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Thread: New here. Short Intro. Aussie Muso/Electronics Tech/Laser Enthusiast.

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    Default New here. Short Intro. Aussie Muso/Electronics Tech/Laser Enthusiast.

    Hi all,

    I figured it would be best to post a short intro here as my first post. My forum username is based on my initials and old highschool nickname (Doc).
    I'm a musician, electronics tech and laser enthusiast currently living in Adelaide, South Australia. I've been into electronics for around 35 years now and am about to start a new job working as a lab tech at University of Adelaide physics dept working on cryogenically cooled, sapphire crystal, microwave oscillators. These oscillators are currently used in the world time server clocks.

    My introduction to lasers was in the late 80s with a couple of Huges HeNe 5mW tubes which I actually still own (one is shown in my avatar). Back then, I made a basic spiro setup and a DIY X/Y scanner using a couple of old VHS loading mechanism motors for those tubes and designed/built a basic interface to run it from my grey case TRS80 CoCo which I used for stage FX with a band I worked with at the time. It wasn't very bright or sophisticated but I had fun with it. The beams from those tubes are still better (much lower divergence) than most of the cheaper diodes I've seen.

    Later on, in the early 90s, I met up with some fellow laser enthusiasts from Geelong, Victoria (where I grew up) and we collaborated on various DIY projects. The one I remember most fondly was an air cooled Argon/HeNe ILDA setup which we used for various shows/functions. I have some old VHS footage of that rig somewhere here which I might digitize and upload to my YouTube channel sometime soon.

    My current main laser is a diode RGB at just under a watt (532nm - 100mW, 638nm - 350mW, 445nm - 450mW) with analog modulation which I am planning to use as an ILDA show laser for my music projects. I purchased that a few weeks ago.
    A couple of days ago, I learned through unfortunate experience how fragile laser diodes can be. I was experimenting with a 1.5 watt blue (445nm) diode and was about to take some photo's comparing it's beam with the red beam from my RGB laser. As I was moving the camera into position, the tripod got caught on my temporary wiring and briefly shorted it out causing a spike which popped the diode. It still produces a beam but at a much reduced output. Lesson learned. Use a proper driver (I was just using a basic, current limited PSU) and don't use clip leads to connect it up!! I'll probably also invest in some Lasorbs too.

    A quick question... Does anyone know where I can find a service manual for a Casio XJ-M140 projector? I won an auction for one on eBay today which I've purchased specifically for the 445nm diodes/optics/drivers.

    If anyone is interested in my music, I've been writing, recording and performing in numerous styles for many years but I've always been keenly inspired by the likes of Jean Michel Jarre and Tangerine Dream. I recently finished recording an album of Berlin School (Krautrock) style instrumentals using a mixture of analog, digital and VSTi synthesizers, analog sequencers and MIDI arpeggiators called 'Hidden Gems | Instrumental Journeys' which is free to download (link is in my signature).

    Even though I've been into lasers for many years, there's still a TON of stuff to learn and that is one of the reasons I've joined here. Hopefully I'll be able to contribute in a worthwhile manner as well.

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    Welcome to PL! I'm going to go out on a limb and say you've probably stumbled into the right place. There are a number of Aussie members who share this addiction and I'm sure some will chime in. There are a lot of synthesizer and music nuts as well as laser geeks floating around too. Buckle up and hold tight to your wallet.... its an exciting and often pricey ride!

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaserDoc View Post
    ...
    A quick question... Does anyone know where I can find a service manual for a Casio XJ-M140 projector? I won an auction for one on eBay today which I've purchased specifically for the 445nm diodes/optics/drivers.
    ... read here - http://www.photonlexicon.com/forums/...Missing-Diodes

    I've modded several of the A130/A140 and A230 for lampless or red only ...

    Viktor

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    Thanks heaps for the welcome guys.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bradfo69 View Post
    Welcome to PL! I'm going to go out on a limb and say you've probably stumbled into the right place. There are a number of Aussie members who share this addiction and I'm sure some will chime in. There are a lot of synthesizer and music nuts as well as laser geeks floating around too. Buckle up and hold tight to your wallet.... its an exciting and often pricey ride!
    Ha! Yeah... Although these days it is much more affordable than it was in the 90s for similar power and capability. That might not be much financial consolation though because more affordable usually just means we can afford to do more!!
    The synthesizer side of things is a very similar story. I have a recording studio full of gear and quite a few collectible vintage synths and sequencers but much of that was collected over many years when I was in the right place and time. I've modded most of it and built quite a bit of custom gear so I dare say this forum is only going to take me down a similar path but with lasers.

