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Technical Manual
NovaPro Jumbo Digitizers
Used with CMS CNC Router Systems


1. Introduction
The NovaPro Jumbo Digitizer system includes features that allow it to be configured for operation in a wide variety of CAD and data collection systems. For any given system, such as the CMS CNC Router System, the unneeded features are of little interest. This manual, therefore, distills the complete technical manual down to just those features and operations that are used in the CMS system.

Technical help is available over the telephone during normal working hours (EST) at 610-584-8996. You are encouraged to call for assistance whenever you encounter a technical problem with which you are not completely familiar. If you anticipate needing telephone support during off hours, please phone ahead of time so an off-hours contact number can be arranged for you.

2. Installation � Mechanical

2.1. Unpacking - Remove the top cover from the crate. The accessories for the digitizer � cursor, power supply, utilities disc, and interface cables - are taped to the bottom of the digitizer. Remove them and set them aside. The stand for the digitizer is packed in a separate crate. Remove all the stand parts from its crate.

2.2. Weight Considerations - The digitizer table weighs approximately 250 lbs. Removing it from its crate and mounting it on its stand should only be undertaken when there is adequate manpower or equipment available for dealing with this amount of weight.

2.3. Assemble the stand, using the detailed stand assembly instructions. Adjust the stand height before the digitizer table is mounted to it.

2.4. Mount the digitizing table to the stand. Follow the detailed stand assembly instructions.

3. Installation - Electrical and Software

3.1. Attach the cursor, the interface cable, and the power supply to the electronics module on the bottom of the digitizing table. Figure 1 shows all of these items connected. Two interface cables, each six ft long, are included with the unit. The cables can be daisy chained together to increase the cable reach. Plug the cable into the selected COM port of the CMS Controller computer.

3.2. Plug the power cord of the power supply into 110 VAC outlet. There is no on/off switch on the power supply, so it will be on as soon as it�s plugged in. If the cursor is not on the table surface, or if there is something wrong with the digitizing system, the electronics will beep one time when power is turned on. When the cursor is on the digitizer surface, neither of its lights should be on. The green light blinks once when a button is pressed. The red light turns on when the cursor is lifted off the surface. If these things are not happening, proceed to the Troubleshooting section.

3.3. Quick Functional Test There are two ways to communicate with the digitizer from the computer to test its basic operation: TERMINAL Program and HYPER TERMINAL Program. The TERMINAL Program is a DOS based program provided on the Utility disc with the unit. It can be used with computers with older operating systems that can run DOS independently of the Windows system. The HYPER TERMINAL Program is usually a better choice, as it is a standard part of all versions of Windows, and avoids system conflicts in accessing the serial port to which the digitizer is connected.

3.3.1. HYPER TERMINAL Program - Be sure the digitizer is connected to the serial port (usually COM 1) then launch the HYPER TERMINAL program. The program can be found under Start/Programs/Accessories/Communications. After launching the program, set the port to 9600 Baud, 8 data, no parity, one stop bit. Data typed on the keyboard will now be transmitted to the digitizer and data from the digitizer will be displayed on the screen. Commands from the computer can be used to interrogate the condition of the digitizer, test for problems, set the digitizer�s operating mode, and set various aspects of the digitizer coordinate data formats. A list of the commands that the digitizer recognizes is contained in Table 3.

3.3.2. TERMINAL Program - The Utilities disc, that accompanies the unit, contains the TERMINAL program. The TERMINAL program runs under MS DOS. Insert the Utilities disc in the floppy disc drive (assumed to be the a: drive). Type �a:�, �cd\terminal�, �terminal�.

3.3.3. Functional Test - With the cursor on the table surface, press any cursor button. The coordinates will display on the screen (with either program). The coordinates are displayed in the format: �B YYYYYY XXXXXX�. In this display B is the button number, YYYYYY is the Y coordinate and XXXXXX is the X coordinate. Both coordinates are shown in units of one thousandths of an inch. Thus a position of 13 inches up and 22 inches to the right would read as �B 013000 022000�. Press �T� to activate another diagnostic function. The wire count for the table will appear. Table 1 shows the proper wire count for each of the NovaPro models. If the wire count matches and all of the responses have been as described, the digitizing table is working properly.

4. Troubleshooting

4.1. Symptoms - Digitizer Hardware Problems

4.1.1. Beep on Power Up - The digitizer controller does a self check whenever the power is turned on. If it finds a problem, it will beep one time. The problem may be something as simple as the cursor being unplugged, or it may mean that there is a more serious problem with the table. See section 4.3 for methods of troubleshooting these problems.

