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Centroid Acorn CNC controller Installation and start up guide.

Minimum Components and Tools needed to build an Acorn based CNC control:

- Centroid Acorn CNC controller kit
- A Windows 10 PC that meets the Centroid Acorn Minimum CNC PC requirements, see below
- Typical electrical assembly tools, multi meter, wire stripper, screw drivers, crimp connectors, etc.

Unpack and familiarize yourself with what is included with Acorn cnc controller kit, download the Centroid Acorn hookup schematics to follow.


1.) Do not use the USB port found on the Beagle Bone Motion control CPU. The USB port is used for stand alone Initial firmware installation ONLY. (Centroid CNC12 software will automatically update the BBG firmware so no need to use this port once the BBG is connected to the Acorn) Using this port whle connected to tha Acorn will casue damage. The Acorn CNC controller communicates with the CNC PC via the Ethernet connection NOT the USB port. The Acorn board is NOT powered thru the USB port. Do not plug anything into the USB port. The Beagle Bone is preloaded with the proper firmware at Centroid and is installed onto the Acorn board and tested before shipping so everything is ready to run. No need for user to install firmware.

2.) Do not de-power the Acorn board while CNC12 software is updating the firmware on the Acorn board. CNC12 software will usually update the firmware on the Acorn Board the first time it communicates with the Acorn board and/or during the first time a new version of CNC12 is started. CNC12 will say "MPU Rebooting". DO NOT power off the Acorn board at this time.. let CNC12 finish the firmware updating process. It is safe to restart the CNC12 software at any point..just don't remove the power from the Acorn board during CNC12 initialization if it is updating the firmware on the Acorn board. If the firmware does get corrupted due to a power removal, you "bricked it" (corrupted the firmware). You know if you "bricked it", if the Acorn board's blue Heartbeat light is not flashing once per second.. The heart beat light lets you know that the firmware on the Acorn board is up and running and is ready to connect to CNC12. If no heartbeat then the Acorn CPU called a BBG (Beagle Bone Green) will have to be "De bricked". It is a simple procedure explained here...(note the de bricker instruction can also be used to "build" your own BBG for Acorn use.)

Step 1: CENTROID CNC PC minimum hardware and benchmark requirements for proper CNC control operation.
Verify that the PC intended for use with the Acorn CNC Controller meets the minimum performance requirements below. (Note: the Windows PC connected to the Acorn board will be referred to as the “CNCPC”)

We suggest using an Intel NUC model #NUC7i3BNK and a Touch Screen LCD display with 16:9 aspect ratio (1920x1080 preferred as the CNC12 software is a perfect fit at this size.) You can purchase an Intel NUC from Centroid with Windows 10 pre configured for CNC use and Centroid Acorn Free Mill and Lathe CNC software preloaded ready to run here.....

But if you want to build, buy or use your own CNCPC here are the Centroid Primary CNCPC requirements:

1.) The PC CPU must have a SINGLE CORE minimum benchmark of 1500 for milling machines, 1000 for Lathes.  You can look up a CPU’s benchmark # using this web site.  

Notice that this is the “Single Thread” benchmarks chart.
Using a CPU with a single thread  benchmark rating higher than 1500 is required for Mills and 1000 and higher for Lathes.

2.) While not is highly recommended to use a SSD (solid state drive)  We only recommend Intel or Samsung SSD’s

3.) minimum 4 Gig’s of Ram

4.) Windows 10 that is configured for CNC control use see Step 2 below.

5.) Ethernet port

6.) A 1920x1080 LCD monitor. 1920x1080 is preferred, other sizes with 16:9 aspect ratio will work but screens may be shrunk to fit.

Step 2: Configure Windows 10 for for CNC use. Follow this video to prepare the CNCPC for compatibility with the Acorn CNC hardware and software. Be sure to perform every details when configuration Windows 10. If you bought a Centroid CNC PC you can skip this step and go to step #2. PDF download of Win10 configuration instructions.
Step 3: Connect Power and Ethernet to the Acorn CNC control board in preparation for the software installation. Note: Starting in 2018 all Acorn kits ship from Centroid pre wired ready to run, all you have to do is connect the ethernet cable to the CNCPC. Find the "Bench Test" Acorn schematic and Wire Logic Power to the Acorn board and connect Ethernet cable to the Acorn board and then to CNC PC according to the "Bench Test" schematic. (DO NOT CONNECT any other wires to the Acorn board at this point!) only the logic power and ethernet connections as seen in this video. download the "Bench Test" schematic here. Centroid Acorn hookup schematics. Power up the Acorn CNC controller and go to next step.
Step 4: Download the Centroid Acorn CNC control software here, place the Centroid Acorn CNC12 software zip file on the desktop of the CNCPC and follow this software installation video.
Step 5: Bench Test Running Motors. Marty shows us how to connect up the Acorn CNC controller to axis motors using the Gecko G540 stepper drive and stepper motors as an example

Tech Bulletins on individual setup subjects.

1.) TB37 Measuring Motor turns per inch.

2.) TB37 Measuring Backlash

3.) TB78 Common Wiring Problems

4.) TB294 Configuring Notepad++ for CNC Gcode editor use

5.) TB297 Yaskawa Sigma drive setup for Acorn CNC controller use


Marty's Acorn Installation and Setup Video Series

Use the Free Tech Support Forum for more information.

Start here with these How To videos:.

Acorn CNC Tips and Tricks

and follow these guidelines if you want to post a question.


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