As I mentioned in another thread, I am in the process of modifying a Compact 5 CNC to work with Mach 3. My C5 is fully operational, but I feel the original electronics are just too limiting for my needs. So, the way I see it I've got two options.
Scenario 1 - Replace all the electronics with a new motion controller, stepper drivers and steppers. I could also add another power supply to run the new hardware and leave the old supply for the spindle motor, but in studying the schematics and specs on the supply, I believe the existing power supply would run the new steppers and drivers just fine. Has anyone used the original power supply in this way, or does anyone have any suggestions either negative or positive about this idea?
Scenario 2 - I actually think this would be my preferred option. So, in reviewing the schematics and the boards/connectors in the lathe, it seems to me that it should be possible to leave the entire machine intact with all the original components, but add a new motion controller and simply disconnect the stepper signals from the CPU board and instead connect the control signal wires from the new motion controller to the existing stepper driver board. This would seemingly allow the new controller to run the steppers thru the original stepper driver, but I'm unclear about which pin on the stepper board does what in the schematic. They are labelled 5V, GND, C, D, A, B and I've attached images from the schematics of the connectors I'm referring to. Has anyone figured out what signals are expected on pins C, D, A and B? Any thoughts on the feasibility of this or firsthand experience with something similar?
Thanks in advance for any responses or advice. Also, I should add that with scenario 2 I'd look to eventually tie in other things such as estop and spindle control, but it's the stepper signalling that I think will ultimately determine which scenario I attempt.