Orac Programmed from Laptop & Associated Wiring Connections.

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Ridgeback
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Orac Programmed from Laptop & Associated Wiring Connections.

Post by Ridgeback » Sun 05 Mar , 2017 17:13 pm

Hi All,

Over the past year I have made some progress with my Denford Orac MWP84 with regard to getting it working, learning how to program it, decipher tool setting and even taking a cut. My next obstacle is the storage and retrieval of programs to and from the machine as the magnetic tape cassette affair is pretty much useless. I have had many various attempts in both directions and have yet to achieve success. To this end I have decided to take another approach which I hope will be more successful and more to the point, be continually consistent in its operation.

I wish to go down the route of using an old laptop as the program storage device instead of the magnetic tapes. There is a little more to my plan than first meets the eye, as I also have in my possession a Denford Desk Top Tutor keyboard which I would like to incorporate into my system. The reason for this is, it is much more comfortable sitting in my house writing a program into the laptop and then going out to the garage/workshop to download and use it at leisure, knowing I can back up the program and return later with no major inputting to do as it will be readily available to download again from my laptop.

I am a complete novice at this and have heard tales of woe from all quarters with regard to my ambitious plan. I have included some pictures of what I have to hand and would like help/advice on whether or not I can achieve my end goal or should I give up before committing too much time to a lost cause?
I have an old laptop loaded with Windows XP, a Denford Desk Top Tutor keyboard, a 15 pin Din cable (with 1 pin missing?) or an RS232 15 Pin D Type plug connector, a 25 pin RS232 male plug connector, an inline surge protector adaptor and something called a MINI TESTER. This is a device, which I am told is used to assist with confirming (flashing led) whether or not a signal is being passed between two devices, i.e. laptop and Orac, etc. Another mysterious electronic bit of wizardry I think!!!

Now we come to the crunch, WIRING the systems together so they can talk to each other. Using the Denford site, I have found drawings by A McHenry which tells me the pin connections for a 25 pin D Type to 9 pin D Type system and from this I have tried to decipher how I can adapt this to suit my laptop, as it only has an 15 pin VGA input/output port. Not much success there, so far.

I hope to make a cable up which I can plug into my laptop and the Desk top Tutor keyboard, write a program to the laptop, then disconnect the Desk Top Tutor keyboard, plug the cable into the Orac, via its RS232 25 pin D Type input/output port and download the newly written program to the machine. Is this a feasible plan? Will I need some software on my laptop to run this in order to make the Orac understand the information being sent to it? If Yes, what software and where is it available from? Any useful help and advice will be most welcomed as time spent data inputting is not as much fun as actual machining.

Cheers Colin.

P.s. having problems loading pictures just now, will try again later.
Attachments
P1090374 Mini Tester.zip
(4.82 MiB) Downloaded 127 times
P1090366 15 Pin Din Cable.zip
(5.46 MiB) Downloaded 123 times
P1090363 Desk Top Tutor Top View.zip
(728.48 KiB) Downloaded 129 times
P1090361 Laptop Input Output port.zip
(473.03 KiB) Downloaded 127 times

triac
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Re: Orac Programmed from Laptop & Associated Wiring Connecti

Post by triac » Sun 05 Mar , 2017 20:33 pm

Hi Colin

The original operating software has the ability to download from computer to machine and vice versa. As long as you can run DOS programs within Windows on your laptop it will do what you want.

The software is in the Download section, if you can't find it message me and I will upload a copy.

Regards, Emgee

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Re: Orac Programmed from Laptop & Associated Wiring Connecti

Post by Ridgeback » Sun 05 Mar , 2017 21:08 pm

Hi Emgee,

Thanks for the quick response.

I have not made any attempt to check the ability to run a program to or from the machine or laptop as I have no cable connection between them yet.

The wiring configuration between the Orac RS232 25 pin D plug and the Laptop 15 pin D plug has been my major consideration for approval BEFORE I delve into seeing what coms I can achieve. There appear to be some crossovers needed in some of the wiring diagrams I have seen on line and I was wondering if this too was necessary with what I have? If I can make some headway on the correct wiring layout, then I can go ahead and make up a cable to do the job. Help with this wiring configuration will be a big step forward to begin with. Perhaps a schematic wiring diagram showing connections is what I need, if you can help there?

Once that is complete, it will then lead on to a conversation between the two machines, I hope.

I have no software on my laptop for the Orac at this time.

Cheers Colin.

