Smooth Stepper Update
I have routed the ribbon cable past the far end of the main board since this picture was taken but it makes no operational difference. It just looked to be a little better wiring practice not passing over the center of the board.
Performance has been outstanding as far as glitch free very smooth stream of pulses. The direct parallel port operation was always first class so without using an oscilloscope, it is more of my personal perception of operational difference. It determinately “sounds” smooth and continuous when running the steppers. Listen to the 4th axis videos in this blog.
My opinion for this installation is the Smooth Stepper is extra piece of mind that I am running with the smoothest pulse stream possible (within my budget.)
There are many I/O ports on the board I am not using in this application. That indicates the Smooth Stepper can do a lot more than generate step pulses. I can see how it could be used in robotic I/O machine control as well as CNC machining.
My OS is Win XP Pro on a custom built AMX dual processor desktop running nothing but MACH3 when doing CNC. I added a high speed parallel port card. There was no parallel port on the mother board. The XP Pro is the best OS scenario for MACH3 on a parallel port. I can option boot into Linux OS for other shop computer uses.
The new Smooth Stepper just steps up my entire system quality and my goal is to have the best output for doing very small and accurate machining. The Smooth Stepper also provides for alternate computer choices, including a laptop if necessary.
My opinion is that any newer Windows OS such as Vista, Win 7, 64 bit, and whatever else MS produces as a “Consumer” PC will definitely need a Smooth Stepper. Parallel ports are already a dinosaur and even USB is being assaulted as a dying I/O. Smooth Stepper is available as a LAN (with I.P. addressing) version and I will clearly state right here that it won’t be long before the LAN version is the preferred I/O standard.
I am waiting for a Linux version (of MACH4?) with LAN I/O and Smooth Stepper… I may be waiting in vain.. 🙂