It’s Easter time and we have a new product to announce – PoKeys57CNCdb25. As its name suggests, it is a PoKeys57CNC in a smaller package, a package that allows it to be directly connected to a DB-25 connector of your old CNC machine.

One would think that PoKeys57CNCdb25 is only a USB to parallel port converter, but the truth is far off. It is a fully fledged PoKeys device and is fully integrated into Mach4 plugin.

Here are the highlights:

  • Up to 4 axes are supported – we analyzed the most frequently used pinouts of the DB-25 connectors on CNC machines and made PoKeys57CNCdb25 compatible with them. There are two alternate settings – step signals on pins 2, 4, 6 and 8 in default configuration or on pins 3, 5, 7 and 9 in alternate configuration. See the pinout illustration below.

 

 

PoKeys57CNCdb25 pinout

PoKeys57CNCdb25 pinout

  • Total of 12 digital outputs (4 of those support PWM output) and 5 digital inputs
  • Step frequency of up to 125 kHz
  • Comes with ~1.7 m USB cable
  • It’s a PoKeys device – there are frequent firmware updates that bring new features. It uses the same communication protocol and is directly supported by other 3rd party applications

PoKeys57CNCdb25 setup

Setup is made really simple. Install latest PoKeys setup package (available at www.poscope.com under product download section). We suggest updating the firmware using PoKeys software – simply connect the PoKeys57CNCdb25 to your PC and start PoKeys application. After the update, close PoKeys software since all configuration is done in Mach4 directly.

Configuring PoKeys57CNCdb25 in Mach4

PoKeys plugin for Mach4 is also available as a free download and it comes with an updated manual. Plugin requires that the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Package 2010 x86 is installed.

Copy the Mach4PoKeysPlugin.m4pw and Mach4PoKeysPlugin.sig into Mach4’s plugins folder, then connect the PoKeys57CNCdb25 to your CNC using the DB-25 connector and connect PoKeys57CNCdb25 to your PC via USB (if not done earlier).

Let’s go through the steps below on how to configure your new PoKeys57CNCdb25 device in Mach4. Start Mach4 and create a new profile.

Mach4 profile selection for PoKeys57CNCdb25

Mach4 profile selection for PoKeys57CNCdb25

Select the new profile and start Mach4 by clicking OK. Mach4 will notify you that there is no motion controller device present. Since the PoKeys device hasn’t been configured yet, this is completely normal. Click on Cancel and wait for Mach4 to finish loading.

Mach4 telling there is no motion device

Mach4 telling there is no motion device

Once Mach4 screen is loaded in the background, start the new device configuration by opening the new device wizard as suggested by the PoKeys plugin welcome screen.

Wait Mach4 to load completely

Wait Mach4 to load completely

The wizard guides you through configuration of the PoKeys device. The most common device configuration options are directly configurable in the wizard.

Start new device wizard

Start new device wizard

PoKeys plugin for Mach4 supports multiple PoKeys devices at a time (one with motion controller enabled). It automatically detects unconfigured PoKeys devices and presents them in the list of available devices. Find your new PoKeys57CNCdb25 device and continue.

Select PoKeys57CNCdb25 device from the list

Select PoKeys57CNCdb25 device from the list

In the next step, custom device name can be assigned to the new PoKeys device. We suggest avoiding using special characters and spaces in device name, since this name is used in Mach4 to identify your device. You can select the type of the motor drivers, swap the function of step/direction pins and enable 5 kHz charge-pump output. Since the device has limited number of pins, some features (like LCD and pendant support) are not available.

Select options for PoKeys57CNCdb25

Select options for PoKeys57CNCdb25

The wizard then enables you to select your machine switches configuration. You are free to select one of the available options or use a custom configuration. If selecting custom configuration you will have to configure the switches in the PoKeys device configuration later on.

Configure switches

Configure switches

Once the configuration using the wizard is complete, device configuration dialog will open. At this step, we suggest restarting Mach4 in order for it to acknowledge new device.

Restart Mach4

Restart Mach4

Since a blank profile was selected in the beginning, no axis mapping is present. Axis mapping tells Mach4 how each of the 4 motors is positioned. Open Mach4 configuration dialog and switch to axis configuration page.

Open Mach4 configuration

Open Mach4 configuration

The following image shows the default configuration – motor 0 is mapped to axis x, motor 1 to axis y etc. Adjust motion parameters next.

Configure axis mapping

Configure axis mapping

At this step, device configuration is complete. We wish you to enjoy using your PoKeys-alized CNC.

Use your CNC machine

Use your CNC machine

PoKeys57CNCdb25 can be directly connected to a DB-25 connector on the CNC machine or an extension cable can be used if it simplifies the routing and reduces the strain to the connector, as shown below.

PoKeys57CNCdb25

PoKeys57CNCdb25 during testing