Please read carefully to see if this DTHC is suitable for your system.
Other aftermarket THC systems need either interface electronics or the whole system to be installed inside the plasma cutter power supply. However, most Hypertherm models come with an interface already built in as standard. (Hypertherm refer to this variously as the robotics interface, the mechanized cutting interface or the machine interface). The Razordance DTHC is exclusively designed to connect to that existing interface so you don't need to install anything inside the plasma cutter power supply case. If you have one of these Hypertherm models then this DTHC is the one for you.
So which models are supported?
Hypertherm are constantly bringing out new models but the simple answer is - any model that has an interface built in with a 50:1 voltage divider. If in any doubt I suggest you contact your dealer and simply ask whether your system has the same robotics interface as the Powermax45. If it does then all is well. If it doesn't, ask if there's an update pack for your model.
Please note that to use this DTHC you must have the machine torch. This is because for safety reasons, Hypertherm disable their robotics interface when the hand torch is connected.
Note as of 2016: Other manufacturers than Hypertherm are now producing plasma cutters with built in interfaces. If the interface is the same, then this DTHC will work fine with them.
What else is needed in order to use this DTHC?
- A Machine Interface Cable with a D-sub Connector that includes the wires for the Voltage Divider Signal. If you don't already have one of these then they can be purchased from your local Hypertherm dealer. (Ask for part# 123896)
- A CNC table controlled by a licenced Mach3 (VR3.043.022 or later) via the parallel port or one of the external motion control cards that FULLY support THC functionality.
- Some method of performing Initial Height Sensing (IHS). Floating head and/or Ohmic sensing are two popular methods. You should be doing this anyway even if you don't yet use a THC.
- 1 spare SERIAL (RS232) port on your PC or USB with a USB to RS232 Converter Cable.
- 1 spare output pin on your parallel port/BOB.
- 3 spare input pins on your parallel port/BOB.
- Note that you don't need a second parallel port to use this DTHC.
- A REGULATED 5Vdc supply - what you use for the logic supply of your motor drivers is fine.
 Mach3's internal THC functionality is crippled in demo mode.
 These days, any decent external controller should fully support THC. Examples, to the best of my knowledge, include the ESS (Ethernet SmoothStepper), The uc100 and 300 and CSMIO. However note that user supplied 24V to 5V level shifting is required to interface the CSMIO.
What is the sample rate of the Razordance DTHC?
1KHz or 1000 times per second. I mention this here because there is a myth repeated from time to time on the Mach3 forum that Mach3 can only handle THC updates at 10Hz i.e. ten times per second. This is completely untrue and comes (I believe) from confusing input speed with either the macropump refresh rate or the screen update period. Neither of which have anything to do with Mach3's THC functionality.
What do I get if I buy the DTHC?
- The DTHC card itself of course, which measures approx. 100mm x 90mm (4" x 3.5").
- A 1.8 Metre DB9 male to female RS232 Serial Extension Cable.
- A custom Mach3 plasma Screenset with associated setup and control files.
- Comprehensive and easy to follow hardware and software installation instructions.