4.1.2. Cursor Lights - The two lights on the cursor provide a handy check on the system. The red light will turn on whenever the cursor is off of the table or outside the active digitizing area. It will also turn on if there is a problem with the digitizing operation. If the red light is on when the cursor is on the surface and the system is running, it means there is a problem. The green light flashes once each time a set of coordinates are read and sent to the computer. For normal operation, this happens whenever one of the cursor buttons is pressed. There will also be a beep from the electronics each time a button is pressed.

4.1.3. Bad Coordinates - If the coordinate values being sent to the computer do not correspond with the position on the table there is a problem with the table. See Section 4.3 for methods of troubleshooting.

4.2. Symptoms - Interface/Configuration Problems

4.2.1. No Response from CMS Controller - If the normal CMS Controller program does not respond when coordinates are sent from the digitizer, first check for symptoms described in Section 4.1 above. If none of these indicators suggest a problem with the digitizer hardware, it is probably a problem with the interface or system configuration. Run the HYPER TERMINAL or TERMINAL program and check the system response.

4.2.2. No Response from HYPER TERMINAL or TERMINAL Program - If the response from the HYPER TERMINAL or TERMINAL programs is not as described in Section 3.3.3 above, go to Section 4.4 for tips on troubleshooting the problem.

4.3. Troubleshooting Digitizer Hardware Problems

4.3.1. Power - Start with the things that are easiest to check. Be sure the power is turned on to the digitizer. The cursor lights are the easiest thing to check. The beeper is also an indication of power. If none of these is present and you have a volt meter, you can check the output of the power supply. The pin assignments of the power supply output connector are shown in Figure 3.

4.3.2. Reset the System - The digitizer is reset whenever its power is turned on. Unplug the power supply and plug it back in to reset the system.

4.3.3. Loose Connections - Check all the connections to be sure they are good. Unplug and re-insert each connector (power supply, cursor, interface cable)

4.3.4. Cursor Failure - If the beeper sounds on power up but only the red light on the cursor comes on (or no light at all), the cursor may be at fault. A simple check of the coil in the cursor is to check for continuity between pins 1 and 2 on the cursor connector. If there is continuity between these pins, the digitizing function of the cursor is probably OK. If there are problems with the buttons activating, the cursor failure is internal. Care should be taken in disassembling the cursor to look for internal problems, as the internal assembly is delicate.

4.3.5. Electronics Module - The electronics module is attached to the bottom of the digitizing table and can easily be removed by pulling on the case. This should be done carefully, however, as there is an electrical connection between the table and the electronics board that can be pulled loose or damaged if the module is pulled away too far. The internal connection can be unplugged and re-plugged to assure that it is making good contact. Figure 4 shows the proper orientation of the connector.

4.3.6. Digitizing Table Problems The HYPER TERMNAL or TERMINAL program is the most useful tool in diagnosing problems with the digitizing table. The �T� command will test for broken wires in the table and give an X axis and Y axis wire count. Broken wires are reported by axis and wire number. The X coordinate wires terminate along the long edge of the table, the Y coordinate wires along the short edge. Wires are numbered from the origin corner. If the X and Y wire count is not reported correctly (see Table 1), it indicates that a driver board has failed. Driver boards and all wire terminations are located inside the table edge rail. Removing Edge Rail - Repairing either a broken wire or a defective driver board requires removing the edge rail. The driver boards are located inside the top edge and along the left edge as viewed from the operator�s position. Replacing the edge rail is considerably more difficult that removing it. Read section to be sure you�re prepared to put the rail back on before you remove it. To remove the edge rail, first remove the corner pieces at each end of the rail. Corner pieces are attached with two screws on the under side of the table. Once the screws are removed, the corner piece will pull off. Pull the edge rail off carefully, starting at one end and working along the length of the rail. Checking Wires - The integrity of individual wires can be checked by checking for continuity between adjacent wire terminating pads on the driver boards. There should be continuity between any two wire pads. A broken wire is indicated if there is a pad without continuity to any of its neighbors. If the continuity check identifies a broken wire, but there is no evidence of a break in the driver board area, the break may be at the other end of the wire. Remove the rail on the opposite side of the table and check the same wire at its opposite end. All wires on the bottom and right side of the table terminate to a common buss strip. Checking Driver Boards - An incorrect wire count indicates that a driver board or one of the board interconnections has failed. The wire count will stop at the point at which the failed board or connection is encountered. The interconnections can be checked visually and repaired with a soldering iron. A failed driver board must be replaced. Replacing a driver board is straightforward, but should not be undertaken unless you have experience with component level electronics repair. Replacing Edge Rails - The edge rail is a tight fit over the edge of the table and requires the proper technique and some simple tools. You�ll need a putty knife, or a comparable thin stiff blade (a kitchen spatula will work). A rubber mallet is helpful for tapping the rail on, but you can also use a regular hammer with a piece of wood held against the rail to prevent damaging the rail. Start at one end, with the rail held at an angle of about 20 deg to the edge of the table. Fit the end of the rail over the edge of the table about an inch from the corner. Tap it on until the formica top cover bottoms against the inside of the rail. Work your way along the rail, tapping it over the edge. Use the putty knife along the bottom edge as a lead-in guide to be sure the bottom covering fits inside the rail. If you do not guide the bottom covering into the rail, the rail will tend to split the covering material when you try to tap it on. When the entire rail has been pushed over the edge, go back over its entire length, using the mallet to be sure it is bottomed out on the top cover. After the rail is on, you can adjust its position back and forth by tapping on one end or the other. It must be positioned properly back and forth for the holes at the end to line up properly with the screw holes in the corners. Replace the corners and screw them back in place.

