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Thread: Project "FlusterCluck" : Spec's scanset. COMPLETE!

  1. #1

    Default Project "FlusterCluck" : Spec's scanset. COMPLETE!

    The sytstem now works. Well. Flip the F and C for its other name.

    Parts list:

    Wall current - 115vAC
    Alphalite XCPro Software and DAC's
    2x MediaLas MicroAmp's
    2x 30vDC 2A Cincon power supplies
    2x Cambridge 6800HPL's Galvos
    Cambridge 6800HP Mounting block/Heatsink
    1x Set Cambridge 3mm V1 coated mirrors (X,Y)
    More Wire
    Even More Wire

    The whole deal:

    Wall current starts its journey here:

    115vAC in 30vDC 2A out / Bipolar swing, 60V reference. All system power, blanking, and ground points are on the busbar to the left.

    In the main image you see the 2nd and 3rd busbar(dead center) for signal and power routing to the microamps. The 10vDC swing from the DAC is also fed into the amps from those busbars.

    The actual Amps. MediaLas Microamps to be precise. Cute little guys. Takes the 30vDC+/- in and 10vDC differential and spits out analog position information for the galvos with respect to AGC and position dectection methods build into the galvos. Capable of 45K @ 7 degrees scan angle.

    The Galvos, Medialas 6800HPL's. One for X and one for Y. Pretty neat mirrors with specialized broadband dielectric mirrors for an absolute minimum in output loss.

    Not pictured is the laptop running Alphalite XCPro and the DAC's that run from the parallel port.

    And ofcourse, videos They are about 7Megs a piece, so be careful. All display animation is run at a seriously unoptimized 24K. The more astute of the viewers out here will notice all the white "streaks" It looks like I blew a hole in the IR filter inside the laser head. Sorry for the low quality videos here, trying to conserve bandwidth while conveying the "effects" properly. Flashing is NOT visable in person. Blue tones are from my cameras CCD imager.(Sony DSC-F828 4 color CCD)

    So, Whats next? Adding a couple hundred mW of red for a Red/Green/Orange/Yellow Displays

    If anyone has a "hook" on modulatable Blue lasers >200mW Let me know. Hell I would "settle" for 200mW 488nM argon if I could find it. Though Id hate to have to spend the money on a PCAOM Deck also.

    One Word: Addiction. Being able to do this in my room is amazing fun. Got a guy coming over saturday to discuss doing a couple "shows"

    This could get interesting

    For Hi-res images head to my gallery:

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005


    Kick-ass config Spec! I'd love to have your scanners
    I just finished to mount a Widemove system + Easylase + Lambdapro 120mW DPSS for a customer, I'll post some pictures these days... These scanners are impressive of performance and precision, but they can only go to 26-28kpps...

  3. Default

    my jaw still drops when i watch those videos even though u already showed them to me. it really is amazing what kind of technologies are available today as oposed to when we were just starting out with masive vacuum tube monsters and clicks over telegraph wires.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005


    Nice Setup!

    You may want to watch out for EM from that Fan, The signal is differential
    to the amp but unbalanced from the amp to the scanhead itself.

    If you find you need a fan for your scanheads, you really need to stop and
    retune the amps! The CT68k's generally run cool, heat indicates that
    you're seriously overdriving them (and then overdamping to compensate).
    I run my 68k's in an sealed enclosure with zero airflow and it runs cool.
    Your scanamps are what's supposed to get hot. The trick is to not hear
    your scanners going!!! A low volume noise is ok, but you don't want to
    hear "clackety-clackety" from the scanheads. If you hear that, then you're
    sort of depending on your over-current fuses to protect your scanheads.
    Follow the ILDA tuning instructions on Pangolin's site, but note that
    your goal is to find the lowest "drive" that gets you to your desired scanrate.

    Since you mention the alphalite, I assume you're using an 8-bit or 12-bit
    DAC... In that case the tuning with the 30k ILDA pattern will be next to
    useless! This is because the lower resolution causes wierd scaling
    on that pattern since the ILDA folks assumed everybody uses 16-bit DACs.

    For proper system tuning on lower resolution systems, set the max
    scanangle (gain) to be about 60 degrees optical on the amp, then
    scan the 30k pattern at full size. Note the position of the smaller pattern,
    then lower the gain on your alpha/riya board (not the amp) to near zero,
    then scan the 12k/30k pattern and increase the gain until it is the same
    size as the previous position you noted. Set your scanspeed to about 15k
    to start and slowly increase the speed of the scanheads while adjusting.
    Most commercial systems run the CT's at 24kpps at 40 degrees, but
    an hour or so of tweaking can get you pretty fast! Also note, unless you've
    sent those in for the new high-speed mirrors (technically, high-speed glue),
    you'll want to keep your scanrate down around 30-35kpps.

    I've noticed that the new microamps are missing two corrective pots
    (normally found on the cambridge amps and the older catamp IV) which
    I find are essential for "perfect" tuning, but you can get pretty close...

