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Help with Set up

2266 Views 13 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  BalloonEngineer
Being a newbie to CNC this forum has been my lifeline. Over the last few weeks I have kindly been given lots of help in order to get me up and running. Unfortunately I am still having problems with the PlanetCNC electronics. I have been in contact with PlanetCNC support, which has been a slow moving process. My fear is that they are running out of ideas of why I am still dead in the water. Although I do not want to spend more money to go a different direction, I also do not want to be faced with this same problem weeks from now. I have been researching Mach 3 setups with a USB. There are currently some sales for a few more days. I would appreciate some feedback from these two different kits from Sainsmart.

The first kit has a 4 in one driver.

TB6600 4-Axis stepper motor driver board is equipped with Toshiba TB6600HG driver chip and it can be driving 4 motors at the same time. It's suitable for NEMA17 or NEMA23 stepper motor. It has a 12V power supply which can be used for MACH3 interface board or CNC controller. TB6600 has large driver current, smooth running, quiet small volume with convenient installation. Its high performance is suitable for making CNC machines and other automation equipment.

USB controller board comes with Kit 1 and Kit 2. It's easy to use with strong anti-interference ability. You don't need to install any USB drivers, then it can be used after being plugged in the computer, suitable for all versions of Windows. USB controller board support MACH3 various versions of software and it can be used for making engraving machine control system.

5-Axis parallel breakout board comes with Kit 3 and Kit 4. Like the USB controller board, it also supports MACH3 and other computer software and of course supports parallel port control. This can control up to 5 stepper motor driver. It is easy to tell the input status with LEDs. It can be powered by 5V USB power supply or external power source.

Stepper motor

Model: 57HS76
Number of phases: 2-phase
Number of lines: 4-wire
Phase voltage: 3.08V
Phase current: 2.8A
Resistence: 1.1Ω
Inductance: 3.6mH
Torque: 1.89N.M(270 Oz-in)
Shaft Diameter: 8mm 0.3inch
Axial length: 21mm 0.8inch
Side length: 57mm 2.2inch
High: 76mm 3inch
Weight: 1100g 38.8oz

Switching Power Supply

the range of AC input voltage is changed by the switch
high-efficiency, high reliability
100% full load burn-in test
Protections: Short circuit / overload / over voltage / over temperature
built-in cooling DC fan control
Working frequency is 25 kHz
Input Voltage:110V/220V
Output Voltage:36V
Output Current:9.7A
Output Power:350W

The second kit is similar but with 4 driver boards.

Mach3 4 Axis USB CNC Controller Card 100KHz

Support for 4-axis linkage, you can connect four stepper motor drives or servo drives;
Maximum step-pulse frequency is 100KHz,which is suitable for the servo or stepping motor;
Support automatic probe tool
Support Emergency input
Support for limit switch
Support for connecting electronic handwheel
Need use external 24V DC power supply to isolate USB and external port, and to make the system more stable.
Have 0-10V output port, you can use mach3 software to control the spindle motor speed.
4 general-purpose inputs, you can connect the limit switch, estop switch, probe switch, back to zero and other device
4 general-purpose isolated relay drive output interface, can drive four relays for controlling the spindle starts, forward rotating and reverse rotating, pumps and other device;
1 status LED, indicate connection status on the board.

TB6600 Stepper Motor Driver

1.DC power input type:12V~40V;

2.Output current:0~4.5A, stepless adjustable;


4.Automatic half current function: half or full current can be Selected through the switch;

5.Protect form : Overheated protection, over-current protection;

I/O Ports:

24V+:DC power positive pole
GND:DC power cathode
A+ A-:Stepping motor one winding
B+ B-:Stepping motor other winding
CLK-:Stepping pulse input+5V (Rising edge effective , rising edge duration >10μS)
CW-:Stepping motor direction input, voltage level touched off, high level foreward , low level reverse
ENA-: motor free
+5V: Signal common terminal

Stepper Motor

Model 57HS76

Number of phases 2-phase

Number of lines 4-wire

Phase voltage 3.08V

Phase current 3A

Resistence 1.1Ω

Inductance 3.6mH

Torque 1.89N.M(270 Oz-in)

Shaft Diameter 8mm

Axial length 21mm

Side length 57mm

High 76mm

Weight 1100g

Switching power supply

the range of AC input voltage is changed by the switch
high-efficiency, high reliability
100% full load burn-in test
Protections: Short circuit / overload / over voltage / over temperature
built-in cooling DC fan control
Working frequency is 25 kHz
Input Voltage:220V/115V
Output Voltage:24V
Output Current:10A
Output Power:250W

There is a similar kit to the one above that has ST-M5045 drivers for a little more in cost

I know this is a hefty post, thanks for the help


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Gee's Woody, I pulled up this post ready to help, but you lost me on the 5th word "CNC". But I am sure you will get the experts on here soon.
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Why didn't you get a machine from here where people answer the phone, talk English, and have support?? A Probotix ready to roll right out of the crate or a CNCRP kit or complete build would have saved you a heck of a lot less troubles. Was it really worth it?
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Thanks for taking a chance to rip on me. I did do a lot of research before buying. For my first machine I was trying to stick to around 2K. The Routakit allowed me to start off with a large size and upgrade as I went. The Probotix are nice machines but for the same size was well over 5K. I guess maybe I should just say I made a mistake if that would make everyone feel better. Hopefully some people will help me out with this new issue.

