View Full Version : Mercury Driver Ramp Problem

George M. Perzel
02-28-2005, 9:19 AM
Alan Young recently posted a problem regarding the loss of power in a LaserPro/Pinnacle Mercury laser when enabling the RAMP function during vector cutting.
I am convinced that there is a problem with the firmware and/or driver and it can be verified doing the following simple test:

I am using firmware 2-24 and driver 3.42. Make a Corel 12 drawing with the images shown below-not necessary to be exact, just 3 separate images.
Set line width to hairline and make color your vector cut color. Set parameters to :
Black & White mode
Advance to Relative
DPI to 300
PPI to Auto
Pen Color to P=30, S=100

Send file to laser

Put a piece of scrap material (cardboard, matboard, wood, etc.) in the laser and autofocus. Set laser head to start point. Run test.
Output should be a very faint outline of the three images.

With same settings, EXCEPT with RAMP OFF, send image to laser and run test.

Output will be missing first image and last two will be burned at higher apparent power than first run. If you immediately run 2nd test again, all 3 images will be burned!

I then ran the same tests with same settings except P=100, S=100 and got the same results , except first image (square) on 2nd test was very faintly burned while others were solid burns.

1. It is obvious that power output is much higher with RAMP OFF rather than ON.
2. I get same results with previous firmware (2-20)-have not tried previous driver.
3. I sense that RAMP is not fully effective unless power level is close to 100%. I cut a lot of wood, 1/4" and thicker, and have had mixed results in the past from using the RAMP function-not much better when cutting acrylic.
4. I cannot explain the residual effect of RAMP on the 2nd test as this is a new file which should be independent of anything which happened previously-really weird.

I would appreciate it if Jerry and Alan wouyld run the same test to verfiy my results-and anyone else with a Mercury.

Alan Young
02-28-2005, 2:59 PM
You posting is right on the money. I will replicate your test tonight and report back.


Jerry Allen
02-28-2005, 4:46 PM
With ramp turned off, first (of three) object is faint the first time but cuts the second time.

Alan Young
02-28-2005, 7:53 PM
Test confirmed First time with Ramp on no power,

Second time with Ramp off, First square no power, oval and round corner square cut ok.

If any one else can duplicate please post


Jerry Allen
02-28-2005, 8:33 PM
That is not what I got.
First pass with ramp on all three objects cut fine.
Second pass with ramp off it only scores the first object. Minor unevenness in second and third object cuts. Uncut first object score is slightly darker at corners (which is what ramp is for).
Third pass ramp off everything cuts but edges show some minor uneveness.

Alan Young
02-28-2005, 9:05 PM
I have attached a PDF file that I received from the dealer. It is technical Bulletin From GCC about how the Ramp Function should work. I found it very usefull in understanding how it should work and when it should work. It fails to mention that it does not work :rolleyes:


George M. Perzel
03-01-2005, 7:10 AM
Jerry- I got exactly what Alan got-first run with ramp on cut was very faint.
Second run with ramp off first object very faint-rest cut OK
Third run, ramp off, all cut OK. Will run again to verify
Alan-thanks for the bulletin.

Kevin Huffman
03-01-2005, 10:11 AM
Hey Guys,
I have been watching this post. Normally we don't support Corel draw because we sale EngraveLab. That is why I have been participating up until now.
Do we all remember the problem that Chuck Burke was having? Where it was engraving the right speed and power through Corel draw but it would through EngraveLab? Come to find out we had to change his line width from hairline to between .001 and .004 and turn color management off to make it work correctly.
Since ramping is a function that controls speed to obtain a consistent cut while cutting one axis as well as two axis at once, maybe this is similar.

Has anyone tried changing line width and turning color management off?


Jerry Allen
03-01-2005, 11:19 AM
I do not have a cutting problem on the first cut, ramp on. I do have color management turned off so maybe that has something to do with it.
The only problem I can see is that when ramp is first turned off, the first object just scores and does not cut. The subsequent 2 objects cut fine although not as clean as with ramp on.
On the next run with ramp still off the problem does not exist and all three objects cut just a little rougher than with ramp on.
I tried this on Helix MicroCadam to rule out Corel Draw. So it is the driver or firmware.