4.4. Troubleshooting Interface/Configurations Problems

4.4.1. Interface Problems - The HYPER TERMINAL or TERMINAL program should be used to diagnose any interface problems. It provides the most direct means of testing. If there is no response at all from the HYPER TERMINAL or TERMINAL program, check the COM port configuration in the operating system of the computer. Once you have established that there is some type of interaction taking place between the compute port and the digitizer, you can proceed to Section 4.4.2 to set up the configuration of the digitizer so that proper communication is taking place.

4.4.2. Digitizer System Configuration - There is flexibility built into the digitizer system to configure the interface to conform to a wide variety of applications. If the configuration is not set for what the CMS Computer system is expecting, however, communications will fail. The configuration characteristics that the CMS system is expecting are shown in Table 2. All of these characteristics can be set in the digitizer using commands from the HYPER TERMINAL or TERMINAL programs. The appropriate command for each characteristic is shown in Table 3. When the configuration is properly set, the coordinates of the cursor will be displayed in the HYPER TERMINAL or TERMINAL program screen whenever a button on the cursor is pressed. The format of the coordinates should be: B YYYYYY XXXXXX. When everything has been properly set, send the command �W1� (case sensitive) from the HYPER TERMINAL or TERMINAL program to store the configuration as the default settings. To confirm the defaults are properly set, turn power off to the digitizer, then turn it back on and check to see that the configuration is the proper one. Table 3 contains a complete list of all the system configuration commands.

Table 1 - NovaPro Wire Counts by Model

Model X Active Y Active X Wires Y Wires
XLD 512 144 60 371 161
XLD 410 120 54 315 147
XLD 48 90 54 238 147

Table 2 - CMS Interface Configuration

Mode Point
9600 baud, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit, no parity
Resolution 0.001 inch

Table 3 - System Configuration Commands

Command Description
Bn Beeper control. n: 0 = beeper off, 1 = beep on keyhit
cn Carriage Return Control. n: 0 = disable CR, 1 = enable CR
Dnm Set digits in ASCII formats. n = total number of digits, m = places right of dec pt.
E Select remote mode. Digitizer transmits one point whenever it receives a "V".
Fn Select format number "n".
  • F8 6-byte binary format
  • F15 5-byte binary fomrat
  • F16 8-byte bynary format
Note: This refers to shift+f n, not the Fn key.
In Select incremental mode. n = increment size (1-255)
Mn Select resolution.
  • M1 0.001 inch
  • M2 0.002 inch
  • M3 0.004 inch
  • M4 0.004 inch
  • M5 0.010 inch
  • M6 0.1 mm
  • M7 0.02 mm
  • M8 0.01 mm
O Select offset. First keystoke after command sets offset position
o Clear offset.
P Select point mode.
Rn Select Rate mode.
  • R0 1 pt/sec
  • R1 2 pts/sec
  • R2 5 pts/sec
  • R3 10 pts/sec
  • R4 14 pts/sec
  • R5 20 pts/sec
  • R6 25 pts/sec
  • R7 50 pts/sec
  • R8 100 pts/sec
Sn Select stream mode.
  • S1 select intermittent stream mode
  • S2 select run stream mode
  • S3 select continuous stream mode
  • S4 select proximity stream mode
T Test digitizer memory and grid.
V Request cursor coordinates
wn Select stored format.
  • w1 9600 N, 8, 1, 6-byte binary, rate 20 pts/sec, res 0.001 in
  • w2 9600 N, 8, 1, signed ASCII, point, res 0.001 in
  • w3 9600 N, 8, 1, signed ASCII, intermit rate, 20 pts/sec, res 0.001 in
  • w4 9600 N, 8, 1, signed ASCII, run, 20 pts/sec, res 0.001 in
Wn Save current configuration in memory.
BEL Sound the beeper
XOFF Suspend data transmission
XON Resume data transmission