Does Predator Flex Hardware work in Windows 7?

Predator Flex Hardware does NOT work under Windows 7 or 8 due to the lack of support for drivers from the manufacturer. The hardware may fit inside of a PC, but known issues have been found in the reliability of communication to the CNC, as well as instances of blue screens.

We also do not recommend running the hardware in a newer PC due to lost functionality in performance and protocol support.

An upgrade is available from SFA to move towards FLEXN or FLEXW hardware, which is supported by Windows 7 and 8 and uses a network connection and network protocols instead of a dedicated ISA/PCI card on the motherboard to communicate with your FLEXN/FLEXW hardware.

Shop Floor Automations has the hardware for wireless and wired solutions on the shop floor, as well as solutions that work with the MTConnect Protocol and can connect multiple ways. Be sure to contact us for more information on what hardware is best for you, depending on your setup!

Can my CNC machines communicate with a wireless hub?

Yes. If you want to achieve CNC machine communication with a wireless hub, there are a variety of ways you can connect your machines wirelessly.

After selecting appropriate hardware, our technicians come onsite to install it or will walk you through how to install it over a remote/phone session.

Using the most current RS232 and networking technology with thoroughly tested equipment encourages a process that will withstand the difficult environments of a machine shop floor.

Will your floppy drive emulator work on my CNC Machine?

Your floppy drive emulator will work with your CNC machine so long as you are using standard DOS-readable disks. There is a 99% chance that the Floppy Drive Emulator, previously known as the FD Connect, will work. Please provide the make and model of your current floppy drive and confirm you can read the floppy disks in a Windows or DOS PC, and Shop Floor Automations can tell you which FD Connect model will work for your CNC Machine.

Our Haas-specific floppy drive emulator has plug-and-play ability. You can see our tutorial about on YouTube or read about it in our technical video transcription page.

When ordering the non-Haas specific emulator, please provide your Salesperson with the make and model of your current floppy drive and confirm you can read the floppy disks in a Windows or DOS PC, and Shop Floor Automations can tell you which model will work for your CNC Machine.

Can I replace my existing floppy disk drive with a USB stick?

Yes, the floppy drive emulator is designed to replace existing floppy disk drive with a USB stick.

The emulator was made to replace almost all floppy drives on the market and eliminate the need to purchase floppy disks ever again.

How do I connect CNCs to laptops on Windows 7 or 8?

Because modern Laptops and PCs don’t come with Rs232 serial ports any longer, you will need to get a USB to RS232 “Industrial grade” adapter and the proper serial cable to connect from the USB to RS232 adapter to your CNC Machine.

  • Reliable USB to Serial converter
  • Compatible with Windows, plus new & legacy RS232 devices
  • Use with mobile, instrumentation, & point-of-sale applications
  • Great for laptop computers without a serial port
  • CNC Control Compatible

What is a Y-Cable?

A “Y-Cable” is designed to allow wireless or Ethernet communication to CNC machines, while still allowing access to the external serial port. We often recommend that companies implement these cables as a backup to their DNC system.

If the network goes down, programs can still be transferred into the CNCs manually, without having to open up the machine cabinets and disconnect the DNC system.

Does the Wireless CNC Connect have a DB25 connector?

No, the Wireless CNC Connect has a DB-9 serial port, but SFA sells those units as a KIT and the KIT includes a 5 ft serial cable that will connect the DB-9 serial port of the wireless CNC Connect to the CNC machines serial port.

Provide the Make and Model of the controls on your CNC machines that you are using the wireless units on and SFA will ship with the proper 5 ft serial cable when the order is placed.