PC, Electronic Machine and Motion Control Specialists.

Frequently Asked Questions


The following is a compilation of frequently asked questions.
Click a category to view related questions or a question title to view an answer.


Using DOS


1. How to I transfer files from another computer too large to fit on a floppy disk?

There are a number of ways to achieve this. A number of customers have reported success using interlnk.exe and intersvr.exe that comes as part of DOS. However this can be tricky to set up and needs a device driver running on the CNC computer, which is something, we generally avoid. Full set up instruction can be found on the Internet searching on "interlnk".

For Windows 98 or earlier the method we use is Laplink version 5, which is still available for purchase as a download from the web at around �25 last time we looked (laplink.com). Laplink 3 that was at one time available as a free (illegal we think) download also works. We have had reports that Laplink 4 has given problems. The nice thing about Laplink is that you can leave it running on the remote computer. Then all you need do is exit Ah-ha, start Laplink and all your remote files will be visible and you can download the one you need.

If you are running Windows NT, XP, or 2000 Laplink will not work. The solution is to use Fastlynx from www.fastlynxsoftware.com. This is available as a free trial that will handle up to 10 Meg files and for larger files you will have to buy the software at a cost of about �30. You run a small programme provided with Fastlynx on the DOS CNC computer and then you have to go to the remote computer to send the file. This is not quite as good as Laplink as you have to walk over to the remote computer but it does work very well and you have full control of the files on the CNC computer.

If we find a better method we will update this information. If any users know a better solution please email us. All these methods need a null modem or Laplink cable and these are available from many different sources or you could build your own. Full details are on the web if you search "Laplink cable". Use the software in serial or parallel mode and in the set up disable all the ports you are not using. Parallel is usually much faster


2. How do I make backup copies of important files?

To copy all the PCK files to a floppy exit the Ah-ha software. Make sure you are in the Ah-ha directory (CD CNC40 enter or CD CNC enter for earlier versions) Insert a formatted floppy with available space. Type "copy c:*.pck a:*.pck" enter. To copy files the procedure is the same. All files would be "copy c:*.agc a:*.agc" enter. Individual files would have to be named in full e.g. "copy c:test.agc a:test.agc" enter. To copy file back from the floppy the syntax is reversed but remember you must be in the correct destination directory e.g. "copy a:test.agc c:test.agc" enter


Setting Up Ah-Ha Software


1. How do I print out the machine Set Up?

To Print set up file. Install Ahha on to an office computer with a printer on LPT1 (Standard printer port). Copy your machine pck files to the same directory. Start software and ignore message "Your Interface Card Is Not Valid For This Version Of The Program." Go into setup ALT S:- 7-computer configuration menu:- Change printer port addresses if required to:- 9-auxiliary control parallel port : LPT 2 A-printer parallel port : LPT 1 EscapeE-print setup report . And you have a printed report. Works using XP.

Or make same changes and lug printer into workshop and plug into CNC computer....


2. How do I move the software to a different computer?

This is simple apart from one most important step. Copy the PCK files off the old computer onto a floppy disk. Fit the IF card in the new computer. Install the Ah-ha software. BEFORE copying the PCK files off the floppy run the software. A new default PCK file will be created. Look in setup (Alt S) menu item 9 and make a note of the timing values.

Exit the software and now copy the old PCK files from the floppy disk. Run the Ah-ha software and go into the same timing menu and change the timing values to those previously noted. Take a backup copy of the PCK files for future use!


Using Ah-ha Software


1. How do I drip feed a programme from another computer?

Despite what the manual states there is not a version of Ah-ha software that supports drip feed. This was not implemented mainly due to timing problems that could have been introduced by the serial interfaces of either computer if full error checking was used, which is essential for this type of operation.

Instead the development was concentrated on running large files from the local hard drive and the latest Ah-ha version can edit files up to 30 meg (provided you have that much memory fitted to the computer) and run virtually unlimited files from the hard drive. This leaves the problem of how to get the file from one computer to another. There is an FAQ in the Using DOS section on the different ways to achieve this.


Problems Using Ah-ha Software


1. Control goes haywire with strange modes appearing on screen

Recently a user had real problems during a programme. Turned out key board was faulty and picking up noise. So if you experience odd problems try another keyboard.


2. Why does my Z axis move up in rapid and hit the Z axis plus limit switch?

This is invariably because you are using tool length offsets and have omitted the minus sign in front of the length offset. If this is not the case then you may not have your axes zero's set correctly. Download and study the appropriate set up pdf from the "Using Ahha Software" in the technical support section.


3. Why does the graphics screen not show properly when F10 is pressed in edit mode?

This is the visible result of a corrupt PCK file. If you have a backup file revert to that. If not make a note of or printout all the parameters in the setup. Rename the existing PCK files (REN *.pck *.old enter). Start the software and a new PCK file will be created. Check that graphics now work ok and then alter the parameters to match the originals. Take a backup copy of the PCK files for future use!




1. Why does one of the axes counters display movement but the axis does not physically move?

Watching the mechanical counter for that axis, and repeatedly single step the axis. If the counter steps once or twice and then jumps backwards, you have a bad power transistor on the drive for that axis. If more than one transistor is bad, the counter may not move or it may just flick slightly.


2. How do I check the power transistors?

Using a digital multi meter set to the diode check function, connect the black lead to the common wire connecting four of the transistor leads together and connect the red lead to the other lead of each transistor. A reading of .500 to .725 indicates a good transistor while a lower value or open circuit indicates a bad transistor. To check the other half of the transistors, connect the red lead to the pin with the single wire and the black lead to the screw that holds that transistor to the heat sink. The reading should be .5 to .725. If any fail the test we recommend you replace all.