Old 09-03-2014, 03:03 AM #17
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Default Re: Laser Projector - Building phase

The flexmod is a linear driver. As such, it does not need a special load, provided you stay under the max heat dissipation (<2Amps, in your case).


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Old 09-03-2014, 07:37 AM #18
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Default Re: Laser Projector - Building phase

Ah, another thing learned.

Tonight, I came up with one (more?) possible reason for the driver not functioning. It says to set the multimeter to Amps setting. I took that as "Current setting" and since Bias voltage is several 10's of mA's, I set it to the 0-400mA setting. Maybe using the "Amps setting" (anything above 400mA to... 4 Amps I think) results in a different internal something in the multimeter, making the driver accept the 'load loop'?
Just trowing ideas out

EDIT:
YES! Headed for the lab again tonight, 'invented' another way of soldering which used much less solder, reduced the amount of heating needed and generally seemed to work better with larger PCB holes and set up the other 2 drivers without any problems. Then took the first driver again, still didn't work, but after careful inspection I found the culprit: The wire connected to the - terminal was soldered to the board but apparently not to the metal itself, so no closed loop could be formed so the fault LED activated. (Flexmod working as advertised ) An extra drop of solder and it worked again. At that point I decided it was time to shout YES through the empty lab, at which point all the lights turned off. Apparently, they turn off all lights at 0:00 at my uni. Perfect timing, but at least I knew where to find the switch.

Tomorrow is going to be a busy day with connecting drivers to the correction amp & lasers, placing everything in the case, placing dichro's and alignment, but I'm positive again. I can still make it!

Last edited by Svenvbins; 09-03-2014 at 10:22 PM.
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:04 PM #19
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Default Re: Laser Projector - Building phase

Finished most things tonight. No dichro's, but I'll be happy with showing a mono color projector to my friends

I've attached some pics as how it looks right now. Added 3 switches to the back connected to the driver interlocks so I can turn the lasers on and off separately. Things left to do:

* Align green laser better. (Clips a bit from 2nd galvo)
* Install dichro's & align.
* Tweak drivers. (Base point has been set, need to get to the right maximum power now)
* Tweak correction amp. ("Plotting" 6 green circles with different intensity yielded one weak and 5 strong circles. I think the 0-5V signal meant for the driver isn't calibrated well)
* Setting the laser to TTL in HE Laserscan yields a steady image, setting it to analog gives a shaky image. Must fix.
* My galvo drivers are overheating. Must fix.

As for the last point, I'm currently stumped. Providing power to the galvo's (not yet running a show) heats up the galvo driver PCB's really quick. Did some high-quality fingertip feeling and noticed it's not the transistor, but a small resistor on the card itself. The transistor stays cool. On the picture, it's the one with the nr 301. Does this number or situation sound familiar to anyone?
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Laser Projector - Finished-img_20140904_234006.jpg   Laser Projector - Finished-img_20140904_234237.jpg   Laser Projector - Finished-img_20140904_234321.jpg   Laser Projector - Finished-img_20140904_233930.jpg  

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Old 09-04-2014, 11:20 PM #20
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Default Re: Laser Projector - Building phase

301 means 300 ohms - that's all. It's bigger than the others which means it's supposed to dissipate more power. What is the current draw from the power supply?
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Old 09-05-2014, 02:52 AM #21
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Default Re: Laser Projector - Building phase

Maybe they sold you the wrong power
supply. Maybe it's putting out too much
voltage. If only one board was overheating,
I would say it was something on that board,
but if both boards are overheating, then the
power supply is suspect.
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Old 09-05-2014, 09:00 AM #22
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Default Re: Laser Projector - Building phase

I don't know the current draw - it's a fixed PSU and not one of those with the LCD screens & knobs. I'll get back on this later when I've had time to put my multimeter in the loop.

Power supply is the correct one - it has worked before and I just checked: It still outputs -15, Gnd and +15V. One thing that might be related is that I use another PSU (9V 1A, although it actually outputs 12V...) to power the lasers. It has no ground, so I've linked its negative pole to ground of the first supply. Even then though, the voltage 'entering' the galvo drivers is a confirmed -15, Gnd and +15V.

I'm happy to say that I enjoyed my first beams into the trees last night. It was awesome!

