Communication problems

There are always posts about problems with losing communication with the controller. Usually, the plan of action is to start shielding wires and grounding dust collection. That most likely is the main solution to the problem.

However, my experience tells me to solve some larger problems (like static, etc.) by doing one basic thing from the start … regulate power to the system.

I’ve done that in most of my career by never installing electronic gear without also installing an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) to maintain the power and eliminate power fluctuations and interruptions.

My ShapeOko system is operated from a UPS of about 1Kw rating. The meter on the UPS usually indicates that 25% of its capability is being used while carving (meaning less that 200 watts.) The UPS estimates that at that consumption level, I have about 30 minutes to find a stopping point in the job when I lose total power.

But that doesn’t explain that there are several power drops during the day of a duration long enough to make the ShapeOko (or at least the computer running it) reset or lose communication. I can hear the UPS click, but nothing happens other than that.

So, solve a lot of your electrical/electronic/woodworking problems with a UPS. I think a UPS should be sold as an option with the machine.

The UPS doesn’t even have to be a 1Kw size to protect your machine from the quick power drops. As long as it will hold that much power for the duration of the drop, you’re good to go!


Do you have the UPS providing power to the computer, Shapeoko AND the router? I would think you’d have to, otherwise having the computer and CNC going without the router would just lead to broken bits and screwed up work pieces.


This has been noted as a possible fix in some recommendations, but aren’t there some electrical issues / considerations?

The draw is rather high compared to typical electronics (esp. if also powering the router/spindle), so won’t batteries need to be replaced rather frequently?

Also, isn’t there some aspect of the power draw (sine wave?) which makes this problematic?

We had enough trouble just getting enough trim routers to sell with machines — I’d hate to think of adding an expensive UPS to the mix, as well as the on-going environmental considerations of replacement batteries.


I have been toying with the idea of a ups. My big problem has been finding a “good” one that doesn’t put a huge dent in my wallet. Any you would recommend?

@ctdodge @Microwave_Monkey @WillAdams

Yes there is one power input point to my system, and it is the UPS. Unless you buy really “cheap”, the good ones will specify “true sine wave output” (or as close as they’ll ever come to that.) Many a UPS is designed to operate on the mains power until that drops to a certain point, THEN they switch to a battery-powered inverter. The larger ones will sometimes operate the inverter all the time.

As far as power consumption and the UPS, these little routers don’t really consume much; relatively. It seems that the larger UPS equipment is over rated for this kind of load.

I’ve always bought APC brand. I’ve looked at other brands, and they look like good equipment, too. However, it just always seems that APC has the right one at the right price. (I’m deliberately not mentioning models, because that is a can of worms only kept closed by your own situation. :smiley: )


Here’s a typical example of a UPS that would be suitable:

Here’s a typical example of a UPS that would not be suitable:

The latter one has a stepped sine wave which the router could have some problems with or could cause a problem with the UPS inverter. I’ve heard a buzz from my router with that type of UPS.


I hope I’m not just being dense, but are we talking about plugging the computer, the shapeoko, and the router into the UPS? Or just the computer and the shapeoko? I’m very intrigued by this idea, since it also works to solve some of the concerns I have about my particular workshop setup.

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Yes, I have my complete standard Shapeoko system plugged into my 1Kw UPS. (With emergency stop in line.) It uses about 25% of the UPS capacity by the meter on the UPS.

EDIT: And not so obvious is that the 25% measurement was while carving a rather deep Vcarve of letters for a sign. So, there was some load there, but I’m sure one could have a heavier load.

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and just to state the obvious, the stop obviously is on the output side of the UPS :slight_smile:


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