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Chuck Stone
09-27-2013, 2:12 PM
Doing an engraving this morning and it left some blank stripes.
Went back several times over the same spot, and... nothing.
Smelled something but didn't really notice all that much. Thought
it was probably the marking spray cooking off. Familiar.
hmm.. yes, familiar. Not Cermark. more like ..
.. a cooking capacitor?

Anyway.. it won't even mark paper now. It's been getting weaker
and I've found an inexpensive used replacement. Was trying to
hold out through the holidays so I'd make enough to buy the
tube.

Checked the motherboard, didn't see anything cooked there.
So I dropped the power supply and I'm about to open it up
and see what I can see. Hoping it's just a burned out component
that I can get locally.. this is the only income right now!

Anyone opened up a GCC power supply before? Any hints on
what I should look for/test? I don't have much in the way of
documentation here..

Dee Gallo
09-27-2013, 2:33 PM
Sorry to hear this, Chuck! You've been expecting this for a long time, but there is never a good time to lose an old friend. RIP... unless you resurrect him. Then it'll be hallelujah!

Chuck Stone
09-27-2013, 2:36 PM
Yeah.. it's been coming on for a while.. I was just hoping to make it through
the holiday rush, which would pay for it.
I'm trying for resurrection. So far the mouth-to-mouth just got me
some funny looks..

Mike Troncalli
09-27-2013, 2:50 PM
I want to comment on that, I just don't know what to say... :-)
But it was funny though...
R.I.P

Frank Corker
09-27-2013, 3:49 PM
Unlucky buddy, sorry about your machine

Richard Rumancik
09-27-2013, 4:04 PM
. . . Anyone opened up a GCC power supply before? Any hints on what I should look for/test? I don't have much in the way of documentation here..

You probably won't be able to get any schematic or anything - if you are lucky maybe there is an internal fuse. But if you actually smelled something burning it is probably more likely an active component than a fuse. If you need to hire a technician you are better off just getting a new supply, as diagnosing and repairing the supply without schematics is time consuming and hit-and-miss. Plus many components are not easily procured.

Actually, if it is just the power supply, you are lucky as it is probably the cheapest thing to replace. Is it a MeanWell power supply? If so, there are some USA distributors and you might be able to match something up - although you might need to wire in the harnesses from the failed supply. You could also check GCC pricing to see if it is worth the savings.

Chuck Stone
09-27-2013, 4:54 PM
It is a Meanwell, but I don't see anything obvious. I was hoping to spot a leaking cap
or a burned resistor. No such luck. One small internal fuse, but that's fine.
Some days it just doesn't pay to shave your legs.

Chuck Stone
09-27-2013, 7:25 PM
ah well .. can't find anything I think I could tackle. Cleaned lots of dust bunnies
hoping there was a thermal shutoff somewhere. Man, those power supplies
collect dust.. clogged heat sinks everywhere. Everything looked gray till
I brushed it out. Still didn't help, though.
Fired it back up and got that vague smell again.. like an bad cap warming
back up, only I didn't find anything so I don't know if it is in the power supply
or not.
Didn't touch the tube, but don't know if there's anything serviceable in there.
I wish this thing had better manuals so I'd at least have a chance of understanding
it. They're probably afraid it would make people like me think that it's OK to go in there..

Scott Shepherd
09-27-2013, 7:38 PM
Some days it just doesn't pay to shave your legs.

I just threw up in my mouth a little on that one :eek:

Chuck Stone
09-27-2013, 7:50 PM
and I didn't even send the jpegs..

Neil Pabia
09-27-2013, 9:11 PM
Just come down and use mine, it's just sitting in the corner all lonely lately.Makes a great workbench for molds though.

Chuck Stone
09-27-2013, 10:12 PM
.Makes a great workbench for molds though.

I think every picture I took of molds was sitting on top of this one.
the whiskey stone boxes, too. It's the perfect height.
(and about the only free horizontal surface in the place..)

