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Thread: Voltage stablisers?

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    Moderator IanF's Avatar
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    Voltage stablisers?

    Hi
    I need some advice about voltage etc.
    We have a laser cutter - engraver which we have been running flat out with a big order. We worked over the weekend and the wood we engraved came out quite dark. Now when we engrave it is still engraving but not dark.
    Is there any way to know if we put in an automatic voltage stabliser or a constant voltage transformer whether this would help before buying them? Is there someone you guys could recommend to come and measure what the machine uses and what solution would work?

    What I know about this is dangerous, thus am looking for an experienced person to help.
    Only stress when you can change the outcome!

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Can you give some details about the machine Ian? Is it single or 3 phase? How many Amps or KVA does it state on the info sticker? Is the machine on its own circuit from the DB or is it on a circuit with other outlets/sockets. Do you have any idea what range your supply voltage is fluctuating between? Can the machine engrave traffolyte labels for control panels?

    The last question was for my general info, not anything to do with the problem
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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    I suspect that Ian would be running a 70W machine off single phase. The machines have power supplies that ramp the power up to between 20 & 25KV. I would be very surprised if the problem stems from supply power fluctuations. I always found the weather to play the biggest role in poor laser performance. The laser doesn't like cold moist MDF....stick it in the sun for a couple of hours.

    You can engrave Lasermark (the laser version of Rowmark) ...it is an absolute pain, you are fr better off engraving with a CNC router because you are able to control the engraving width and depth for more accurately. Rodney at Tokerbros will do those control panel labels for you.
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    Moderator IanF's Avatar
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    Hi Andy
    I have a chinese machine so there is no sticker with power consumption. It is a 50w tube so there is about 13x factor (I think) say 650w. Why I think it is power on Tuesday we were getting the horrible engraving so the first thing you do is clean the lenses and mirrors. Then if that doesn't help you check the alignment. What we found was there was 2 beams coming out the tube. So we waited a few hours tried again and it was perfect. Go figure.
    I just want to eliminate power fluctuations as a cause and protect the tube as we just bought a spare at R4.5K.

    For labels I agree with Adrian speak to Rodney at Toker Bros. he has lots of different machines.
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    Moderator IanF's Avatar
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    Adrian
    We have been having a nice Indian summer on the highveld with no rain so I don't think it is moisture in the wood. We are using novalite which is imported so maybe. Anyway we just got out our big job and delivered yesterday it was over 100 hours of time on the machine now to catch up with the other orders.
    Only stress when you can change the outcome!

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    If it is a 230 volt machine and the power is under 2 kw, I would even worry about getting someone to test the power, at that price for the lamps, I would spend the money and have an online UPS installed. If you get a decent unit it will come with a constant voltage stabiliser.

    10% of the cost of the machine value should be spent on making sure the power supply is protected correctly.

    My dentist was showing me his new fancy equipment with portable x ray etc, cost hundreds of thousands of rands, when I asked him about the UPS, he pointed to a R350 unit under the table, I just laughed and walked away.

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Thanksfor the advice Adrian, I'll speak to Rodney.

    Quote Originally Posted by IanF View Post
    Hi Andy
    I have a chinese machine so there is no sticker with power consumption.
    Hmmm, kinda worrying there's no power info or label.

    Quote Originally Posted by ians View Post
    If it is a 230 volt machine and the power is under 2 kw, I would even worry about getting someone to test the power, at that price for the lamps, I would spend the money and have an online UPS installed. If you get a decent unit it will come with a constant voltage stabiliser.
    For power stabilisation I'd go with a ferroresonant UPS, here's one that's locally manufactured and I've had hands-on experience with. To be honest you'll need to find out the power requirement of your machine, if you buy a UPS that's too big you're just wasting money, too small and it will trip or alarm.
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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    I had an ammeter connected in line with the laser for a long time. My machine has a 70W tube. The machine would sit at about 1.5 amp holding the steppers and go up to 3.5 amp whilst cutting. It is interesting to note that the power drawn during the cut has no relation to the power applied by the laser. The machine would consume 3.5A whether it was cutting at 10% or 100% power. I suppose this might be a function of the way a switch mode power supply works. I know that PWM is used to synthesize the supply output.
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    I agree Andy, you need to know the power consumption. If you where in Durban I could have stopped by and connected a current clamp. Just beware of spiking, these laser cutters are known to have very distorted sine wave, I would select a UPS a little bigger than your peak demand.
    Last edited by ians; 05-Jul-13 at 06:39 AM.

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    The suppliers or the manufacturersmust give you the info on power requirements. It's illegal to supply appliances or machinery without basic power info actually stated on the machine itself in an easily accessible location so it might be worth re-investigating the machine for a sticker or tag plate.
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