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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 while connected to the Acorn will cause 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 3. below.

5.) Ethernet port

6.) A 1920x1080 LCD monitor. 1920x1080 (HD) is preferred, other sizes with a 16:9 aspect ratio will work but screens may be shrunk to fit. Square 4:3 monitors will not work.

7.) Windows 10 should be set on USA English numbering system and region should be USA so number formats (periods in stead of commas) are correct for CNC12, and you will need a USA keyboard.

A discussion of affordable PC's that meet the requirements on the Centroid Tech Support Forum.

Step 2: Acorn Unboxing
Step 3: Acorn Communications to CNCPC Bench Test: Always perform this test before connection anything to the Acorn CNC controller.
Corresponding Acorn Bench Test PDF
Step 4: 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
Acorn Input and Output LEDs explained along with Power and Heartbeat and Drive enable LED's
How to register for free Centroid CNC Tech Support on the Centroid CNC Community Support Forum
Acorn CNC12 software License ordering process explained.

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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