Please select the question that best desrcibes your problem.

I. Every time I try to go online I get an error message.

  1. DO THIS - Turn the Signal Generator Off and back on again. When you turn it on watch the LED's on the front panel. A healthy signal generator will do the following:
    • 401A - The power light should go on immediately. The Limit Light should go on immediately if you have any one or all of hte the input lines open. If they are all closed then the limit light should not go on until a switch is tripped open. XYZA Lights will go on simultaneously after about a 1 second delay. Some Models of the signal generator will not light up the LED's until you step. These models will also have a very faint LED, unless you increase the step pulse width in the Motor Signals Setup Menu.
    • 401A with Lightning Chip- The power light should go on immediately. The Limit Light should go on immediately if you have any one or all of the input lines open. If they are all closed then the limit light should not go on until a switch is tripped open. XYZA lights will go on one at a time with about a 0.5 second delay between each light.
      1. POWER CIRCUIT CHECK: If the power light did not go on - Check the power circuit for the following:
        1. Is the Power supply plugged into the wall and the signal generator properly?
        2. Is the fuse in the back of the box in tact?
        3. Open the signal generator and see if the three cable pairs are securely plugged into their sockets on the signal generator. The order in which they are plugged in or the polarity in which they are plugged in do not make a difference.
        4. Still having problems? - Call FlashCut CNC
      2. If the XYZA LED's do not light up properly.
        1. CHIP SOCKET CHECK: Open the signal generator to make sure the FlashCut CNC Microprocessor (The 40 Pin DIP Chip) is plugged in properly. The notch at the end of the Chip should face the back panel of the signal generator.
        2. If you have ZIF Socket make sure the screw head is all the way clockwise or the lever is all the way down, thus locking the chip in via all 40 pins.
        3. If you have a plain socket, make sure all 40 pins are seated properly and the chip is inserted all the way in the socket.
        4. Still having problems? - Call FlashCut CNC
  2. Now try to go Online from your computer. While you go online, look at the RXD and TXD Lights on the Signal Generator. A healthy connection will do the following:
    • The RXD light will go on for a short time.
    • Then the TXD light will go on for a very short time
    • Then the RXD light will go on for about 1-2 seconds.
      1. If the RXD Light Never went on:
          1. CABLE CONNECTION: Check you cable connection from the serial port on the computer to the Signal Generator. Make sure both sides are screwed in securely. Make sure that the cable is a 9 pin Male-Female with 9 wires wired straight through. There is no need for a null modem.
          2. COM PORT: Go into the Setup. System Options Screen and try a different COM Port. The most common port assigned to a serial port on the motherboard of your computer is COM 1. However, there are instances where this port is COM 2, 3 or 4. If you have a separate serial card, the COM port might be higher (5, 6, 7, 8, etc.). You can also find out what COM ports you have active by going to the Control Panel.. System.. Hardware. Device Manager. Click on the plus sign next to Ports (COM & LPT). This will tell you the active ports.
          3. OTHER DEVICE CHECK: If you are still having trouble, make sure you do not have any other device on your computer that might have control of you serial port, or might interrupt the serial port. Some of these devices include:
            1. Palm computer Hot Sync software
            2. Serial Mouse
            3. Infra-Red pointing device
            4. Modem

        If you do have one of these installed you should first try to disable them though their own software, the try to disable the through the hardware manager, then try to disable them via the Device Manager. If this doesn't work, you can uninstall the device driver via the Hardware Wizard in Windows. You should also physically remove any cards associated with the device as well as the actual device.

        1. OTHER COMPTUER CHECK: If you are still having trouble, try another computer. This will tell you if the problem is with the computer itself or with the Signal Generator. If the new computer works, you might want to try wither using this new computer, or try getting another serial port to put in your old computer.
        2. If the new computer did not work, then Call FlashCut CNC

II. Every So often when I am using the machine, the system locks up and I get the error message:

  1. OVERSTEPPING CHECK: Did this occur after a rapid (G0) move?
    • Check and see if one of the X, Y, Z or A LEDS is illuminated. If so, you probably tried to overdrive the signal generator. The top speed of the signal generator with a V0T9L Chip is about 7,300 steps per second at a timing factor of 3. To calculate your Theoretical Maximum Feedrate in inches per minute (The second column in the Feedrate / Ramping Setup Menu) use the following formula:

      Maximum Feedrate[in/min] = 7,300[steps/sec] * TPR [in/step] *60[sec/min] * 3/TF[] Where: TPR = Tool Positioning Resolution (The last column in the Machine Tool Setup Menu) TF = Timing Factor (The bottom Right Corner in the System Options Setup Menu).

      If your maximum feedrate for a given axis are higher than this calculated number, then you will either need to reduce your number, or you can upgrade your chip to a Lightning Chip. The Lightning Chip can handle a step rate of up to 5 times faster than the V0T9L Chip. It has a top speed of 35,000 steps/second.

  2. POOR SERIAL PORT CHECK: You may have a poor quality serial port on your computer.
      • To check if you have a poor quality serial port, you can go to the menu Setup.System Options and Try a lower baudrate. ( Please note that this is the only place that you can change the baudrate. If you go into a Windows System Settings Menu and change the baudrate there, The settings will still be overridden by the settings in FlashCut.)

    • If the lower baudrate does not help, please follow the instructions outlined in OTHER DEVICE CHECK.
    • BAD SERIAL CARD: You may have a bad serial card. Either try another computer, or install a new serial card on this computer. If you are buying a new serial card, you should get a high quality one with just one serial port on the card. If you have a choice, try not to get a card with multiple ports such as serial, parallel, game, etc. on one card as these are usually low quality.
    • ELECTRICAL NOISE: There might be excessive electrical noise in the room, or on your power line.
      1. If so, locate the noisy device as far away from the FlashCut CNC control electronics as possible.
      2. Call the manufacturer of the device to see if they make an RF noise filter. Most spindle motor and plasma torch manufacturers carry these.
      3. Plug the FlashCut CNC control electronics into a separate power strip from the noise source. It is best if this power strip has noise filtering capabilities. It is also best if this power strip protected from power spikes and surges and had UPS (uninterruptible power supply) capabilities.
      4. Make sure you have clean cabling throughout your entire system.
        1. All signal and power cables must be properly shielded and grounded. Note that a good cable shield is only grounded on one end. For example the FlashCut CNC Motor Cables are all shielded with the shield grounded to the Motor Driver Box. It is not grounded to the motor in any way. If it were connected to both ends, it could actually cause a ground loop with current flowing through the shield.
        2. The cables should not be tangled within each other. Especially the power cables should not be tangled with the signal cables.
      5. Make sure your cables are not too long. The longer the cable, the more susceptible it is to noise. As a rule of thumb, the serial cable should not exceed 25 feet, and the signal cable between the signal generator and the Driver box should not exceed 10 feet.