Alan Young
03-01-2005, 11:41 AM
I have color management turned off and have not had any problems with the line weight. I ask my LaserPro Rep to contact the company and see if they could reproduce it as well. I will let you know what I hear back. I have not tried cutting anything from another application. I will see if I can do this.


George M. Perzel
03-01-2005, 1:22 PM
Hi Guys;
Jerry- are you running your test at P=30, S=100?

George M. Perzel
03-01-2005, 1:27 PM
Hi Kevin;
Thanks for your input. Did you run the test as described on one of your machines using Engravelab or whatever you use?

George M. Perzel
03-01-2005, 2:28 PM
Hi Guys;
I reran the entire test-same results as detailed in photo below. This is not a line weight or color issue. I will run same tests with Adobe Illustrator but am pretty well convinced this is a driver/firmware issue.

Kevin Huffman
03-01-2005, 3:56 PM
Hey Guys/Gals,

I got the same thing in EngraveLab. They all cut with ramp on and only 2 cut really deep with ramp off.

Lets try this, lets change our speed to 10% and our power to 6%. It all engraves, with ramp on or ramp off. You can definately see the differance though, when ramping is off the corners and starting places are much darker. With Ramping on you can see where it accomidates for corners and such.

Ramping is a cutting feature. Usually when you cut anything your speed is not going to be 100%. (unless you are cutting some notebook paper) Even then your speed has to be about 60% and power 100% (25W machine). For a 60W+ machine the speed would have to be 100% and adjust your power.

Now I am not saying this isn't a flaw. I am going to send an email to the head tech over at GCC to see what his reply is. I should have a reply tomorrow.

Jerry Allen
03-01-2005, 5:08 PM
No. S30 P100. That's about what I use normally for this type of material, S25, P100. It will not cut at S100, P30 on my machine.

George M. Perzel
03-01-2005, 5:08 PM
Hi Kevin;
Used your S=10, P=6 and got exactly the same results as before-missing first image with Ramp off.
However, not sure when I would ever use those settings even if it did work-doing a slow motion demo of cutting Jello??:rolleyes:
Thanks for your help-would like to hear what the boys in Taipei have to say.

Kevin Huffman
03-03-2005, 9:13 AM
Hello George,
I don't think anyone will be cutting jello but don't say never. I put the settings at 10sp and 6po so it wouldn't blast through the material I was using at the time.
I was out yesterday so I couldn't get an answer. This morning the tech told me he reviewed everything I put in my email as well as this post and thinks it is something in the firmware. So he passed it on to one of the engineers to get this problem resolved.
Once he emails me the new firmware and we do a lot of testing on it, I will be posting it on our website and will post the link here.

Rodne Gold
03-03-2005, 12:43 PM
The ramp function is very useful only when vector engraving , it is often MUCH quicker to engrave a border by using vector engraving doing multiple lines or squares rather than raster engraving it , it's also useful for defining edges round letters , cutting vinyl letters etc.
The ramp function ONLY works in vector mode at fast speeds (mainly used for kiss cutting and other aps where speed is high in vector mode) and stops the effects you see with ramp off , ie you dont get the "spikes" (try raster engraving clear acrylics , you can see the start and stop point spikes clearly penetrating much deeper thru the sides of the acrylic or cut something like sign vinyl and instead of an even kiss cut , you get burn holes at corners etc) Yes , we do cut vinyl , the speeds are so fast and the amount of vinyl vaporised is so low the minimal chlorine released is not at all significant , we dont do it as a rule however , but we do do it. We vector cut and engrave shiny mirror vinyls cos they are polyester and laser friendly.
Typically when the laser is vector engraving at high speed you hear the squeaky sound.
Generally leave it off unless you doing work like the above , in a thru cutting ap , ramp is not useful as the spikey bits go right thru , the reason you are seeing corner "burns"on the pic is that the smoke and residue arent being ejected vie the cut kerf.

