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Thread: Test Laser Power without Meter?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2020
    Location
    Kansas City, MO
    Posts
    56

    Test Laser Power without Meter?

    Is there a way to get an idea of laser power without a power meter, I need to buy one but wanting to measure something quickly and dont want to wait on a meter to arrive. My situation, we have a 2012 Trotec w/ 40w iRadion ceramic tube, its our first time using this machine and dont have a baseline for how 40w ceramic should do, but compared to our 60w (actual 73w) Synrad, its dramatically slower, look below for comparison. I am assuming that the iradion is close to needing recharging... If anyone knows I hear the iradions can be recharged to whatever wattage, but its the circuit boards that limit the wattage, it would be great to push out 60w after recharge out of the 40w iradion, if a recharge is needed.

    Trotec iRadion: 2 passes at 15% speed 100% power (lines sharper but engraving is not as deep still)

    Trotec Synrad: 1 pass at 20% speed 100% power
    Chase
    Sharp Media Group, LLC

    Hardware: Keyence MD-X2520, (2) Trotec Speedy 300 w/ rotary, Shotbot 4x8 w/ rotary, Ikonics/MBA Crystal Blast Elite, Prusa I3 MK3S+
    Software: Full Adobe Suite, CorelDRAW 2021, Aspire 10.5, Rhino 6, Job Control 11.4.4/Trotec Ruby, Shopbot 3.8.50

  2. #2
    Lots of variables involved, one of which is just exactly how fast is, say, one machine's % of speed compared to the other? Watch one machine running 10" back/forth at 5% speed; with a stopwatch time how long each machine takes to make 10 passes (or 40 or 100, your call!). Now, do the same with the second machine-- if the time is different, and it most likely will be, make adjustments to the second machine's speed until you get it real close to the first machine. From there, you can figure out the actual inch or mm per second rate if you want-

    Next, test cuts- at 5% speed both machines should be able to cut thru some 1/16" Rowmark in one pass, depending on power. Just find out the power needed to JUST make a one-pass cut...

    40 watts v 73 watts means the 40 watter should take 1.8x the power to make the same cut at the same speed. If you're under 2x the power, then the 40 is still doing fairly well...
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE- make that FOUR now - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2020
    Location
    Kansas City, MO
    Posts
    56
    Thanks for the help Kev, ill try to test that tomorrow. I talked to both Evergreen and Photovac laser and learned some interesting things. Both companies claim to refill the iRadion tubes but Photovac claims that they do not provide a warranty and that only 1/2 will hold a recharge more than 3 months and that a tube swap maybe preferable; Evergreen didn't mention anything like that. Evergreen wanted $1050 to recharge and included their 12mo warranty, Photovac wanted $700 and claimed that they will not warranty the iRadion tubes. Photovac talked to me quite awhile and I do trust what they were saying, especially since they said they are the contractor that Trotec uses to regas their tubes too. Evergreen claimed I should see 50-60w out of a 40w iRadon tube, so thats nice. Photovac mentioned that the last tube exchange they did for an international client with Trotec cost in the ballpark of $3200 but that was over a year ago and pricing may have changed with Trotec.

    I am going to try to get ahold of a tester, I also had a nice gentleman reach out from reading this post to help guide me on a tester. Some of the suggestions were beyond our budget ($2000-$4000 for a tester) but definitely good information. I will try Kev's advice and see what we get and hope that its just my comfortability with a 73w thats making me feel like the 40w is just too slow vs it not pushing out the wattage as its suppose to.
    Chase
    Sharp Media Group, LLC

    Hardware: Keyence MD-X2520, (2) Trotec Speedy 300 w/ rotary, Shotbot 4x8 w/ rotary, Ikonics/MBA Crystal Blast Elite, Prusa I3 MK3S+
    Software: Full Adobe Suite, CorelDRAW 2021, Aspire 10.5, Rhino 6, Job Control 11.4.4/Trotec Ruby, Shopbot 3.8.50

