P.C. Computer  to  Strippit  HECC80
CNC Control Communications
The Art  &  Science
of Connecting a  IBM-Type  P.C. Computer
to a Strippit  HECC80 CNC Control.
The First Strippit CNC Controls were HECC80/1 Series,  First Shipped in late 1978.

This was Era of Hobby Computers,  such as the Apple 2 and Radio Shack TSR80,
as IBM was Still 3 Years Away from Shipping their Very First Limited-Capability
"PC"  Personal Computer.    It was Years After,  that the Much More Useful 
"XT"  and  "AT"  IBM Computers came along.

The only Common Commercial Device on the Market at that time,  that could be used for  "Communication",  was the ASR-33 Teletype Machines.
These Fascinating Mechanical Marvels  (See One Run If you Can!)  could Send-Data & Store-Data on 1 Inch-Wide Punched Paper Tapes,  as well as Print-Out Data on Paper at the Same Time.   Teletype ASR-33  (and earlier Models)  Machines Communicated with a now Obsolete  "20-Milliamp Current-Loop"  Protocol. 

As Teletypes were The Standard of their day,  Strippit Designed-In and Set-Up the
20-Mill Current-Loop Interface on All  HECC80/1 Type CPU Circuit Boards.   
However,  it was Seldom ever used,  and I have only Seen 1 or 2 Teletypes wired to a HECC80 Control in my  4 Decades of Service Repair Work.
Now that You Know what Type of HECC80 Control You have,  we can Proceed.

If You Have a  HECC80/1  or  HECC80/750  Type Control,
We Update Your Control to RS232 Communications in the Following Way;

1  --  You Send-In to  The Machine Technologies Co.  your  CPU Board (Slot #2), 
        Prom #1 Board (Slot #3),  Prom #2 Board (Slot #4),  and
        Front Panel Controller Board (Slot #7).   We Update the Hardware & Software of
        these 4 Boards,  and Test & Verify them Good in one of our Strippit Machines.

2  --  You also Buy our  HECC80/1 Cable Kit  with a  P.C.  to  HECC80/1  RS232 Cable
        that has been Tested Good on one of Our Strippit Machines,  and which comes  
        with Detailed Strippit Control and  P.C.  Set-Up Instructions.

3  --  You Provide an  Old  P.C. Computer using   Windows 98,   Windows 2000,  or
        Windows XP  with a  Good  DB-9 Serial Port on the Back-Side  of Computer.
        Note,  We have seen Many Old P.C.'s that have Blown Serial Ports that will Not  
        Work which is Very Difficult and Frustrating to Diagnose!

        Do  NOT  use a  Windows Vista  or  Windows 7  P.C.  as they Do Not Have DB-9
        RS232 Serial Ports  (they have  USB Portsand are Very Difficult to Set-Up!
        We are Experimenting with using  Windows 7  and
        USB-to-RS232 Converters,  But we  Do  NOT  Recommend them at this Time!

        Also Note,  New Computer Builders can Easily Add a Serial-Card to Newer
        Computers to give you the DB-9 Serial Port that is Required!

4  --  You also  Need a Downloading Program on Your PC as a Tool  that handles the
        Program Downloading Process.    We do Not Sell this Type of Program.

        If you do not already have a Downloading Communication Program,  say from
        your Cad/Cam Programming Installation,  Our Cable Kit Includes Web-Address
        where you can Buy & Download & Install,  for about $145.00,  the Latest Version
        of a  Proven Edit & Communication Program  that you can use to Download your
        Part Programs from your P.C. Computer to the HECC80/1 Control.

5  --  You Download and Install This Communication Software onto Your P.C. Computer,
        Set-Up the Software according to Our Instructions,  Set-up Switches on your
        HECC80/1 per Instructions,  Hook-Up RS232 Cable,  and you should be ready 
        to Download Programs.    This is a Proven Method we have used for many years.
If You Have a  HECC80/30x  Type Control,
We Update Your Control to RS232 Communications in the Following Way;

1  --  Check the Key-Labels on the CRT Screen above the  "Softkey"  Buttons.
        Start-Up CNC Control,  go to  2ND Menu by Pushing  "ETC"  Softkey.
        On 2ND Menu,  If One of Softkeys Says  "COMM"  then your Software is
        Updated Enough for RS232 Communications,  so proceed to Step 2.

        If Not,  your Bubble-Memory Board (in Slot #6),  CPU Board (Slot #2),  and
        Front Panel Controller Board (Slot #7)  will Need to be Sent-In to Machine
        Technologies Co. for Software and Hardware Updates to Add the 
        "Comm"  and  "Terminal"  RS-232 Communication Software and Hardware
        Updates.    Ship your Circuit  Boards in  "Static Bags"  to Protect them!

