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Upgrading the Bladerunner System with
CandCNC’s new Ether-Cut System

The Ether-Cut is a new DTHC IV with a high speed Ethernet Port for smooth, error free communications.   NO MORE PARALLEL PORT,  no more Serial port, no more restrictions on the type computer or OS version (will not work on 64 bit Windows)   With the Ethernet you can run your control PC with MACH3 up to 100 feet from your BladeRunner or Plazpak controller!   Installer CD has special MACH Profiles and settings to make the install easy and quick.   Just transfer your motor tuning, axis slaving and homing settings from your working profile and you are ready to run.

Our Bladerunner system has been great!  We have had this same unit in use on our plasma system  for a couple years as well.   The folks over at CandCNC came out with a new option called the Ether-Cut, and because we like to stay on the leading edge we had to have it.   There are many advantages to this some of the most obvious are no more serial or parallel ports required!  The system now uses one cat5 Ethernet cable running from your computer to the Bladerunner.  

This allows for many more computer choices including laptops, since most new computers do not come with a serial or parallel port.   

This also paves the way for upgrading the operating system from XP to windows 7 32 bit.

The Upgrade

The upgrade process is fairly simple.   And can be accomplished by even the non-tech savvy.   The guys at CandCNC have a manual and instructions for the replacement and upgrade.   

In our case we took this opportunity to upgrade the computer from windows xp to windows 7.  Since xp is not supported anymore it was time and this was the best time.  

We started with a fresh install, if your just doing the upgrade it will be much easier.   Once we had windows 7 loaded on the computer we tackled the Bladerunner.  This is a simple removal of one board and the install of the new Ethercut board.   Some advice label wires and take photos in case something unplanned happens during the install.

Once the card is replaced you can toss the serial and parallel cables and install the included Ethernet cable.   

Now for the software,  the best thing to do is get the latest software from the CandCNC website even if a disk was included with the upgrade.

Follow the instructions provided and you should be fine.   We ran into a couple of complications along the way.  Our Mach3 would not display the motor tuning window and our auxiliary output pins had to be changed.   Not bad and thanks to Tom and Luke over and CandCNC for their help with the install.    We ended up reloading Mach3 and changing the pin number for the outputs and we were up and running.

We are just barely scratching the surface on this upgrade and we will experience more benefits when we upgrade our plasma system in a couple of weeks.   There are more reasons and options for the Plasma side than the router side.   During this upgrade we also added a wireless Xbox 360 controller to replace our wired version.  No cords is nice and it works well for controlling the table.   

Since we did everything from scratch we had to load all of our settings back into our profiles in Mach3 it was not bad because we had written it all down before hand.   If your are just doing an upgrade make sure to save the profile info and transfer it in.   The first thing we did with the new Ether-cut is set up our new laser cutting system and give it a try.   You can check out the Laser cutting system HERE