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CNC controller Mk3ECO


PlanetCNC hardware:
PlanetCNC series of USB CNC motion controllers serve as a link between a personal computer and motor drivers that support step/direction control. PlanetCNC series of motion controllers are compatible with most motor drivers. Controllers use the USB or Ethernet port, available on all modern computers and laptops. PlanetCNC motion controllers can serve as direct replacement or upgrade for many parallel port breakout boards.

PlanetCNC software:
PlanetCNC motion control system provides a complete, fully integrated software/hardware solution. Additional machine control software is NOT required. The PlanetCNC TNG motion control software is a dedicated application, designed to fully exploit the features of the purpose-built hardware. It has many advanced features to assist day-to-day CNC machine operation.

PlanetCNC controllers are compatible only with PlanetCNC motion control software and vice versa.

Features and specifications

PlanetCNC TNG sofware

  • works with PC/Laptop running :
    • Windows 7,8 or 8.1, 10, 11 (32 bit or 64bit)
    • Linux 64-bit OS
    • Intel based iMAC with High Sierra or newer OS
  • Raspberry Pi 3 and Pi4 running Raspbian
  • advanced interpolation algorithms for smoother motion and toolpath optimization
  • standard RS274/NGC G-code
  • advanced G-codes - G40, G41, G42 (Cutter Radius Compensation) supported
  • advanced G-codes - G43, G49 (Tool Length Offsets) supported
  • advanced G-codes - G54, G59.3 (Coordinate System Origins) supported
  • tested with SolidCAM, MasterCAM, ArtCAM, SheetCAM, Vectric, DeskProto, CamBam, MeshCAM, LightBurn… generated G-code
  • Profili2 and DevFoam 4-axes and 3-axes G-code for foam-cutting supported
  • import toolpath from DXF files
  • import toolpath from PLT/HPGL files
  • import toolpath from SVG files
  • import toolpath from image files
  • import toolpath from CSV files
  • import toolpath from NC-Drill (Excellon) files
  • import toolpath from Gerber (RS-274X) files
  • export toolpath to G-code
  • export toolpath to DXF
  • export toolpath to CSV
  • automatic homing procedure
  • multiple languages supported
  • import of language files supported
  • built-in support for manual and automatic toolchange procedure
  • import of backup machine profile supported
  • export of backup machine profile supported
  • multiple view of toolpath supported
  • built-in manual gcode editor supported
  • gcode program line bookmarking supported
  • gcode program line search tool supported
  • MDI command history supported
  • Transformation of gcode program supported (Transformation from points)
  • Gcode program manipulation tools supported (Shift, Scale, Mirror, Rotate…)
  • Warp supported (curved surface compensation)
  • Copy and swap tools for XYZ, UVW axes supported
  • Machine Start, Stop, Pause, Estop control supported
  • Start from selected program line supported
  • Start from beginning to bookmark supported
  • Start from bookmark to bookmark supported
  • Start from bookmark to end supported
  • gcode program loop execution supported
  • Mist control supported
  • Flood control supported
  • Spindle CW, CCW control supported
  • digital outputs control supported
  • axis motor enable control supported
  • soft limits supported
  • hard limits supported
  • probe trigger for simulation purposes supported
  • tool table with integrated feed&speed calculator supported
  • tool length measurement supported
  • G28 and G30 home positions supported
  • unwind tool for ABC rotational axes supported
  • work position measure height supported
  • coordinate systems supported
  • coordinate systems edit table supported
  • built in machining cycles supported
  • probe measure procedures supported (inside, outside corner, edge, edge angle, hole center, slot, protrusion measurement)
  • point measurement supported
  • camera supported
  • user commands supported
  • gcode scripts for flexible machine behavior supported
  • Expression file advanced functions supported
  • USB file for advanced USB communication of external equipment supported
  • Python scripts for advanced external processes supported
  • backlash compensation
  • customization of GUI supported
  • SDK (software developers kit) available

PlanetCNC motion control system requirements

Minimum system requirements

  • 1 GHz or faster processor
  • 512MB RAM
  • 500 MB available hard disk space
  • Graphics with OpenGL support
  • USB 2.0 or 3.0 port
  • .NET Framework 3.5 SP1
  • 2 GHz or faster processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 500 MB available hard disk space
  • Graphics with OpenGL support
  • USB 3.0 port
  • .NET Framework 3.5 SP1

Mk3ECO - 4 axis USB CNC controller

  • USB connection
  • 4 STEP & DIRECTION axis outputs for stepper and servo motors
  • 110 kHz maximum step frequency, configurable minimum pulse width, 50% duty cycle at higher frequencies
  • 3 digital outputs on board (3 digital outputs configurable as: TTL, frequency, PWM or RC servo motors signal outputs)
  • 4 limit switch inputs buffered for maximum performance
  • 2 digital inputs
    • Buffered for maximum performance
    • Tool length sensor configuration supported
    • Movable sensor configuration supported
    • Measure probe configuration supported
  • Dedicated Input for spindle index signal for spindle synchronization (buffered for maximum performance)
  • Wireless MPG pendant support

Hardware installation

Installation of PlanetCNC Mk3ECO controller requires a USB equipped PC or a laptop, along with 5VDC power supply and stepper motors.


