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  • Ubuntu and Linuxcnc

    Ok. I have a couple machines (RF-45 clone, Bridgeport boss and emco 120 (lathe)) that I want to start working on to replace the controls they have now. The RF-45 is manual still. The other two are steppers with Ah-Ha on the mill and emco's ancient control with tape drive and all. Although I can talk to it via rs-232 now Gonna be a long process for all of these machines cause well? IM SLOW!!

    First one is gonna be the RF-45 (enco variety). I just cleaned up a computer for it. Not a new one but not terribly old. Core 2 quad cpu Q6600 @2.40ghz, 3gb ram, 500gb storage. Should run the mill.

    I have been reading ALOT here lately. I have mach3 and just downloaded the ISO for ubuntu and linuxcnc. I installed win xp (32bit) and updated the drivers. Then just now I installed ubuntu... WHAT!!!??? Is it weird to fall in love with an operating system? And so soon. Well if it is Im the new weirdo on the site. Just playing with it for a few minutes I love it. Its V. 10.04, most current one compatible (for a newbie) with linuxcnc.

    Ummm? I HATE windows. But thats NOT new, Ive always hated and knew it was written and distributed for folks that might get into trouble if the operating system gave them to much control. Well I'm a control freak and also careful with what I do.

    So anyway... This is the beginning and I will take many pictures and write WAY too long stories during the process. Don't expect much at a fast pace, but ALL of it will be documented here. JR

  • #2
    Ubunto does kinda cut out the crap and cut to the chase, doesn't it?

    Have you run the latency test yet? If the computer is going to be a problem, that's where it will be.

    Good luck!
    Definition: Racecar - a device that turns money into noise.

    Comment


    • #3
      Don't install any of the closed source video drivers (well any closed source drivers for that matter unless you need it for network...) - it will pop up on the menu bar - looks like a little circuit board saying something like 'additional drivers' or such. Just ignore it - it will go away.

      that usually kills latency.

      sam

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      • #4
        I only use wondoz when I have to...

        Do your stepper drives take step and direction inputs? If so it should be an easy conversion using the Mesa 5i25 7i76 combo.

        The LinuxCNC forum is full of knowledgeable people that will help with the conversion and any other issues you might run across.

        John
        My Web Site

        Comment


        • #5
          Thank for the replies guys.

          Ok, been tryin to learn more about Ubuntu and honestly, its been fun but difficult also. The program installed just fine and all the hardware is recognized. Cept for one. My USB Netgear wifi dongle. My head is spinning (witch I enjoy sometimes when learning something new) trying to learn all the new terminology and the structure of ubuntu.

          So after some research I have the two files I need. Problem? I just cant seem to get how ubuntu deals with hardware drivers. I cant find the command or software that will allow me to point the drivers to the wifi device. I was able to pull up the usb port with the device in the terminal, got the ID, and found the drivers for the device. But after looking and looking I cant seem to get anything done UNLESS I already have a network connection.

          So I have been running back and forth between my other desktop (win7 box) and trying to download the needed software to install the software for my wifi device. For example. Wine. I need that just to look at the netgear (actually broadcom) drivers. I can not find a way to download Wine on the win machine to bring over to the ubuntu machine. Real easy if you already have a network connected ubuntu box. Bet it would hit in a second.

          But Im in a catch 22 citch. I need software to get the box online, but cant get the software unless Im online. LOL!!!!

          Am I discouraged? YUP. Am I giving up on ubuntu? HECK NO Im a troubleshooter by trade and this just makes me sink my teeth in even deeper.

          Here are my barriers and maybe you guys could shed some light or direct me to a source. And I have frequented the ubuntu forum and thats where I got the specific info for my wifi device. Great help actually. My problems ARE:

          1) The language. Im running into so many new terms with ubuntu that its making my head spin. More and more of the language is coming up more often so Im starting to retain some of it. I DO like the terminal, havent had to type commands for many years. But its not alien. The command structure just throws me off.

          2) The file structure. IM LOST! LOL Seriously, I cant even sort out my hard drive. I have NO idea where anything is. It doesnt name, or I havent "named" my partitions. For example the DOS based windows names them as c,d,e,f..... In ubuntu its just an identifier that doesnt tell me witch partion its on or what partition windows is on. Stumbling around I was able to find the windows partition so I know NOT to mess with the info there. But then Ill forget what it was called. Gonna have to learn how to name the partitions. But more importantly. The file system? Im used to a DOS based file system where it shows a ROOT and ALL the files and directories (or folders). I can look at a partition and had to change it from the icon look to a list look. But no file tree? That sucks. I like a file and directory tree. And Im sure its there. I just cant seem to figure it out.

