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View Full Version : service note-- check your cables



Kev Williams
07-19-2015, 3:17 PM
It's happened to me many times in the past, and tho it's been awhile, it's been twice in two days now: Bad connection between computer and machine.

Yesterday I was attempting to cut a couple of rectangles in some thin aluminum on my old 5000XT. It would only get around the first corner half way then the machine stopped, and the display on the EP modules says "waiting for data"...? For 2 squares? So I sent some text to engrave, and the machine engraved garbage while the module kept running off 'unknown command' messages.

So I switched out the module for my spare, same thing...

I unplugged and replugged the null-modem cable from both the computer and the EP module, still same thing.

So I found another cable (luckily), and presto, back to normal...

I've had several parallel cables go bad over the years, I've even had a couple of USB cables and ports go bad, but this is the first serial cable to do it. But that just proves to me they're not immune either.

And speaking of USB cables, this morning I fire up the computer in the garage and turn on the Triumph. I load up the PHsoft laser program, and I get: CAN'T FIND USB CONNECTION! CHECK CABLES!

So I check the cable, it's plugged into both the laser and the computer, looks fine. I pull the cable from the laser and put it back- still no connection. I check the Device Manager, I have no COM3, the laser's normal port. Finally I pull the USB cable from the computer, nothing seemed funny- then plugged it back in.

Voila, COM3 magically re-appears. It's enough to drive you batpoop crazy!

This is all just a reminder, if your machine starts doing something funny, check the cables first!

Samuel Espy
07-20-2015, 10:21 AM
So true Kev. When I was at Vanderbilt, a physics prof. who was extraordinarily talented in applied physics imparted a very valuable lesson: When experiencing problems with a system which uses electronics, 99% of all problems can be fixed by ensuring both power and signal are intact. This has proven true regardless of the complexity of the system. It pays (saves time/money) to heed that lesson BEFORE chasing more complex problems we might imagine.