If you were about 3 hours closer, I'd do it.
Finally getting more steady orders, and doing
the engraving for stoneworks

oscar martinez
09-27-2013, 10:41 PM
It happen to my spirit GX 60W. I pay around $500.00 for each, my machine has two Power Suplies.No big deal to replace them always take pictures before removing anything an put it back .Also GCC has new power suplies but diferent wiring.Contact them.the diference is I live fiften minutes from them.An half hour from my vendor, both of them allow me to use their machines while the new power suplies arrived.They didint haven't on stock when happen to me.If u need help just send a pm i will help u in any way posible.I take the option to replace them service is around the same cost from a company in texas 2 to 3 weeks waith.

Chuck Stone
09-27-2013, 10:49 PM
thanks Oscar .. from what I can tell, the power supply seems ok so far.. everything works
except for firing the tube. Talked to someone who feels it might be the RF section of the
tube and might be repairable. I haven't looked into that yet..

Scott Shepherd
09-28-2013, 8:47 AM
Chuck, I don't know how you'd find it with search, but if you are patient and search, Rodney has explained the process of the RF repair, if I recall right. It was done probably 4-5 years ago, but it's on this site somewhere. He's explained in great detail what goes wrong with the GCC's and what to fix. Search Rodney's previous posts. It's going to take a little time to find, since RF is too short to search, but if you find it, you'll most likely find the method to repair it because I know I've read it here from him.

Chuck Stone
09-28-2013, 9:05 AM
thanks Steve .. just started searching for that. I figure he's had so many, he
must have an idea. But you're right .. it might take awhile.
Nothing to lose .. this one isn't doing anything!

Sotos Patistas
09-28-2013, 9:54 AM
You don't mention what model GCC or how old, but if it's a Coherent tube, you might want to check the specs of the power supply against Coherent's PS requirements. It's not above GCC to slip in a 7 amp PS when Coherent states a requirement of 12 amps. Then when the tube dies, they'll deny any connection. Ahhh, good times.

Also, if it is a Coherent, you might want to jump on that used tube in a hurry, as repair of the Coherents can take months.

Chuck Stone
09-28-2013, 11:05 AM
opened up the laser tube to see what I could see.
After all, I didn't expect it to work again after the
power supply seemed to check out OK.

Now .. how to find part numbers...

Rodne Gold
09-28-2013, 12:31 PM
Mail synrad with the tube serial , the series of tube and the pics , they will give you part nos , I got them from them many years ago and comprehensive instructions on tuning etc. Can't find it on any of my puters here at home... not sure if I still have it

Be sure to beg and plead as they will normally just refer you to GCC - ie tell em you poor , cant afford to send it away , its old , you bought the machine 2nd hand and you just want to try fix it and so on.
As far as I remember the parts were readily available and cost a few $
The real problem was that you need an scope and offboard controller to "tune" the 2 RF boards to get 100% operation , but I have read of folk who just replaced parts and it worked - you might as well give it a bash.

Chuck Stone
09-28-2013, 12:44 PM
Thanks Rodney.. I've talked to Synrad before (and begged with all you suggested)
and even told them that GCC wasn't giving me the time of day anymore. It fell on
deaf ears. I don't think GCC US wants to deal with service issues or parts. I had set
up an account with them a few years ago, but they're not selling me parts anymore.

Anyway.. since I had planned on getting another tube at the end of the year, if I can
find part numbers for recommended caps now and squeak thru, I'll do it. I have
nothing to lose.. I don't have a scope, so tuning isn't an option for me. I see itw
as tuned at 32v, so I think the best I can do is make sure that's what I'm getting.

I'm going to hit the Radio Shack and see if they've got the old silver mica caps
anyway.. although lately if you're not buying a cell phone, charger or cover then
they don't really want you in their store..
(sheesh .. complain much, Chuck?)