Alan Young
03-03-2005, 4:54 PM
I sent word to the Rep and he is going to visit with the Engineers at the factory in California. He just happen to be on his way out there. I also Clued him in on this forum and he forwarded it on them as well. I think it has been and will be very important for them to see that others have been able to reproduce this problem. I thank all of you for your efforts. Please continue to do so. It often takes a group effort to discover, validate or help solve these technical issues.

On a side note I am amazed or at least my observation is most of you do not use the ramp function. I assume on my part that cutting does not make up the majority of your lasering activities. I by no mean fully understand the ramp function totally. I do believe as stated that it is only used for cutting and it is only beneficial in corners or sudden directional changes. Since I do mainly cutting I feel it would be most beneficial to use if it worked. I stumbled on to this problem one day when it started in the middle of a job to not cut anymore and traced it down to this ramp function.

Maybe when and if the GCC engineers have a chance to read these posting they could enlighten us more to the way it works and the benefits of using it. Sound like a whole other discussion. I will keep you posted of any new information I receive from them. Thanks for taking time to help

Alan Young

George M. Perzel
03-03-2005, 5:43 PM
Hi Guys;
Thanks to all who helped on this and to Alan for finding it. Whether or not Ramp should be used, when it is used, and how effective it is, is one side of the coin. I'm more concerned at to how and why using Ramp in one file has a residual effect on the next file (missing square).

Does the same problem exist on the Explorer model?

I cut a lot of wood, as thick as I can get away with on a 60 watt machine. When ramp was introduced a few drivers ago, I thought it was going to be the answer to my problem of partially cut gear teeth when cutting gears-no such luck, since it is not effective at low speeds and thick wood needs low cutting speeds-spent a lot of time and made a lot of kindling finding this out.

I am anxious to hear what LaserPro (GCC) has to say about the problem.

Rodne Gold
03-03-2005, 11:53 PM
You don't actually have a problem with RAMP , what its doing is actually the way it's supposed to work , it's not at all useful for power cutting. It is only useful at very fast speed and only if you are having a "spike" problem. We used our Mercurys and currently our 3 explorers extensively for both cutting , raster engraving , power cutting , kiss cutting and vector engraving and only used ramp for specific applications. We have had no problems at all with it and do a serious amount of complex work and about a zillion different materials without having it on. (im not sure why it affects the next file tho , as far as I remember on my mercurys ramp was a user setting on the machine accesed via the lcd panel? I havent programmed them for some time , I have 2 laser operators )
We find Wood is a very difficult medium to cut and if doing thick stuff the real answer is something with 200+ watts of power. There are so many variables with wood like resin content , moisture content , grain structure etc. We use a 4" lens to cut thicker wood for various reasons like increased depth of field of the beam (it maintains cutting power density over a greater depth) and the fact that it keeps the head further away so smoke etc is not an issue. We find on the explorer we dont have the same "spike" issues , this could be due to the fact that the source has changed from a Synrad to a Coherent deos?

Alan Young
03-04-2005, 9:18 AM
Not sure I agree with you on this as far as it working the way it is supposed to. When I set the ramp to on, in my case through the driver, there is no power, even on a setting of 10s 100p. It will not cut through typing paper. Since I mainly cut paper it is a problem. I would tend to agree that it would not be to useful in cutting thick material. The rep and the factory up to this point think it could be a power supply issue and are sending me a higher wattage power supply. I tend to think it is a driver problem, but we will see. And I agree that the different types of laser tubes could have some effect. I am glad to see your business has expanded to several lasers and a couple of operators. I have a hard time getting my son to cut anything for me;) Alan

Alan Young
03-30-2005, 12:21 PM
I received an email from my rep working on this problem and here is What he said.

Dear Alan Young:

GCC-Taiwan has been able to find sometype of bug in this RAMP function and we want to make sure its the same as the one you have experienced.Please answer the following:

1) Does the problem occur if ramp on machine is on and file is sent with ramp on? Need to have the machine fresh restart and send the files with ramp on.

GCC-TW reports failure when switching OR one line ramp on one line ramp off.

