SIEG KX1 Mach3 advice needed please

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You MUST backup your photos to an external media. I don't know the size of your photo folder but they are usually quite large - mine is 146Gb.

The simplest way is to buy a USB memory stick. 128Gb is around £11 at Amazon. You must get a known make such as Kingston or Scandisk. Another option is something like the USB Freecom Tough Drive which is around £90 for 2Tb - I use these and they are very good.

There are many other makes of external HD on the market but there are not many manufacturers of hard drives so irrespective of the make of the product they will all have a good quality drive inside. Unfortunately some of the electronics are suspect. I notice that Toshiba have a drive for around £40 - I would be happy to use that.

Like you I resisted CNC until I needed to machine curves and I found that I couldn't do it "turning handwheels". So far I have avoided 3D machining and I consider this to be a major deficiency in my shills - watch this space!!

Thanks Mike.
It is more than photos. I have written a n mer of a person and smarties of my research into boiler and gas burner design, etc, and odd things to do with engine design, and the are my working text book from my future projects. I can't remember al the stuff I learned at university 942 years ago, never mind what I worked t last week.
Also loads of family tree notes, motor bike notes, magazine articles "what I writ" etc.
So I'lloyds do a back-up copy of all those to a USB,
You probably need to backup up your Document folder as well as your photos. From what you say I suspect that a USB hard drive would be the better option. Also remember that in the IT world organisations keep multiple copies of data and stored in different locations - typically at least 2Km apart (maybe I should mention the Cloud - or maybe not!). For most people having a second copy is all that is needed since they are both unlikely to fail at the same time. Having said that a house fire could take out all the drives which is one reason people use the Cloud for critical documents.

So I would get a USB hard drive and then consider which files are critical and either copy these to the Cloud (Google offer 5Gb free) or use a fire safe to store your drive.

Hope that helps

Thanks Mike, sounds like I can do a sensible upgrade if I decide to keep the Dell 745. I'll probably replace the Jumbo jet sounding Cooling fan as well. But I don't have any CNC machines to drive from the computer.... Strictly hands-on stuff! - Turning hand-wheels and reading off dials, etc... (because I enjoy that stuff!).
But I thought it may be a suitably bigger (safe?- not sure?) back-up for the wealth of photos and documents I have. - Or is a simple back-up external hard drive just better?

I keep all my photos and other important documents on a portable, external hard drive which is only plugged in when I need it. I can use it on any computer with a USB port, and since it spends most of the time sitting in drawer, its isolated from power glitches and lightening pulses.
I have a Dell Optiplex 745 and have just bought a second-hand HP Pavilion Elite... because the Optiplex told me only 67% of my hard drive is good... It tries to self-repair but cannot.
The 745 is slow compared to the newer HP.
Is it worth buying an SSD hard drive for the Optiplex? - or will the processor still be very slow?
Do I need the old computer anyway?
Suggestions on a postcard please...
K2-TTI (Totally Technically Incompetent!)
Hi Steamchick, I am a Computer technician of 30+ years & I run a plus 10 year old i7 laptop. My Optiplex 790 I have upgraded to Windows 11. Every PC/Laptop I have are running SSD's, so yes upgrade to an SSD will give your PC new life with increased performance. I charge $AU150 for a basic upgrade of a PC/Laptop to SSD including data transfer & a 120SGB SSD. Obviously a larger capacity drives cost more, but if your old drive is still OK I will leave that in the PC as a "D" Drive. Cheers Peter from OZ
Aha! Thanks Peter. The old Dell 745 has only 65% of the hard drive working, and the BIOS says it won't self-repair any better than that. CODE 7? I spent 3 days before finding a way to by-pass self repair at switch-ON. I have an HP newer PC now, and all the stuff has been transferred to there, but I thought I could buy a 1Tb SSD for the 745 then use that as the back-up for the newer HP? My existed external HD is more than half full of "old" 745 back-up stuff. - in fact it won't back-up any more. But it is set to scrap old back-ups to free-up space as required. I just worry that the main hard drive will stop dead soon, so I'll have no back-up at all.
USB solutions for MACH3 seem to have some "brain" that does the stepping for the machine, and they cost more than 10 moneys, so I tried the parallel card.

