Consider using SilverKnit as a replacement of the EC1/PE1 combination with more functionality.
NO OTHER software required.
A new release 1.6.5 of the SilverKnit software is available for free download from here
SilverReed has two major lines of electronic knitting machines: SK5xx and SK8xx. The SK5xx line has inbuilt electronics, where the SK8xx line is a modular system. The electronic carriage of the SK8xx line is controlled by the EC1 pattern controller unit, optionally in combination with a PE1 design controller unit. The SK5xx line can be equipped with an optional PE1 design controller unit. The EC1 and PE1 are no longer manufactured.
We have developed the SilverKnit and software that provides the knitting functionality of the EC1/PE1 for electronic SilverReed machines. With the SilverKnit you can knit existing patterns without the need of any additional software. You can create your own patterns with a graphics package of your choice.
The Silver Reed story as told by a technician.
Silver Reed knitting machines have always been a special breed. They are different. The most interesting difference is the feature that Silver Reed knitting machines use a different method for knitting a pattern. There are two way to knit a pattern: mechanically using punch cards or electronically. The latter is where Silver Reed knitting machines are different: they have electronics in the carriage.
Long time ago, Soft Byte developed interfaces (cables with electronics inside) to communicate directly with the carriage. The Silverlink 2 is the best-known interface. The Silverlink2 is hooked up to the serial port and the other end of the Silverlink 2 is directly connected to the carriage via the curly wire.
"What is the problem with that?" you might ask yourself. The end result is rather clear: the pattern shifts sometimes one or more stitches without apparent reason and your garment is ruined, to say the least, if you don't see the pattern shift straight away.
Next question: How come?
I will try to explain in a popular scientific way how a Silver Reed knitting machine works. In the back of the needle bed you find a black strip with holes on equal distance. The distance between the holes is the distance between the needles. The carriage contains electronics that can find out whether the carriage is above a hole or not. One of the signal lines in the carriage means "above hole". It is clear that the control logic for the carriage has to react when the "above hole" signal gets asserted. When the carriage moves above a hole, the control logic needs to inform the carriage whether the corresponding needle has to be selected or not. This information is passed via the serial port of the PC. The "above hole" signal is an input signal for the PC; the "select needle" is an output signal. During interactive knitting, designaknit pays close attention to the "above hole" signal and when it occurs, DesignaKnit will return as soon as possible the value of the "select needle" signal.
At the time the Silverlink 1 and 2 were developed, DesignaKnit ran under DOS and later under Windows 3.xx. All processor time was available to DesignaKnit to monitor the "above hole" signal and all worked as planned. Microsoft went on and developed Windows NT, 2000, XP and also Windows 95, 98 and ME. There was also new development in the hardware area and new features like power management were invented. The power management features can work without intervention of Windows and are supported by some BIOS versions. The net effect is that there is less processor time available for DesignaKnit to monitor the "above hole" signal despite processors becoming quicker and quicker. Also, Windows has its own opinion about what is important to do. This is not necessarily running DesignaKnit! You can see the problem already coming: at a certain moment Windows figured that there was something more important to do that running DesignaKnit like start a screen save and the painting of the associated beautiful picture. In the meantime, the carriage has given out two or more times the "above hole" signal. DesignaKnit however didn't notice. This causes the pattern to shift.
The more recent versions of DesignaKnit have facilities to obtain as much processor power as possible. This is only possible on Windows NT, 2000 and XP. The facilities make the problem more or less disappear, but it cannot be guaranteed. October 2001 it became apparent that something drastic needed to be done. It was decided to develop a new Silverlink 4 that would fix all currently known problems for all known PC's. The new Silverlink 4 has its own processor. This avoids the problem that Windows wants to use the processor too. The processor in the Silverlink 4 has all time available to monitor the "above hole" signal. DesignaKnit now only has to provide the right commands like "knit row x".
The problem of DesignaKnit users who have a computer without serial port is fixed too: The Silverlink 4 has both a serial and a USB port.
SilverKnit is less expensive, but one shouldn't compare apples with pears. In terms of knitting, SilverKnit is probably the stronger package. In terms of design: SilverKnit doesn't have design functionality. But... one of the reasons to develop SilverKnit was that users have design software other than Design A Knit, but cannot knit because there is no package that supports electronic SilverReed machines other than Design A Knit., but one shouldn't compare apples with pears. In terms of knitting, SilverKnit is probably the stronger package. In terms of design: SilverKnit doesn't have design functionality. But... one of the reasons to develop SilverKnit was that users have design software other than Design A Knit, but cannot knit because there is no package that supports electronic SilverReed machines other than Design A Knit.
It is really nice to see someone developing software and hardware for our machines! I was beginning to think that they were a dieing breed.
Not really; we have developed recently the USB cables.
I have a few questions about your new software and hardware package SilverKnit. First is do you plan on adding any other file formats. KnitWare and Garment Designer come to mind. I see that Stitch Painter is supported but isn't this a motif or stitch pattern designer only?
I'm informed that Garment Designer can export to Stitch Painter. You can indeed make your patterns with Stitch Painter.
To answer your question: SilverKnit is a package that can do knitting from stitch files. If there are any stitch formats not supported and the developer of the format is willing to share the format and/or I can work out the format, they will be added to the SilverKnit softare.
SilverKnit is not design software.
Can one still use a garment pattern designed in Garment Designer with Stitch Painter somehow? If I'm not mistaken, they can be exported.
Naomi seems to be the expert in this field.
Does the SilverKnit give me KFS like DAK, audio ques and so on?
While knitting, SilverKnit shows on screen what you're knitting (what you see is what you knit). There is not such a thing as shaping.On the other hand, SilverKnit maintains the carriage position, point cam position, row counter, contrast color.
Will it convert a pattern it does not support?
II it would convert, they would be supported, so answer: no.
Does SilverKnit read Lace files?
On can develop lace in multiple ways. technically speaking, lace is nothing else than fairisle. I know various DAK6 users who knit lace patterns, so not sure what the right answer is here.
Do you have a complete feature list, something that explains all that can be done using SilverKnit.
SilverKnit has 2 basic functions:
1. download a pattern to the SilverKnit box after applying variations
2. knit the pattern downloaded to the SilverKnit box
You can consider SilverKnit as a replacement of the EC1/PE1 combination with more functionality.
Would the curl cord of an SK830 be enough?
Yes any curl cord will do.
So, all things considered, this would be cheaper than DAK and the SL4?
Correct. SilverKnit is cheaper than DAK + SL4; SilverKnit is also cheaper than the PC10. And... you can use more or less any program to develop your patterns. SilverKnit works with Stitch Painter from Cochenille for example.
If I understand well, with the SilverKnit you don't need DAK but how about the cable?
The SilverKnit package includes the grey SilverKnit box, power supply and USB cable + software (SilverKnit Utility) to operate the SilverKnit box. A curl cord is not standard included. SK5xx and EC1 users have one already. You are right, SilverKnit Utility does the knitting. You can create patterns in any format supported by SilverKnit Utility including Microsoft Paint.
What do you mean exactly by "The SilverKnit software can be upgraded to DK7 using SilverKnit hardware."?
If a user buys SilverKnit and decides later on he or she wants to use DK7, he or she doesn't have to buy an SL4; there will be made available an upgrade path in DK7 to use the SilverKnit box.
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