Discussion:
Hurco Trackball replacement / retrofit
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Carla Fong
2013-05-14 15:14:43 UTC
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Hi all,

Well, the trackball on our Hurco KMB CNC finally died - apparently a
common problem for machines of this particular vintage - and a web
search for a replacement found us gizmos in the $250-$800 range which
was a bit much for my Scotch ancestors...

So I figured out a $40 replacement...

From a web search I found that what usually gives out is the little
sponge donuts on the optical encoders that the ball contacts. That's
what happened to me, too. Although replacing the donuts was an option, I
went for 'Plan B'.

I probed around in the Hurco and found the optical encoders were
outputting relatively standard 5 volt signals in phase quadrature just
like other optical encoders we use.

And I figured most any computer trackball can probably do the same thing.

So I tottered off to Fry's and got the cheapest trackball on the shelf,
popped off the cover and probed around inside it and found the X-Axis
and Y-Axis quadrature signals, kludged some wires from the new trackball
to the Hurco and voila! we're back in business for $40 (the cost of the
new Kensington trackball) plus a couple of hours of my time.

With the new trackball double-stickied to the Hurco control panel it
looks like our machine is being assimilated by an extra-terrestrial...
but it works for now.

I probably only postponed the inevitable of converting the Hurco to a
PC-Based CNC driver, but it was a fun project for the day.

Carla
Gunner Asch
2013-05-14 15:36:24 UTC
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On Tue, 14 May 2013 08:14:43 -0700, Carla Fong
Post by Carla Fong
Hi all,
Well, the trackball on our Hurco KMB CNC finally died - apparently a
common problem for machines of this particular vintage - and a web
search for a replacement found us gizmos in the $250-$800 range which
was a bit much for my Scotch ancestors...
So I figured out a $40 replacement...
From a web search I found that what usually gives out is the little
sponge donuts on the optical encoders that the ball contacts. That's
what happened to me, too. Although replacing the donuts was an option, I
went for 'Plan B'.
I probed around in the Hurco and found the optical encoders were
outputting relatively standard 5 volt signals in phase quadrature just
like other optical encoders we use.
And I figured most any computer trackball can probably do the same thing.
So I tottered off to Fry's and got the cheapest trackball on the shelf,
popped off the cover and probed around inside it and found the X-Axis
and Y-Axis quadrature signals, kludged some wires from the new trackball
to the Hurco and voila! we're back in business for $40 (the cost of the
new Kensington trackball) plus a couple of hours of my time.
With the new trackball double-stickied to the Hurco control panel it
looks like our machine is being assimilated by an extra-terrestrial...
but it works for now.
I probably only postponed the inevitable of converting the Hurco to a
PC-Based CNC driver, but it was a fun project for the day.
Carla
So figure out a board and a diagram and start selling them to Hurco
users for $125 a pop.

You may not get rich..but you will make some money indeed.

Gunner

--
"You guess the truth hurts?

Really?

"Hurt" aint the word.

For Liberals, the truth is like salt to a slug.
Sunlight to a vampire.
Raid® to a cockroach.
Sheriff Brody to a shark
Bush to a Liberal

The truth doesn't just hurt. It's painful, like a red hot poker shoved
up their ass. Like sliding down a hundred foot razor blade using their
dick as a brake.

They HATE the truth."
F. George McDuffee
2013-05-14 23:50:40 UTC
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On Tue, 14 May 2013 08:14:43 -0700, Carla Fong
Post by Carla Fong
So I figured out a $40 replacement...
WELL DONE!!!!!!!
--
Unka' George

"Gold is the money of kings,
silver is the money of gentlemen,
barter is the money of peasants,
but debt is the money of slaves"

