Monday, March 7, 2011

Some Progress But ...

I have managed to make a bit of progress but I still don't have the electronics working properly.

I lost a couple of weeks on other projects. I upgraded all of the PC's in our house to windows 7 (except for my trusty HP tablet which will stay on Ubuntyu Linux) and fought my way through the various issues that cropped up. Then I moved my entire shop from the large family room in the basement to our spare bedroom. The room was used as a playroom by our daughter but, since she is now 16, it is available for other purposes. It took a couple of days to get everything moved and organized but I am finally ready to proceed.

I sat down last night and worked on the firmware again. I had been using version 22 of the Arduino IDE but the various forums recommended going back to version 18 to solve my problems. As soon as I started using the earlier version I had some success. Both the G-code Interpreter and the Extruder firmware compiled immediately.

I was able to load the extruder firmware onto the board and it was really satisfying to see the green LED's start flashing as it was running. This proves that my USB board and the 6 wire cable that I made up are both working correctly and that the IDE is able to communicate with the board using that path. Unfortunately none of this made any difference when it came to loading firmware on the Sanguino board. All I get is a steady power light when I plug in the USB cable. When I attempt to upload the firmware I get a messages from the IDE that indicate that everything works fine but there is no indication that anything is getting to the board. The power light stays green but there is no flashing or blinking to indicate that anything is loading or running. No amount of playing with the reset switch has any effect at all.

I was interrupted last night and didn't get time to do much experimenting so I will try again tonight and see what happens. In any case, I am getting closer to having a functional machine.

Also, I ordered a couple of additional motor controller boards (I fried one) and some additional opto-endstops. If I don't fry any of my endstops I can use the new ones on my next project.

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