EDIT:
Did some measurements.
Current going from +15V to Gnd is 350mA when idle, 400mA when running a 730 point figure at 23kpps.
Current going from Gnd to -15V is 170mA when idle, same 170mA when running the same figure.

As for the resistor, it has a voltage drop of 11.7 V. With the 300 Ohm resistor that leads to a nearly 0.5W dissipation. Seems to be quite a lot to me.

No solution found yet.

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Old 09-05-2014, 02:57 PM #23
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Default Re: Laser Projector - Building phase

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Lightning Stalker View Post
Maybe they sold you the wrong power
supply.
Try running them on +/-9 or 12V.
Sometimes there is an adjustment pot in
these SMPS that will allow you to turn down
the voltage. Be careful poking around in
there. I'd recommend an insulated tool. If
you don't have one, make adjustments with
the PSU unplugged.

Also, that looks like it may be a
1206 resistor. There are such things as
1/2W 1206 resistors, and they do run hot.
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Old 09-06-2014, 12:12 AM #24
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Default Re: Laser Projector - Building phase

Meh, if the scanners are scanning, you should probably leave it alone.
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Old 09-06-2014, 12:43 AM #25
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Default Re: Laser Projector - Building phase

Have had it run for ~ 1/2 hour today and it still worked, so I'm guessing I'll leave it alone indeed.

On the other hand, I could show 3 beams (R, G, B) yesterday, but after maxing the current on the diodes today (200mA, 300mA, 250mA for R, G, B, based on Laserwiki data), I couldn't run all three at the same time. Running blue and green threw green out, red and green sometimes worked. I might have to look for a better supply. Then, after some time where it worked nice, and I tried to draw pokemons on trees while my friends guessed, green output suddenly dropped. It still works (can see the picture on my hand) but there's nothing "in the air" or in the trees. I hope I didn't somehow break the diode, will check tomorrow. It really is bedtime here now


EDIT:
I'm sceptical. Might have broken a Flexmod. I'll list all events in order, maybe someone can help:

* Before yesterday, could run all 3 lasers at the same time.
* Yesterday, upped the current to the reccomended amounts for each diode according to laserswiki.
* As a result (I think, can't be certain), could no longer run 3 lasers simultaneously. When running green and then turning on blue, it'll run for some seconds before shutting down green. Blue and red worked fine, green and red too, but any combo with green & blue failed.
* Later that night, I thought the green laser broke. Still had output, but nowhere near what it used to be. (Looked less than a 3mW red pointer I have) Stopped using green for the night.
* Today, problem persists. Checked max current through other 2 diodes, was higher than I thought I had set them too. Probably caused by calibrating using too many blanked points, resulting in a lower measured current due to my multimeter updating (and averaging over?) every second. Lowered these to manufacturer maximum to be on the safe side for now.
* Forgot to turn power off when placing clamps on Flexmod resistor (0.2 Ohm in series with diode) to measure current. Can't be sure, but think I might have hit another part. Have done a lot this evening, but I think this was also the moment where the interlock LED stopped working.
* Since then I've checked the interlock: No matter whether interlock is closed or open, the "fault LED" stays off and Flexmod attempts to run max current immediately, without 7 sec delay. Immediately jumps to 70mV over resistor (so ~ 350mA) and maintains this for ~6 seconds (does give lasing output, but *WAY* too little) and then falls back to a couple of millivolts. Turning setup off and on again, and then repeating makes it fall back faster in, say, 1 or 2 seconds. Waiting a bit longer, and it's back at ~6 seconds. (After it falls back to couple of millivolts, it slowly increases again at ~1 mV/4seconds.

* More related to not being able to run all 3 diodes instead of the driver problem: While I have 12V for my drivers, turning on the blue and red laser reduces this to ~ 7 V. That's measured directly at the output of the PSU. Is that normal?

So, to conclude:
* Is the driver broken? Why doesn't the interlock work anymore? Why does it provide little light at significant currents?
* Less important for now: How come green & blue don't like each other?

Any help appreciated as always

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Old 09-07-2014, 08:20 PM #26
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Default Re: Laser Projector - Building phase

Decided to make some videos, maybe someone of you recognizes the behavior.

