The diode laser war has started

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Downunder35m
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The diode laser war has started

Post by Downunder35m »

Don't know if you noticed by we are seeing a nice little "war" happening now.

On one side we have the Chinese heros, like Neje, Ortur, Atomstack.
In the opposite corner we see Endurance Lasers ready to attack.

So what is this so far only verbal war based on?

Many users experience problems with their cheap laser systems, mainly in terms of lifespan of the diodes AND the failing warranty problems.
For example Ortur was caught out when they send a customer and Email that his warranty claim for the laser module is refused due to "over use".
So what did the customer do wrong?
He loved doing engravings on his top of the range model.
Within the 3 months the customer had the machine he claimed to have done around 20 engravings.
And well, most were in excess of 20x20 centimeter.
Ortur just stated their laser modules are not designed for such continued and ongoing use....
Needless to say you won't get any more support from a local, authorised reseller either.
On the other hand the old claims the Neje only sells substandard modules with false power ratings are long over.
Still users experience early failures, including parts of the actual diode array failing, like seeing black dots if you let the beam hit a wall at some distance.

The opponent, Endurance Lasers, now claims to be flooded with complaints from customers how are not happy with the other contenders.
Making it look loke as if these people expect that a different company would fix the problems for them.
A nice marketing trick, sure but is there more to it than what meets the eye?
Exploring the works of the old inventors, mixng them up with a modern touch.
To tinker and create means to be alive.
Bringing the long lost back means history comes alive again.
Downunder35m
Posts: 630
Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2020 5:32 am
Location: Australia
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Re: The diode laser war has started

Post by Downunder35m »

If we check the Chinese manufacturers we not only find their official stores but also tons of places where their toys are sold as well,.
Like Amazon, Fleabuy and Aliexpress for example.
Thing is that most of them sell fakes.
Identical looking modules, frames and even controllers.
Sometimes actually still genuine, only too often not.
The customer can no longer tell any difference between fake and original.
In the case of the Neje modules there at least is the option to register your product if not bought through their shop.
Well, if that fails based on the serial number you know you got a fake.

MHO there is a far bigger problem though and it seems to be confirmed once we dig into more details.
Funny enough, the machines bought as a complete unit from authorised shops rarely fail or struggle with warranty claims.
On the other hand, the amount of failing laser modules that ended up in totally different machines as an "upgrade" seem to fail prematurely very often.
If you know than you know I could not let it rest there....
WHY would the laser module just keep working in the genuine machine but fail far too early in knockoffs or older machines?
Exploring the works of the old inventors, mixng them up with a modern touch.
To tinker and create means to be alive.
Bringing the long lost back means history comes alive again.
Downunder35m
Posts: 630
Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2020 5:32 am
Location: Australia
Contact:

Re: The diode laser war has started

Post by Downunder35m »

Let's take a look at what actually comes with you laser machine....

Endurance lasers offer download for basically all free programs and on top of that offer Lighburn as their prefered app.
Means: They do not really care with what app or how you drive their laser modules.
Power and signals go into their big box and it takes care of the rest.

On the other hand we can see how Ortur, Neje and such still sell 8bit controller with some of their entry level machines.
Lots of users also have older machines from the times before they switched to 32bit.
And basically all cheap knockoffs you find come with cheap 8bit controllers running on GRBL0.8 or 0.9.
Of course updating those custom controllers to GRBL 1.1 usually fails or ends in hours or days of complining trying and hoping to somehow find the correct pinouts.

The key is the version numbers....
Until GRBL1.1 came along we had to slow down or stop the movement for power changes.
A sacrifice based on the need of spindle motors to crank up and down.
You can go from 0 to full in an instant with a motor....
Means for lasers you will see how especially engravings only work in dither mode.
Trying to get some grayscale engraving done on GRBL 0.9 is something that just won't work in any proper way.