  4. #4
    FWIW-

    Evergreen rebuilt the 40w Synrad in my LS900; it had some fried electronics which happened overnight, and I did a recharge... While the electronics fix went well, after the re-gas my tube would only pull 30 watts. So they recharged it again, and best it would muster was 31 watts. I was told the likely problem was the mirrors (first I learned that)... However, that would double the recharge cost, and worse, at the time (last summer mid-pandemic) they were having quality issues with the replacement mirrors THEY were buying, and advised me to wait. Jean told me they couldn't get the tube to full power would send it back to me at no cost. But I insisted on paying for the electronics repair, which was $400. I got the tube back an in last August or so, don't exactly remember... The power is down a bit, but it sure doesn't seem like a 25% loss, as 40 to 30 watts would indicate, and I lost the 'warmup time' issue it had, and it's otherwise been and still is working perfectly. The tube WAS almost 16 years old, going on 18 now, so I'm happy

    Not sure if Synrads are more or less conducive to rebuild longevity than Trotec's ceramic tubes, but I got no complaints. The 2 other Synrads in my life, the original 30w in my 2005 GCC Explorer and the 25w in my old Universal, which was a rebuilt installed in 2005, are showing no signs of power loss -- knock on my head!

    (and I have no experience with Photovac)
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE- make that FOUR now - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  5. #5
    You make no mention of Trotec tech support. That would be my first call. They will probably rent a power meter for a few dollars plus a refundable deposit.

    It was my understanding that iradian didn't supply Trotec until about 2017.

    I have used Photovac and I did have a complete rebuild including optics on my Coherent 45 watt tube in my first Trotec. I paid over $3000 at the time and I was very pleased with the result. I forgot what year it was but I think 2015 or 16. The power came in at roughly 45 watts--no appreciable power boost.
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

    Trotec Speedy 300, 80 watt
    Gravograph IS400
    Woodworking shop CLTT and Laser Sublimation
    Dye Sublimation
    CorelDraw X5, X7

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2020
    Location
    Kansas City, MO
    Posts
    56
    I actually have two calls into my Trotec rep and think he was off this week as I didnít hear back yet, probably back to the office on Monday. But Mike is right and I feel a little embarrassed, it is a coherent 45w tube after a little better research. The tube itself has no markings or anything to distinguish itself (they maybe on the back side, I didnít dismount it). After mikes comment I started googling and found it matches up with the coherent diamond series. So Iím assuming thatís going to be significantly easier to refill, Iím a little disappointed that itís not ceramic but it does seem that the quality is still better than my Synrad. Hopefully I can figure out the power meter and talk to my rep, I maybe need to bring on a new toy by EOY.

  7. #7
    Chase

    I'm 85 and did the removal and replacement myself. (that was 5 or six years ago) Replacing the rebuilt tube was easy and I did it in less than 20 minutes. It aligned perfectly so I didn't have to fool around with that.

    My concern with Evergreen is that they seem to have a very long turn-around time.
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

    Trotec Speedy 300, 80 watt
    Gravograph IS400
    Woodworking shop CLTT and Laser Sublimation
    Dye Sublimation
    CorelDraw X5, X7

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2020
    Location
    Kansas City, MO
    Posts
    56
    Iím not worried about taking it off and I have been told to purchase evergreenís refill service from eBay as eBay requires them to be timely or it will ding their rating and get them in potential hot water with eBay themselves. I think the fact that photovac refills for Trotec gives them a slight edge (skill wise) for me since I donít have much else to go off of, however I hate that they have a $500 minimum even if the tube is trash and canít be repaired, it becomes a $500 inspection vs evergreen doesnít appear to charge if the tube is beyond repair. I donít know how common it is or isnít for a tube to be beyond repair but that seems like a major difference.

    Anyone in the Kansas City area with a laser testing meter?!?!

    Ps Merry Christmas!

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