Did I break my new laser..?

Good evening

I’m new to the forum, and laser cutting in general. I’ve been in the sign business since 1992, using everything from vinyl plotters, water jets, wide format digital imaging, and good old fashioned paint! My wife and I recently decided to try laser engraving and after quite a bit of research decided on a K40, ordered from Orion Motor Tech on Amazon. In addition to the price of entry, we were also impressed with the community surrounding these quirky machines.

Our machine arrived last week, and the next few days were spent setting up the water cooling system, inspecting all of the wiring and mechanicals, tidying up the inside, and aligning the mirrors. I also went with Inkscape and K40 Whisperer instead of the native software. Not being familiar with Inkscape and only having watched a basic tutorial everything was being output as rasters. I was running very small tests, a few letters and shapes on 1.25" 3mil wooden disks. After I finally figured out how to properly set up a file for vector engraving, I started the next test.


(the “ghost” image is from a prior unsuccessful test)

It got as far as the rectangle, star, and most of the A in AEL, then completely turned off. There were no alarming sounds, no odd smells, no flashes or anything that would lead me to believe that an arc had occurred. I have checked all of the wiring that I can see, all of the circuitry, the fuse at the plug, and the integrity of the laser. All seem normal. The water cooling was still running, and the surge protector was unaffected.

I’ve since learned some mistakes I have made, but I can’t find evidence of any of them in particular leading to this failure.

I had distilled water on hand but was using filtered tap water until I got everything set up and calibrated.

I have a very stout surge protector (or so I thought) but it is only rated at 700 Joules.

I haven’t yet installed my ammeter so I was running at below “50%” whatever that may actually mean. It was set to 45% when this happened.

I had purged the air from the cooling system but there remained a small air bubble (about what you would see in a spirit level) that was just near the second cooling jacket.

I had not completely removed the protective blue coating from the housing of the power supply.

Does anyone have any pointers about what else to check or what might have caused this? I’m hoping that it was a random failure of some internal part as are known to happen with these but I am certainly willing to accept and learn from the mistakes I have made up to this point.

For reference, other things I have done during setup are adding an inline flow indicator on the water inlet line, added some adhesive felt dots to the bottom leading edge of all three hatches, and replaced the original lens housing with one made to attach an air assist hose (have not yet run the hose to it).

Thank you all in advance, and I’m looking forward to learning from and adding to the community!

Ethan

Greetings Ethan and welcome. Sorry to hear about your machine, that’s a terrible way to start out. Doesn’t sound like it was anything you may have done based on what you posted.

I would recommend going through @donkjr 's laser power supply troubleshooting guide.

Let us know if you have any questions about the guide.

if you could post a short video of you turning on your machine to show what it is doing that would be greatly helpful in us helping you diagnose your issues. Make sure to show the inside electrical both with the power on and off, back of the control panel, and laser tube when trying to fire.

@HalfNormal also bought from Orion Motor Tech and posted that he was happy with their service, including replacing a failed laser power supply.

That’s one thing to change; once you figure out what broke and fix it, I’d suggest not using tap water. I think it’s not good for the laser power supply, though the complaints I’ve seen are of poor function not instant death. There are places where tap water is unusually soft, but it’s generally a bad idea to use it at all. I’ve never seen particularly soft tap water here in NC… Definitely start with @donkjr’s troubleshooting guide, and you’ll find more useful information on his blog.

(FYI: Surge protector won’t have been the problem; the surge protector only protects against incoming momentary high voltage. It does this with a component that momentarily short-circuits high voltages. These are rare. Unless there was a thunderstorm outside while you were doing this test run, don’t worry at all about the surge protector at all.)

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Ah, thank you for the replies and advice! I had actually bookmarked the .pdf @Nedman linked to, but it was on my phone about 2am just before I fell asleep. I didn’t even remember doing that until you posted! I’ll start that as soon as I get a bite of food in me.

@Domm434, there is literally nothing happening. No noise, not even a click, and no light. I’ve listened and looked at every conceivable angle. I’ve read stories of the power switch failing shortly after purchase but even that looks fine and sounds the same.

@mcdanlj that’s good to hear about OMT’s customer service. I’ve got an email in to them through Amazon but they say give it up to 2 business days. I had read about tap water being less desirable, but I thought it was more in regard to sedimentary buildup. I plan on remedying all of my above missteps, the water change is already done! I’ll be sure to read more on @donkjr’s blog in the coming days as well.

Thanks to all again!

Ethan

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Aaaaaaarrrrggghh!

In my race for power and glory I forgot one small detail. I forgot to hook up the doll.

Well, in this case it was the rear ground. The light on the surge protector was illuminated for ground protection, but I neglected that step during setup. I’m on page 5 (A) of the .pdf, we’ll see where that leads.

E!

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Evening, all!

I went through the troubleshooting process and I think it’s the LPS. I was very hopeful it was the fuse inside it but that was still good.

Here’s the video I shot yesterday morning to send to Orion, but it doesn’t show much unless I’m unaware of what other clues to look for.

I’ve been running errands most of the past two days so I haven’t had much chance to tinker with it but I’m hoping to hear from Orion soon. They’ve been very responsive so far.

I’ll post again when I get some news!

E!

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Okay.

The latest request from Orion was for me to replace the fuse at the socket and give it a try. No dice.

I replaced the one inside the LPS for my own curiosity, but nothing there either.

Waiting to hear once again.

I am sooooo anxious to get up and running, I can’t stand it!

Ethan

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Wonderful UPDATE!

I was going through the wiring from the surge protector to the power supply last night and I was still finding nothing. Out of frustration I flipped the rocker switch a couple of times and the power blinked on for the briefest instant. I wondered if maybe it really was the fuse in the socket, but a quick check revealed nothing.

I tried the rocker switch again trying to replicate the event and…

POWER!

It was as if nothing had ever happened. Apparently the socket itself is very positional, and my jostling it around got it back in line, at least temporarily. I braced the cord in place and did some testing, and was able to get the ammeter installed and the mirrors aligned correctly. I also got the focal length of the laser dialed in and have determined that my next major mod needs to be an adjustable Z bed.

So far I’ve determined that at up to 45% on the digital setting its still showing roughly 18 amps on the analog meter, so that was reassuring to see. I’m not going to do too much more until the socket is replaced, but I’ve also apprised Orion of this so I don’t think they’ll have a problem sending a replacement.

I’m giddy as a school girl that I was able to locate the issue, even if it was through dumb luck. I can’t wait to start producing actual products!

I’ll post some pictures hopefully tomorrow.

Thank you all for your help, and thanks especially for honoring me as a New User of the Month. I really can’t describe how happy I am right now!

Ethan :smile:

Edit to add: I just received an email from Orion, they’re sending me a new socket assembly tomorrow!

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Good afternoon all!

I apologize for being incommunicado for the past week, I’ve been working on other projects while awaiting the arrival of my replacement socket. It shipped from Shanghai, so I expected it to take even longer, but it arrived today.

A quick tracing of what wires lead where, and voila! Up and running again, at least power wise. Now I’ve got to re-plumb the cooling system and arrange all of the hoses and cables. I was able to get the ammeter installed during the short period it was functioning again, so now I’m hours away from being ready to rock!

Ethan

start up video:

Sample of a test before the down time:


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