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Thread: Pangolin Quickshow -VS- Phoenix (now Pangolin Phoenix)

  1. #1
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    Default Pangolin Quickshow -VS- Phoenix (now Pangolin Phoenix)

    Hello dudes.. its been a really long time since ive visited Photonlexicon. Lack of time because of other projects then lasers has taken up my time and i have shifted from trying to build my own lasers into buying them directly from various sellers and just focus on creating shows when i have the time.

    Anyhow.

    Some time ago (3years) i started a thread here about Pangolin Quickshow 2.0 wasn't giving out through FB3 a full 5Volt to the modules.
    The thread was quite big and even pangolin got themself involved in the discussion calling me all sorts of things but mainly a poorly educated laserists and perhaps i am but i think this test tells that im a atleast right about my observation.

    What did i test?
    Well i didn't have a powermeter back then so i could only test with my multimeter. Reason was that when i was building and combining my own modules. mainly blue or should i say UV-blue that was the cheapest blue you could get back then. 405nm diodes and run them from my transformator with 5Volt and the superb flexmods i saw a big difference in brightness compared to when using Pangolin Quickshow. So i hooked up a powermeter and tested the output from the FB3 to the modules in different ways, and what i noticed was that my FB3 didn't give out the full 5 volt that most modules today and then requested to be at there brightest output.
    I didn't really remember but i think i never got over 4Volt from the FB3.. I tested a friends FB3 card just to make sure it wasn't just my card. and the same result.

    After that big thread and Pangolins respons that this was how it was and etc etc, i didn't go further but have always felt that this isnt right.

    Some weeks ago i did a show at a venue here in Stockholm with my 3 laser projectors. and after my show was over another laserist hooked up his Phoenix software and dac and i was amazed at what i saw. I have never seen my projectors that bright and the colors where great.

    A week agoo i met up with this guy and we decided to do a real test to truly see why and how much they differ from each other.



    And below is the result.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The Test.
    The laser modules was on exactly the same time for both tests.. so if we wanted to test how much mW the blue was putting out we had it on for exactly 1minute with Quickshow we had it on exactly the same time with Phoenix.
    The test was made in 2 ways.. Measurement in mW and Voltage. And no i didnt have a Scope nor a expensive Spectraphysics powermeter but the test was made with the same projector 7watt RGB and we made similar Cues in the software etc.
    As Quickshow has 2 different Outputs regarding to power and number of points used in the CUE we did the same test for phoenix, although Phoenix seems to be putting out a litlebit more power than Quickshow from default.
    Im afraid i couldent test the Voltage on the green module as i didnt reach to those cables during this test.

    Result is that Quickshow is all in all putting out 10-20% less power to your laser depending on color. Sometimes more.

    For both test we used 2 different laser settings.
    1. Normal Cue just a single beam.
    2. Just a single beam using quick targets output.

    Now i have found out that Pangolin has acquired the Phoenix software so i cant say anything about Pangolin but Quickshow is not my choice anymore.

  2. #2
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    And still you don't understand how to measure the voltage, and why you can't use a voltmeter.
    Equally, a thermal meter won't react quickly enough.
    If you want to use a frame for power testing, the the Lasermedia test pattern at zero size, or just measure pre galvos
    Frikkin Lasers
    http://www.frikkinlasers.co.uk

    You are using Bonetti's defense against me, ah?

    I thought it fitting, considering the rocky terrain.

  3. #3
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    If the same frame was used for both I don't think it matters what kind of voltmeter or thermal meter was used because it should average out over time and the results, although perhaps not accurate, should be good enough for comparison. Also, if the lasers look noticeably brighter that is saying something as well. I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss his findings without knowing more details.

  4. #4
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    rfourt and John,

    A voltage meter is way too wrong for this comparison. The speed at which the modulation voltage changes is orders of magnitude higher than a voltage meter or your eye can accurately measure. The same thing applies to thermal power meters, however the Flexmod can modulate, if I remember correctly, at 100kHz. A DAC could introduce a short voltage spike of 20V that your meter would never see. Because of this I would not want to adjust my Flexmod gain pot based on these measurements. I remember that controversy and at that time I actually took my FB3 and connected the laser control pins to my scope and at full power the modulation voltage was 5.0V

  5. #5
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    I have a strong background in electronics so I know a little of what I am talking about and I understand why modulation will throw off a voltmeter since it won't be able to measure the peaks. But, if the same frame is used at the same scan rate on both systems and one appears brighter, has a higher voltage with a voltmeter, and a higher power reading from a power reading then I'm going to conclude that overall, one system is indeed putting out more average power. That may be due to a higher voltage or just being on more. I understand that the beam is likely modulated more so it gives a lower reading but WHY is it modulated more? If the frames are different or something like that then of course it is comparing apples and oranges but if they are the same then the voltage, power, and perceived brightness should be comparable no matter what is used for the measurement.

