Introduction: 6 Axis CNC MACH3 Engraving Machine Interface Breakout Board USB PWM Spindle With ASKPOWER A131 Series

Picture of 6 Axis CNC MACH3 Engraving Machine Interface Breakout Board USB PWM Spindle With ASKPOWER A131 Series

The strange name for the article is because control board doesn't seem to have proper name. And the VFD is also not Huanyang but it looks like so i hope this will help people to find what they need.

This instructable will be mainly describing the control board as this is nice board having 0-10V output for spindle control but no usable manual and i will also explain the connection to VFD ASKPOWER. The VFD image from user guide looks bit different from real think but there is really no need for the potentiometer as all parameters needed can be set from panel.

Step 1: Powering the Board

Picture of Powering the Board

This board needs two power sources as they claim that isolating the digital from analogue part of the board is great idea.

In short: power the board by 24V and USB connection and it will all work.

Full explanation.

In reality it might depends on what you need. if you need only to power outputs (for motor drivers) it will happily work from USB connector. All you need to do is set you limit switch Active low in Mach3 as you do not have any signal input.

If you need Inputs (no PWM no Relays) and you have only 5V you can connect them to "5V out" connection. Obviously this is not the intended use but it works fine.

The intended use is the "12V-24V Power input connection" (on image marked as 24V). Manual says 12-24 which is not the whole explanations.

If you power the board by 12V you get 5V output, power for your inputs and PWM signal. "PWM 0-10V" terminal will be outputting 0-10V.

If you power the board by 24V you get all prevoius + the 3 Relays will work as they need 24V.

When the board is powered by USB the "5V Output power by USB" connections will have 5V. But trough these same connections the board can be powered by 5V instead the USB.

So at the end the 5V analogue output could power the 5V digital input to eliminate the USB supply for the board but you will lose the separation and that is probably not a good idea and again, not intended use of the board.

Step 2: Outputs, Pwm Relays

Picture of Outputs, Pwm Relays

Outputs are relatively easy to set-up as their numbers represent the number you set in Mach3 as output.

One think to be careful is that the P1 is also used for 0-10V (mach 3 pwm) output. So if setting motor control. avoid using P1 as you might want it for pwm. In image the connectors is in green colour. The green Jumper if removed will disable the 0-10V output.

Outputs P14,P16,P17 always work but can be used also to control relay. To turn OFF the relay just remove the relay related jumpers.

In red square there are standard outputs with no special functions (except the P1). Can be set to control motors for example.

The outputs are 1V to -3.3V not 0 to 5V. So when Setting up the motor drivers you set ground to positive signal input. and your signals to negative. (white and yellow cables are signals, green is for ground.

Step 3: Inputs

Picture of Inputs

The naming of inputs on the board is 0,1,2,3,4

But in mach3 they representation is 10,11,12,13,15 respectively.

Hopefully this is standard how the LPT port is set not just in my case.

The inputs connection is high meaning it sits at 5V and needs to be grounded to produce a change.

Image attached is just example showing how I set homing switches.

Step 4: PWM (0-10V) and Forward Rotation

Picture of PWM (0-10V) and Forward Rotation

VFD i am using can read 0-10V as input for spindle speed and this connection goes to the output of the control board (0-10V).

As previously mentioned do not use P1 output if you want to use pwm as same signal controls it.

The set-up to generate the PWM signal is in red square called Motor control. Note that the pwm base frequency is not speed of your spindle it determines the resolution of PWM signal and you can keep it 5-10Hz. Although on my set-up the signal VFD reading at 10Hz was erratic, I needed to set it to 100Hz to work properly. Probably due to the USB to LPT conversion device I use.

The PWM signal will be generated on ...motor outputs / Spindle (image2) which in case of this controller must be set to pin1 as the only one which can generate 0-10V based on pwm signal from Mach3.

I also use relay to turn on Forward rotation of spindle, this is not really needed the spindle can be turned ON on the VFD manually and completely controlled by pwm from complete stand still to full speed. But you would have to remember to turn the Spindle ON on the controller. So The red square called Relay control is used for this. I set Output 2 to be the signal to turn on the Forward spindle rotation and assigned it output pin17 which is one of the relays on the control board. The relay will control the FWD forward rotation ON/OFF signal. Simply Turns ON/OFF spindle.

Step 5: VFD ASKPOWER Spindle and Power

Picture of VFD ASKPOWER Spindle and Power


U,V,W Connections on VFD Drive will be connected do spindle. Dosnt matter in which way. If the spindle will be turning wrong directions just swap any two connections.



I bought drive which can be powered by 3 phase source but i wanted to use it from one phase. Look at the image to see the set-up.

Step 6: VFD ASKPOWER Data Connection

Picture of VFD ASKPOWER Data Connection

The drive connections are well explained in manual so I just comet on relevant for this case.