Mk3ECO 4 Axis controller requires external 5V DC supply! (Power supply should be at least 200mA)

Wrong power supply voltage will permanently damage controller!

Mk3ECO - 4 axis CNC USB controller description

Mk3ECO 26 pin header pin description


Pin 2: STEP 1

Pin 3: DIR 1

Pin 4: STEP 2

Pin 5: DIR 2

Pin 6: STEP 3

Pin 7: DIR 3

Pin 8: STEP 4

Pin 9: DIR 4

Pin 10: E-STOP

Pin 11: LIMIT 1

Pin 12: LIMIT 2

Pin 13: LIMIT 3

Pin 14: OUT 6

Pin 15: INPUT 1

Pin 16: OUT 1

Pin 17: OUT 2

Pin 18: INPUT 2

Pin 19: LIMIT4

Pin 20: IDX

Pin 21-25: GND

Pin 26: NC/+5V

+5V: +5V power. Motor drivers can take power for logic circuit or common anode connection from the USB controller.

STEP: Provides a STEP signal of minimum 12 us pulse width to the motor driver.

DIR: Provides DIR or DIRECTION signal to the motor driver.

ENABLE: Provides an ENABLE signal for motor drivers. When the ENABLE signal is lost due to output command, E-Stop or limit switch activation, motor drivers will deactivate. A dedicated E-Stop switch connected to the E-STOP pin can control the signal. It can also be operated by limit switch activation, software command or on shutdown of the control software. This arrangement provides a useful safety feature that can be user-configured to operate under manual and/or computer control.

GND: Ground connections.

LIMIT 4: Axis 4 positive and negative limit.

LIMIT 3: Axis 3 positive and negative limit.

LIMIT 2: Axis 2 positive and negative limit.

LIMIT 1: Axis 1 positive and negative limit.

IDX: Index signal for spindle

IN2: Assignable input 2

IN1: Assignable input 1

OUT 6: Digital Output

OUT 2: Digital Output

OUT 1: Digital Output

Mk3ECO USB connector

The Mk3DRV USB CNC controller connects to computer via the USB port. The port uses the USB 2.x standard.

Mk3ECO Power terminal

The controller should be powered with an external power supply.

Mk3ECO - 4 Axis controller hardware requires 5V DC supply.

Power supply should be at least 200mA.

Mk3ECO LED indicators

The user is provided with helpful feedback and live ‘status’ information via on-board LED indicators.

There are four indicators:

POWER: Lights when the controller is powered.

DATA: Indicates controller functions.

LINK: Indicates controller communication.

STATUS: Blinks to indicate controller function is ‘good’.

Connection diagrams

Mk3ECO controller has all axis, input, output and CTRL pins located on 26pin IDC header. Use of a Mk3ECO adapter board simplifies connection of motor drivers, limit switches and additional external electrical equipment. Not included with Mk3ECO controller!

Further chapters will describe connection of motor drivers, limits switches and inputs with use of a Mk3ECO adapter board:

Wiring of limit switches

Mk3ECO controller has 4 designated limit switch inputs. This means that 'Single Input' method of wiring must be used.

When 'Single input' method is used, both limit switches are connected to one limit pin. Depending on normally closed or normally opened .

If 'normally open' (NO) type switches are used, wiring must be done in parallel method, if 'normally closed' (NC) type switches are used, wiring must be done in serial method.

Software 'Invert' options allow use of ‘normally closed’ or ‘normally open’ switch hardware. This feature can be set in File/Settings/Limit/Invert

Parallel wiring of NO type switches:

Serial wiring of NC type limit switches:

Wiring inputs of Mk3ECO controller

Mk3ECO controller has IDX, E-Stop and 2 assignable inputs. Bellow is wiring diagram of switch connected to Mk3ECO assignable input. Inputs function is assigned in settings.

Connecting motor driver with Mk3ECO controller

Wiring diagrams for COMMON CATHODE and COMMON ANODE connection of motor driver:

In-depth guide for motor driver connection can be found here: How to connect motor drivers

ECO adapter board provides screw terminals as also 10pin IDC headers for connection of motor drivers.

  • use double-shielded USB cable, with its length not exceeding 1.8m
  • Mk3ECO controller should use dedicated power supply, 5VDC, 200mA
  • use shielded cables for connection of probes, limit switches and stepper motors
hardware/controllers/contr-mk3eco.txt · Last modified: 2024/05/19 19:47 by andrej

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