I have reviewed some great companies in the past that had excellent customer service. However, I have never experienced the quality of service I received from Kevin Patterson. From the first email that I sent him, he was professional, expedient and detailed (even for my feeble mind) with his information and explanation.
I explained to him what I wanted to do with my Shapeoko 3XXL and sent him a photo of my control board. Within a few hours he had me a detailed plan to install limit switches on each axis in both positive and negative directions and he showed me how to make the homing process work with these 6 switches.
We discussed what equipment, wiring, magnets, screws etc that I would need and he asked me how much of the wiring, soldering and connection I wanted to make. He is willing to custom fit my order to the level of detail that I wanted to do.
After our discussions, I decided that I wanted to minimize the soldering and make up more of a DIY kit to post on the forums that anyone could install on their machine and make it work. And by anyone, I mean anyone considering if I can do it anyone can.
So he helped me with quick connections on the sensor boards rather than soldering crimped RJ-11 connectors installed, wired up the breakout board, provided a power supply to the breakout board and made sure everything would work when I received it.
Basically all I had to do was run the wires through the drag chains, crimp the control wires to the limit switch board, mount the limit switches, mount the breakout board, plug in the telephone (RJ-11 connectors) and plug in the power supply. It was really as simple as that.
An excellently designed custom kit for easy installation. And on top of all that, it works perfectly.
So here is a breakdown of what I ordered
6 - Creltek Limit Sensor 343RT – Cost $46.50
Pre-Crimp RJ11 Plugs to Cable?: YES - You will want to select the Yes option unless you have an RJ11 crimper
Wiring Included?: YES, 9ft per Sensor - I used the 9 foot wiring for the way I ran the connections – some of them were a little long but none were more than 3 foot extra
Magnets Included?: YES - You will need the magnets so might as well get them here
Wire-to-Board Connectors Included?: YES - This will make your connections so much easier if you think you can run the RJ-11 connectors through your drag chains. In the end I was able to do this easily and should have purchased the ends crimped to the limit switch boards. If you are unsure, you can easily take the NO option and crimp the connectors to the sensor boards yourself. That is what I did and it is pretty simple. Here are a couple of pictures of what the boards without the wires look like and how to install the wires.
Creltek RJ-11 Sensor Breakout – Cost $20.00
- Buy this, it makes your connections to the power circuit so much easier. By communicating with Kevin upfront, you can get him to wire this breakout board up for you and then you can provide a power supply to it or likely can purchase one from him.
Power Supply – Cost $10.00
- This option is not on his site but he has some power supplies that he will sell and wire up for you if you want to go this route. I did and it makes is very much plug and play.
Total cost $76.50 for 6 hall effect sensors (no mechanical parts to break) that are very accurate, work as maximum travel limits as well as homing sensors and you will have positive and negative stops on all rails. Net results, no more beating your machine to death when you over travel an axis and less wear and tear on your motors and belts.
Installation of the switches on the machine was easy. I used hot glue to stick the sensors on the rails. It seems to have worked. The switches are designed with a hole in them where you can put in a screw to hold them to the machine. If the hot glue doesn’t hold them, I may use the screw installation idea later. I also hot glued the cable leads to the sensors to make sure the wires did not pull out of the sensors. Kevin suggests you put hot glue over the components on the sensors. I decided not do to that at this time. Hope that was a good decision.
The magnets simply stick to the steel pieces you put them on. You can adjust where the sensors trip by moving the magnets up or down. Remember there is a polarity to the magnets and they actuate the switches differently depending on which side of the magnet is up to the switch. They will actuate either on the left side of the switch or the right depending on the polarity.
I have found this to be a much better solution than the mechanical homing switches that came with the machine when I bought it. One of them broke almost immediately and I pretty much lost confidence in them at that point. This option will provide you a system with no mechanical parts, resistance to dust, corrosion and breakage and accuracy better than anything else you can use on your machine for limit switching.
If you are looking for a better option for limits and homing, then this is it. And on top of that, if you have any problems from the initial decision to what you need to order, how to install them and long term customer service, you cannot beat the system that Kevin has put together.
My switch installation position for your consideration and use as you see fit.
Right – installed on the same rail on the opposite side.
Y- Axis – installed both switches on the same axis Plate
Magnet placement for X-left and Z-top
I hope this helps someone to decide to install this system. It has been well worth it to me.