You have 12V and 5V outputs available. Nice as the 12V is enough to power the PWM output of your board. Not relays thou. My control board is powered by 24V as I made a use of the relays for the FWD ON/OFF connection.

5V,10V,20mA IN. are inputs which you can use to set speed of your spindle. I Use the 10V input as my signal from control board is 0-10V (Yellow cable on VFD)

FWD when this connection is pulled low (connected to GND ground) the spindle is turned ON in FWD forward direction.

REW would be for turning the spindle on in opposite direction but I have no use for this on cnc.

Look at the image to see how I connected it to the driver Board. Notice that one ground signal is connected to common ground on the board. But another ground must be used for relay if we want use the FWD signal from the board. When relay is energised connects the ground and FWD Input signal line. this will Turn On the spindle in forward direction.

Software set-up is needed on VFD to read the inputs.

Step 7: VFD ASKPOWER Basic Set-up to Read Inputs

The set-up is simple. Well explained in manual. You have Pn01 to Pn35 menus on this drive. I left most of them in factory settings as my spindle is 400Hz, your might be different so read trough the manual. I only changed these settings:

Pn03 Source of runtime frequency. I set for 4. This will read external signal from 10V IN. When signal is 10V it will equal the max frequency you set for your spindle (400Hz in my case). If it will be 0 the spindle will be at stop.

Pn04 set to 2. this will read the FWD, REW inputs. So you can externally turn on and of your Spindle.

If this parameter is set to 1 you can turn on the spindle from the VFD start button. That is what you would need to do if you decided to omit the FWD signal.

Pn05 ive set to 1. so only clockwise signal is enabled (the one from FWD).

When buying this drive, buy matched set-up; means 1.5kW spindle and 1.5kW inverter or 2kW spindle 2kW inverter atc... This driver doesn't have the possibility to limit current as i have seen was possible on some other drives.

Step 8: The Wole Setup and LPT to USB

Picture of The Wole Setup and LPT to USB

The first image is the whole testing set-up.

The second image is usb to LPT converter designed for mach3. I bought it with software which the company is making for control cnc but i wasn't happy with the control software as it was doing strange thinks like my motors where moving without sending signal atc... which wasn't any issue with Mach3. So i dont know where was relay the issue.

I had before boards designed directly for USB without any LPT and the communication was dropping in the middle of the work... well i might been unlucky.

So just as advice this little converter is called UC100 and works really well. Company is called UCCNC. It is about 100e which is expensive but first time i have no issues to control the board trough USB.

Anyway. I hope this will help to someone.



SönkeM (author)2017-11-20

Thanks a lot for this great manual!

I've got a question regarding spindle-pwm and 0-10v output.

I tried several settings regarding the input freq. 5Hz, 10Hz, 100Hz doesn't matter, i won't get more than 8.5v on the output. Up to that point, it works quite nice.

5V and 24V is connected.

any idea?

VladoM (author)SönkeM2017-11-20

i think your setup is fine. the pwm frequency doesnt affect the duty cycle so when the pwm is fully ON it is basicaly the same as 5v signal and should result in 10V output. I am not sure but mach3 probably have some setting for max pwm frequency something pointing to the fact that for example 400Hz is limit for given spindle, i am not sure at the mmnt i was making some setting for this, but maybe that was on the inverter.

SönkeM (author)VladoM2017-11-20

Thanks again, i'll try a higher frequency and see, what will happen. In the end i could set the vfd to a higher max. frequency, and it would work, but thats just not perfect...

John Henry PatrickR (author)2017-11-08

Ive been looking all over the web for the following answer... but can not find it anywhere. Can anyone help. I have a laser module with built in driver board. I have a breakout board connected to my computer via the parralel port. The breakout board has a pwm port (output) and the driver board has a pwm port (input). To use the pwm facility in I connect pwm out from the breakout board to pwm in on the laser driver board.....or will doing this blow the actual laser driver board. I do hope this makes sense. I will send a free gift to the first person who can give me the correct answer. Thanks

On this board(the one i made tutorial for) the answer would be connect the pwm input of your laser to Pin1. and also you need to connect some ground conection most probably your laser module have 2 wire input for pwm... so PWM to pin1 and ground to ground.

About the parallel port signal... yeah that should work too but once i measured output voltage of my parallel port and it was around 3.5 volts which should be fine for ttl electronics but you never know... also the breakboard isolates the connections of parallel port so it is safer for the pc in case something goes wrong. so leave the parallel port out i would say. (well unless the base frequency for the pwm for the laser is so high that the optoisolators in the breakboard arnt quick enough but... that shouldnt happend)

also you should disable the pin allowing 0-10V generation (there is jumper for this on the board step2 of my tutorial) as that might use some capacitor and already smooth the 5V signal on P1 which is not something you want.

in worst case the pwm will not work and your laser will be fully on or fully off... that the worst what can happend if you conect it to P1 as the voltages there are 0-5V. unless you switch the ground and PWM signal which might result in -5V which could damage something but i am only guessing as i dont know your whole setup.

