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Ken_Shea
12-04-2010, 10:24 AM
The floppy drive on my Haas TM-1 has since new, been an unreliable PITB.
This unit can, I believe, be used on anything that uses a standard 3.5" floppy drive.

This unit, was on my desk in only 4 days from the time of shipping to get here in Ohio from India.

Purchased from
Kwality Enterprises
80, Queen's Road
Near Hotel Suncity Towers,
Amritsar (Punjab,India).143001
Ph: 0183-2224554, Fax:0183-5005595
(m): +919780485865

email
Vishal Chohan
vishal@keindia.com

Install was pretty straight forward, the unit replaces the 3.5" drive.
There was a little pin confusion shown in the photo.
Vishal's solution was to just press the ribbon cable a bit harder and it will unblock that pin, which it did.


Formatting of the flash drive was pretty straight forward as well, the usual issues of not really knowing what to expect, but all went well on this and the install after just a couple inquiring email, all answered promptly.

Each flash drive is formatted into the equivalent of 100 3.5" Floppies.
These 100 (00-99) blocks of floppy equivalents can be accessed from the converter at the control.

To save files to these block from the PC requires a separate program that is included with the converter purchase, this software also formats the Flash drive.
True, an extra step is required to save data on each individual block from your PC, but it is quick and uncomplicated.
You have the equivalent of 100 floppies on the flash drive (a 4gb is recommended) so you must remember on what block your CNC Post is on.

So now, hopefully, all those many trips back to the PC to reload the post onto yet another floppy will be a thing of the past.

It worked well on first use, time will tell on the full scope of it's use and reliability.

Now, what to do with 4 cases of floppies http://www.cnczone.com/forums/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

Ken

http://i187.photobucket.com/albums/x175/Ken_Shea/FUSBC.jpg

http://i187.photobucket.com/albums/x175/Ken_Shea/FUSBC-1.jpg

Mcgyver
12-04-2010, 10:49 AM
so this unit replaces the 3.5 floppy with a port for a memory stick? neat.

I'm glad it worked out - I had would had serious reservations about a company that spells quality with a "K" :eek: :p

Ken_Shea
12-04-2010, 10:53 AM
so this unit replaces the 3.5 floppy with a port for a memory stick? neat.

I'm glad it worked out - I had would had serious reservations about a company that spells quality with a "K" :eek: :p

Ha-Ha, never noticed that.

Errol Groff
12-04-2010, 02:52 PM
You didn't mention the cost or perhaps I am just not seing it.

As to what to do with the disks. If you would care to donate them to a good cause you could send them to the address in my sig. We have six SWI machines that use floppys and my students can go through them like Sherman through Atlanta. I will be glad to pay the postage.

Thanks for your consideration.

rockrat
12-04-2010, 03:35 PM
Vishal's solution was to just press the ribbon cable a bit harder and it will unblock that pin, which it did.

I had to think about that for a moment. Now it makes sense.

That is a neat setup. I know of a few machines that might benefit from this. What, if you dont mind me asking, was the cost?

Thanks for showing us
rock~

John Stevenson
12-04-2010, 03:56 PM
Very interesting - can it run on a DOS based system ?

I have an AHHA based CNC here, in fact two of them which work flawlessly with the exception of the floppy drive.

Only problem with this system is it real basic, config,sys and autoexec.bat are two lines each.

Nothing else is allowed to run on it, no TSR's or anything.

[EDIT]
Found this at 75 Euro's

http://www.torlus.com/floppy/ still not sure about DOS ?

macona
12-04-2010, 04:22 PM
It should work with anything that has a floppy drive. It has nothing o do with drivers or the like. Its all built into the computers bios. This thing just translates the floppy command and spits out the data over the floppy bus as a floppy drive would do.

Ken_Shea
12-04-2010, 04:28 PM
Errol, Rock,
The cost was $85usd delivered.

Errol,
I will be happy to help with a case of them.

John,
An email to Vishal Chohan @ vishal@keindia.com would answer the Dos ?.
Sounds like it would be very doable as the controller simply sees a 3.5" floppy.
The software that comes with it can format the flash Drive to 720K, 1.2mb and 1.44mb.

Barrington
12-04-2010, 04:29 PM
Loads available on eBay - just search for 'floppy emulator'. :eek:

Cheers

.

