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Old 07-05-2007, 05:54 PM #1
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Default Uh Oh, problems already

So as most of you know, I received my x45 from NOVA on Monday. It's been a great conversation piece but last night I had my first issue. I was doing some small demonstrations for some guests when all of a sudden the power output dropped off to nothing. I thought the batteries had gone bad so I replaced them but again the power peaked and went dark within about five seconds. I decided to put it away for the night. Today, it seems to be working a bit better but still doesn't seem as bright as it had been. Anybody have any ideas as to what the problem might be?


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Old 07-05-2007, 06:05 PM #2
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Default Re: Uh Oh, problems already

For how long were demonstrating? If you exceeded the duty cycle that would explain the drop in performance.
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Old 07-05-2007, 06:17 PM #3
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Default Re: Uh Oh, problems already

what batteries were you using?
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Old 07-05-2007, 06:29 PM #4
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Default Re: Uh Oh, problems already

"Today, it seems to be working a bit better but still doesn't seem as bright as it had been. "

Can you please clarify what you mean by that? You first said it seemed to drop off to nothing, now you're just saying "doesnt seem as bright", so its hard to know exactly what you mean.

After its night of rest, is it about what it was beforehand, although it may not seem as bright, or is it still outputting just about nothing?

It sounds to me like you just let the laser get too warm past its operating spec, and that would cause efficiency to eventually drop to nothing. Over the night, you let it cool down, and now its back up to regular performance, and I'm guessing the "doesn't seem as bright as it had been" is just an illusion caused by your worry over what happened earlier.

However, that's just a very likely possbility... also gotta consider that you could be right and output really did drop, but can you please qualify that statement? If it just looks somewhat weaker, that can be as simple as an increase in the ambient light in your room (IE, the sun being out). If you're not getting much output at all anymore, that's a diff story.
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Old 07-05-2007, 06:30 PM #5
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Default Re: Uh Oh, problems already

The demonstrations were mostly small burning demos and beam demos in the sky. The duty cycle is 100 seconds although I never got close to it...usually stopping after about 50-60 seconds. The only thing I can think of is that the humid conditions outside might have been affecting the power somehow. As for the batteries, I'm using energizer AAA. Does the fact that I've had these power problems indicate there might actually be something wrong with the components or was the overnight rest all it needed?
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Old 07-05-2007, 06:43 PM #6
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Default Re: Uh Oh, problems already

Yes, I do think part of it may be an illusion based on my concerns. But to clarify exactly what happened last night...the output did indeed drop off to basically nothing. I was pointing the beam in the sky for a demonstration and then the beam just disappeared. I then aimed it at the brick on my house and the dot was barely visible. After thinking it over I think several things may have been in play last night. One, it was a very warm evening here and I was using it outside. Two, when the laser wasn't in use it was in my pants pocket which also may have kept it warmer than it should have been. Third, Even though I wasn't going past the 100 second duty cycle, there was a lot of on, off, on off, on off. My main concern today is that if the laser did get to warm last night...it could have done permanent damage. However, I'm aiming it at my wall right now...and worries aside..it does look about as bright as it should be.
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Old 07-05-2007, 06:59 PM #7
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Default Re: Uh Oh, problems already

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcfehn
...
The only thing I can think of is that the humid conditions outside might have been affecting the power somehow.
...
If it was hot outside that can definitely shorten the duty cycle, since Nova's recommended operating temperatures are 15-30 degrees C (59-86 degrees F). Assuming these temperatures are accurate, you wouldn't need to exceed the duty cycle to experience a performance drop.
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Old 07-05-2007, 09:52 PM #8
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Default Re: Uh Oh, problems already

Here's a little test that's worked pretty well for me. Take the batteries out and measure the voltage of each cell using a garden-variety multimeter.

EXTRA CREDIT QUESTION: Can you name 2 other measurements on a pen-style laser that can be taken with one of these meters? (without voiding the warranty and using only the probes)
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Old 07-05-2007, 10:28 PM #9
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Default Re: Uh Oh, problems already

current draw, resistance, and you may be able to use it as an improvised EKG so the paramedics can help diagnose your heart attack after you kill your laser by not knowing how to use a multimeter.

(You have no idea how many multimeter fuses I've blown by trying to test voltage [open circuit] with it set in one of the current settings. Its a good thing harborfreight has those cheap $3 ones!)
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Old 07-05-2007, 10:34 PM #10
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Default Re: Uh Oh, problems already

I've heard stories like this before that most people wouldn't think my method would work but at least it's worth a try. I have had the same thing happen before on my greenies. Just try this: take a tiny bit of aluminum foil and stuff it in the battery cap in the back. If it is a connection problem this might work. My greeinies would seem like they were losing power and the dot would barely show up but the foil thing worked great on both of them.
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Old 07-10-2007, 09:30 AM #11
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Default Re: Uh Oh, problems already

I think my problem is solved. As I was inspecing the laser, I noticed the aperature cap was loose. I tightened it up and everything seems to be working fine now.
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