I "solved" the problem by adding a PCIE Parallel port card to a random 2nd hand PC.
(Dangerous half knowledge: "As far as I understand XP will work with parallel port and the Step signals are generated in the PC. Newer Windows Systems cannot provide stable enough hardware stepping, so a USB device wich controls the machine is added. " ).

Replacing the super old ancient PC with a super old vintage PC :), using the PCIE card went fine with Windows XP and with Linux CNC. (Same PC different OS)

I see following work arounds to get rid of old Windows XP systems.

a) 10 USD parallel port card and Linux CNC to get rid of the Windows problem.
a2) Try install Windows XP on newer hardware, if it can be installed the PCIE card probably works.
I personally found it very straight forward to get the Linux CNC up and running with the parallel port card and configuration Wizzard.
Much easier than installing a Windows :) (the most difficulties were to make the bootable USB drive :) and getting the watchdog of the machine interact with Linux )

b) Investing in MESA hardware to get the Linux CNC to next level. This creates lots of headroom for improvements.
Manual Pulse Generator, Spindle Encoder ( possible to teach the machine rigid tapping), adding close loop feedback with glas scales, electronically gearing different axis. Adding Automatic Tool Changers, Robots
Linux CNC allows to generate a total Frankenstein Monster with a messy mixture of old and new hardware. Now everytime something fails I just replace it with whatever I find 2nd hand.

c) Not a joke! Mainboards for 3d printers becoming more and more a viable option.
Downside at the moment seems to not allow to pause and restart the program as easy as other systems. But it is worth keeping an eye on this, as it evolves and more and more options come up. (making it difficult to find the right hardware on the one hand, but giving better options )

d) New controller hardware form were ever you like. (aka depends on what you want to pay)

Greetings Timo
You will be pleased to know I have solved the problem!

Thanks for all the suggestions. I couldn't see how to apply most of them within my setup which is fixed ie the KX1 interface and the need for a parallel port. The suggestion of using a PCIE slot was a good one but I have an issue with this - I don't have such a slot! Let me explain:- I have limited space and the PC is mounted above the mill. It's a very small format Dell SX270 running XP and hanging under the shelf using the Dell bracket/foot. There are no expansion slots on the mother board - only the parallel port and USB ports. I really would like to keep to this size PC and I am happy with XP BUT the computer is about 19 years old which is not good. The mill was purchased in 2011 I think.

I would find it very difficult to install a larger PC format.

So my solution is to purchase another old SX270 as a possible replacement/spares. When I receive the SX270 (in the post!) I will load all the S/W and keep it as a standby.

Happy days!

Again thanks for your support which actually brought me to this conclusion.

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What I suggest you could do is: Do as you plan and make a backup PC. Plug a cheap SSD in the machine unplug the existing drive and try to install Linux CNC, should it work you discovered a new option that will in any case work with other mini PCs in the future. (I paid like 13US for the last SSD I bought, well worth it).
Hi Timo
I don't have a problem installing a SSD and it is my default for all (10) my computers BUT I don't have a PCIE slot and thats my issue. Buying a second (old) computer gets me out of a hole should my existing motherboard fail (not concerned about the disk/SSD then I would need to find a space for a very small format tower as has been suggested. I was hoping one of you guys had experience with making use of a USB to parallel convertor. I am happy with XP and really don't want the pain of learning to use Linux - I have always avoided it and see no real reason to change my mind!
Update - with the help from all your advice above - my new (second-hand) HP is up and running and I eventually managed to transfer all my files using 16Gb, 32Gb USB sticks, and a part of my external hard drive back-up from the old computer. Took many hours, but there it is - ALL DONE. Now I need to buy an external hard drive back-up for the HP....
Thanks for the very helpful advice all.

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