I think the Total job laser on time line says the power supply failed after firing the laser for a little over eight hours. The OMTech manual says the laser tube should last 1000 to 2000 hours (low vs high power), which suggests I should stock up on power supplies.
Its replacement just arrived:
It (bottom) seems to be a knockoff of the original ZYE Laser supply (top), with a similar model number and a “serial number” resembling a date from last year. All the connectors matched up, which isn’t too surprising.
The three most interesting inputs:
L = controller’s active-low L-ON enable output
IN = controller’s PWM output
P = jumper to G (circuit ground) — not water flow sensor
Also note the two AC power-line terminals directly adjacent to the TEST button, then consider insulation and stand-off distances before poking the button with your index finger.
The power supply has a digital current meter, so I plotted output current against PWM input:
Taking more points at the low end, with vertical bars indicating single-digit flicker on the meter:
I have little reason to believe the meter reading indicates the true current with any accuracy and I know CO₂ laser output power does not scale linearly with the current.
But it’s cutting again, which is a step in the right direction.
Setting up a piece of MDF and hitting the Frame button produced a lightly scorched line around the part perimeter, plus a slightly diagonal track leading from / to the Home position in the far right corner:
Doing another pass with LightBurn’s rubber-band frame produced the faint dotted circle.
Huh. Didn’t useda do that.
The laser should not fire while framing and, having just installed LightBurn’s 1.2.01 update, suspicion instantly fell on the most recently changed thing.
Which turned out not to be the case, as LightBurn’s tech support pointed out:
This is generally an indication of a failed high-voltage power supply, not a software issue.
OMTech’s support requested a video of the equipment bay, which didn’t seem like a useful way to convey the situation. Instead, I sent pix.
The power supply has two LEDs on what looks like, but is not, an Ethernet jack near the bottom:
Orange P LED: good water flow
Green L LED: controller’s PWM signal
The LASER orange LED near the top turns on when the HV output is active and the laser should be firing.
In this case, L LED is off and the LCD shows “Laser signal OFF”, but the LASER LED is on and the LCD shows 2 mA beam current: the laser beam is ON, even though the controller has not activated the PWM signal.
Not only that, but I discovered the laser would fire while framing even with the lid up and the “safety interlock” sensor active.
Totally did not expect that.
For comparison, the power supply status during a manual pulse at 49% power:
In that case, the L LED shows the PWM signal is active, the LASER LED is on, and the LCD shows 14 mA of current to the tube. That’s how it should work.
Although the function of the TEST button seems very lightly documented, pressing it did not turn on the output (the LASER LED is off), despite lighting the L LED:
OMTech confirmed my suspicion:
We are afraid that the laser power supply is defective
A note from Alan adds more data about troubleshooting problems with the classic Kensington Expert Mouse trackball scroll ring:
I have two comments and a question: first I made the mistake of purchasing 4 used expert mice on ebay etc and each had a different problem but 3 of 4 also had faulty scroll rings. 2nd: one of them was dated 2020 (a wireless version). so they definitely haven’t fixed this issue and it’s very wide spread (or maybe why shady sellers decide to part ways with their trackballs).
question: from reading across your quotes it’s not clear but it seems like there is no real consistent fix to this issue nor a really strong conclusion as to what causes it? My futzing with a couple of these does seem to suggest that alignment of the ring makes a difference but not a lasting one.
As far as the alignment non-fix goes, tweaking the detector position just changes the amount of light passing through the wrong side of the reversed IC, without solving the problem. That’s what we’ve all done, with essentially the same results: feels good, doesn’t last.
It should be possible to unsolder the reversed detector (if, indeed, it is), aim the lens (if that’s what it is) at the emitter, then somehow resolder the leads to the same pads. Perhaps flip it to put the leads on the top, away from the PCB, secure it with a generous blob of hot-melt glue, and connect jumpers from pads to leads?
So far, the two new-ish units on my desks continue to work well, depriving me of sufficient motivation to dig into my junkers.
If anybody is willing to hack their defunct trackball, please let us all know what happened!
Because you may be reading this in our future, comments on this particular post will probably have been disabled to reduce the attack surface for spammers. Send me an email / use the comment form (linky over on the right), or comment on the post of the day and I’ll sort it out. Thanks!
The rubber in pneumatic tires / tubes rots when left out in the open for a year or three, so I volunteered to replace the dead-flat tire (on the wheelbarrow I rebuilt last year) with the “flat free” solid foam tire+wheel harvested from an irreparably damaged wheelbarrow. Which, as it turned out, had lost one bearing and the remaining bearing wasn’t in good shape:
The bearings in the pneumatic wheel were in comparatively good shape:
So I knocked the good bearings out, cleaned up / re-lubed them with squirts from my lifetime supply of genuine Mobil Vactra No. 2Sticky Way Oil, and hammered tapped them into the solid-tire wheel.
Whereupon I discovered the two wheels have different hub lengths and, unfortunately, the axle clamps in the recipient wheelbarrow lacked enough adjustment range.
Well, I can fix that:
I briefly considered cleaning and repainting the wheel, but came to my senses when I considered the tire’s condition:
I suppose when the tread flakes off, the interior foam will rapidly erode, but we’ll burn that bridge when we encounter it.
The alert reader will have immediately noted the grease fitting on that rusty wheel: you’re supposed to periodically fill the entire hub with sufficient grease to push the crud out of the bearings. IMO, that’s so deep in silk purse territory as to be irrelevant.
The remaining useful parts from the defunct wheelbarrow will, most likely, come to good use next year …
I planned to replace the vinyl straps on our set of (salvaged) lawn / patio chairs and made a pair of rivets for one long-missing strap:
The overall project is on indefinite hold, as a Steel-blue Cricket Hunter (*) has decided at least one of the chairs is an ideal place to start a family:
The patio under the chair is littered with blades of grass and twigs that didn’t quite fit through the 5 mm vent hole in the tube, but that long stem went in just fine:
We have seen the wasp airlifting crickets near the chair, so provisioning has begun. The cricket seemed not only larger than the hole, but also larger than the wasp; we assume the wasp knows what she’s doing.
The new wasp will hatch this year, pupate over the winter, then hatch and emerge next summer, but I plan to replace the straps after the construction season ends.
I have no idea how to clean out whatever’s accumulating in there …
(*) I learned them as Steel-blue Cricket Killer, but the crickets are just paralyzed, not completely dead.