I am not sure if this is the whole problem but it is a great start in resolving the problem. Does anyone know how to set the ramp funtion on the machine? I have only done it by the driver.


Kevin Huffman
03-30-2005, 12:50 PM
Hey Alan,
When William (one of the engineers from Tiawan) was here, I showed him the problem he and gave him a copy of the file. He hasn't gotten back to me as of yet but I will email him right now and see what he has found.

Pete Andrew
04-14-2005, 2:52 PM
Thanks for the pdf - I am totally new to lasering, and stumbled on what I think is the same problem while trying to work out what the Ramp function actually did. So in my first visit to this site I join up and potentially have help on both issues within minutes. Sounds good to me.

Alan Young
04-14-2005, 4:53 PM
Welcome to the group. I still have a problem with mine. I spoke with my dealer and he is getting a liitle frustrated with the time it is taking to GCC to solve this.
But, he said he was going to try and get them to commit to something. Is there a problem or not? Some have said that they feel it is working by design but I differ on this. When I can turn on the ramp function and not cut paper at 100% power and 100% speed or even 50% speed which I can do with ramping off, then I feel there is a problem. I will keep everyone informed.


George M. Perzel
04-14-2005, 6:34 PM
Hi Alan;
I'm still with you on this-definitely is a problem and still awaiting solution.
George M. Perzel

Jerry Allen
04-14-2005, 9:25 PM
I agree that's it's a glitch that needs to be fixed and believe it's in the works.
However, I never turn off ramping, nor would I, and I have no problem cutting paper or anything else for that matter.
I think Alan's problem is more than that.

Alan Young
05-10-2005, 11:44 AM
Hey Alan,
When William (one of the engineers from Tiawan) was here, I showed him the problem he and gave him a copy of the file. He hasn't gotten back to me as of yet but I will email him right now and see what he has found.

Kevin I was wondering if you heard anything from William. I still have not got any thing fixed and need to jog some people memory.


Kevin Huffman
05-10-2005, 11:54 AM
Hey Alan,
I have been in contact with William. He told me that it has been added to the list of things to fix for the next revision. As of yet we have not recieve the new driver to test out and we have not recieved a release date for it.
I have not forgot about this post, I just don't have any new information to give. I wish I did.

Alan Young
05-11-2005, 3:01 PM
Thanks Kevin. On my side of the GCC Fence they are still trying to identify a problem. I too will keep everyone informed if I hear anything.


Mitchell Andrus
05-16-2006, 10:47 AM
I know this thread is over a year old, but it's got a lot to do with the machine at the top of my wish list, Mercury 60W.

Was this resolved / what was the solution?

Thanks, Mitch

Rodne Gold
05-17-2006, 5:30 AM
If you are looking at a mercury , perhaps you should look at the Spirit , we just got 3 and they are very nice machines indeed. a big improvemnt overt the mercuries.The Spirit GE would also be an option if you needed the bed size.

George M. Perzel
05-17-2006, 7:53 AM
Hi Mitchell;
Good question-this thing has kinda died. Never had a problem related to this since nor did I try to duplicate the test with the latest firmware/driver.
Mercury 60watt is what I have-fine machine but sure the Spirit is better/newer as Rodne stated if you can spend the bucks.
After reading about other machines, the feature I like best about the Mercury
(and other GCC units?) is the ability the manually move the head to whatever position you want-may sound trivial but much better/faster than having to position by control buttons.
Good Luck

Alan Young
05-30-2006, 6:06 PM
Sorry for not catching this earlier. I still have the problem and can duplicate it. I never got a solution other then spending money to send the tube in , to find out it was good. I was also supposed to be sent a larger power supply unit but never was. I have just learned to use the flaw, and I do call it a flaw in the firmware to my advantage. I have found that if I want to kiss cut for stickers or other adhesive items I use the ramp function. The lose of power mean I have a wider range of power options. In other words I can use 50s and 30 power to do something and if I need to increase the settings I can adjust by a larger amount instead of just trying tiny amounts. I hope that makes sense.

I wish the ramp function worked like it is supposed to but I have pretty much given up hope. I vary rarely use it.