also if you connect on your laser module the pwm input to ground (basicaly connect the two connections for pwm) the laser should turn off... just a test that the input even works...

good luck

Thank you for your reply, you are a scholar and a gentleman.
I wonder.... I have uploaded three pics to help you see my situation better. I need to wire up my laser to the breakout board so I can use the laser with PWM facility. More so I can engrave in greyscale, when it comes to it. The connections on the laser board are 1. VCC+ with GND......and 2. PWM with ground. I am using the equipment as uploaded photos show with mac3 software. My machine is all set up for use as a bit engraver/milling machine/pen plotting machine. the only thing I'm having problems with is setting up the laser. In the meantime I am trying to get my head round the article you sent me. Regards, John

VladoM made it! (author)John Henry PatrickR2017-11-09

So your setup goes like this (attached image)

the + - connections are to powersupply that depends on your laser, might be something like 12V 2-3A.
Also I am not sure if you will be able do grayscale... it always is kind of on off.... changing the intensity of laser will mostly change size of burned place... and usualy you will be glad it burns the material with the intensity you need which can be set also by current if you have variable powersupply.

Just a thought, you can set the laser same way as your pen... i mean set it only to on/off full pwm looks like 5v and no pwm looks like 0V anyway....

so PWM contact to where you had your pin for pen and you are burning....
also the on/off mode can be set on Pin1 you dont need to even change the hardware setup. Pin1 is dedicated to pwm ... i think only because there is quicker optoisolation to handle the pwm base frequency.

and lastly the speed of your machine also affects the laser intensity so you could have non variable powersupply having laser on full strength and speed will afect the intensity of the burn.

Hi and Sincere thanks. Could you please supply me with your paypal email so I might credit your account thanks. It wont be much but maybe you could put it towards a future ebay purchase or similar. Regards, John

Thats realy nice, but no thanks :). let me know if you got it all working.

Thanks anyway BR. Youv' e been a great help. I am waiting for a handheld oscilloscope project from Banggood. When it arrives and i've checked the theory i will wire up and trial it working. I will post a photo/video of my project. Have just fitted the new breakout board as my previous one was giving me problems with the inputs and rf noise. Anyway in the meantime. Thanks once again for your knowledge and help. Regards John.

CNCAF (author)2017-10-12

That's very interesting, clear and usefull, as this breakout card isn't very documented. I have one board which is very similar to yours (main change: no USB connection). I use it with a UC100 drived by UCCNC.

One question: how do you test that's the port 1 pin does its job as a 0-10V connection (for a VFD)? Thanks.

VladoM (author)CNCAF2017-10-13

Pin1 doesnt output 0-10V you only need the pin leave free so you are not sending there anything else then PWM. ... well you could attach osciloscope to see the frerequency sent from mach. but if you look at the schematics there is pin called 0-10V output. the board uses frequency on pin1 and translates it to 0-10V on this output... so just measure this output for 0-10V

CNCAF made it! (author)VladoM2017-10-14

Well, I made a mistake talking about port 1 instead of this 0-10V output. Sorry. Here is my card

As you can see it is slightly diferent. One main différence: there is no port 1 jumper.

What's your advice to connect gnd and 0-10v output and use it throught UCCNC?


omiadhi (author)2017-09-29

which are the ports to connect XYZABC axis motor drivers. I am having same board but there is a problem to connecting motor drivers correctly to appropriate ports please help.

VladoM (author)omiadhi2017-10-02

I dont think the board have directly associated outputs. It is, for example P3 on the board represents pin3 on paralel port so in mach3 you set pin3 in ports and setings to whatever purpose you need and that will be behaviour of P3 on the board. same goes for P4, P5 atc...

draziw (author)2016-10-20

I'm looking to build a CNC machine and was wondering if this will control the NEMA stepper motors I plan on using.

VladoM (author)draziw2016-10-20

In short; it shouldn't be a problem.
You need to pick motor driver as the board controls the driver and driver controls motor. The board sends direction and step pulses to driver (i would say this is standard for all driver boards), so you have two connections there. And motors are 4 cables bipolar and 8 cables unipolar both can be connected in bipolar setup. Just check the driver, it should have 4 connection A+ A- and B+ B- for the two motor coils.

rpetrič (author)2016-09-07

why did you enabled output1. isnt 0-10v enabled automaticly?

VladoM (author)rpetrič2016-09-07

I will need to test this to be 100% sure abut why i set it, but you are right i didnt needed the output1 as the pwm signal is set in Config / Ports&pins / motor outputs / Spindle.

VladoM (author)VladoM2016-09-11

i tested it and sure you can disable it. i will change this in the instructabe so i dont confuse anyone.

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2016-03-13

Great project!

Thanks. I wanted to share this as the control board itself is cheap, supports pwm for the spindle and the set-up is not that complicated.

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