ETH-MC High performance CNC motion controller based on Ethernet connection

ETH-MC is a high performance motion controller for CNC machines designed for use with popular Mach3 CNC control software in Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 operating systems with 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) architectures. As an external controller, it brings various improvements in comparison to using Mach3 software with parallel port.

Motion controller ETH-MC with its integrated 32-bit microcontroller and the powerful FPGA chip, takes over all real-time tasks that require precision timing. Therefore, computer CPU is less loaded, so that Mach3 now can work on less powerful desktop, laptop, and even tablet computers.

At the same time, much higher output frequency for the step signal (up to 5 MHz) is achieved and much better quality of the output signal than it is possible with parallel port regardless of performances of used computer. A large number of functions have been added and many existing have been improved.

The Ethernet connection with a computer is considered to be one of the most robust connection types, so it is suitable for application in difficult industrial conditions. It should be noted that wired Ethernet connection also features galvanic isolation between ETH-MC motion controller and a PC computer.

Main features of ETH-MC motion controller

  • Four layer circuit board, FPGA + 32-bit microcontroller
  • Ethernet 10/100 Mbit connection
  • Advanced smooth trajectory interpolation
  • 6 axes + spindle axis, 5 MHz max. step signal frequency, adjustable pulse width
  • Available axis output modes: step/dir, cw/ccw, quadrature
  • 32 digital inputs, 5 V Schmitt triggers
  • 32 digital outputs, 5 V TTL
  • 4 analog inputs, 0-5 V
  • 7 quadrature encoders reading at 12,5 MHz max (resolution multiplied by 4 in hardware)
  • All digital inputs and outputs freely remapable
  • For all digital inputs and outputs adjustable active state (low/high)
  • Hardware feedhold (instantaneous activation, no delay)
  • Hardware MPG mode (real-time control, no latency) + all Mach3 MPG modes
  • Synchronized motion generation using encoder as feedback (electronic gearing)
  • Threading with lathe, encoder based (G32, G76) using Mach3turn; advanced, autonomous synchronized motion generation,
    no pullout delay at the end of a cut pass, successive G32 moves can be seamlessly joined in tapered threads...
  • Rigid tapping using Spindle encoder as feedback, axis selection, forward/reverse speed adjustment etc.
  • THC integrated controller with advanced precision PID regulator (closed loop 1 kHz ) and classic Up/Down regulator (for usage with THC voltage sensor connected to one of the analog inputs)
  • THC support for external Up/Down controller
  • THC acceleration ramped moves, voltage sampling, anti-plunge support, arc detection...
  • THC advanced option: Low pass filter, Kerf detect, THC lock from G-code, consumable status...
  • Laser PWM output, fast M10/M11, eNp0/eNp1 port commands, PWM gate by M10/M11
  • Laser power compensation, adjustable arbitrary curve relation to speed of motion
  • Laser 8-bit gray level engraving
  • Detailed setup for debouncing for all digital inputs and adjustable digital filters for encoder inputs
  • SoftLimits
  • Probing function (G31)
  • Backlash compensation
  • One standard PWM output ( for spindle / laser) + two additional PWM outputs (10Hz – 200KHz)
  • Shuttle mode, control using MPG or using potentiometer via analog input
  • Slave axes
  • Spindle index input, adjustable divider
  • Charge pump output signals, adjustable frequency (12,5 kHz and 5 kHz)
  • Offline mode
  • Limits override, auto/manual/external
  • Configurable special functions for control via analog inputs or encoders (FRO, SRO, Set User Variable, Set User DRO...)
  • Analog Joystick Jog control - NEW

Image Gallery

Technical specifications

Function Description
Connection with PC Ethernet 10/100 MBit, TCP/IP - data buffer size of about 1 s for stable communication, Auto crossover detection
Number of axes 6 + Spindle axis
Number of digital outputs 32
Number of digital inputs 32
Maximum STEP signal frequency 5 MHz (adjustable from plugin for every axis)
STEP pulse width 50 % (or fixed, adjustable from plugin for every axis)
PWM outputs 10 Hz – 200 kHz
PWM duty cycle resolution 16 bits
Frequency of signal on Index input ≤ 50 MHz
Pulse width on Index input ≥ 10 ns
MPG/encoders input (x4) frequency ≤ 12,5 M steps/sec
Digital inputs type Schmitt trigger, 5 V, Pull-up resistors 4.7 kΩ
Digital outputs type TTL, 5V
Maximum current on digital outputs 32 mA
Number of analog inputs 4
Analog input range 0 – 5 V, 10 bits
Charge pump outputs 2
Charge pump frequency 12.5 kHz or 5 kHz
Power supply 8 – 25 VDC / 0.25 A – 1 A (current draw depends on connected peripherals)
Dimensions (W x L x H) 100 mm x 111 mm x 32 mm
Weight ~ 75 g

NOTE: Shown specifications are subject to change without prior notice


Document & Software Description
pdfeth-mc-box_man_en.pdf ETH-MC & ETH-BOX motion controllers User's manual

Network parameters confuguration software

Mach3 Plugins & Screens for ETH-MC & ETH-BOX motion controllers

Date Plugins & Screens Description
February 2023. zipfethmc_drv114_109.zip Plugin v01.14 & Firmware v01.09
- Correction: option "Synthetized Index pulse" does not operate correctly when Spindle encoder counter counts in negative direction
October 2022. zipfethmc_drv1.14.zip Plugin v01.14 & Firmware v01.08
- Correction: threading using positive Z coordinate increment
- Correction: if threading is canceled using STOP button then moving of X and Z axis is not permitted until reset
- Correction: incorrect Probing target point when machine coordinates view is active
March 2022. zipfethmc_drv1.13.zip Plugin v01.13 & Firmware v01.07
- Correction for problem in hardware MPG mode that occurs when step is set to 0.001 mm
- Corrected problem with referencing axes that causes some function calls from VB macros not to work
March 2021. zipfethmc_drv1.11.zip Plugin v01.11 & Firmware v01.05
Corrected errors that apply to using multiple MPGs:
- Inability to set different Count/Unit parameters independent for each MPG
- Parameter StepsPer is not used for the controling axis but is incorrectly read by MPG order
Decembar 2019. zipfethmc_drv1.10.zip Plugin v01.10 & Firmware v01.04
Changes related to functionality of hardware MPG mode eliminate the following problems:
- Unable to set zero for axes while MPG mode is active,
- Unable to start other functions (G-code, referencing, etc.) when MPG mode is active
November 2019. zipfethmc_drv1.09.zip Plugin v01.09 & Firmware v01.03
- Added option to control axes (Jog) using analog Joystick
June 2019. zipfethmc_drv1.08.zip Plugin v01.08 & Firmware v01.02
- Added new option THC Voltage Override for fine adjustment of the torch voltage while cutting
- Added possibility to control THC nominal voltage and voltage override by using potentiometer on analog input or rotational encoder (special functions) or using pendant
- New customized Plasma screen with added controls for THC Voltage Override function
- Fixed bug: activating hardware feedhold was not possible near the end of the G-code program
June 2019. zipPlasmaAohmsETHMC108.zip New customized Plasma screen. Compatible with Plugin v01.08 & Firmware v01.02 and higher
Februar 2019. zipfethmc_drv1.07.zip Plugin v01.07 & Firmware v1.01
Initial version of plugin
Februar 2019. zipPlasmaAohmsETHMC.zip Modified Plasma screen for ETH-MC and ETH-BOX motion controllers

NOTE: Mach3 plugin contains integrated latest compatible firmware version, so in case that firmware has to be updated, this process is automatic and easy for the user.


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