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Re: Orac Programmed from Laptop & Associated Wiring Connecti

Post by DavidB » Sun 05 Mar , 2017 21:37 pm

Ridgeback,

Don't use the 15 way VGA connector as that is largely output for video use and you might possibly damage it trying to connect RS232 voltage levels to it. You either need a laptop with a proper RS232 comm port or a RS232 to USB adapter connected to your current laptop. I have an Orac and use Linux and a terminal program can be used to capture and send the files to/from the Orac, on XP you should have hyperterm available in the accessories menu to do the same. I'm not sure how easy it'll be to create the programs on the PC for sending to the Orac as various control codes need to be in place to mark the start and end of the data blocks, it's in the documentation. I have entered programs on my Orac and easily saved them to my PC and loaded them back to the Orac with the menus provided by the Orac.

Ridgeback
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Hardware/Software: Denford Triac with original hardware/software
Denford Orac recently updated with Mac3
Location: Redhill, Surrey. U.K.

Re: Orac Programmed from Laptop & Associated Wiring Connecti

Post by Ridgeback » Sun 05 Mar , 2017 21:56 pm

Hi DavidB,

Thanks for that piece of valuable information, re the damage it might cause my laptop. That is the type of thing I was concerned about and you have come good for me.

If my choice is to replace the laptop or the cable then I feel it is a no brainer, a new cable is my next port of call, USB to RS232 25 pin D type it will be. Will an "off the shelf" generic cable be ok, or is going to be a special?

Regarding the programming, I had hoped to be able to do that on the Denford Desk Top Tutor I have, plugged directly into the laptop. I assume that there will have to be some software in the laptop to be able to recognise the data coming from the Desk Top Tutor so it can process it. You say Linux might be the solution? Have not heard of "hyperterm", so this is something I shall have to investigate in the near future too.

Cheers Colin.

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Re: Orac Programmed from Laptop & Associated Wiring Connecti

Post by DavidB » Sun 05 Mar , 2017 22:34 pm

Ridgeback,

The Orac doesn't use a high baud rate for the comms so I would expect any RS232 to USB converter would do the job, I think all I have run across have 9 way connectors. The cable I use is a 9 way to 9 way and a 9 way to 25 way adapter cable and it worked first time but RS232 probably causes more problems than anything else with PC connectivity due to the myriad ways it can be configured, I worked in software for 20 years and had my share of issues with RS232. I think my 9 way to 9 way is a standard crossover handshaking cable, ie tx to rx and rx to tx, I can check tomorrow if required and maybe find a part number on the cable.

Regarding the desktop tutor, I have one from a Triac and while I connected it up to a PC and comms software and got some output when keys were pressed I expect it would require a custom app to interpret the output and convert it to something useful, Maybe you can learn that and write something to interpret the output.

I only mentioned Linux as that is the OS I use almost exclusively now, I don't think it offers any magic bullets for you. I worked as a software engineer writing Windows software for 20 years and so have no great love for the OS these days.

IIRC you should be able to find hyperterm in the programs->accessories menu off the start button, it is a basic terminal program and not very good as with many standard MS included programs but it does the job. IIRC they ditched it as a standard app after XP or a version or 2 after.

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Re: Orac Programmed from Laptop & Associated Wiring Connecti

Post by triac » Sun 05 Mar , 2017 23:19 pm

Hi David

Interested to know if your Orac is still in standard form as this is the first time i've heard of anyone claiming Linux or Mach control of the standard machine.
Are you sure your Orac hasn't been converted before you aquired it ?

Emgee

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Re: Orac Programmed from Laptop & Associated Wiring Connecti

Post by DavidB » Sun 05 Mar , 2017 23:46 pm

Triac,

The Orac is still standard and fully operational and I'm not claiming any control on the part of the PC. The PC is purely used for storage of the programs entered into the Orac currently. The Linux PC with a terminal program can easily be used to accept the programs from the Orac and save them to the file system and also to send them back to the Orac for further use. I have no idea if the mini cassette unit works as I have no cassettes and have no use for them as I can transfer the data to a PC easily via the RS232 facilities.

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Re: Orac Programmed from Laptop & Associated Wiring Connecti

Post by triac » Mon 06 Mar , 2017 0:36 am

Hi David

So you are only using Linux for file transfer and storage, not compiling programs in Linux to use with the Orac. ?

Emgee

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Re: Orac Programmed from Laptop & Associated Wiring Connecti

Post by DavidB » Mon 06 Mar , 2017 20:19 pm

Triac,

Yes currently I'm just using the PC for file transfer and storage but intend to look into editing more on the PC in the future, my background is in mechanical engineering and I worked in software for 20 years so that should help. I have a few current items to get done for the Orac such as an ER40 chuck mount and while I'm set-up to do that I'll clean up the taper in the 3 jaw as it seems far to heavy a fit currently, I have a number of D1-4 fitment chucks for my Harrison M300 which is the same style short taper fitting and none require anywhere near the load to pull the chuck up to fit correctly. That and I need to sit down and plan what tools I'm going to want in the auto toolchanger. I also have a Triac PC which is in the process of conversion to a BOB and EMC. I expect the Orac to be done first as I can use it as is as it still functions as originally intended.

