Sunday 10 February 2019

Install XHC-HB04 Pendant on UCCNC - episode 231

Just before Christmas I entered the Dave Gatton Christmas Challenge 2018 and was luck enough to be placed 5th in the competition. The prize was a Mach3 XHC-HB04 Pendant. It is designed to be used with Mach3 but since I made the move to UCCNC last year it was going to be a bit of a worry as to whether I could use it or not. The worry was wasted because a little bit of research revealed that it will work and as it turns out it was childishly easy. This video takes you on a tour of the pendant, showing how to install and setup, not that there is really anything to do in all honesty. I found the defaults were right for me and I just added a few keys fo convenience.

Click to watch video

Below is a close up of the Pendant and the keys.

Key functions
Reset                   Estop machine and reset
Stop                     Stop running Gcode 
Silver Button        On / Off switch
Home                   Home the machine and set Machine coordinates to X0,Y0,Z0
Start / Pause        Start Gcode file and feedhold
Rewind                 reset Gcode file back to the start
Probe -Z               Run Auto Zero routine. If you have a custom one it will run this.
Spindle                 Turn on and off spindle
=1/2                      Divide coordinate by 2 selected by the axis knob
=0                         Set selected axis to 0
Safe -Z                 Raise Z axis to safe height
goto Zero              Move all axis to the origin point    X0,Y0,Z0
Macro -1               User defined function
Macro -2               User defined function
Macro -3               User defined function 
Step ++                 Cycle through step increments 1,10,100,1000
MPG Mode            allow MPG jogging

Selector switch      Select X,Y,Z,A, Spindle speed and Feedrate 

MPG                      Manual Pulse Generator moves the selected axis in a manner                                             dependant on direction of rotation and speed. 

LCD Display          Shows Working and Machine coordinates and other info depending on                                   where the selector switch is positioned.


despite the fact that this Pendant is made for Mach3 and is the only controller mentioned in the manual after 2 days I still can't get Mach3 on my machine to recognise it let alone configure it. It could be that i am using Windows XP or maybe I am not using the right plugin. By contrast it took 10 minutes to install on UCCNC without any instructions. Something is not right here. I will continue to try and see if I can get it working even just for interest sake.

This Pendant feels well made and very solid. The USB cable could be a bit of a nuisance but only time will tell. Would benefit from a loop to hang the pendant up but making one from some cable ties will solve the issue. The LCD screen is very handy and it is very easy to use. The MPG is quite intuitive when it comes to turning. I thought I would have trouble remembering which way to turn to move an axis in the direction I wanted but oddly enough the best way to get it right is to not think about it.

Is it better than my old pendant?
I honestly don't know. I have been using it for so long it is sent nature. I like that I can ut it one handed unlike the new one which requires both hands. I will need to use the new one a bit longer before i can make a decision as to which I prefer. The one thing I will say for sure is I would not go out and buy the HB04 to replace the current pendant I have. There is nothing I can do on the new one that I can't do on the old with the exception of see my coordinates but to be honest I never look at them anyway when using a pendant.

In the video I show that you need to put a check in the call at startup box. This is incorrect and checking this box will cause the configuration box to open at startup. If you leave it unchecked the pendant will still work and you will not be bothered by the start up box when you start UCCNC.

Until next Time