        Note,  Old Software Versions Only had  "Link5"  which was used for
        Communicating to Old Strippit  FMS-Systems which have All been Scrapped.                   You Can NOT Use  LINK5  for  RS232 Communications,  you MUST use  COMM!

2  --  You also Buy our  HECC80/30x Cable Kit  with  P.C.  to  HECC80/3  RS232 Cable
        that has been Tested Good on one of our Strippit Machines,  and which comes
        with Detailed Strippit Control and  P.C. Set-Up Instructions.

3  --  You Provide an  Old  P.C. Computer using   Windows 98,   Windows 2000,  or
        Windows XP   with a  Good DB-9 Serial Port on the Back-Side  of Computer.
        Note,  We have seen Many Old P.C.'s that have Blown Serial Ports that will Not  
        Work which is Very Difficult and Frustrating to Diagnose!

        Do  NOT  use a  Windows Vista  or  Windows 7  P.C.  as they Do Not Have DB-9
        RS232 Serial Ports  (they have  USB Portsand are Very Difficult to Set-Up!
        We are Experimenting with using  Windows 7  and
        USB-to-RS232 Converters,  But we  Do  NOT  Recommend them at this Time!

        Also Note,  New Computer Builders can Easily Add a Serial-Card to Newer
       Computers to give you the DB-9 Serial Port that is Required!

4  --  You also Need a Downloading Program on Your PC as a Tool that handles the
        Program Downloading Process.    We do Not Sell this Type of Program.

        If you do not already have a Downloading Communication Program,  say from
        your Cad/Cam Programming Installation,  Our Cable Kit Includes Web-Address
        where you can Buy & Download & Install,  for about $145.00,  the Latest Version
        of a  Proven Edit & Communication Program  that you can use to Download your
        Part Programs from your P.C. Computer to the HECC80/3 Control.

5  --  You Download and Install This Communication Software onto Your P.C. Computer,
        Set-Up the Software according to Our Instructions,  Set-up Switches on your
        HECC80/30x per Instructions,  Hook-Up RS232 Cable,  and you should be ready to
        Download Programs.  This is a Proven Method we have used for many years.
"Click-On"  Button at Right to go to our HECC80 Control-Type Page
RS232 Communication is a Complex Subject with Many Variables.
We Do It This Way,  Because Our Way Works!

In addition, We Can make Special Cables that Include a Toggle-Switch that you can Mount on your Control,  so at the Flick of a Switch,  you can Select Data Entry from the Tapereader or the RS232 Port.  
Strippit Hired us to do this for them
because Strippit Could Not figure out how to do this.
This page was last updated: September 19, 2014
The First Thing to Do,  is to
Correctly Identify Your HECC80 Control Type!!!

If You Do Not Know  What-It-Is,
Go to Our  "HECC80 Control Type"  Web-Page
and Figure It Out!!!
Note #1

  Many Brand-New Computers Made Now,  Do Not Have a DB-9 Serial Port,
as the Computer Manufactures are Deleting-Them to Save a Buck or Two.
Make Sure that Your New P.C. Computer Has this DB-9 Serial Port,
or you can Not use it to Download to your Strippit Control.

New Computers Now have Several  USB-Ports,  Instead of the Older Serial & Parallel Ports.    We will be Testing  "USB to Serial" Converters in the Future,
but at this time,  we Do Not Know if they will work in this application.

What we use is Old Used PC-Computers that came with  Windows 98, 
Windows 2000,  Windows XT   for the following Reasons;

1  ---  As People & Shops Upgrade to New Computers,  this old Class of  
        Computers can be had for Little  (less than $100)  or Nothing here in the U.S.

2  ---  These Computers all had the Required Serial-Port on the Back.

3  ---  I know that Old  Windows 98  &  2000  &  XT   Works Well with Downloading
        Program we use.    Windows  Vista   &   Windows  7   &   Windows  8 
        can be Difficult or Impossible to use in this Application!
CPU-Board Killers

By Definition,  When Downloading, You are Wiring your HECC80 Control and It's CPU Circuit Board to an Outside Device.   The CPU Board is Quite Susceptible to Voltage and  Ground-Loops  which can Easily Burn-Out this Board.

To Minimize this Problem,  Follow My Recommendations.    Or,  if you wish to do it Your Way,  I will be Happy to Repair your CPU Board as Many Times as you Wish.

1 --  Locate the Downloading  P.C. Computer Right Next to HECC80 Control  as a Local
      File-Server  Dedicated to This Machine Only.    Do  Not  Run Cable to your Office!

2 --  Use a Short,  8-Foot Long RS232 Cable.    Do NOT Use A Long Cable!   Do Not Run
       a Long RS232 Cable from a Remote  P.C.  Directly to your HECC80 Control!   
       If you Must Communicate with a Remote Office P.C.,   Run a  Ethernet Network  or         Wi-Fi Network   to Your Local P.C.  File-Server  Computer  at  HECC80 Control.