          3) Hardware lookup. Ok, again, still learning. But with windows I can go to system and look up all of the hardware and interact with the settings and drivers, fast. With ubuntu I dont know where to go to service the hardware. I KNOW its there, this looks like an interactive operating system, NOT just a GUI. I for the life of me cant find out where to look to bring up what it sees for hardware. Im sure I need some command line strings for it right? But I cant even find the "Im a really new newbie write up" for the most common of command line terminal entries.

          Im having fun.... I need to get more knowledge re: ubuntu before I even start looking at linuxcnc. At least get the box online with the wifi. I dont even mean to use ubuntu as my operating system for other tasks, Ill stick with windows for all that. Ill just use it for linuxcnc. But I do want to learn more and get this damn box online

          Oh, I did run a latency test. Funny, I had read that you want to stress the system while running the test. Spent days looking for the gears demo. Could not find it ANYWHERE. So out of the blue I ran it in the terminal. CHIT!! It was already loaded up, fired right up. Thats one other thing. I cant tell whats loaded up for the life of me. The gears demo was there. I didnt see it anywhere.

          Umm, I have NO idea what is a good number for the test cause its kinda like everything else I have been dealing with. Not much do this and compare it to this. So I have my numbers but didnt see and references to what a good or poor number was. And I wiil admit. I havent been to the linuxcnc forum (if there is one) to determine if the latency is off or not. After some reading though I did see some folks had a variety of numbers without any changes in the hardware or software. I also saw some odd variations so Im a lil suspect of the test. I wrote down the nubers from several test sequences but dont have them down here with me while on my laptop in the garage (drinkin and smokin computer). But Ill post the numbers tomorrow so you can see.

          Computers!!! ERR! I did a head count of the active computers in the house (including the garage). The tally is 9. I thought it was 10, I might be missing one. The kids each have a desktop of their own, I have my main desktop, wife has her work laptop plugged into a bench, the desktop with ubuntu that Im working on, my garage laptop that Im hitting the keys on now, my old laptop that I use to talk with the emco lathe with and it has some old games that my son likes to play, the old desktop thats running ahha for my bridgeport, the small but useful box (old dell) wired up to the 52" LCD TV (that one is nice, can be watching TV and want to get online, wireless keyboard and mouse, just switch the input with the TV remote).. Hmm there is one more, where the heck is that one LOL Oh, yeah, and a few old boxes that Im tearing down for parts.

          Im still in love with this ubuntu front end. Just trying to learn the terminology and the structure. Im sure Im missing something. Cause it should NOT be this hard. Maybe why some folks just give up. I get it. Still having fun!!!!!! Thanks for checkin-in... JR

          Comment


          • #6
            Here is a link that might help you a bit with ranking your latency numbers http://wiki.linuxcnc.org/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?Latency-Test

            Here is the main linuxcnc page, the forum is on the right of the menu bar http://www.linuxcnc.org/

            Also, latency performance numbers are much more related to those using the parallel port, if using external boards (such as mesa), the latency numbers become far less critical because the critical processes are done on the external board.

            I relate well to the initial learning curve of ubuntu and linuxcnc, hang in there it gets easier with time. I just went to linuxcnc a few short months ago and now find my way around pretty well. The learning curve is steep but very worth it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for the link. I did see it but accidentally glazed over the details I needed..

              Here are my numbers...


              _________max int_____max jit_____last int
              servo:----452415------456335-----1019250
              base:-----22893-------27913------21000-24000

              This seem a lil slow but it is an old computer. Im actually looking at some mesa products right now. We shall see what road I go down. For now though I gotta get this wifi up. Im gonna ditch this usb wifi device, I didnt want to get it anyway. I wanted a pci device but didnt want to drive to the next town over to Frys to get one. So this usb device goes back to staples (they dont have any wifi cards) and Ill get a wifi card. Thanks for the help. JR

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              • #8
                I guess I'm lucky to have a wired LAN cause I just plug in the LAN cable and internet is just there. Could be a temporary solution for you.

