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4Re: Hello

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  • mikezcnc
    Nov 29, 2004
      John,

      That is also my goal to control a Brother machine by a modern
      computer and possibly under windows. You are right that the market
      for such a device in monopolized. I think it is a shame that there
      are tons of wonderful Brother machines that could be used and enjoyed
      more. I have a lot of time invested in CNC design so it cannot be
      much different.

      I don't have the machine yet -it is being shipped to me as we speak
      but I imagine there is a stepepr motor (I don't think they would use
      servo but who knows, maybe they needed so much precision that Brother
      put a servo in it- that would complicate the matters a bit). The
      stepper motor has a driver that takes some step and dir comamnds. Of
      course Brother may have their own proprietary way of doing it, but
      stepper (or more) is like a plotter which has basically two steppers.
      One would determine the wiring, drive the steppers and... and....jus
      dreaming today. Hopefully it won't be neccessary to go that route.
      Someone has got to have a schematic. Now that I freed up my time from
      a plotter project (lucky me) I am ready to hack the brother knitting
      and I am thrilled I found this board and met you here.

      In the past it was always difficult for me to control an orignal CNC
      machine from an original controller because they used proprietary
      interface which they never reveale- what you determined is a HUGE
      step forward. The simplest way was to replace the electronics
      (drivers) with modern ones and control everything from a parallel
      port using a step/dir program, which are plentiful. I don't know the
      currents in steppers but two drivers cost about $100, plus power
      supply and box, call it $150. Cable would be standard, $5. Compare it
      to $450 for a designaknit + $100 cable and the savings are obvious.
      Of course a small detail would have to be figured out what to send to
      that parallel port but a Basic program in DOS would be the first
      quick and dirty way. I am not yet familiar with the workings of a
      knitting machine but can imagine it is not different thatn a printing
      circuit board being drilled under a string of commands?!
      Something like: turn the first motor 2 steps in direction A, then
      turn the seciond motor in direction B by 5 steps etc.
      When the first electronic machines appeared (16 years ago?), it was a
      dark science but now many things have been figured out by hobbysts.

      For that, one could go several ways, first in DOS, one could use
      Basic to send a control file to the knitter. Or use a modified
      TurboCNC which has a source code for Pascal. Any other cnc program
      manufacturer would be thrilled to expand their market and eat into
      designaknit's chunk of action. I would like to help to resolve this
      unhealthy situation. And yes, you are write, designaknit has figured
      it out and they were not born with that knowledge.

      Have you determined if Brother or what's left of that division is
      willing to share teh interface information? I would say they should
      be very open to that because it would increase the interest with
      their other products. I did a quick search but found nothing yet.

      I had a similar story recently, slightly off knitting subject. I
      acquired an old calcomp plotter which didn't have the drivers and
      usual search revealed I would have to go to w95 or possibly DOS.
      Finally I located a program www.winline.com in Australia ($200). A
      USA dealer contacted me and convinced me that without the winline
      program I won't be able to control my plotter. After one week of
      trying I found out that AutCAD 2000 does have calcomp driver and it
      plotted beautifully. Then the problem was how to plot schematics? For
      that I figured out that schematic capture has a dxf export utility
      and AutoCAD can open dxf. The whole process takes few seconds and I
      can plot from a calcomp any schematic I want to any size which was
      the idea to have a cheap large size plotter. During the discovery
      process I learned that lots of company rely on ignorance of
      customers.

      I would say if Designaknit dropped the price to $200 it would make
      their product more popular and make the knitting hobby bigger. The
      cable shouldn't cost more than $50 on a good day.

      I looked thru a pdf document that you posted and noticed there was no
      pinout. Have you figured out a pinout?

      About the cables: do you suspect they have some electronics built
      into the connector(s)? Mike

      PS

      John, I am looking for a drive as you suggested and so far haven't
      been able to locate one, maybe you have one spare or know about one?
      I thought I would ask.
      If you want to you may send the info to eemikez@...



      --- In kminternals@yahoogroups.com, "jhogerhuis" <jhoger@p...> wrote:
      >
      > --- In kminternals@yahoogroups.com, "mikezcnc" <eemikez@c...>
      wrote:
      > > from a program DesignaKnit directly to machine. Here I noticed
      > that
      > > there are two types of cables avaialble, roughly at $100 each:
      one
      > > that allows input of data from the program and the other that
      > desont,
      > > but both allow downloading of patterns. I have no idea why would
      > > anyone want a cable without a real time input capability???
      > >
      >
      >
      > Their cables are very expensive. Although these cables do have
      > electronics in them, I don't think there is any reason for them to
      > cost more than $20 if efficiently manufactured by hand.
      >
      > I don't know much about them beyond that. To connect to the
      > computer, I use the cable that Tandy provided for the TRS-80 Model
      > 100 computer to connect to these drives.
      >
      > > Then I saw an article about someone having developed a PDA
      program
      > > but I believe it is pretty much a note pad.
      > >
      >
      > One of my goals is to create a simple pattern storage/retrieval +
      > pattern editing program that will run on any PalmOS PDA with a
      > serial port.
      >
      > > I searched for a protocol to PDD and found NOTHING. I search for
      > > service manuals and also nothing. I found a file posted by
      someone
      > in
      > > the file section: I am thrilled. Taht is a very generous gift
      form
      > > the person who passed it along.
      > >
      >
      > You're welcome.
      >
      > I'm hoping that this information being out there will jump start
      > finding details beyond the protocol, in particular the data format
      > of what the machine actually saves to the disk. I can basically
      > mimic a km and read/write sectors given this protocol information,
      > but I don't know how to write any sensible pattern data yet.
      >
      > That's where I'm hoping we can all help each other out.
      >
      > Also in the process of doing this I'm sure some test code/programs
      > will be developed that will allow doing neat tricks with a PC
      > connected to an FDD or a KM. Hopefully everyone will share what
      they
      > learn openly.
      >
      > IMO, that's the only way this group can work efficiently, is by
      > sharing information openly. In fact the creators of DAK and others
      > have obviously already determined this information we're going to
      > derive. But because everyone keeps it secret it means people spent
      > the same effort over and over finding the same things. We're going
      > to open it up once and for all.
      >
      > > I apologize for blasting all the questions at once but I feel
      like
      > I
      > > found a brother soal on the subject. Glad to be here and I will
      be
      > > checking this forum often. Mike
      >
      > Good to have you on the team, Mike.
      >
      > -- John.
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