Wireless DIY DRO Adapter for iGaging Scales with 3D Printed Box
The TouchDRO adapter kit consists of a Wireless TouchDRO Adapter Board for iGaging DRO scales and a custom 3D printed enclosure. It supports iGaging EZ-View DRO Plus, iGaging DigiMag Remote DRO, and iGaging Absolute DRO Plus scales with Micro-USB cables. The adapter is specifically designed to achieve excellent stability, reliability, and noise resistance with capacitive DRO scales.
This kit provides a convenient way to add a TouchDRO Adapter for iGaging DRO scales to your lathe or milling machine. The kit includes a fully assembled, programmed, and tested TouchDRO Adapter for iGaging scales with Micro-B cables and a custom-designed 3D-printed enclosure. The assembly is as simple as putting the board into the enclosure and fastening four M3 screws (included).
- Convenient 3D-printed enclosure with mounting tabs
- Supports four linear axis inputs, tachometer, and touch probe/tool setter input
- The on-board linear voltage regulator provides a clean power supply to the scales
- Per-scale bypass capacitors filter out spikes on the power supply lines
This DRO adapter firmware supports capacitive linear scales that use iGaging 21-bit protocol, iGaging Absolute protocol and BIN6 protocol. This inludes:
- iGaging EZ-View DRO Plus
- iGaging DigiMag with Micro USB Cables
- iGaging Absolute DRO Plus with Micro USB Cables
If your scale displays look like the ones of the displays below (including color and markings), this adapter will work with them.
Note, older versions of the scales pictured above used Mini-USB cables. With the exception of the Absolute DRO Plus scales, Mini-USB scales can be connected ot this adapter by using straight Mini-USB Female to Micro-USB Male adapter cables..
If you're not sure what model(s) of DRO scales you have, please refer to the list of Supported DRO Scales.
All genuine TouchDRO adapters are fabricated and assembled to stringent IPS-A-600/610 Class II or better standard and use quality name brand components for best reliability and durability. I personally inspect and program every board and run it through a full range of tests (scale connectivity, BlueTooth, etc.) right before shipping it to you.
- TouchDRO Adapter board for iGaging Scales
- Two-color 3D printed enclosure
- 4x M3 16mm stainless steel screw
- 4x M3 stainless steel nut
The required assembly is very minimal and consists of inserting the board into the enclosure and fastening four screws.
Flip the bottom [black] part of the enclosure and press in the M3 nuts into the recesses so the result looks similar to the photo below.
Place the board into the enclosure with components facing up and scale inputs aligned with the corresponding openings. The fit should be pretty close, so it is best to start at an angle and push the protruding part of the USB sockets into the corresponding opening in the enclosure, as shown in the picture. Then lower the board into its position and gently press on the back of the USB socket until the edge of the board is against the inner enclosure wall. The power input connector should now be aligned with its opening and the mounting holes will be concentric with the holes in the enclosure.
Before closing the lid, plug in the scales, power up the board, and pair it with your device to ensure that the setup works as expected.
Info about the status LEDs and connecting the scales is farther down this page.
Note: Since the board is not held in place by the screws, it will tend to move when you plug in the scales and/or the power supply. Avoid using the capacitors or the Bluetooth module to provide leverage. Instead, press against the backside of the MicroUSB sockets to hold the board in place.
Place the lid as shown in the photo below and ensure that the screw holes light number with the mounting holes and the holes in the enclosure bottom. Insert and lightly tighten the four M3 screws. Check the lid for alignment and, if everything looks good, fully tighten the screws.
|X,Y,Z,W Inputs||Inputs for four linear axes.|
|Tach||Tachometer input (unbuffered).
Tachomter requires optical encoder with quadrature output
|Probe (unbuffered)||Tool height setter/touch probe input|
|Power||Micro-USB Power supply input, 5V DC nominal.|
This DRO adapter board comes with pre-installed USB Micro-B female connectors. Next to each connector there is a set of holes for a 5-pin 0.1" header that break out Vcc, Ground, Clock and Data lines for the axis.
The board is setup to accept a tachometer that has either push-pull or line driver quadrature output.
Inexpensive touch probes and tool height setters work similar to a simple electrical switch. Depending on the configuration, when the probe touches the workpiece, it either opens the circuit or closes it (normally-closed or normally-open, respectively). TouchDRO board supports (and automatically detects) both types.
The probe can be connected as follows: connect one side of the switch to Vcc and the other to the probe pin. If the probe has a LED, it has to be reverse-biased (backwards), or the input won't work. To test this, connect the probe to Vcc and Ground. If the LED lights up (either when the probe is touching or not touching), reverse the leads.
The board is designed to use a standard Micro-USB phone charger that provides 5V and at least 200 mA of current.
DRO scale adapter has two status LEDs:
- Greel - Heartbeat/status
- Blue - BlueTooth
When the board powers up, the green LED will blink rapidly for 2 seconds indicating that the protocol detection is in progress. During protocol detection, DRO will not read the position. After two seconds, it will start blinking once-per-second indicating normal operation.
The blue LED is used to indicate the connection status. It can be in one of three modes:
- When the board is not paired, the LED will blink twice per second.
- Once paired, the blinking pattern will change to one brief pulse every 2 seconds.
- When the board is connected to the application, the LED will switch to two brief pulses every 2 seconds.
Connecting the Scales
- iGaging EZ-View DRO Plus, DigiMag "Remote DRO Display" and Absolute DRO Plus scales that come with Micro-USB cables can be plugged directly into the pre-installed USB Micro-B connectors
- iGaging DigiMag "Remote DRO Display" scales (and their rebranded versions such as Shars Digital Machine Scales and AccuRemote DRO scales) with Mini-UBS connectors can be connected using a straight USB Mini-to-Micro adapter
- Disconnect the power supply
- Plug-in the scales
- Re-connect the power
It is important to power-cycle the board after connecting the scales or the touch probe to allow the firmware to run the protocol detection routine.
Proper grounding is vital to relaible funciton of iGaging DRO scales. Unreliable ground connection or ground loop can lead to such issues as drifting positon or random resets. In order to avoid ground loops, there should be a single reliable connection to the machine chassis. Ideally, scale frames should be isolated from the machine. If the cables are shielded, the shields should be tied to the ground only on one side, and as close to the central grounding point as possible.
The board provides a number of easily accessible grounding poins. Each port has a dedicate ground pint that is tied to the common ground pour. There are two ground pins next to each Micro-USB port and finally, the mounting holes are tied to the common ground as well.