A laser diode is not really meant to be driven in a bang bang fashion between 0 and 100%
To workproperly the diode has to be within optimal temperature regions.
You can see how they warm up when you try to engrave a line at fast spped with full power - the cut gets deeper from the starting point....
Even though Ortur and Neje made improvements to their cooling it is still just fan based.
Means it takes time to let the module housing warm up and once it it you need time to get the temps in range on higher power levels.
The constant bang bang from 0 to full in dither mode means the diode is driven to the max while the resulting heat takes slightly more time to be dealt with.
And although it seems the cooling works 1005 with increasing fan speeds, in reality the actual diode is constantly on the brink of overheating.
It simply makes no sense at all to run a high powered doide on some 8 bit controller running GRBL0.9....
Exploring the works of the old inventors, mixng them up with a modern touch.
To tinker and create means to be alive.
Bringing the long lost back means history comes alive again.
Downunder35m
Posts: 630
Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2020 5:32 am
Location: Australia
Contact:

Re: The diode laser war has started

Post by Downunder35m »

What about the software problem?

Many users complain that there is huge diffrence between the supplied software and using LaserGRBL or even Lightburn on their machines.
Let's face it:
If the program won't offer a console to enter commands manually something is alread fishy.
If then you won't find any speed setting and can only choose between fast, faster and really fast.....
In real comparison you will often find that those Chinese programs do a half decent job in terms of letting you do things with your machine.
But also that the laser module is drive quite differently than for example in lightburn.
Means a solid line is there done in tiny line segment or dots instead.
Instead of providing a real PWM signal it is done in a TTL fashion that does not match the set power levels.
A cheap method to produce better looking results with inferior ways ;)
The user won't really know if the module ever goes to full power in any continous fashion....
But when using "real" software the shortcomings are exposed quickly....
Exploring the works of the old inventors, mixng them up with a modern touch.
To tinker and create means to be alive.
Bringing the long lost back means history comes alive again.
Downunder35m
Posts: 630
Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2020 5:32 am
Location: Australia
Contact:

Re: The diode laser war has started

Post by Downunder35m »

Peltier cooling like Endurance lasers or fan cooling - which actually works?

In theory the Endurance claim that keeping the laser module at a fixed temp seems to be best.
An as it far more direct it works much quicker and can really prevent damge to the diode.
On the other hand, just a fan uses far less power and with good management and a proper housing nothing should fail prematurely.

In reality though a fan is only as good as the air temp going in....
If your room temp is around 25°C and the fan fast enough you might have a breeze....
Be in a country like AU where you might not want to run the aircon just to keep the laser happy on a 30° day....
The peltier cooling won't care that much and just get much hotter on the other side.

I did some tests....
At just 16° in the room the module took quite a while doing full power cutting to speed the fan up to the max.
But when I did it on a sunny afternoon that wrmed the room to a toasty 26° the fan reach the max with the second line cut and stayed on max till the job was done.
Also abused the provide manual PWM controller for the temp read out - just turning the laser on at full power with no movement.
Turned out the reported temp was no problem at low room temps.
But once above 25° the temp climbed to almost 60° and the on board module controller reduced the laser output.....
Exploring the works of the old inventors, mixng them up with a modern touch.
To tinker and create means to be alive.
Bringing the long lost back means history comes alive again.
Downunder35m
Posts: 630
Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2020 5:32 am
Location: Australia
Contact:

Re: The diode laser war has started

Post by Downunder35m »

So, how real is this laser war then ?
Considering the facts are not real at all - you get what you pay for and it last longer if you use it properly....
Considering the facts are real:
Ask yourself why you got a laser with 10 or more Watt optical.....
Faster cutting speeds, faster engravings, thicker materials, maybe even engraving on metal....
And most of the time you want to max it out......

Now imagine it would not be the laser in your engraver but the engine in your car.....
How often do you rev it to the red line and keep it there for god knows how long?
Why won't you do it?
After all. You get to places quicker if you constantly brun the rubber and overheat your engine.....
Right..... You actually want to drive the car for a long time and without having to replace the engine every few months.
So why then are you treating you laser like a formula one car ? ;)
Exploring the works of the old inventors, mixng them up with a modern touch.
To tinker and create means to be alive.
Bringing the long lost back means history comes alive again.
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