Chuck Stone
09-28-2013, 4:29 PM
Went to RS to paw through their capacitors and there's a pretty wide
gap in what they offer. Since they won't be open tomorrow and it was
only $2, I picked up the closest thing I could find, but don't think I should
install them.

I found another thread where someone said Synrad discontinued using
the mica caps and went to porcelain. Someone else suggested ceramic.
1000pF, 500V

So this is what I got.. and it doesn't even look close.
Now, I realize that different materials have different
performance characteristics and so size/shape/color etc
will vary. But it seems like there was a lot of insulation on
the old caps and not so much on the new ones.

Recommended temp was +100C, all they had was -25C to +85C
Tolerance 10%, that's ok. 500WVCD ? haven't seen that before.
And maybe my eyes are bad .. but 0.001F is 1000pF, right?

Are these really a replacement for the old ones?
Plus, the price throws me. Radio Shack (who now gets $22 for a
designer version of their $3.99 solder remover) isn't known
for their prices. $1.99 for two caps, when other posts from
years back suggested $2-3 for one.

Tell me I worried for nothing, and that I can possibly get back
my baby tonight!

Mark Ross
09-28-2013, 7:11 PM
I think that I shall never see something as lovely at as a 470uF testing out at 473... a little engineer humor. Keep in mind that 'lytics are rated on hours.

Dan Hintz
09-29-2013, 8:33 AM
Now, I realize that different materials have different performance characteristics and so size/shape/color etc will vary. But it seems like there was a lot of insulation on
the old caps and not so much on the new ones.

Recommended temp was +100C, all they had was -25C to +85C Tolerance 10%, that's ok. 500WVCD ? haven't seen that before. And maybe my eyes are bad .. but 0.001F is 1000pF, right?

Yep. for general applications, you can mix without too much trouble. But with RF (high frequency), you don't really want to mix types due to the different characteristics. The one in your pic looks like a polypropylene or polyester... ceramic is not a good substitute.

Chuck Stone
09-29-2013, 1:03 PM
will it get me through 2 weeks to get something here? or will the lower self resonance
of the ceramic cap just turn it into an inductor?

http://www.mouser.com/Cornell-Dubilier/Passive-Components/Capacitors/Mica-Capacitors/_/N-5g97Zscv7?P=1z0x7weZ1z0z7l5Z1z0x86rZ1z0zlgfZ1z0x6f rZ1z0jursZ1z0yljs&SAP=true&gclid=COu6koOF8bkCFUqk4AodBmwABw

don't see silver/mica as a mentioned option and not that sure about
the differences in these except the prices.

Chuck Stone
10-05-2013, 9:47 PM
so there IS life after death..
Dan gave me some part numbers and I swapped out two burned capacitors.
I'm getting a beam now, but nowhere near the table. Have always thought there
was something wrong with the alignment, and apparently taking out the tube and
taking off the end plate (which holds the first mirror and red dot diode) really made
things worse. The red dot always reflected off of the very edge of one mirror, and
it was never very bright. On a sunny day, it disappeared. And then it just barely
caught the very bottom of mirror 1. So.. I figured I'd be thorough and do an
alignment while I was taking out the tube anyway.. And it gives me a chance to get
rid of those dust bunnies that collect in places you never go. Also gave me a chance
to go out and buy a new soldering gun with an extra fine tip to solder that wire
back onto the red dot diode..

Well .. the Chinglish manual is pretty awful. When I look up the alignment procedure,
it tells me to align it. When I look up how to align the red dot with the laser, it tells
me to align the red dot with the laser. Oh. I'm glad I looked that up!

Removing mirror 1, the red dot hits the mirror holder. that makes it difficult to do the
burn-a-hole-in-the-wall-and-match-it-with-the-red-dot test. Had to take off the mirror
holder (working backwards in a space that's barely bigger than your hand, with a hex
wrench 1/8" shorter than the distance between the wall and the screw..) so I could
burn the hole in the wall and then make the red dot disappear into the same hole.
somehow this doesn't feel right. I'm sure the engineers could have done this in a
more efficient manner, so I'm probably screwing up something.