Video 1:
Shows the degradation.

(Videos not showing here, not sure if it's just me or not, so here's the link as well.)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pcf...xPFSZJPPfqXJHQ

Video 2:
Shows the same as above, but also that it happens faster when you repeat.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfKx...xPFSZJPPfqXJHQ

Video 3
In the dark.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ym4D...xPFSZJPPfqXJHQ


In these cases, I already completely cut off the interlock loop because it didn't seem to work anyway. Again, even with no loop available, the red warning LED doesn't activate.

Photo's below. Please let me know if they're too large, but I think detail might be important here.
Yes, I know the interlock wire is loose, took the pics after I cut it off.







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Old 09-08-2014, 04:02 AM #27
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Default Re: Laser Projector - Building phase

Quote:
Originally Posted by Svenvbins View Post
While I have 12V for my drivers, turning on the blue and red laser reduces this to ~ 7 V... Is that normal?
NO. Power supplies only behave like that if they're faulty, or unregulated. Either way, it's garbage and you need a new power supply. Do not replace it with the same type. Get a regulated power supply, and observe the current rating. This is priority #1.
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Old 09-08-2014, 04:24 PM #28
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Default Re: Laser Projector - Building phase

What supply was it, so in future, we know to
_avoid_?
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Old 09-08-2014, 08:02 PM #29
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Default Re: Laser Projector - Building phase

I replaced the supply and no longer have the voltage drop, but the flexmod & laser are still not working. Not even getting any light out of the laser now :\. I'll bring them with me tomorrow and stay in the lab after work to hook the diode up to a variable power supply (current set to zero, voltage to something a bit above voltage drop of diode, and then slowly increase current, right?) to check whether it's dead or not.
As for the flexmod, not sure what more I can check, maybe I'll think of something tomorrow.

Don't worry about ever using the faulty power supply I used, it's an old thing from the "mom says to throw it away but dad doesn't want to"-box Still, a pic for those interested in the attachments. (More an adapter than power supply, too)
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Old 09-08-2014, 10:14 PM #30
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Default Re: Laser Projector - Building phase

Those have no regulation. 9V rating and 12V no-load output should have been your first clue.
Here's what's inside those things:
mains input -> transformer -> bridge rectifier -> filter cap -> output

Best guess is you set a laser when the flexmod's pass fet was in full conduction, and not regulating, then when the supply voltage rose again - poof.

Lesson learned I hope. Don't use $1 power supplies on your $500 gadget. Time to order replacement parts.
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Old 09-08-2014, 10:32 PM #31
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Default Re: Laser Projector - Building phase

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyparagon View Post
Those have no regulation. 9V rating and 12V no-load output should have been your first clue.
Probably. Honestly, while I've heard about regulated PSU's, I didn't know they could have this effect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyparagon View Post
Lesson learned I hope. Don't use $1 power supplies on your $500 gadget. Time to order replacement parts.
Lesson learned? Maybe... My father gave me 2 of those adapters, actually saying "this one's regulated", "that one's not". I took the one that was not, because it was much heavier --> Better quality, or so I thought. Oh, how wrong I was :'). Anyway, I just connected the other one and tested it with blue & red, and here I had no voltage drop (at least, <0.01V). Do you think I could use that one instead? (The adapter from a 5400C HP Scanner). If not, I'll head for the stores, I saw they have a "Universal Switched Mode Power Supply / Adapter 3-12V 1A"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyparagon View Post
Best guess is you set a laser when the flexmod's pass fet was in full conduction, and not regulating, then when the supply voltage rose again - poof.
Not sure I fully understand, but are you saying the main mosfet (that connects to the heatsink) is dead? In that case, I guess I could buy a replacement mosfet and solder it on, instead of buying a whole new driver.

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Old 09-09-2014, 04:39 AM #32
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Default Re: Laser Projector - Building phase

You missed the part about "observe current ratings" Your first device was supposedly rated for 1A as well, and it dropped below its rated voltage, which suggests you were operating it above 1A. What current are you expecting to run your three diodes at? Sum these values, multiply by 1.5, and select a regulated power supply with at least that current capability or more.

You would have to eliminate all other variables to verify the flexmod still works. If it
doesn't work, you're better off just buying a new one.
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