3 --  Plug  Both  P.C. Computer   And The  CRT-Monitor Power-Plugs  into
       A.C.  Power-Strip  Inside the Strippit Houdaille HECC80 Control !!!

4 --  Do  NOT  get Power from a Wall-Outlet!    Do  NOT  use an Extension Cord!

5 --  Obviously,  Outside the North American Market,  you Can Not Do This as Your
      P.C. Computers will Require A.C. Power with Different Voltages & Frequency.

      So you Will Have to Make a Ground-Strap to make sure Grounds are Equalized!

      You will Still Locate your P.C. Computer Right Next to your HECC80 Control.
      Take a 8-Foot Long piece of 14 or 16 Gage Wire and Solder a Ring-Terminal on
      Both Ends.   Attach 1 End to a Metal-Screw on the Back of your P.C.,   Attach the
      other End to a Good Electrical Ground-Point inside your HECC80 Control.
      Make Sure you have Good Solid Electrical Ground Connections on Both Ends!

6 --  Do Not  "Share"  Downloading P.C. Computer with Another Machine!

7 --  Do  NOT  use a RS232  "Switch Box"  to  "Share"  Downloads to another Machine!

8 --  Make sure a 8-Foot Ground-Rod is Installed at the Back of Each CNC Machine!

9 --  Locate Welders,  and  Especially Hi-Frequency TIG Welders and Plasma Cutters
      as Far from all CNC as Possible!!!    At Least  60 - 100 Feet away, 
      and Farther is Better!      Nearby Welders Do Cause Many CNC Control Problems!

10 -- This Would Seem Obvious,   But
       Never  Plug-In  or  Un-Plug  a Cable or Circuit Board when the Power is On!
       This Risks Damaging Both your P.C. Computer and your CNC Control!
       Always Turn-Off your P.C. Computer  And your Strippit's CNC Control First!

11 -- ILLegal Characters;

For The HECC80/1 Types of Controls;
---   All Characters Must be Capital-Letters OnlyNo Lower Case!
---   The Complete Alphabet is Not Supported.
Only the Characters    0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, D, F, G, I, J, L, M, N, T, X, Y, /, ., +, -,    and the  "Hidden-Characters"  for  "Carriage-Return",  "Line-Feed",  and  "Null"  are supported.   All Other Characters will Generate a  "Illegal Character"  Fault Message!

For The HECC80/3 Types of Controls;
There are Different Versions of HECC80/3 Software,  and some of them Handle Characters & Filenames Differently.   These Different Software Versions are Poorly Documented,  and it is Hard to say which one does what.
---   In General,  the HECC80/3 Controls will Automatically Convert Lower Case to    
      Upper Case Characters with No Errors. 
---   The Full Alphabet Is Supported.
---   Unlike the HECC80/1,  HECC80/3 Controls Support and Need Transmitted
      File-Names.    But,  Do Not let Your File-Sending Computer's Software Send
      Directory and Sub-Directories Preceding the File-Name!
---   Keep File Names Short,  Simple 8-Characters Names are Best,  like    XYZPART3
---   File Extensions are usually permitted,  like    XYZPART3.CAD   
      But,  I would NOT use them.    Apply the  KISS Principle,   Keep it Simple Stupid!

There Are Many Other Notes,  Recommendations,  and  HECC80
RS232 Set-Up Data Included With Our Tested RS232 Cable Kits.

If you have Never Set-Up a RS-232 Download to a Strippit
HECC80 Control,  We Strongly Recommend that You Use Our Kit!
This is a View of a Typical
Transition-Board  that is Mounted on
Every HECC80 Control Door.

At Left-Side of This Board is The Infamous  "Thumb-Wheel"  Rotary Switch,
That Customer's Can't Seem to Find,
that is Used to Set
RS-232 Communication Baud Rate.

Rotate Switch-Wheel with Your Thumb,
and  See-Settings in  Tiny-Window.
Window can Show the Following;
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A , B, C, D, E, and F.

We Set   HECC80/1  Type Controls to
"1"    which Sets   "300 Baud"   which is
the  Only  Rate it will Work Correctly.

We Set   HECC80/30x   Controls to
"A"    which Sets   "2400 Baud"   which
Works Very Well.
The Very Early HECC80 Controls made in 1978 & Early 1979 had Baud Rate 
"Toggle Switches"  instead of a Rotary Baud Rate Switch,  or even had No Baud Switches at all.     Note,  Strippit's Toggle-Setting Chart was Printed Backwards
so for 300 Baud,  set the 2 Toggle Switches Opposite of Chart to Function Correctly.
These Early Controls may also need Additional Hardware Updates to Communicate.
Note #2

As Early HECC80 Controls could Not RS-232 Download, 
a small Industry of Companies Developed what are Known as
"BTR's",  which means  "Behind The Tapereader"  Devices.
These were usually a small Circuit Board With a built-in RS-232 Serial Port,
that was Plugged into Tapereader-Cable from the CNC Control, 
and  Imitated the Tapereader
BRT's were also sometimes called  Tapereader  Emulators.

