Author Topic: Help with Chinese A3 laser engraver with SD-reader+LCD but no USB connector  (Read 1301 times)

Stonemull

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Re: Help with Chinese A3 laser engraver with SD-reader+LCD but no USB connector
« Reply #45 on: December 06, 2017, 05:11:35 PM »
Oh yeh, I totally forgot it had no USB.. I'm stubborn to and would waste hours frigging around.

Since it takes files off SD then it may not even try and stream data off the serial, might just be a debugging port or programming port, it might be able to stream data if you knew the command to tell it to use the port.. so it's a long shot at best.

However, if you did want to have a look, you probably just need a USB-serial device, most likely a 3.3v one. I would suggest a CO2102 version, less driver hassles than with FTDI clones.
Plug it into Tx to Rx, Rx to Tx and ground

If you wanted to learn new stuff you could grab yourself a nodemcu board (esp8266) and program it with esp-link and use it as a wifi to serial device, I have driven my laser with one, in this case though its probably better to find a new hobby and wait for the Mana SE :)
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ggallant571

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Re: Help with Chinese A3 laser engraver with SD-reader+LCD but no USB connector
« Reply #46 on: December 06, 2017, 06:36:37 PM »
I am interested in driving a laser etcher with an ESP8266 module. The concept sounds good. Questions:

1. Local storage such as SD card?
2. Error detection and recovery?
3. Do messages contain the gcode or does the ESP CPU  produce the gcode from raw data?
4. How to abort a burn?
5. Drive the stepper motors and laser PWM from the ESP module?

I suspect it might be simpler to implement a serial transport mechanism such as the serial USB chips.
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Stonemull

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Re: Help with Chinese A3 laser engraver with SD-reader+LCD but no USB connector
« Reply #47 on: December 06, 2017, 08:24:59 PM »
I did nothing clever, just plugged the esp serial from the node mcu directly into the mana se 'bluetooth' connector, the nodemcu has a volltage divider on the esp Rx so no need to be concerned with voltage levels.
software .. from memory i used Serial-TCP snd set up a virtual com port, set T2 to the virtual port and off it goes. I think installing serial-tcp destroys T2's anility to scan the available ports though, it is not the only casualty so it must break a windows function.

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ggallant571

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Re: Help with Chinese A3 laser engraver with SD-reader+LCD but no USB connector
« Reply #48 on: December 06, 2017, 09:33:12 PM »
Would you (and anyone else) be interested in replacing the Nano with a nodemcu or similar device. Would entail:

1. Designing a base controller.
2. Porting the GRBL code to ESP.
3. Figuring out how to make it look like a USB.

I recently ordered a couple "SX1278 LoRa ESP32 0.96 Inch OLED " modules. If my info is correct, the ESP32 is a dual core module with one core dedicated to the radio while the other is available for the user. I think they have very similar software architecture.
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Stonemull

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Re: Help with Chinese A3 laser engraver with SD-reader+LCD but no USB connector
« Reply #49 on: December 08, 2017, 05:14:07 AM »
its doable but a lot of work and I have enough hobbys. I would probably tackle the pcb design if someone else wants to do software.. thats more work than fun for me.
without looking i am not sure the esp has enough I/O though you could expand it with a 23s17 or similar.

The killer is that grbl is designed from low level to use bit manipulation for the ports (all byte wide) and that would need a bit of shuffling to port across to what I assume is no longer byte access?
Perhaps starting with the mega2560 port would help, then you have a bunch of interrupts to ensure the same oevel of functionality.

not sure how you deal with 2 cores and how they communicate .. it could be as easy as sticking something like esp-link on the Rf core and a grbl port on the second, then you just need a virtual comport between them.

the display would be cool, might go looking at some new modules..
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Rzoega

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Re: Help with Chinese A3 laser engraver with SD-reader+LCD but no USB connector
« Reply #50 on: December 20, 2017, 03:21:48 PM »
Hi again.

Im back :-) I have had a crazy december so far ;-)

Thank you all for the replies.
I have decided not to spend more time on the joystick/sd card solution, and i think the whole project with reading out data etc will never happen with the amount of time i have for this :-)

In the meantime i have received the Eleksmaker Mana SE board from China and tried to connect everything.

The motorwires is connected to the corresponding inputs, but everything is upside down when i move it around in the different programs (compared to the angle of how i used to look at the machine). I guess this is no big issue and i guess i can just switch the Y cables around.
The laserunit is connected to the "motor" 2 pins plug.

But i haven't been able to burn anything. I have tried the T2Laser demo and some other programs with same result.
The Laser lights up fine (i guess. I didn't want to look at it, but the room lights up). It is bright, but maybe not enough.

I have tried the different samples in T2 but nothing gets burned. I am pretty sure the laser is focused because i tried setting the power to around "15" and turned it on, on the 1st of the three laser buttons under "control" and focused it.
(Is there another way of starting the laser in Low mode for alignment compared to adjusting the power value?)

I have uploaded the 1.1e firmware from within T2.

Any ideas why i donīt get anything burnt?
Does T2 override the preset power value, when i try to burn one of the samples or do i have to set it to maximum?



Zax

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Re: Help with Chinese A3 laser engraver with SD-reader+LCD but no USB connector
« Reply #51 on: December 20, 2017, 04:56:11 PM »
Do you have laser max set to 255?

Start with one of the sample shapes (e.g. 10mm Square) and set vector feed rate to 100 and see if it burns wood or colored card. It should.

If not, either it's not focused or you aren't getting enough power to the laser.