to $1.5 k into a prebuilt Zaxis/torch holder based on what Tommy said.

And tell your friend the days of sticking to a single OS are over. You need to be OS agnostic and use the right one for the task at hand. (says he writing this on his chromebook)

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02 Jun 2020 09:36 - 02 Jun 2020 09:46 #169785 by Esaber

tommylight wrote: -A small Nema 23 servo or stepper drive and motor for the Z axis, the existing motor can be used by adding an encoder and a new drive, from 50 to 200 Euro,
-Mesa 5i25 OR 6i25 OR 7i92 and 7i77 and THCAD, all under 400 Euro from eusurplus.com,
-2X small 24V relays, about 5 to 30 Euro,
-Shielded cables for the Z axis stuff, for the motor, sensor and encoder, CAT6 cable works fine, some 30 Euro


Questions coming:
Would you reuse the existing Z axis or getting a nema 23 servo? If reusing do you have an encoder brand or model I can get? Would it be easier to upgrade the existing Z axis over getting new motor? How about ease of integration with linuxcnc of the existing Z axis?
What are you using in your setup?
Any noticeable difference or advantage vs shortcomings when choosing a board from your list? What is the best option? Money is not an issue so far :-)
Do you have more details about the type of relays?
The esab machine runs fine and all motors are working for the moment.
If we can keep existing components and reuse them without loss of ease of use and maintenance in the future that would be great. If it is better to replace the z axis then we better do it now and get all the required stuff wired right from the start. what do you think?
I'm ready to order the parts.
Last edit: 02 Jun 2020 09:46 by Esaber.

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02 Jun 2020 09:45 #169787 by Esaber

rodw wrote: I'm no expert with retrofits but typically I thought you would gut the electronics except the motors and drivers and all of the home and limit switches and the like. Then add the Mesa cards that suits the drives. Often that is a 7i77. Then tune the drives and finish off the machine.

I think if I had a budget of $3k for cards, I would put $1k to $1.5 k into a prebuilt Zaxis/torch holder based on what Tommy said.

And tell your friend the days of sticking to a single OS are over. You need to be OS agnostic and use the right one for the task at hand. (says he writing this on his chromebook)


I get you :-)
I'm all for getting the right parts but I'd like to be able to do maintenance and upgrades and not be stuck with a brand or model or a proprietary protocol and things like that. What we aim at is if in a year a component goes crazy we just get the same or replace it with another brand and reconfigure the linuxcnc to talk to the new component. My friend called esab to help him with the machine they told him the machine is not supported any more,, which is fine, and that he will have to sign all kinds of papers to get a third party company help and all that. So he just stopped there. When I looked at the machine I told him why not upgrade this thing with modern components. I didn't know it was possible really but coming from the IT world I know you could hack everything based on a computer and do whatever you want with it given the time and the resources. He jumped on the idea and here we are :-)
Any directions/info concerning the pre-built z-axis torch holder, you mean remove the existing z-axis and throw in new motor and drive? I still don't know what a drive is :-)

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02 Jun 2020 09:53 #169788 by tommylight
MAX200 should be 200A plasma cutter, so that means it needs about 50 to 60KW of power to work at max current, and that is to much for most installations in Europe The normal power here is 3X380V at 32A so we can push up to roughly 35KW if and only if the power cabling can handle that. Anything above that and we need to buy a big transformer, request power company to route the high voltage power lines up to our transformer and connect it to then grid, change the existing cabling, fuses, ground fault interrupters, etc. And that tends to get very expensive. Here in Kosovo, the power company will do that job gladly inside of a week, and that is strange as anywhere else it will take over a month ! :) We also have no limit on power consumption, most of Europe has limits, and they are quite low, so you have to be inside of an industrial zone to use high powered equipment.
In general, non industrial zones can use up to 100A plasma cutters, industrial zones up to 150A without any major changes.

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02 Jun 2020 10:04 #169789 by Esaber
He has a friend who works in EDF, that's the power company over here. He can upgrade his installation to have 3x90amps. He will have to pay 1000€ as an annual fixed fee plus his power bill. He might try it for a year to see. He is in an industrial zone so that's easy for him to upgrade.
Let's get this thing up with a nice linux interface :-)

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02 Jun 2020 10:05 #169790 by Esaber
waiting for your recommendation concerning the Z axis options to order the parts.

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02 Jun 2020 10:05 #169791 by tommylight

Esaber wrote: Would you reuse the existing Z axis or getting a nema 23 servo? If reusing do you have an encoder brand or model I can get? Would it be easier to upgrade the existing Z axis over getting new motor? How about ease of integration with linuxcnc of the existing Z axis?
What are you using in your setup?

The existing Z axis has a tacho generetor attached, so removing that and adding an encoder instead should be the easiest thing to do, so that would need buying a servo drive, preferably one that has +-10V inputs, but even step dir will do just fine although it will require flashing the Mesa board and wiring the step/dir to the second Mesa header..

Esaber wrote: Any noticeable difference or advantage vs shortcomings when choosing a board from your list? What is the best option? Money is not an issue so far :-)

None. That is the best option, and the only option i use on these type of machines. It works perfectly and they are in everyday use for over 5 years, never had a single hiccup .

Esaber wrote: Do you have more details about the type of relays?

Any type that has a 24V coil will do, even that smallest ones costing about 2$ a piece.

Esaber wrote: The esab machine runs fine and all motors are working for the moment.
If we can keep existing components and reuse them without loss of ease of use and maintenance in the future that would be great. If it is better to replace the z axis then we better do it now and get all the required stuff wired right from the start. what do you think?
I'm ready to order the parts.

Again, if all the motors and drives work properly, that is very good, so go ahead and start retrofitting, you can thank us later. :)

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02 Jun 2020 10:10 #169792 by tommylight

Esaber wrote: I'm all for getting the right parts but I'd like to be able to do maintenance and upgrades and not be stuck with a brand or model or a proprietary protocol and things like that. What we aim at is if in a year a component goes crazy we just get the same or replace it with another brand and reconfigure the linuxcnc to talk to the new component.
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Any directions/info concerning the pre-built z-axis torch holder, you mean remove the existing z-axis and throw in new motor and drive? I still don't know what a drive is :-)

There is nothing more versatile than Linuxcnc as far as modifications and configuring it to what you need. Nothing.
So yes, you can change stuff and still configure everything to work properly, and very easy at that.
A drive is the electronics part that takes the signals from the controller and drives the motor.

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