So,  you could Download a Run-Program from your P.C. Computer, 
through a RS-232 Cable,  to the BTR's Memory, 
which would then  Imitate the Old Tapereader, 
and Drip-Feed your NC Run-Program Data into your Control through the
Old Tapereader Cable as Control needed it.
Your CNC Control Still Thought it was  "Talking"  to it's Tapereader.

As these are  Aftermarket or Home-Made Devices that Someone Added to your Control,  Only Person or Company who Made and Installed Your BTR can Support it!

We,  and Strippit,  Can  NOT Support  Any BRT as they are All Different.
Many of the various Companies that made them have Gone Out of Business,
Technical Data is Not Available,  Software Not Available,  Etc.

We Only Support RS-232 Downloading Communications
that are Discussed in the Sections Above!
As Time Marched-On,  IBM-Type  P.C. Computers became Common & Cheap, 
and they usually all had a   RS232   Serial Port  available on the Back-Side. 
(Click-On Hot-Links Below for More Information!)

(Female  DB-25  Serial Port Connector on Early  XT-Type  P.C. Computers)

(Male  DB-9  /  DE-9  Serial Port Connector on Later  AT-Type  P.C. Computers)

People wanted to Connect these Computers to their HECC80 Controls to use as Program File-Servers,  to Conveniently Store & Download Programs into the CNC Control's Memory,  so they could Quit Using Awkward Paper-Tapes to Store & Load.

Unlike Strippit Management,  Strippit Engineering had some Foresight. 
Probably Gary Steils,  who Designed much of the Early HECC80 Control at Strippit.
Though there were few RS232 Devises available,  HECC80/1 CPU Board was Designed so it could be Easily Modified from Old  20-Mill Current-Loop to the Very Different RS232 Type Electrical Signals that we now use for Downloading.

However,  Early Versions of Executive-Run Program  (that Runs the CNC Control & Machine)  that is Stored in  Prom #1  &  Prom #2  Boards on  HECC80/1,  and in the
Bubble-Memory Board of  HECC80/30x Controls,  could  Not do this Downloading.

As Time went by,  RS232 Downloading Routines were Developed and Added into Later Control Software Updates,  that Could be used to Update these Control Types.

Because HECC80 Control Evolved over Many Years,  there are Many Variations of CPU Board Types,  Baud-Rate Switches,  Software Versions,  Software Options,
Built-In Cables,  Etc.     So,  To deal with All these Variations,  We have Developed our Own Procedures to Update these Controls for RS-232 Downloading.
To the Left is a   Teletype ASR 33
that was used on a Strippit Houdaille Programming System to Punch-Out Paper-Tape Programs for the Old NC and CNC Machine Controls to Run.

Houdaille was the Holding-Company that Owned  Houdaille Electronics,  Strippit,  Burgmaster,  Di-Acro,  and Other Companies that were Mostly Killed-Off  by the
Wall-Street Buy-Out Firm  KKR.
Above is a   Male DE-9 
(More Commonly,  but Incorrctly Called a  DB-9)
Serial Port Connector on the Backside of an older P.C. Computer.
It Mates with  Female DB-9  Connector on Your Communication Cable.
Outside of North America,  Your P.C. Computer will Probably use a Different
A.C. Voltage so that you Can Not Plug into the HECC80 Power Receptacle.

So to Keep Grounds Equalizedyou Need to Connect a  8-Foot Ground-Strap Wire Between your  P.C. Computer  and the  Ground-Stud  that is in Every HECC80 Control!

See Above 2 Photos.    Wire Between  HECC80 Ground-Stud  to any
Bare-Metal Screw Connection  on Back-Side of your P.C. Computer.
Make Ground-Strap from Heavy 16 or 14 Gage Wire and Solder Ring-Terminals on Ends.

Connect the Ground-Strap  BEFORE  You Connect RS232 Cable!!!

In  Canada,  Mexico,  United States,  and Other Countries that use  120 Volt A.C.,
Plug-In your  P.C.-Computer and 
CRT-Monitor Power-Plugs into
Power-Receptacle that
is Inside Every HECC80 Control!


This Keeps  P.C.-Computer and
HECC80-Control Grounds the Same,
and Prevents the Ground-Voltage Imbalances that Exist in All Shops that can Blow-Out Computer and HECC80 Serial Ports!