-Norm Franz, "Money and Wealth in the New Millenium"
mdh
2015-06-24 01:18:01 UTC
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Post by Carla Fong
Hi all,
Well, the trackball on our Hurco KMB CNC finally died - apparently a
common problem for machines of this particular vintage - and a web
search for a replacement found us gizmos in the $250-$800 range which
was a bit much for my Scotch ancestors...
So I figured out a $40 replacement...
From a web search I found that what usually gives out is the little
sponge donuts on the optical encoders that the ball contacts. That's
what happened to me, too. Although replacing the donuts was an option, I
went for 'Plan B'.
I probed around in the Hurco and found the optical encoders were
outputting relatively standard 5 volt signals in phase quadrature just
like other optical encoders we use.
And I figured most any computer trackball can probably do the same thing.
So I tottered off to Fry's and got the cheapest trackball on the shelf,
popped off the cover and probed around inside it and found the X-Axis
and Y-Axis quadrature signals, kludged some wires from the new trackball
to the Hurco and voila! we're back in business for $40 (the cost of the
new Kensington trackball) plus a couple of hours of my time.
With the new trackball double-stickied to the Hurco control panel it
looks like our machine is being assimilated by an extra-terrestrial...
but it works for now.
I probably only postponed the inevitable of converting the Hurco to a
PC-Based CNC driver, but it was a fun project for the day.
Carla
Would you be willing to share the schematic foryour modification?

Thanks in advance.

Mike

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Carla Fong
2015-06-24 06:12:26 UTC
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Post by mdh
Hi all, Well, the trackball on our Hurco KMB CNC finally died -
apparently a common problem for machines of this particular vintage -
and a web search for a replacement found us gizmos in the $250-$800
range which was a bit much for my Scotch ancestors... So I figured out
a $40 replacement... From a web search I found that what usually
gives out is the little sponge donuts on the optical encoders that the
ball contacts. That's what happened to me, too. Although replacing the
donuts was an option, I went for 'Plan B'. I probed around in the
Hurco and found the optical encoders were outputting relatively
standard 5 volt signals in phase quadrature just like other optical
encoders we use. And I figured most any computer trackball can
probably do the same thing. So I tottered off to Fry's and got the
cheapest trackball on the shelf, popped off the cover and probed
around inside it and found the X-Axis and Y-Axis quadrature signals,
kludged some wires from the new trackball to the Hurco and voila!
we're back in business for $40 (the cost of the new Kensington
trackball) plus a couple of hours of my time. With the new trackball
double-stickied to the Hurco control panel it looks like our machine
is being assimilated by an extra-terrestrial... but it works for now.
I probably only postponed the inevitable of converting the Hurco to a
PC-Based CNC driver, but it was a fun project for the day. Carla
Would you be willing to share the schematic foryour modification?
Thanks in advance.
Mike
I did a kludge, not a retrofit, so there is no schematic. And you're one
of the luckiest guys on the planet - I rarely check this newsgroup
anymore due to the incredible level of off-topic crap. You should buy a
lottery ticket today, it's definitely your lucky day - (and you can
split the winnings with me :)

If you post your email address here I can take and email a couple of
pictures showing you where to connect to the Hurco - but the Kensington
trackball I used is probably no longer readily available so some other
brand/model will have to suffice and you'll have to figure out where the
quadrature signals are. Easy with an oscilloscope, a bit more
complicated with just a voltmeter but it can be done.

You'll need a trackball or old mouse that still uses the ball and
optical encoders - the infrared or non-contact ones won't work.

Carla

Life is not so bad if you have good looks, plenty of money, and lots of
luck.
j***@bmd.cz
2016-11-15 07:28:23 UTC
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Post by Carla Fong
Hi all,
Well, the trackball on our Hurco KMB CNC finally died - apparently a
common problem for machines of this particular vintage - and a web
search for a replacement found us gizmos in the $250-$800 range which
was a bit much for my Scotch ancestors...
So I figured out a $40 replacement...
From a web search I found that what usually gives out is the little
sponge donuts on the optical encoders that the ball contacts. That's
what happened to me, too. Although replacing the donuts was an option, I
went for 'Plan B'.
I probed around in the Hurco and found the optical encoders were
outputting relatively standard 5 volt signals in phase quadrature just
like other optical encoders we use.
And I figured most any computer trackball can probably do the same thing.
So I tottered off to Fry's and got the cheapest trackball on the shelf,
popped off the cover and probed around inside it and found the X-Axis
and Y-Axis quadrature signals, kludged some wires from the new trackball
to the Hurco and voila! we're back in business for $40 (the cost of the
new Kensington trackball) plus a couple of hours of my time.
With the new trackball double-stickied to the Hurco control panel it
looks like our machine is being assimilated by an extra-terrestrial...
but it works for now.
I probably only postponed the inevitable of converting the Hurco to a
PC-Based CNC driver, but it was a fun project for the day.
Carla
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