                The operating system files can be found by clicking on Places > Computer > File System. Normally you don't ever touch the files in the file system folder, in fact you need to use sudo to gain enough rights to modify one. The LinuxCNC Getting Started Manual has a chapter on Linux FAQ.

                Also in the terminal you can do a cd ../.. and be at the root directory. Then to list the files you do ls.

                John
                My Web Site

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by JRouche View Post
                  Thanks for the link. I did see it but accidentally glazed over the details I needed..

                  Here are my numbers...


                  _________max int_____max jit_____last int
                  servo:----452415------456335-----1019250
                  base:-----22893-------27913------21000-24000

                  This seem a lil slow but it is an old computer. Im actually looking at some mesa products right now. We shall see what road I go down. For now though I gotta get this wifi up. Im gonna ditch this usb wifi device, I didnt want to get it anyway. I wanted a pci device but didnt want to drive to the next town over to Frys to get one. So this usb device goes back to staples (they dont have any wifi cards) and Ill get a wifi card. Thanks for the help. JR
                  For an old computer you might want to test the 8.04 version. You can just boot from the 8.04 LiveCD and test your latency without installing anything.

                  John
                  My Web Site

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    K! Finally got ndiswrapper to install and used it to load up the correct drivers (inf and sys).. Cool, device is finally talking with the computer and it sees my WPA2 protected network. But NOPE, its not logging on. Keeps coming back to the password screen. Ive triple checked it and it is correct. Sucks. Its not a picky router either. I have two laptops, one desktop and a playstation box using it just fine. Hmmm...

                    Thinking about breaking out my three foot drill bit and boring one more hole in the floor. My router is upstairs and my shop is downstairs in the garage. I have already drilled a hole for the Co-ax and some alarm wiring, thats why I have the drill bit. Im ready to ditch this wifi device and get a Cat line and hard wire the garage for network.. I really should have a hard line down there anyway...

                    Still chuggin away.

                    Ok, why I have you experts on the hook.... Again. File handling is kickin my but. Mainly hard drive (partition) names. It wants to name them all the same under "places". They do have a real identifier but its like 12 characters long and kinda useless. Cant I rename the partitions. Reason being. When going to "places" I see six 125gb partitions and they are not individually labeled. So I have to hunt around opening each one to find the data I want.

                    I'm STILL reading though... Thanks for the links... Good thing Im retired otherwise Id be doing this at work JR

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JRouche View Post
                      Thanks for the link. I did see it but accidentally glazed over the details I needed..

                      Here are my numbers...


                      _________max int_____max jit_____last int
                      servo:----452415------456335-----1019250
                      base:-----22893-------27913------21000-24000

                      This seem a lil slow but it is an old computer. Im actually looking at some mesa products right now. We shall see what road I go down. For now though I gotta get this wifi up. Im gonna ditch this usb wifi device, I didnt want to get it anyway. I wanted a pci device but didnt want to drive to the next town over to Frys to get one. So this usb device goes back to staples (they dont have any wifi cards) and Ill get a wifi card. Thanks for the help. JR
                      Those are pretty poor numbers. Often they can be improved a lot by tweaking some bios settings and such. One thing linuxcnc dislikes very much is hyperthreading, make sure it is turned off if you have it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        In the bios I disabled multiprocessor support. Same type of numbers. Thanks, JR

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                        • #13
                          Check out this wiki page as it is a bit different to isolate a CPU in linux.

                          John
                          My Web Site

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BigJohnT View Post
                            Check out this wiki page as it is a bit different to isolate a CPU in linux.

                            John
                            Lemme go read that John. Thanks, JR

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BigJohnT View Post
                              Check out this wiki page as it is a bit different to isolate a CPU in linux.

                              John

                              LOL!!! Ran the CPU pig and checked the system monitor cause really, its hard to tell anything is happening. I was chuckling. One core was PEGGED (100%).. Launched cnc, guess what? Max jit, 4150 for servo and base. LOL

                              Ok... I owe ya a drink. Now what? Take an ice pick to the ear of one of the cores Dont tempt me!!! LOL I really dont want to have to run it like this all the time. It's gonna get warm, and eat more juice than it needs to. Plus I dont want to have to write this in every time. Least I know thats a quick fix but not a real fix IMO..

                              Im trying to disable it at start-up via Grub. But I dont know what grub is so Im off to learn some more Loving it.. Thanks again!!!! JR
                              Last edited by JRouche; 10-23-2012, 11:24 PM.

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