CNC FAQ - Control and Software
1. What is EZ-Trol? EZ-Trol is a turnkey CNC Control system that includes electromechanical hardware, software, machine user interface, operator station and full factory support. EZ-Trol has industrial level features and components, but is priced very reasonably.
2. What are “high resolution” motors and why are they better? Will they lose steps? Why not servos?
State of the art “high resolution” stepper motors have an extra winding which results in less torque ripple during stepper movements. The net result is better accuracy and smoother finishes. The extra winding also assures cooler stepper motor operating temperatures. The extra winding and higher voltage required for these steppers adds to the cost, but our tests showed that machine operators preferred the advantages of these “high resolution” steppers. In fact, the customers we had test these new “high res” stepper compared to their old standard steppers were so pleased they didn’t want to send them back. The improvements were obvious.
These steppers, operating in this control system will NOT lose steps. Properly designed stepper motors systems are reliable when operated within the parameters of the machines specifications. These new “high res” stepper and drives are more expensive than the old standard steppers that are commonly used. But they operate at a high level of efficiency and at a fraction of the cost of a servo system.
3. How are updates handled?
When an update becomes available the machine owner will be notified through the system update management program. If you are connected to the internet, you will become aware of an available update because of an icon that appears when the control is turned on. The program will ask you if you would like to ahead with the update. Clicking to approve the update will result in the automatic uploading of the program.
If you do not have internet access in your shop, you can receive updates through e-mailed file attachments.
4. Why Linux and not Windows based software?
Ubuntu Linux, on which the EZ-Trol-EMC system is based, is a “hard” real time system. Other operating systems, including Windows, are not able to consistently schedule precise time intervals to software running under their systems. This is why Windows has problems with crashing - where Linux does not. Linux is the best operating system for handling complex operations like CNC machining. Using the Linux operating system ensures microsecond level precision for critical motion control software functions.
Besides, the system is built into the control – the EZ-trol interface is very intuitive to operate for Windows users. The EZ-Trol system is easy to learn and use. Once you get started and can see how fast and rugged the system is, you’ll understand the value of the EZ-Trol’s real time program.
5. Why circuit breakers and not fuses?
While circuit breakers are initially more expensive, they do not require replacement to reset them which ultimately saves money and reduces down time.
6. What is so special about the EZ-Trol E-Stop System and why is it important?
In order to assure the highest level of safety, the EZ-Trol CNC System features redundant E-stop loops and power contactors, plus a monitored reset loop. Our E-stop circuitry wasCNC Control and Software designed after much research into modern safety standards. Currently published industrial safety standards require more than the simple "self latching relay" system, which has been the standard for over 30 years ago.
7. Can .dxf files be loaded directly into EZ-Trol?
Currently the operator is required to load g-code files to the control system via USB or network connection. Our programmers are currently working on a dxf converter that will accept 2-1/2D dxf files. EZ-Trol System owners will receive the dxf converter free of charge through the regular automatic update system when the program is completed.
8. What file formats can be loaded into EZ-Trol?
As with the majority of CNC maching control systems, EZ-Trol and EMC accept g-code as the standard file format. Specifically, the system accepts RS-274-NGC standard machine tool programming language.
9. What milling wizards are currently available on EZ-Trol?
- rectangular pocketing
- circular pocketing
- rectangular pocket with island
- circular pocket with island
- circular perimeter drilling pattern (complete circle or arcs)
- rectangular drilling pattern (with option for perimeter only pattern)
- list of drill points
10. Can the EZ-Trol system be purchased separately to be used with another machine?
Yes, we currently have our EZ-Trol System with 2 Phase motors on clearance. Call for details. We will soon offer a High Resolution EZ-Trol CNC retrofit system.
11. Why does EZ-Trol use a compact flash card instead of a standard hard drive?
A compact flash card is a solid state component, with no moving parts. This means the system is less prone to damage from vibration and electromagnetic noise.
12. Where is the control system made?
While many of the components come from China and are installed at the factory, the "control" portion is made up of drive cards built by Mesa Electronics in California. The final component installation, wiring and testing of the system is completed at our workshop in Ann Arbor, MI.
13. What is available for I/O?
The system comes with 72 I/O bits, of which approximately 48 are used by the current system. This leaves at least 24 I/O bits open and available for expansion. Beyond that, additional I/O can be added in groups of 72 or 96, although this would require an additional enclosure.
14. How are pulse signals "moved" in EZ-Trol?
Signals are hard wired:
- from the controller to the stepper drives
- from E-stop buttons to controller
- from spindle encoders to controller
- from limit switches/sensors to controller
Signals are hard wired as opposed to traveling via an industrial protocol:
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