    One of the big advantages of the advances in recent technology is the beam output power vs mains input power. No longer do we need water cooled Argons running on three phase to see visible beams in daylight that can burn holes in our walls!!
    Quote Originally Posted by VDX View Post
    ... read here - http://www.photonlexicon.com/forums/...Missing-Diodes

    I've modded several of the A130/A140 and A230 for lampless or red only ...

    Viktor
    That's a great thread.
    It's going to take me a while to get through it all but I'm reading with keen interest right now.
    I'm pondering the possibilities of using the projector as a PSU and driver for the diodes so I haven't really given much thought to keeping it working as a projector but that thread is planting seeds in my mind of other options.

    Two of the plans I have for the diodes is to make a laser harp and also have one of my analog step sequencers (running my vintage synths Tangerine Dream style) run lasers along with the step LEDs. Those two ideas don't necessarily require beam modulation so using the projector as the supply kinda makes sense to me.

    The reason I am interested in finding a service manual for the M140 is to mod it specifically for the above projects. I'd also like to see if there's a way to mod the Casio drivers to enable them to modulate the diodes. That would possibly give me four channels of modulated drivers without outlaying too much more cash and open up doors for other ideas.


    Hmmm... In music and electronics, there's a term that is no doubt well known here too.... G.A.S. (and not the Helium, Neon, Argon or CO2 type either)!! lol Gear Acquisition Syndrome. I'm catching laser GAS!

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    Oh, one more thing... I just spotted a guy here named Bruno. Is that Bruno from Coruno Laser Productions? If so, it was him that I purchased the RGB laser from.

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    ... while using the diodes in a laser-harp setup is pretty dangerous for the eyes, it could be worth thinking about 'simulating' laser beams with the beamer - simply project small spots and check, if the illumination is strong enough to show light-paths in haze.

    But for the 'real' laser-harp - driving the diodes with discrete drivers is much simpler than with the casio-drivers -- think about galvo-scanner-pairs and analog-driver for every diode ...

    Viktor

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    Thanks for the suggestions Viktor.

    I've pretty much decided to purchase Pangolin QuickShow and should have some galvos and drivers on the way shortly too. For the laser harp, I might see how practical it is to create that in QuickShow and maybe have the galvos direct a beam onto a diffraction grating or rotating mirror setup of some sort.
    Alternatively, given that I'll have 24 diodes to play with, I could just create a dedicated deflection system to one diode specifically for that effect.
    It's probably a no brainer that I should wear some 445nm eyeware when using the harp.

    Although keyboards are my main instrument, I'm also a drummer too and have long had ideas for creating a laser drum kit. I already have two Roland V Drums modules and a fairly elaborate V Kit which would integrate with such a laser kit quite readily. The V Drums modules actually have analog inputs for the triggers and these would be easily adapted to photodiodes or LDR's as triggers.

    It's just as well that I am starting a new job at the end of this week. The extra cash will be needed!

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    Hey, what's up Doc?

    Welcome to another Aussie. Kick your shoes off, make yourself at home.

    Say, I know a few musos in Adelaide.... I worked there for a few years at that monument of bullshit across the road from the casino on North Terrace...

    Wayne.
    This space for rent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dnar View Post
    Hey, what's up Doc?

    Welcome to another Aussie. Kick your shoes off, make yourself at home.
    Thanks Wayne.
    Quote Originally Posted by dnar View Post
    Say, I know a few musos in Adelaide.... I worked there for a few years at that monument of bullshit across the road from the casino on North Terrace...

    Wayne.
    You probably know more musos here than I do!! I actually grew up in Victoria and did most of my audio engineering work in the entertainment industry there. These days, I'm mainly focusing on my own projects and have given away the touring and S/D/RnR lifestyle.

    I actually just started a new job as an electronics tech in the physics department at Adelaide Uni. I'm working on cryogenically cooled, sapphire crystal, microwave oscillators (the same ones used to control the world time server clock) which is a VAST change from the music scene. There's a VERY cool laser lab at the uni which I'll get to see shortly too. Apparently there's lots of high powered, very expensive lasers in that lab.

    Here's a photo of the two oscillators in the lab I'm working in:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Where are you based now?

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    Speaking of Aussies, I have one of my employees who is coming to live there for a year or a year and a half, I forget which. He's just about to graduate from college and is "doing his own thang" and coming to basically hang out, get a job and explore.
    He's managed to save about $3,000 to get him started on his adventure and will be looking for a job of some sort while there. I know he can jump right into food service.

    I told him I knew a number of people in Australia through this forum and would get him some contacts in case he had any questions or issues arise. He's a good kid - Portuguese background in his family. He'll be moving there at the end of May. I don't know what part of the country he's headed to first or where he wants to visit but, if you wouldn't mind PM'ing me a name and contact info just so he can have it tucked in a bag somewhere, that would be appreciated.

    Thanks!

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