Controller Replacement BlackBox

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Controller Replacement BlackBox

Postby gdon_2003 » Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:18 am

I was on the https://openbuildspartstore.com/ site and they have a new controller called BlackBox. Has anyone looked at this and think it may be a viable replacement for the NWA controller. The BlackBox supports limit switches and more. Do you think it would work on a Shark Pro Plus HD?
Thanks
Guy Donham
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Re: Controller Replacement BlackBox

Postby BessieHunter » Fri Mar 01, 2019 4:20 pm

Should work as long as your stepper motors are 4 wire. You will also need a control software such as Mach3.
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Re: Controller Replacement BlackBox

Postby gdon_2003 » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:58 pm

Can you please explain why you think you need Mach 3/4 software. The openbuilds CONTROL software is free and is supposed to run your cnc router. If you are using CAM/CAD software like you do now and then use the NWA Control panel to load your gcode files how is the blackbox different and needing Mach 3/4?

Thanks
Guy Donham
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Re: Controller Replacement BlackBox

Postby BessieHunter » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:15 am

Did not know Openbuilds' had their own software.
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Re: Controller Replacement BlackBox

Postby kevinp » Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:32 pm

This looks interesting as a possible replacement. It runs on GRBL, so won't allow the use of Mach3/4, but instead OpenBuild's own software (as you've mentioned). One downside is it doesn't appear to have any support for a pendant (dedicated pendant, or Xbox controller as many use with Mach). That's unfortunate, as that is an easy way to control the machine that many of us like. The Shark Pro's do use a 4-wire stepper (Nema 23, bipolar 269 oz-in, 1.8 degree/200 step) so would simply be a matter of cutting off the NWA DB9 end, and wiring directly and correctly. I believe these steppers are around 3V / 1.8A/phase, but not absolutely sure.

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Re: Controller Replacement BlackBox

Postby gdon_2003 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:07 pm

So just looking at the Blackbox it would seem to work if you really wanted it to. My concern is about propriety systems like NWA. If NWA went away then the license files needed to run their controller could not be generated and your controller would become a brick. I do not think NWA is going away but I came from an open source background and like the freedom of not being tied to an OEM propriety software hardware platform. I saw many customers of mine get stranded when their vendor went out of business or quit supporting their product. For now I will be keeping the OEM controller but will keep my eye out for the future. The Blackbox does support some pendants but I do not know if the newer HD4 and Piriania pendants would work. There may be other pendants that would.

So for now the discussion is academic for me but you never know when you need to make changes. Fore warned is fore armed.
Guy Donham
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Re: Controller Replacement BlackBox

Postby Kayvon » Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:41 am

I like the idea of a backup system. I don't use my machine commercially, so if New Wave ever did go down without publishing license files (a little unlikely, since they'd more likely be bought out if they went under), I could live for a couple weeks without using the CNC machine. During that time, I'd imagine this group would quickly devise a workaround.
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