All these screws on all these mirrors, and of course you're down near the floor on
the back of the machine, the beam is up in the cabinet on the other side.. so you
can't see what you're affecting.

I'm now convinced that somewhere in that tube between mirror 1 and mirror 2, there
is a piece of gauze, some tin foil, a spider or two and at least 5 more mirrors. I can't
get that beam to come up out of that tube intact.

OK.. 4 hours aligning and still no burning on the deck. So I'm just venting.
(grumble grumble grumble)

Dan Hintz
10-06-2013, 9:34 AM
Glad you got it working (sort of) again, Chuck... while alignments can be a royal PITA, at least it's just a procedural thing. It means you will be back in action soon enough, you'll just have to go through a trial of patience to get there.

Chuck Stone
10-06-2013, 9:52 AM
Yup ... and I'm dying to know if I've been running off of one capacitor for
any length of time!

I need a kid to stand at the other side of the machine while I'm down
below fiddling with the screws. and my knees are shot!

Thanks for the help, Dan. I really appreciate it!

Chuck Stone
10-06-2013, 12:18 PM
Did you know that (probably because of the cheap mirror glass under
the diode) there is a ghost image of the red dot that you can chase
for hours? And when you finally align it, it has nothing to do with the
laser beam alignment?
The real red dot image is so much brighter.. I found and aligned it
just in time for the tube to shut off again..

Scott Shepherd
10-06-2013, 12:31 PM
Hang in there Chuck, we're pulling for you!

Several years ago, Universal came out with an update to their driver. I had repeat jobs that I had run many time before so I had it dialed in perfectly. Put the job in, it didn't cut all the way through. I immediately said to Universal, "Your calculations are off on non straight lines in the latest update". Nope. No way, no how. They weren't have any of that. Sent me about every part on the machine. Power supplies, boards, and everything in between. Sent me a new tube and Universal's tubes just basically snap into place and they are aligned. The machine is made that precise.

I put it in, the red dot pointer was off a crazy amount. Called them. Impossible, not having any of that. Surely you don't know what you're doing. Tried and tried and could not get the thing aligned. Reluctantly, they sent me another tube. Same problem. At this point they are nearly calling me incompetent. So they send me another one. Same issue. So now I've got 3 tubes in my floor, can't get any of them aligned. Then they finally call back and tell me that they had a new guy in the alignment department and he had knocked something out of alignment and didn't know it was an issue. They found a batch of them that were like that and they corrected the issue.

Put the new tube in, it was all aligned great. Didn't solve the problem either. Finally, they called one day and said they had a tech in the area and wanted him to stop by. He did. He watched it for about 5 minutes and said "That's a software issue". Got the fix a couple days later :)

Hang in there, you'll get it figured out and you'll be heck of a lot wiser once you do. That knowledge will help you greatly over the years to come.

Chuck Stone
10-06-2013, 1:19 PM
oh, I'm sure I will. I just pulled the tube again to check on the caps, but they appear
to be OK by eye..
But I can change out a GCC tube in minutes.

Also found that according to the piece of tape I put over the red dot mirror and
holder, part of the laser beam was hitting the back of the mirror. This was the only
holder I haven't moved, and the tape burned when I tested it so I'm not sure how
long it was doing that.

Right about now, I know how the cat feels, chasing that laser pointer dot all
over the room..

Rodne Gold
10-06-2013, 2:43 PM
The red dot should be aligned by shooting it and the laser beam to a wall 10ft away from the business end of the tube and make sure both hit the same spot..I would rather set the laser with beam only , red spot is just a pointer and cannot be used for reliable alignment,.