Ridgeback
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Re: Orac Programmed from Laptop & Associated Wiring Connecti

Post by Ridgeback » Fri 10 Mar , 2017 0:22 am

Hi Guys,

Just been reading your posts and it all sound very interesting. Some of it goes over my head though, but I won't give up easily.

I called in at my local computer shop and the guy suggested using a really old laptop (which I have) as you can run an RS232 25 pin directly out the back and into the Orac 25 Pin port. Looking at the wiring diagrams on this site, I think a few bridging connections are needed, so I shall make up my own leads and do the necessary inside the plugs.

Is it possible to download the software from this forum, onto my desktop (where I have an internet connection), transfer it to a memory stick and then download from this into the ancient laptop I have?

I too want the laptop as a program storage and retrieval unit to replace the metal tape device on the machine (it is pants, basically). I hope to progress so I can use it to create programs on it in the future too. I would like to integrate a Denford Desktop Tutor into the mix as this would mean programming indoors in luxury and warmth rather than in the cold shed. We Dream ;-)

Cheers Colin.

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Re: Orac Programmed from Laptop & Associated Wiring Connecti

Post by TDIPower » Sat 11 Mar , 2017 0:50 am

HI, I very much doubt the laptop has a 25way RS232, that will be a parallel port, The way you can tell is that the connector on the laptop if Parallel will be a female (like the 15way video connector) RS232 is Male, It would more likely have a 9way for the RS232.

I can't remember ever seeing a laptop with a 25way.

Hope that helps

Pete

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Re: Orac Programmed from Laptop & Associated Wiring Connecti

Post by TDIPower » Sat 11 Mar , 2017 0:58 am

There is a manual on here somewhere, I dloaded it years ago that has the pin out but I believe you need a lead connected as follows.

9way - 25 way
1 - 8
2 - 3
3 - 2
4 - 20
5 - 7
6 - 6
7 - 4
8 - 5
9 - 22

Ridgeback
Posts: 33
Joined: Sat 31 Oct , 2015 21:33 pm
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Denford Orac recently updated with Mac3
Location: Redhill, Surrey. U.K.

Re: Orac Programmed from Laptop & Associated Wiring Connecti

Post by Ridgeback » Sat 11 Mar , 2017 22:55 pm

Hi Pete,

Like I said, I am not up on all this post processing jargon, but am willing to learn from the Masters in this field. I am hopefully going to upload some pics of the rear of my Toshiba 4080XCDT laptop. I think you might locate one in Jurasic Park if you are lucky, lol. It is that old, it has the mouse as a flexible little green button in the middle of the keyboard.

Take a quick peek at the pics I have uploaded and correct me if I am wrong. I would say that this brill little device has:-

1 x 25 Pin Female port
1 x 15 Pin Female port
1 x 9 Pin male port
1 x 2 Line Female Ribbon connector (I think)?
Don't make em like they used to anymore?

This is what I hope to use, if it is up to the job, as I have no other use for it at present. It is small, light and easy to take to and from my shed. Just the tool I need?

Now you have seen the pics, the OS is XP, the question now is, "will this be up to the job I have in mind for it"? I await your reply in anticipation.
If positive, where do I go from here? Do I go ahead and make up the "homemade lead" and then plug and play?

The copy I have from this site show that the connections for 25 Pin to 25 Pin are as follows.

Computer 25 way D Type Female Pins - TO - Orac 25 Way D Type Male Pins.
2 - 2
3 - 3
7 - 7
Bridge 4 to 5 - Bridge 4 to 5
- Bridge 6 to 8 to 20
If I have put a spanner in the works with this, feel free to put me right, as that is the essence of learning.

Cheers Colin.
Attachments
Satellite 4080xcdt Ribbon.zip
(4.39 MiB) Downloaded 154 times
Satellite 4080xcdt 9&15 pin.zip
(4.9 MiB) Downloaded 196 times
Satellite 4080xcdt 25 pin.zip
(4.93 MiB) Downloaded 302 times
Satellite 4080xcdt Tosiba.zip
(4.51 MiB) Downloaded 140 times

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Re: Orac Programmed from Laptop & Associated Wiring Connecti

Post by TDIPower » Sun 12 Mar , 2017 0:22 am

Ok the computer should be fine, you need to remember it is old but not as old as the Orac.
The 15way is for an external screen
25way is the parallel port (or printer port)
the 9 Way is the RS232 port and what you need to use.

