## Laser Power as a Function of Operator Controls

Recently +Ned Hill replaced his digital control panel with an analog one.

In the process he was thorough enough to take some measurements of the digital panels effect on laser power. Since Ned replaced the laser and the LPS this data may well describe an ideal K40 machine.

- %PWM,
- Control Voltage (on the LPS-IN pin)
- Laser Current

This data shows the important relationship between the digital panels setting [%] and its relationship to the control voltage [V(G-IN)] on the LPS-IN pin and in turn the lasers power level. The LPS-IN signal results in the laser current seen at the ma meter [mA].

## Observations About the Data

Multiple Linear Regression models can be constructed that more show us these relationships in mathematical form. Perhaps these simple math equations can help us predict the K40's performance and therefore more accurately choose settings.

I ran linear regressions on the above data to see if rational models could be derived to describe the laser powers behavior.

### How Digital Panel Setting Control Laser Current Behavior

A regression was calculated using column 1 and 2 in the data above. The below equations represent a model of the relationship between panel settings and the resulting laser current.

*equation 1: Tube Current = Digital Panel % * .2784 {R^2 = 0.996}***

*equation 2: Digital Panel % = Tube Current/.2784*
You can use these equations to

**the laser current for a given digital panel setting or alternately**__estimate__**what panel settings will result in a what laser current.**__estimate__
The **R^2 value and this graph shows that the equations above should be pretty good predictors of laser current for a given panel setting.

Note: the equation above predicts that at 100% Neds laser should draw approx 28ma of current.

### How The Pot*** Setting Controls Laser Current Behavior

A regression was calculated using column 3 and 2 in the data above. The below equations represent a model of the relationship between panel settings and the resulting laser current.

*equation 3: Tube Current = Control Voltage * 5.24 {R^2= .999]***

*equation 4: Control Voltage = Tube Current/5.24*
You can use these equations to

**the laser current for a given pot setting or alternately**__estimate__**what pot settings will result in a what laser current.**__estimate__
The **R^2 value and this graph shows that the equations above should be pretty good predictors of laser current for a given panel setting.

*** the pot is sometimes called "Current Regulation" on stock machines that come with a pot.

## How Do I Know What the Pot Setting Is?

Good question! The equation above uses "Control Voltage" as one of the variables so how do you know that value? Install a DVM on the POT. It tells you the control voltage it presents at the LPS-IN pin.

To use this schema read or set the pot until the DVM reads the voltage [control voltage] you calculated using equation 4 above.

## Your Mileage May Vary?

Statistical models are based on empirical data like that given in this post can be in error in a few ways, garbage-in-garbage out.

+Ned Hills data is likely "IDEAL" since it was taken with a new tube and LPS. As such it should be a great reference as to what a K40 machine can do.

Here are some sources of error (assuming I did the math right):

- Your LPS is weaker than Neds new one
- Your Digital panel is defective
- The 5v supply used to drive the LPS-IN pin is an incorrect value
- Your tube is weaker than Neds new one
- Your mileage may vary

## Local vs Programmatic Control

When firing the laser from the control panel the power is entirely controlled by the Digital Panel or Pot Settings. Therefore the equations above apply.

However when under programmatic control from a PWM signal on the LPS-L pin the lasers power control is more complex. Its power is the product of the controller PWM % and the control voltage on the LPS-IN pin.

###
**Using the Digital Panel To Set Laser Power**

**Laser current =**(**PgmPwr/100)*** (**DigitalPanel * .2784)**

whereas:

- PgmPwr = the power setting in the control software as a percent
- DigitalPanel = the setting on a K40 digital panel as a percent

### Simple Example:

- DigitalPanel is set to 100%

- Lightburn power setting is 50%

Laser current = (50/100) * (100*.2784)

Laser Current = .5 * 27.8

Laser Current = 13.9 ma

With the above settings when you push the test button you should see the meter read

**27.8 ma**
When running from program control you will run much less than 27.8 since the static value set by the digital panel will be reduced by any program setting less than 100%.

### Using The POT To Set Laser Power

**Laser current =**(**PgmPwr/100)*** (**ControlVoltage* 5.24)**

whereas:

- PgmPwr = the power setting in the control software as a percent
- ControlVoltage = the voltage on the LPS-IN pin as set by the pot

### Simple Example:

- Pot is fully on i.e. LPS-IN = 5vdc

- Lightburn power setting is 50%

Laser current = (50/100) * (5*5.24)

Laser Current = .5 * 26.2

Laser Current = 13.1 ma

## Is This Academic Knowledge?

If you expect your system to act exactly like +Ned Hill's then yes this may just be interesting information about Ned's machine. If however you value this information as a model of an ideal K40 machines laser power control behavior more value can be extracted.

### Ideas I have for using this knowledge are:

After taking a few settings *** on a machine you may;

- See how close it performs to ideal
- Create a model to match your actual machine by factoring the ideal model
- Use the model to aid in choosing operational power settings
- Attain a gauge to track your machines performance as it wears out
- Troubleshoot laser control problems without electrocuting yourself

*** take 3 measurements of laser current vs control voltage or digital panel settings.

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_____

Thanks and please comment

Don

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