Ken_Shea
12-04-2010, 04:36 PM
This one looks almost identical and you can save about $40

http://cgi.ebay.com/3-5-USB-SSD-Floppy-Drive-Emulator-f-Embroidery-Machine-/270674591087?pt=PCC_Drives_Storage_Internal&hash=item3f05767d6f

Might want to double check drive comparability first, he wanted to first know the make and model.

The one listed above does not list the Sony drive from the Haas.

Looks can be very deceiving.

Evan
12-04-2010, 04:44 PM
Also, HP has free software that will format any flash drive or memory card to appear as a floppy. While it only mentions HP thumb drives it has worked with anything I have tried it on. It can also make the thumb drive bootable.

http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareDescription.jsp?swItem=MTX-UNITY-I23839

dp
12-04-2010, 04:59 PM
Youtube Demo:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXRT32Ulxyg

Ken_Shea
12-04-2010, 05:15 PM
That YouTube demo is the exact same software and likely not a nickles worth of difference between the converters.

Well, maybe $40 difference :D

Mark Hockett
12-04-2010, 05:19 PM
I'm curious why you don't use the RS 232 port, no floppy or USB device needed. I generate my code in Mastercam and then send it to the machine via the 232 port. When I'm done running the parts I send the program from the machine back to the computer to save any changes I might have made while running the parts.

John Stevenson
12-04-2010, 05:26 PM
Mark,
I usually program at night in the house and take a floppy into the shop the following day so no RS 232 link between the two machines.

Years ago I did use Laplink when i had an office in the shop but that still entailed have to walk between computers to switch the transfer on.

Most of my work is repeat jobs so the programs are already in the machine, it's just new jobs that can give a problem in that it sometimes can't read a floppy it read the day before, I dare say all the dust and crap in the floppy don't help.

.

Ken_Shea
12-04-2010, 05:33 PM
The reason I've not yet went to RS232 is because I don't know squat about RS232 and don't want the hassles of learning.
Have to save what's left of my brain just to function :D

John Stevenson
12-04-2010, 05:56 PM
The other nice thing about using USB is that I have two machines on Ahha / DOS based and 3-4 machines on Mach / XP

Depending on which machine the code is for there are only two lines that need editing as regards tool length offset between the two systems so if the file is on USB I can choose which machine to run it on.

Just ordered one tonight from China 20 including postage, I'll let you know how it works and if it's OK I'll get another couple.

CCWKen
12-04-2010, 09:05 PM
These things sure range in price. From $19 to nearly $300 depending on the ignorance of the buyer ("market value" stated as $699). :rolleyes: They appear to be using the USB 1.0 standard which is okay, I suppose, since it is replacing a floppy drive. Somebody figured out what to do with all those old USB 1.0 chips. :D

Liger Zero
12-04-2010, 09:34 PM
Now if there was a way to make USB talk to the modem port on those old PLCs rather than farting around with phone-lines and a modem and Terminal and *(!)$*%&!!!

Evan
12-04-2010, 10:18 PM
There is. Get a USB to Serial port adapter. Then install a generic text only printer from the Add new printer dialog. Then set it to the virtual com port that the USB to RS232 adapter creates. Load up the code in Notepad and print it with the generic printer.

Ken_Shea
12-05-2010, 12:26 AM
T
Just ordered one tonight from China 20 including postage, I'll let you know how it works and if it's OK I'll get another couple.

Cheap bastard

John Stevenson
12-05-2010, 06:34 AM
Cheap bastard

:D

I ordered that one you posted in link #10

On Ebay.co.uk it comes up as 20 with free shipping, about $30


http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/3-5-1-44MB-USB-SSD-FLOPPY-DRIVE-EMULATOR-Replacement-/280593096227

AlleyCat
12-05-2010, 11:47 AM
Some of these USB drives have a digital readout and some don't. What's the difference? Is the readout necessary?

Ken_Shea
12-05-2010, 06:07 PM
The readout is necessary on these units, as it tells you the block you are reading from, 00 through 99.

Ken_Shea
12-06-2010, 11:02 AM
Looked into the emulator that John ordered, it is a single block converter, equivalent to 1 floppy disk.
The one I purchased is a 100 block unit, of course that 1 block limit is a personal call on whether or not it is a limitation for you.


Ken

John Stevenson
12-06-2010, 02:39 PM
Ken,
This may suit me better as I was worried as to how I could access the 100 blocks in DOS.

I looked at the you tube videos but they were all using Windows software which is not available to me.

If this means I can take a file over and store in on the machines hard drive then it's no different to what I'm doing now except that it should be more reliable than the old floppies I'm using now.