Now RS232 is a real pain in the backside and I hope you have an easy time with this.
The biggest issue is the lead, their are lots of interpretations on the leads wiring and when it comes down to it a lot of connections that may or may not be required.

In its simplest form it is just 3 wires TX, RX and Ground, be it 25 way or 9 way pin 2 and pin 3 are the TX/RX pins. Thing is sometimes you need to link pin 2 to pin2 and pin 3 to pin3, sometimes you need to cross them 2 to 3 and 3 to 2!! It all comes down to how the person who wired the connector in the machine understood the format.
The other connections are used for the machine to say 'ok I've used that data can you send me more' and things like that. by putting links in the connector it is used to fool the machine, as soon as it sends the message asking for more info the link fires it back into the machine so it expects the info (it's been a few years since I went through the ifs and whys but that's sort of what is going on)

In your case I would make a lead up as follows,

9way - 25way
2 - 2
3 - 3
5 - 7

You need to bridge the following
9 way
7 - 8
1 - 4 - 6

25 way
4 - 5
6 - 8 - 20

That is basically linking back the I'm ready for more info bits so the only links between the computer and the Orac will be TX, RX and ground.

Now you may do everything right from this point and it won't work, this MAY be down to the fact pin 2 - 2 and pin 3 - 3 rather than pin 2 -3 and pin 3 - 2. If that makes sense, It all comes back to how it was understood. Some people thought you should link TX to TX and RX to RX others through no You send TX to Receive RX etc. SO be ready for re wiring your lead to get it to work.

Right next is the computer, now I have never used a terminal program in XP, but that may need setting up to be able to talk to the RS232 port, so you may need to tell it what address it is on. I have just had a quick look and it may be a bit harder than I thought with XP but as I say I've never done it (http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/102 ... port-rs232) I think DaveB would be the man to sort you out there.

Hope that helps

Pete

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Re: Orac Programmed from Laptop & Associated Wiring Connecti

Post by Ridgeback » Sun 12 Mar , 2017 16:41 pm

Hi Pete,

I like to give credit when it is due and up to this point you deserve it as you have already saved me much pain. I fully anticipate that this is not going to be easy, but when weighed up against continually having to input a program long hand, with all the possibilities of problems involved, this is going to be an easy option if we can get it to work. I am hoping that the MINI TESTER I have, which plugs in line with the cable, might be able to indicate if there are any signals passing to and fro. Thanks once again for your help.

I am also, at this moment in time deep in development with grinding a taper plug gauge on my Boxford lathe with the aid of a homemade Dremel attachment so I have something I can use to be able to make a new chuck location plate for my Orac as I have another chuck I wish to use on it. If successful, I shall post pics and dimensions on this site for others to copy and use as there seems to be a demand for this info but no real solution yet. Watch this space ;-)

I will be getting back to the Orac connection problem later as I need to complete this chuck plate project first, No Chuck, No turning can be done.

Cheers Colin.

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Re: Orac Programmed from Laptop & Associated Wiring Connecti

Post by DavidB » Sun 12 Mar , 2017 17:23 pm

For information I have just checked my 9 way to 25 way lead and it is wired 2->3 and 3->2.

For my ER40 chuck mount I have it mounted on a parallel test bar so that when I do the grinding of the back and taper it'll be between centres and I can remove it to check the taper fit.

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Re: Orac Programmed from Laptop & Associated Wiring Connecti

Post by TDIPower » Sun 12 Mar , 2017 18:33 pm

Just sorting out and organising some files on the computer and found this from when I was working out the wiring for my lathe. I got it from here at some point and It is probably what you have already.

Pete
dos_machine_cable_diagrams.zip
(217.49 KiB) Downloaded 134 times

Ridgeback
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Joined: Sat 31 Oct , 2015 21:33 pm
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Re: Orac Programmed from Laptop & Associated Wiring Connecti

Post by Ridgeback » Sun 12 Mar , 2017 23:16 pm

Hi DavidB

Thanks for the info on the wiring connections and also for the Chuck back plate. I have gone this far with my project so feel I should carry it on through to its conclusion. Yours is another option if this is not successful. Thanks again.

Cheers Colin.

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Joined: Sat 31 Oct , 2015 21:33 pm
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Re: Orac Programmed from Laptop & Associated Wiring Connecti

Post by Ridgeback » Sun 12 Mar , 2017 23:26 pm

Hi Pete,

Yes that is the same drawing I found on this site. Thanks.

I have just ordered the 9 Pin Female D-Sub Socket Solder Connector so I can complete the second end of my cable.

Cheers Colin.

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