Chuck Stone
10-06-2013, 3:00 PM
The red dot should be aligned by shooting it and the laser beam to a wall 10ft away from the business end of the tube and make sure both hit the same spot..I would rather set the laser with beam only , red spot is just a pointer and cannot be used for reliable alignment,.

True.. but without using the red dot, alignment of the beam has to be done by
burning things and using an beam that I'm exposed to. If the dot gets me
closer, I'm all for it. Especially since it isn't easy to remember where those screw
adjustments will send the beam when you change them!

Dan Hintz
10-06-2013, 7:13 PM
just in time for the tube to shut off again..

You mean the tube died again?

Chuck Stone
10-06-2013, 7:35 PM
No.. just that I'm tired enough to start doing dumb things or
missing obvious things (like accidentally pulling the plug loose
for the door switches that I had put magnets on because the
door is off of the machine. Wondering why there's no burn..
pulled the laser unit out two more times to check everything..
then saw that little plug over in the corner where you can't
reach it... had no 'door open' light, so I didn't even notice.

I decided to take a break now before I continue and make
something worse. My brain hurts.. and suddenly it is rastering
the vector lines and I can't remember why.
Oh.. and this. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usfiAsWR4qU)

Red dot is brighter than I've ever seen it, and cutting 1/8" ply
went from 100P 0.5S up to 90P and 2.5S
No speed demon, but that's more than I've had in ages.
Raster engraving went from 100P 17S to 90P and 40S before
I stopped testing. It's still darker than I need or want.

Rodne Gold
10-07-2013, 5:46 AM
If one RF board fails , the tube normally defaults to 1/2 the power , and often completely fails shortly , sounds like you were running on one board for a while.
You really need to do that alignment with the burn method .. red dot pointer is only ok for getting a ballpark setup.

Chuck Stone
10-07-2013, 6:09 AM
Yep.. now that I've gotten the beam up to the deck, I can do that to tweak it.
I wonder how long I was hitting the back edge of the mirror mount? I'd have
though it would cause some damage

But I know it isn't quite there yet. The red dot is much larger at the bottom right
corner than the top left. I know that some enlargement is normal over distance,
but this seems excessive. Will have to check the table level, too .. but suspect
that this is another symptom of alignment.

BUT I can cut 1/8" ply (my main material) and get a nice caramel edge instead
of the charcoal edge. Yay me! I'll have to look up some of my own old posts to
see if I ever posted speed/power settings and compare them. But I'll also have
to start my settings chart all over again.
Ahh... at least I HAVE that problem!

Dan Hintz
10-07-2013, 8:01 AM
I'll also have to start my settings chart all over again. Ahh... at least I HAVE that problem!

No kidding... and to think, it was all solved with a few dollars in components, not $2k in tube replacement. Sometimes being out of warranty gives you the cajones to do things you normally wouldn't.

Chuck Stone
10-07-2013, 11:10 AM
Sometimes being out of warranty gives you the cajones to do things you normally wouldn't.

.. I would have said 'having knowledgeable friends' ..

Ruben Salcedo
10-07-2013, 11:15 AM
Dan,

just a little correction you need to replace the "a" for an "o" to give the intended meaning to your word "cajones" = drawers, cojones = your meaning. :p


Ruben

Chuck Stone
10-07-2013, 12:00 PM
That's right! I've got the pants to do it myself! :p

BTW.. I know it isn't a dense material. But I just blew through
a 1/4" sheet of cedar. 100P/3S was way too hot.

Also finding my edges along the X travel give me a distinct slant
toward the back. Got to re-align soonest.
___________________________________
/__________________________________/

Dan Hintz
10-07-2013, 12:45 PM
Dan,

just a little correction you need to replace the "a" for an "o" to give the intended meaning to your word "cajones" = drawers, cojones = your meaning. :p


Ruben

Thanks, Ruben... I took Spanish in high school, but they didn't exactly get to parts of the anatomy (they stopped at the bathroom) ;)