May 14, 2021

Newbie 2001 6×12' Multicam Motion Control Retrofit?

3 min read
Hi Folks! I’m a first-time CNC owner and through a bit of a long story...

Hi Folks! I’m a first-time CNC owner and through a bit of a long story I have found myself in possession of a gorgeous 6×12’ MG Series Multicam router for $1k (+$1k to rent a truck and move it 600 miles so we’ll say $2k 🙂 It’s needed a lot of cosmetic work, new cable chain/cable track, some rust cleanup and a LOT of cleaning but I’ve been pleased to see what’s underneath all the dust. 16hp ATC Liquid-Cooled Colombo spindle, 750W Yaskawa servos + Yaskawa drives.

It’s missing it’s pendant which is no longer manufactured, and even with the pendant the stock control system only talks to winXP via serial port to software that was modern in 2001. I would like to swap out the motion control system in it’s entirety to a modern solution (…WHICH modern solution I’ll likely ask you folks in a different thread 🙂 I would like to keep all existing electronics the same, but I’m definitely in a bit over my depth. How would I go about generally finding out if a UCCNC, Smoothstepper, or any available motion controller can talk to my existing electronics? What are the common signal standards used in this sort of thing and have they changed over time?

Here is the information I already have:

My servo drives (Yaskawa SGDH Servopacks) are currently receiving the following lines from the stock motion controller:
+ Step and + Dir on one line
– Step
– Dir
And one “Input Supply” terminal (24v)
Other notable information from the servo drive manual:
“Control power supply input for sequence signals: Users must provide the +24-V power supply.”
“The voltage input range for speed and torque references is a maximum of ±12 V.”

My Stepper Drive (Pacific Scientific Model 6410-001-N-N-N for the rotary ATC) receives the following lines from the stock motion controller
+ Step and + Dir on one line
– Step
– Dir
1x Shield Drain line

As for the Spindle Drive (Yaskawa GPD 515 G5) the best I can divine is that all the control signals the spindle drive is receiving from the MC are:
R + and S + on one line
R- and S- on one line
Judging from the Spindle Drive input list I’m guessing R is ‘Run’ and S is ’Stop’. It is noted that these terminals source +24Vdc @ 8mA max.


Obviously there are many other sensors and relays involved in this machine, but based on this information would you say it is possible to do a 1-1 swap of my current motion controller to one of these modern controllers? Are there details I am missing that I should look for? I should also note that there are many other sensors already on the machine I would like to continue to use including all homing sensors and various ATC sensors. Are there things I should check for concerning these existing sensors to ensure they would play well with a modern motion control board? I think I’m lacking a basic understanding of how these various components talk to each other.

Thank you very much folks, I’m a bit out of my depth! Excited about this project and excited to share progress.

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