Sharp Millpower CNC / Linux PC

HxC Floppy emulator support for all others computers...
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ex-Gooserider
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Sharp Millpower CNC / Linux PC

Post by ex-Gooserider » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:31 am

Hello, first post...

Not sure if this is the right place - feel free to move if needed...

I'm a volunteer at Artisan's Asylum in Somerville, MA, USA, where among lots of other cool machines, we have an elderly Sharp LMV mill equipped with an Accurite / Millpower CNC system... It is proprietary hardware that is more or less X-86 PC compatible, running on MS-DOS 6.22. It had a 3.5" FDD in the console cabinet that died, so we just replaced it with a Gotek USB floppy emulator... Since the emulator acts as a 1.44mB floppy, I bought a bunch of cheap Chinese 64mB USB sticks rather than have people wasting higher capacity sticks on the drive.

Unless one does unusual stuff to it that involves opening the CPU cabinet (not something you want to regularly in a machine shop w/ lots of flying metal chips...) it automatically boots into the proprietary Mill-power software which can read and write it's files to the floppy, but can't format the floppy (I know, pretty pathetic, but...)

As documented, the drive appears to do the 'auto-format' thing if you hold the two select buttons down while power cycling the console where the drive lives. The formatted drive shows up as a 1.4mB device in my Linux laptop's file manager. The virtual floppy number changes with the cycle buttons (although I only see 39 drives) so it appears the drive is working properly.

However when I attempt to save a file to the stick - in any virtual drive number- the green 'drive busy' light comes on for a little while, followed by a 'No Floppy in Drive" error. My guess is that it is because the virtual floppy hasn't actually been formatted as a DOS 6.2 floppy so it acts like a blank floppy.

I also tried a cold boot and while it appeared to attempt reading the stick (green light came on) the system then ignored it, and booted off the internal hard drive. (I was expecting it to hang with a "can't find O/S" error since it wasn't a bootable DOS stick...)

I found the HxC emulator page on SourceForge, and even though the website says it supports Linux, the download files only seem to have Windows and Mac support - where are the Linux versions (I'm currently running Kubuntu)

Also am I correct in understanding that the HxC software will let me do formatting on the USB sticks, and also allow file reading / writing?

Thanks,
ex-Gooserider

Jeff
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Re: Sharp Millpower CNC / Linux PC

Post by Jeff » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:41 pm

Do you have the HxC firmware installed on this drive ?

ex-Gooserider
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Re: Sharp Millpower CNC / Linux PC

Post by ex-Gooserider » Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:43 pm

No, just the bare USB drive as I got it from the vendor... Supposedly the drive doesn't need any drivers or firmware, just unplug the FDD and plug the USB drive in its place...

(It is worth noting that this machine does NOT have a standard keyboard, just the control panel for the CNC, which is a number pad, arrow keys and a bunch of function keys, so it isn't possible to do anything that requires a keyboard for access...)

ex-Gooserider

rosey12

Re: Sharp Millpower CNC / Linux PC

Post by rosey12 » Tue May 21, 2019 12:32 pm

I am also facing this type of error. I am looking for a proper solution. Please help me to fix this.

ex-Gooserider
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Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:54 am

Re: Sharp Millpower CNC / Linux PC

Post by ex-Gooserider » Wed May 22, 2019 8:55 pm

Unfortunately, I never did find a solution, and it has become a moot issue now, as something deeper in the CNC control system has died. We did a lot of troubleshooting and were unable to get it back to working, so the machine has been converted to a manual mill at this point, so no use for the drive.

There is a possibility that we may end up converting it to run on LinuxCNC at some point in the future, but if we do, it will be using a modern PC with the ability to use standard format USB sticks directly....

Jeff
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Re: Sharp Millpower CNC / Linux PC

Post by Jeff » Wed May 22, 2019 9:37 pm

ex-Gooserider wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 8:55 pm
Unfortunately, I never did find a solution, and it has become a moot issue now, as something deeper in the CNC control system has died. We did a lot of troubleshooting and were unable to get it back to working, so the machine has been converted to a manual mill at this point, so no use for the drive.

There is a possibility that we may end up converting it to run on LinuxCNC at some point in the future, but if we do, it will be using a modern PC with the ability to use standard format USB sticks directly....
You have just answered to a spambot ;)

ex-Gooserider
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Re: Sharp Millpower CNC / Linux PC

Post by ex-Gooserider » Wed May 22, 2019 10:30 pm

Sorry... It looked sort of legitimate.... (hopefully the bot is now banished...)

At any rate my reply does update the state of the issue - I never did get it to work, but the point is now moot...

ex-Gooserider

Jeff
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Posts: 6303
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Re: Sharp Millpower CNC / Linux PC

Post by Jeff » Wed May 22, 2019 10:32 pm

ex-Gooserider wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 10:30 pm
Sorry... It looked sort of legitimate.... (hopefully the bot is now banished...)

At any rate my reply does update the state of the issue - I never did get it to work, but the point is now moot...

ex-Gooserider
The HxC firmware was missing... ;)

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