  6. #6
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    Interesting test, but I'm curious what about Bill's response.

  7. #7
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    It's simply because the softwares output the points in a different way, for example there may be more blanking points in Quickshow for a better optimisation of the image. So since you measures values with averaging measuring devices : more blanking points => less mean voltage => less mean power.

    I can bet that if you play a bit with the scanner settings in Quickshow (Vector display settings) it will alter again your readings, either to a higher or lower value...

    But I can assure you the FB3 outputs a full 5V at the top of the signal, I tested it many times on the scope.
    Last edited by sbk; 01-02-2015 at 14:25.

  8. #8
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    John,
    I agree with your premise, but to what real point? After all, these programs and DAcs and the lasers they are attached to represent hundred's of thousands of dollars in development costs and hardware. I'm not about to artificially boost the gain pots on my drivers based on such a casual measurement of these program"s outputs. Rfourt may be correct in his assumptions, but this is too significant a conclusion to be tested like this. Oscilloscopes are not rare. Maybe some others have tested their systems like I have and have discovered different results. It would be good to hear from them.

  9. #9
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    planters,
    No one is asking you to adjust anything. rfourt did some sound testing and reported his results. His methodology is entirely valid and I am convinced that on average, the Phoenix system was putting out more voltage, power, and visible light. It is unknown what the actual waveform looks like, which would be different if the frames are different or if they are optimized differently. A typical oscope isn't going to help much unless it can capture the whole frame with enough resolution to add up the on vs off time and come up with something meaningful. The signal would need to be integrated across the frame time in order to determine which one was on more and at what level. But, you don't need that to look at something and see whether or not it is brighter or not.

    The point is pretty clear to me... the Phoenix system was brighter for some reason and rfourt has decided to not use Quickshow for that reason.

  10. #10
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    There are many, many factors that might influence what amounts to the "duty cycle" of the output from substantially ANY of our software (including Phoenix). In any event, I assure you and everyone else that -- for sure and without a doubt, our software puts out a full 5.0 volts DURING THE PERIOD OF TIME THAT WE WANT THE BEAM TO BE ON!!

    Now, there may be times when we purposely want the beam to be turned off and so, what you have is a "duty cycle" (amount of time that the beam is on versus the amount of time that it is off). This duty cycle indirectly controls what APPEARS to be an average voltage on a meter, as well as the laser.

    The reason why this is my least favorite question (my second least favorite is "did you get my email"...) is because there are so many factors involved. Our software has advanced concepts that purposely exercise the scanners to keep the bearings from going bad, and other advanced concepts that are employed for the purposes of laser safety (see US Patent 7,911,412 as only one example). All of these are really advanced things not done by any other software -- and things that we purposely spend time on while the beam is turned off.

    The amount of time that the beam is off is also controlled by one of the settings in the ADVANCED tab of Projection Zones. If that setting is set "incorrectly", then absolutely I expect beam power to be lower.

    By the way, the funny thing is that the Phoenix programmers told me that they believed QS put out more power and more voltage (on average) because of a higher duty cycle put out by QS. Go figure...

    AND FINALLY there is another frustrating thing to me and that is that I (apparently singularly) understand how the eye-brain system works -- that the eye's response is logarithmic (base 4 or 5 depending on how you want to measure it) and that you'd have to cut the output power of the laser by around a factor of 8 before it appears as "half as bright". What this means is that a 10% drop in laser power would be literally imperceptible to viewers...

    WITH ALL OF THIS HAVING BEEN SAID -- coincidentally, Alexey and I have done quite a bit of work on both QuickShow and BEYOND, partially in response to the "streaking" described in a few other threads. The changes that we made has implications here as well and further improves beam power.

    In the end people can buy what they want to buy -- spend their money where they want to spend it, and like the products that they want to like. Pangolin offers a wide variety of software products for your lasering needs -- LD2000, LivePRO, QuickShow, BEYOND, Phoenix, etc. etc. and so on. Choice is what makes the world go round and so choice is what you get with Pangolin

    Bill

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