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View Full Version : HELP Laser engraver gone crazy



Cheryl Holmes
02-07-2017, 10:00 PM
We have a Universal Vanguard 2001. We are having problems that I hope someone can help. I will try to explain as best I can, but I'm attaching a Youtube video we took try to help explain this. It is titled( Laser engraver gone crazy). The machine will be engraving perfect then go in every which direction. This happens when using the rotor and a flat surface. We have sent CPU into Universal and it tested fine. The problem only happens on the X axis, so we have replaced all of that. Including rail, belt, bearings and drive gear. We are at our wits end with this. We cannot afford to keep throwing parts at this with hopes it will work. This seems to be Universals way of doing it. Their next two suggestions where a bigger memory module and Flex board and upper flex connector. If anyone has any ideas we are all ears. If anyone is in the KC, Lees Summit area and would like to make a few bucks, that would be great. Thank You for your help. https://youtu.be/pS738HfSB18 FYI on the video the only part that is supposed to engrave is the middle taped section.

Kev Williams
02-08-2017, 12:50 AM
Check all of the wiring to do with the stepper motors. Could be a simple bad connection or wire problem. Almost every similar problem I've had the past 36 years with computerized machines turns out to be bad connection, wire, or data errors caused by bad cables.

Ironically, not 1/2 hour ago I connected an EP module I borrowed from my machine rep to one of my 3400's that's been idle for awhile, and the first thing that happened was nothing. At all. Rebooted, then the machine took the test job, which was running 2 circles. Halfway thru the first circle the machine abruptly changed directions and headed dead straight left towards infinity- not hardly the way to make a circle. But I knew what the problem was, bad parallel cable. I chucked that one and found another, machine is working just fine now. I've had probably 9 or 10 parallel cables just go bad over the years. I've had more than a few USB cables screw up, and 3 or 4 serial cables. I had to repair a broken X-axis stepper motor cable wire on my Triumph last summer. Just before that I had to track down what turned out to be a wire that had ended up out of it's plug housing, causing the Z-stepper on a 3400 to go crazy...

---kinda why I'm not all that keen on 'fly by wire' and self-driving cars... one loose wire, and.....;)

Chris J Anderson
02-08-2017, 8:01 AM
With anthing electronic.... as Kev says.... check connections first and check all of them carefully, including where wires go into crimp pins inside plugs etc

John Lifer
02-08-2017, 8:57 AM
I would agree, rather than changing out all of those parts, Rail? Bearings? Belt? What the heck does those parts have to do with moving in the wrong direction? GEEZ!
If it was jamming, not moving, or skewed, maybe, but not just heading off into the yonder.

You need to get a REAL tech on the phone, not someone hired last week with a book in his/her hands.

But aside from that, WIRING and connections are 99% of the problems.

I don't know about the Universal, but the Epilogs have a tendency to do similar and they have an encoder strip that must be cleaned every now and then.

So I guess, Buying US is no better than Chinese in some cases :cool: Tech help CAN be worse than useless. And Post Warranty VERY expensive

Brian Leavitt
02-08-2017, 10:18 AM
Are you sure the belt drive gear is tight on the motor shaft? Even when the carriage is not moving correctly, the motor sounds like it's making a full sweep. :confused:

Mike Null
02-08-2017, 11:14 AM
Per our conversation, I think you need to check your usb cable, port, and clear your laser memory.

Cheryl Holmes
02-08-2017, 11:33 AM
Check all of the wiring to do with the stepper motors. Could be a simple bad connection or wire problem. Almost every similar problem I've had the past 36 years with computerized machines turns out to be bad connection, wire, or data errors caused by bad cables.

Ironically, not 1/2 hour ago I connected an EP module I borrowed from my machine rep to one of my 3400's that's been idle for awhile, and the first thing that happened was nothing. At all. Rebooted, then the machine took the test job, which was running 2 circles. Halfway thru the first circle the machine abruptly changed directions and headed dead straight left towards infinity- not hardly the way to make a circle. But I knew what the problem was, bad parallel cable. I chucked that one and found another, machine is working just fine now. I've had probably 9 or 10 parallel cables just go bad over the years. I've had more than a few USB cables screw up, and 3 or 4 serial cables. I had to repair a broken X-axis stepper motor cable wire on my Triumph last summer. Just before that I had to track down what turned out to be a wire that had ended up out of it's plug housing, causing the Z-stepper on a 3400 to go crazy...

---kinda why I'm not all that keen on 'fly by wire' and self-driving cars... one loose wire, and.....;)

Will do thank you

Cheryl Holmes
02-08-2017, 11:38 AM
Are you sure the belt drive gear is tight on the motor shaft? Even when the carriage is not moving correctly, the motor sounds like it's making a full sweep. :confused:

I've been in there twice to check that, but I'll check it again. And YES when it screws up it makes one heck of a noise. Thank You

Cheryl Holmes
02-08-2017, 11:47 AM
Per our conversation, I think you need to check your usb cable, port, and clear your laser memory.

I'm going to buy a new cable. Calling Universal today to figure out how to change the port, we did it wrong yesterday and could not send jobs to the laser. Tried clearing memory but it did not appear that there was any stored in laser. When we send a job there are files on there but otherwise it shows nothing. But we hit the erase memory button anyway. Thank you for all your help if not for you I wouldn't have gotten a video up for people to see.

John Bion
02-08-2017, 11:52 AM
When that sort of thing happened to one of my Chinese lasers, it involved a new motherboard. But I checked all the things mentioned above first, even changed the belts etc. My mother board cost about $200 if I remember correctly.
Hope you come right soon.

Cheryl Holmes
02-08-2017, 12:30 PM
Update. just talked to Paul at Universal. He watched video and said that it is a mechanical issue and believes it is the X motor. Because of the grinding noise it was making. So I'm going to do what everyone has suggested plus I ordered the motor overnighted. Hopefully some of this will work. Thank you for your help. I will update as this plays out. We have been shut down for over a month throwing parts at this and will be out of business if we keep this up.

Stuart Cook
02-08-2017, 1:40 PM
I had a similar issue with my cnc router. Motor moving unexpectedly and making a grinding noise. Turned out to be a loose motor wire at the controller. Might be worth double checking.

Cheryl Holmes
02-08-2017, 1:52 PM
I had a similar issue with my cnc router. Motor moving unexpectedly and making a grinding noise. Turned out to be a loose motor wire at the controller. Might be worth double checking.

Will do Thanks