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Getting Started: Setting up the PC to communicate with your SmoothStepper.

Getting your PC to communicate with your SmoothStepper is quick and easy!

Depending on which SmoothStepper you have, please continue with either:



Setting up your PC with the ESS (Ethernet SmoothStepper)

1. Supply 5 V DC power to your ESS, using the provided 2 pin power jack.  You can find more information here about the power requirements and frequently asked questions.   The '+' is where you hook up the +5 V DC.  The '-' is where you connect the 0 V DC (i.e. the second wire coming from your power supply).

5V Power

If you are using a BOB (a Break Out Board), you can supply 5 V power to the BOB using the 5V jumper associated with each ESS port (and 26 pin cable.  Or you could use your BOB to power the ESS.  Or you could power the ESS and BOB separately.   Please go here to find out more about these BOB related options.


2. Verify that your ESS has power (you will need to turn on your 5 V DC power supply):  

  • The top Green Status LED should make 2 quick short blinks each second when Mach is not connected to the ESS. 
  • When Mach is connected and communicating with the ESS, the top Green Status LED should be on steady and the bottom Green Status LED should be blinking about 10 times each second.
  • Here are the details for all of the status LED codes.
  • Make sure your ESS is NOT powered when you are plugging things into it or physically working with it.


3. Connect the ESS directly to your Ethernet port on your PC.  Plug one end of an Ethernet cable into the ESS and the other end into your PC's Ethernet port. 

What if you don't have an Ethernet port?  You can use a PCI/PCI Express Ethernet Adapter -OR- a USB 2.0 or 3.0 Ethernet Adapter.  This link also talks about why we connect directly to your PC's Ethernet adapter.

Why do we use Ethernet?  Read here.

Here are the LED status codes for the Ethernet Jack's LEDs.


At this point, The silver Ethernet jack should have the yellow (or orange ) LED on steady, and its green LED should be blinking or flashing (somewhat randomly).  If you do not see this kind of activity, that means that your Ethernet cable is not connected or the Ethernet cable is bad (or you are not supplying 5V DC power).


ESS Ethernet Port


4. The ESS provides 4 mounting holesWe recommend using standoffs to mount your ESS (and other equipment) securely inside a control box.   Make sure loose wires and other conductive objects don't touch your SmoothStepper, since this can cause it to short out.

We have seen and heard a few unique ways to mount your SmoothStepper.  We strongly discourage these approaches:

  • Don't use silicon to 'glue' your ESS to a board.  You may want to move your ESS someday, and the silicon won't release easily, in fact it may damage your ESS.
  • Don't use wire ties to hold your ESS in place.
  • Don't leave your ESS hanging in mid air by its cables.  They can come loose overtime causing problems.



5. Click here to download the SCU.  The SCU will configure your Ethernet port and Windows firewall so Mach3 and Mach4 can communicate with your ESS. 

6. After your PC can see the SmoothStepper, click here to continue with Getting Started:


If you are just getting started with Mach, seriously consider using Mach4 and NOT Mach3.  Mach3 is essentially end of life, and not supported with any new development.  Mach4 has new features under development and has much more in terms of capabilities and flexibility - especially with lua scripts.  However, the number one reason in our book is diagnostics, in Mach3 it is hard to determine what went wrong when something doesn't work. In Mach4 the diagnostics log and the screen set messages make it much easier to understand what is going wrong.






Setting up your PC with the USS (USB SmoothStepper)


Please remember that the USS only works with Mach3 and NOT Mach4.


To set your PC up to use the USS, please watch this video.

1. Connect your USS to your PC with a USB cable.  The USB cable will provide power for your USS.  However, you may optionally use a dedicated power supply for the USS, which is discussed here.


2. If the Blue power LED is ON(steady), then you may continue (the red Init LED will be on steady too).  If the blue power LED is not ON, then there is a problem with the USB cable or your optional power supply, or the power selection jumper (shown here).


3. Adjust your Virtual Memory settings on your PC.  This single software step gives the biggest performance improvement for Windows PCs.


4. Click here to download the Windows USB drivers.  Follow the instructions on that page, for how to install the drivers.


5. After your PC can see the SmoothStepper, click here to continue with Getting Started: Setting up the SmoothStepper and Mach3.



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