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 i n my  5 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  &  8  &  10   Using
        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 $150.00,  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 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  &  8  &  10    Using
        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 $150.00,  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!

We Can also 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 Tapereader  or  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: November 20, 2019
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

  Most 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 RS-232 Download to your Strippit Control.

Any Good PC-Computer Store can  Easly & Cheaply
Add  a  Serial-Port Card  to your New Computer
and this is  Best-Way to add the missing  DB-9 Serial-Port!

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.
NOTE!  We have found most Converter do Not support all Signals and will not work!

  What we like to use is  Old Used PC-Computers that came with   Windows 98
  Windows 2000,    Windows XT ,   Etc.,   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   Work Well with Downloading
         Program we use.    Windows   Vista,   Windows  7,   Windows  8 ,
         Windows 10 ,  can be somewhat Difficult 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 Machines 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-Up
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.
Most 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 have 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  Shitty
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 older  P.C. Computers
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!
I Often Run-Into  Smart-Ass Young  "IT-Guys"
who Think they know more than my 
5-Decades of Electronic & Computer Experience,
and so they Ignore my advise.

They say,  "Oh, I don't need to use a Computer with Serial-Ports, 
I'll just Plug-In a  USB to Serial Adaptor Cable ".
And in theory,  this is true.
They also Ignore advise on Grounding,  Short-Cabling,  Etc.

Except,  Most Cheap Chinese  USB to Serial Adaptor Cables
do  NOT  Support  All  RS-232 Signals,   And  WILL NOT WORK.

This is because they usually only support 3 or 4 of the
most common Signals to run Old Serial Mouse Devices and such.
Most Do NOT Support all of the Signals in Diagram above
which are  Required  for  Complex RS-232  Back & Forth  Handshaking
that the Strippit  HECC80/3 Control  & Other CNC Controls  Require.

However,  On Advise from the Software Developer I use,
In  2011,  I  bought several
TRENDnet      TU-S9  USB to Serial Adaptor Cables,
USB  1.1 Compliant Type   with   RS-232  DB-9 Male-Connector
which  Do Support all needed Signals & Pins.
After Downloading Latest TRENDnet  TU-S9  Drivers to my PC, 
My Windows PC  &  Adaptor Communicated  OK with 
HECC80/3 Control  on my Strippit  FC1000/3 Machine.

TRENDnet   appears to still sell the same Adaptor I used,  But
Over the years have Updated it,  and they also sell Newer Versions & Types.
I have No Idea whether these newer versions will work or not,
but I assume that they will.   There are undoubtedly other Brands of Adaptors that will work,  but I have no way of knowing which will & will-not work.

Many Companies  &  IT-Guys
want to Connect their Old Strippit Machine to the Company Network. 

Best way to do this is;
  1  --  Install a Reliable  New Windows-PC  Right-At-The-Strippit-Control!
  2  --  Hook-Up Your Network to this PC anyway you want.
  3  --  Install  a  Serial-Card  in PC.  This is The Best Way!
  4  --  Or use  USB to Serial Adaptor Cable,  Install & Set-Up  Software Drivers.
  5  --  Install Software in your PC that is  Tool used to Send your NC-Programs.
         We Sell a Tested-Good RS-232 Cable for HECC80 Controls with Set-Up
         Information for the Software-Tool we Recommend you buy & use.
  6  --  Set-Up  this Software for this particular Strippit Control Requirements
  6  --  Hook-Up short  (6-Foot)  RS-232 Cable from  PC to Strippit Control.
  7  --  Set-Up  Strippit CNC to receive RS-232 matching the PC's Set-Up,
         CNC-Control  &  PC-Computer  Parameters like Baud-Rate Must Match!

The Problem is,
when  Anything in this  Chain of Devices & Software  is  Not Correct,
it just doesn't work,  and  You have  No Good Way to Troubleshoot Problems.

When I make a  Service Call to Troubleshoot  RS-232 Problems
I bring my own   Proven-Good  PC-Laptop  already   Set-Up  with  Software 
&   Cables   &   Spare  HECC80 Circuit Boards,   Etc.,
so I can Easily isolate Problems whatever the cause.