PlanetCNC TNG software overview and performance guidelines

PlanetCNC TNG is a high-performance CNC system. It is designed with flexibility in mind and it can be used for mills, routers, lathes, plasma or laser machines as well as any other machine or system where the coordinated movement of servo or stepper motors is needed.

PlanetCNC TNG software works with Mk3 series of PlanetCNC motion controllers and PC running Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, MacOS or Linux.

Further in this post, we will describe few guidelines that you can follow in order to achieve better performance of PlanetCNC TNG software and more stable communication with PlanetCNC controllers.

    • For the best performance of PlanetCNC TNG software, a PC with 4 virtual processors(cores) CPU is recommended. However, PCs with 2 virtual processors will do just fine. Various services running in the background, antivirus software, and program updates can interfere with PlanetCNC TNG performance and that is why the dedicated computer is recommended.
    • We recommend that you connect the controller to the computer USB port via a USB HUB device. Note that the controller should be the only USB device connected to this HUB. Alternatively use the USB cable with the active repeater.
      You see, all devices connected to the same HUB device share available bandwidth. Because data traffic is prioritized by the OS, it would not be uncommon if another device connected to the same HUB would interfere with the controller and therefore compromise the communication between controller and PC. You can check which devices are connected to your PC USB ports with the “UsbTreeView” software. You can get it here: UsbTreeView

Images below describe the bad and good type of USB connection with PC:

Example of bad USB connection with PC as seen in UsbTreeView software:
USB_bad

You can notice that PlanetCNC Controller is connected with PC through various USB HUB devices(3 in total). Also, if you look closely at the USB HUB device to which PlanetCNC controller is connected, you can see that other connected devices to this USB HUB, are mass storage devices and USB cameras, both known as devices with the huge data flow. The data flow of the camera or storage device could interfere with the communication of the controller which as result would not perform at its best performance.

Example of good USB connection with PC as seen in UsbTreeView software:
USB_good

You can see that the PlanetCNC controller is connected directly to one of the computer’s root USB ports. There are no other devices connected to the root hub.

  • Use a double-shielded USB cable. If cable longer than 1.5m is needed then it should be one with the active repeater.
  • If an Ethernet connection is used then a dedicated network card just for the controller is recommended. This prevents that high network utilization from interfering with communication.
  • The controller should have its own separate external power supply.
    If the controller’s voltage is supplied only through USB then there is a possibility that voltage fluctuations on the USB power line could interfere with USB communication and as a result communication would drop.
    For Mk3 and Mk3/4 controllers you can use 8-24VDC, 200mA power supply.
    IMPORTANT!!! For Mk3ECO controller power supply must be +5V VDC.
  • Use shielded cables for wiring of limits switches, motors…

Please note that these are not minimum requirements for the controller and software to function. PlanetCNC controller can easily function on Celeron-based PC’s as also controller can be connected to the HUB device which serves as a source for multiple other devices.

 

PLEASE READ!!: Main differences between PlanetCNC TNG and CNC USB controller software:

1.) You can use two motion control software’s from PlanetCNC with your MK3 series controller:
PlanetCNC TNG or CNC USB controller.

2.) Controller’s firmware needs to be updated with the version you tend to use: PlanetCNC TNG or CNC USB controller

3.) You cannot use a controller which firmware is updated with PlanetCNC TNG software with CNC USB sw and
you cannot use a controller which firmware is updated with CNC USB controller software with PlanetCNC TNG.

4.) Each version of SW accepts its unique license key to activate the controller.

Form of CNC USB license key (example only):
License for controller with activation code “LUxx-xxxx-xxxx-MJRX” and serial number “572”
u64/st0ByELl2ak5Kcqlsey0J/4g29c6fJ7mEIctwmZ/kffdz+EUJ2zGWpLeU05iUf+aQhO/BaMbSr07yTw==

Form of PlanetCNC TNG license key (example only):
<key code=”CUBRQ-3CNR9-PCX6K-3DV7X-SE3E5-ZHBS”>
Q9NK7DFMQGQ16ADYF9NSFYV8B1B519WXHEJ6D72EZVAYMH0QVDK86KDGH4MC797B971BVJP2N171PZDM9QBW9ZRJ9RHQS9NQS4QW
</key>

You cannot use the license key for CNC USB with PlanetCNC TNG and vice versa

5.) Once you purchase a license for your controller you are entitled to both controller licenses. You do not need to purchase a controller license for each software version. However, a license for the controller needs to be purchased.

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