    The flashes in the video is due to system interrupts on your box and
    how the alphalite software is calculating the time between points.
    Not noticable when you're there staring at a pretty laser, but camera's
    tend to be unforgiving.

    So, in any event, I'm just babbling on... I'll stop now.

  5. #5


    Thanks for the comments guy.

    The fan isnt hooked up, it was originally placed there to cool the sinks on the microamps. The table has since then been rebuilt The galvos run cool. No "clicking" just the HFD noise that cant really be avoided at wide scanning angles.

    Everythings now a DC table, everything down to the blue cold cathodes I installed on the bottom of the table.

    Hell, everyone else "case mods" stuff, I thought my deck could use some ground effects

    Yea, Im running Alphalite. DAC is 8bit, same scaling issues as an old 8bit amiga system, same thing with the tails and trailing lines. I've got a few comments. Read that how you need to.

    There is no hardware gain adjustments on the alphalite, the only "angle" adjustments I have are to really tune down the 10V input lines.

    About the "flashing" problem, your half right The CPU processor utilizing pre-DAC does really make a mess in that department, but then again, theres really nothing that I can do about it, however that doesnt mean I have to be complacent about it. As usual, read it how you need to.

    The only exception is that the lines are visable when using the LD2000 card from pangolin, there is a bit of IR bleeding through. It also doesnt help that my sony DSC-F828 camera is extremely IR sensitive. "nightshot" and all. heh.

    Keep babbling man, thats what we do here Its fun to talk with other like minded people.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005


    IM's being silly! To finish up our conversation. Rock the HR back and forth in the X axis shifting the Y after a sweep. If you don't get it after a full sweep, the adjust the OC one step in X (and then Y after a full X sweep) and repeat the entire process.

    Timec onsuming, but patience is key. Catch me on Yahoo since AIM is down or PM me... (btw I updated my gallery with some fun pics)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005


    Nice collection of pix "dude"

    "My signature has been taken, so Insert another here"
    *^_^* aka PhiloUHF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Washington D.C.


    Very nice spec!.. I should have pictures of my projector soon!. I can't find the USB wire for my camera.

    I was thinking of getting Alphalite, but I desided to go with merlin, mainly for the price, but it also uses a 12bit DAC. I wonder if 4bits makes that big of a difference.
    I plan to go with Alphalite for projector #2, but for now this works. It's kind of cool, since merlin only needs a P1 to run, I have it setup on a Javelin P.O.S touch screen computer. I got it from the club I work at, we switched the bar to a new system, and we have a buch of these terminals laying around. They come with Windows 98 installed, and Aloha P.O.S. software. With a little formating, I got everything to work. If these computers are of use, I have another one that I would trade. Not sure if alpha will run on them. They are P1 233 32MB ram, I think. They will support upto 128mb of ram.

    My scanners are up and running, but I'm still working on the beam table. I just got back from using my friends machine shop. Looks like less then a week until its ready. Then I'll just have to make a case, and its all set.

    I want to see more pics of your project. Try to post one of the alignment image.
    And make me a 500mw Greenie w/ 30k Modulation Dammit!.

  9. #9


    Hey JayDC:

    8-12bit is like day and night, no joke. "Orders of Magnitude" difference. Im still partial to the 16bit pangolin system. As a forum member here told me "theres a lot to be said for software magic" also.

    IF the Javelin terminal has a parallel port it should work just fine with alphalite. However, The timing routines alphalite uses are processor dependant so Im not entirely sure theres enough "horsepower" available.

    FYI: P.O.S. as in Point Of Sale or Piece Of Shit? I imagine both

    Heh, good call on the machine shop idea for a beam table, im still recoiling from the price for my optical table. Though, it is really helpful.

    500mW I can do. 30k analog modulation? That would take some time and you would be far happier with a AOM.

    Tell me all the pics you want and ill get them taken.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Washington D.C.


    Right on.. I have an AOM, but it's this little silver Xerox Thingie, that needs a -5.2vdc power supply, and a 0.8vdc power supply to work. Needless to say, it's sitting on a shelf.

    Yeah, I have a Melles Griot Optical Breadboard table that the system is mounted to. The beam table that I'm making will have 10 beam ports, and I built a little chaser controller to control the solenoids. This should be cool with a bunch of bounce mirrors. So, I'm basically building a Mobolaser, with a cat scanhead. I'm using a 100mw CNI GPL-100 with 1K modulation. The modulation is a little slow for scanning, but if you get creative with your images, you can get the S.O.B. to look nice. I really want something with faster blanking.

    Can't wait to finish it, and bring it to the club to test it. The main room at my work holds about 2000 people, so I have alot of dark area with fog machines to play around in. Once its complete, and I get a couple of gigs at work, I plan to move up to .5 watt or 1 watt to finalize it. Then its on to the second projector (white light!). I really want to do laser floyd!..

    I wonder with DPSS Lasers if you need a PCAOM, or if you could just use analog modulation from the 3 lasers to mix colors, and then use that xerox AOM to blank the main beam. This sounds cheaper to me for some reason, a good PCAOM is what, 1500-3000 bucks??

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