One last query I'm not sure on is if I take a floppy over with basically 3 text files on it Part1.agc, part2.agc and part3.agc it can read and copy them to the hard drive provided they are not greater than 1.44M which is never a problem as a BIG file is only 50K long most are 3k to 4k.

Will the USB stick still be able to hold these three files ?

AGC is the suffix for the machine, stands for Ahha G Code but is still basically a text file but the machine software will only look for .agc files

AlleyCat
12-06-2010, 04:38 PM
Ken- Thanks for the information. I have the same concern as John with accessing all the channels using a DOS machine. I'm probably going to purchase one of each and see how it works out. Getting rid if these floppy disks will be something I've wanted to do for a long time. Thanks again.

Ken_Shea
12-06-2010, 05:31 PM
Ken- Thanks for the information. I have the same concern as John with accessing all the channels using a DOS machine. I'm probably going to purchase one of each and see how it works out. Getting rid if these floppy disks will be something I've wanted to do for a long time. Thanks again.

Well, there is at least a consensus on those dang floppies :D

John,
I am reasonably sure you can put as many files on the USB flash drive as long as they do not add up to more then the capacity of the drive.
In this case, what each block holds is 1.38mb.
You should be good to go, I will be interested in how it goes when it comes in.
One thing that makes me think it may still be a 100 block unit is it has a two place digital number and buttons to advance and retard the block, why would those be there if it was only a one block converter.
Time will tell, I guess.

John Stevenson
12-06-2010, 06:46 PM
Ken, That one I linked to doesn't have the two digit display and reading up on these things it looks like there are two types, the cheaper single channel and the ?100 model that has the 100 blocks.

Got Gert to place the order tonight, I'm not allowed any money :D, but ordered a similar cheaper one from another supplier in Hong Kong as I wasn't impressed with this guys feed back, many late or no deliveries.

Actually saved 5 pence !! :rolleyes: :D over the original.

dneufell
12-20-2010, 01:30 AM
John.....Which one should I order for my Ah-ha setup? Thank you....Dean
(technically challenged) :)

John Stevenson
12-20-2010, 03:47 AM
Probably the same one that i ordered, the one without the 100 memory as I'm still not sure if / how DOS can read this.

Best to hang on until mine gets here.
Had an email to say it has been shipped but with the customs delays / Christmas / having to go via Williams Lake [ delete as required ] it's not here yet.

Other bits ordered from China at about the same time are dribbling thru so could be any day now.

John Stevenson
12-20-2010, 05:20 PM
OK the eagle landed at dinner time today.

This is the one I bought.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/3-5-1-44MB-USB-SSD-FLOPPY-DRIVE-EMULATOR-Replacement-/230564080999

Different to the ones with the display in, in fact all you get is a very lightweight plastic box with 4 pin power plug on the rear and a 34 ?? pin floppy connection. On the front just the USB socket, no light's switches or whatever.

So tonight dragged the DOS box off the big CNC and plugged this in. booted up and it recognised the drive with no problems.

One this one you need to format a memory stick from whatever, I used an old 1Gb stick to 1.44 meg.
The drive came with a sheet of paper that told you where to get the software but it has to be formatted on a windows machine as the format software is windows.
You can't format it on the DOS box because until the stick is formatted the USB drive can't see the stick. Once formatted it can re-format it but it's a bit of a chicken and egg situation.

So formatted stick into the drive with some test files on and bingo, moves them or loads them as needed.

So this simple drive works with a DOS box.

.

3jaw
12-20-2010, 05:49 PM
I ordered one of these from China after first seeing this thread and installed it in a Bridgeport EZ-Trak. Works like a charm!!! I was shocked that it only took about a week or so to arrive in Kentucky.

John,
I think one of the formatting programs is for DOS. Scroll down to the bottom of the IPCAS software and there is one that says it is for the console. That is the one I first tried to use and it briefly opened up a DOS window and closed it. Worth a shot, anyway.

Greg

John Stevenson
12-20-2010, 06:14 PM
Thanks Greg,
I'm good to go now as the machines that write the code are all windows based so they can format the stick. Got 4 new, old stock, 512 memory sticks tonight from a guy down the road who was selling them off for 2 each. Marked them up with CNC on them just for transferring files.

The windows based Mach3 machines can read these as well but they show up as 1.44 MB sticks, not a probem though given that the G Code files are never that big.