Not ripping on you specifically. It's the old adage - you get what you pay for. Even when (or if) you get this thing going, you'll never make up the lost production time, and it will be the same whenever (not if) you have a problem. And there will be several down the line. Not to mention the aggravation. Support means a whole bunch.

How much of this build could you salvage and build a workable machine? I would think you could get by with a different operating system (Linux or Mach) and reconfiguration files, maybe a new controller, and at least be on the same page as most others here. Sounds like the frame and gantry should be ok. Beltramidave, MEBCWD, or 4D would have the answers to that part.
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A couple of years ago I was researching 1k to 5k cncs with a really good friend of mine. I can't even list all the brands we considered. Every week we had a new "this is the one" I settled on the Cncrouterparts (which was about $1,000 more than my limit) but I knew if I waited and saved for it I'd be much happier than just settling for something else.
My friend called one afternoon and said "I pulled the trigger on the Garageworx 48x48" around $2,000 and in a few days he was up and running and the shiny new bright orange cnc looked great compared to my big empty spot in the garage. So finally after about 6 months of selling table legs and saving every dollar I finally got my cnc. He came over and saw it and went home and ordered his. Now he has a nice new cncrp AND a shiny orange $2,000 workbench that's piled down with boxes. Everyone makes mistakes. I've made more than most people. There is a saying "Don't throw good money after bad." I don't know you and I certainly may be wrong but I don't think you'll ever be truly happy with a planetcnc. Good luck on which ever road you take. Joe.
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When you get a minute complete your profile with first name so it clears the N/a in the side panel and so we know what to call you.

Just a curiosity but have you checked to see if you have a good ground, both to the machine and on the DC voltage inside?

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Hi Joe, Thanks for the lesson in getting what you pay for--a good reminder for me, frustrating fo ryou.

I don't have a CNC, but keep admiring them. Based on years of posts on the Forum, I think the true entry level machine is about $5K. I'm pretty computer savvy, but also 75, so not so many years to learn and exploit it. I've made the mistake of buying interim tools a couple of times, only to have to replace them with the costlier, better quality ones. If you're not getting support from the company, I'd see what I could get for the remains from someone else, lick my wounds and move forward on a better machine. The CNC guys here really know their stuff.

I've posted on making good money with a CNC, and I think someone who gets up and running with a decent machine, can earn back the cost pretty fast. A pdf on the topic is attached.


Woody not sure why you are trying to replace what you have all of a sudden but if what you have is bad ask them to replace it. I still think it is in your settings.

Did you ever check to make sure your soft limits were set so you actually had room to jog before you exceded the soft limits?
One more thing to consider when replacing the headache you have, will you get any support to get the new system running or are you going to be on your own again? Will they provide support?

I don't see a Tech support link on their site.
I do see that you might be limited in thwe computer operating system you can use. One of those says Windows XP or 7 - 32 bit system so make sure it will work with your computer.
Thanks for all the good advice. I am an artist (not for money) just for creating, this is just a hobby, so jumping in at 5k was just a little steep for me. I am going to continue to figure out the problems and give PlanetCNC a little more time. Just wanted to start looking at other solutions. I will also look into some of the advice given above.

Good news, I'm up and running. I decided to pull the motor wires off and check phasing. Even though my wires are colored the same as in Routakit's instructions, the wiring was different then what they said to follow. So now I will try get my settings right, and go from there. Thanks for all the help.
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Glad you are up and running. For anyone else considering buying a similar parts kit, be aware the usually have very poorly matched components, namely steppers with high inductance values. The driver voltage for best performance is related to the stepper inductance:

V = 32 x sqrt(inductance)

So for those steppers with the 3.6mH inductance, you need 60 volts. The kits you listed have 24V and 36V power supplies (probably the limit of the drivers). With too low of voltage, the steppers will be slow, pull a lot of current and run hot.

You need either low inductance steppers ~ 2.0 - 2.5 run nicely on 48V, a common power supply voltage, and within capability of a driver like a gecko540, or drivers that handles higher voltage, for example the leadshine 4660 is a quality driver that handles 60V.
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