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Thread: Norm's Laser Show, software/hardware

  1. #1
    mixedgas's Avatar
    mixedgas is offline Creaky Old Award Winning Bastard Technologist
    Infinitus Excellentia Ion Laser Dominatus
    Join Date
    May 2007
    A lab with some dripping water on the floor.

    Default Norm's Laser Show, software/hardware

    I was going to Arizona to help my buddy do a legal rave for 1200 people with a both indoor/terminated outdoor show in a large venue with 5 laserists. If you've ever done this, the reasons for having a spare controller, especially one that reads ILDA files and fits in a pocket should be obvious. I took Pango with me, but my buddy asked for the full 90 pound toolkit and as much backup hardware I could bring.
    So I took a Norm's and a Mamba.

    Norm's Laser Show (NLS) was on Ebay and there were a few mentions of it in the laser community on the how to build galvos websites. I can't see Norm's web site at work due to security restrictions on what server ports I can access. Thats a strike against, as one hopes to be able to get the latest downloads etc. I dont have the net at home. So I'm not sure everyone can get to his home page.

    Details: Printer port kit, 8 bit dacs ,TTL latch for expansion, TTL support for R,G,B, software only supports G at this time. Needs +/- 15V external power (in my case 4 x PP3 9V and 7815/7915 regulators) . Software was emailed, although I'm told its a free download. Comes with parts/connectors/well etched PCB.
    Has blanking timing adjust etc. Board is about 2.5 x 2.5 with a right angled Dsub to the par port.

    Mine was a beta and frequently Norm emailed with corrections to the schematic, mainly a few little electrolytic caps were shown as backwards in the docs, but the silk screen was correct. 2 8 bit multiplying dacs leave room for easy user mods to output voltages etc. Outputs are buffered by opamps and inverted x and y are provided for those who use differential, a nice touch. Dont know if he's compatable with Mamba, popelscan etc, but its a nice little kit for the price. Shipping from BC Canada was faster then lightspeed. Sells via ebay, also produces simple diode driver and galvo kits.
    Norm develops stuff for his own use and then kits it to recover costs.

    Downsides: docs are a work in progress, markings on the board were nonstandard, ie green minus is really green ground, nothing that hurts performance, just nonstandard terms. Its a first time product, some more snobby users might see it as slightly unfinished, but hey, it works and works solidly as a 8 bit show controller. No CD sync yet.

    Upsides, instant email replys, great software with timing features, ie during a show it follows a script, display frame such and such at scan rate X for X.X seconds,simple decent frame editor. Code is not typical bloated hobbyist VB.NET, it ran well.He's working on some plugins for like 3D max etc. Docs are PDFs with lots of photos and schematics. Nice silkscreened board.Nicely calculates galvo speed readouts. No nasty dongle either. Oh and yeah, its a double buffered dac, so both axis update at once, unlike a lot of junk out there, you dont get jagged points.

    or Google for Norm's laser show.

    Steve Roberts
    Last edited by mixedgas; 06-20-2007 at 12:11. Reason: I kant type well enymore

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Lake Geneva, WI.


    I agree! Norm's kit is awesome. I would recommend it to anyone who is new to the hobby or just wants to play ILD files. You just can't beat the price, $30 for software and kit! It's easy to build, easy to use and can be up and running in an hour.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Pflugerville, TX, USA


    I am using 2 of his analog diode drivers for my red and green lasers. I had a bit of trouble getting them to work but was eventually able to with Norm's help. I think he has tweaked the design a bit so that others won't have the problems I did. The drivers work fine for me.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007

    Default How to acces to Norm's website (By Norm himself!)

    Hi to all,

    Wow, I was flattered to read such nice comments on my products. This gives me the little kick at the right place to keep going - thanks!

    - I wanted to let you know that you can easily access my web site by using this address: and you will be redirected at the right place. Bookmark the above address, instead of the IP-based one, since the IP may change once in a while. Some users have trouble accessing my server because I am using the non-standard 81 port instead of 80 to bypass my ISP restriction on home servers :P

    - Unfortunately, I had to close my discussion group because of spammers, and will open a thread on this forum instead, since it's the best one and most popular I've found on the net. I hope to stimulate discussions specific to my kits.

    - Talking about my kits, in case you guys didn't know, I am currently offering a low cost closed-loop galvo kit. Go see my site for details. In short: $200, 2 galvos + driver board, ILDA 16KPPS at 16 degrees, very wide scanning angle possible at lower speed (>90!) I sold quite a few on eBay. See seller eKitForAll.

    - Still about my kits, many aksed me which SW were compatible with my DAC kit. Apparently it works fine with the following softwares:
    - Play4all
    - Box Performer
    - Popelscan
    - Mamba
    - MambaBlack (I tested this one personally)

    (Special thanks to Martijn for testing most of these for me)

    Best regards,
    Last edited by legato; 07-05-2007 at 22:22. Reason: Added the list of SW supported by my DAC kit.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Charleston, SC

    Smile RE: Norm's here!

    Hi Norm! Welcome to PhotonLexicon!

    Glad you decided to check in here. Yeah, it looks like you've already got a built-in fan club! (Or the start of one anyway... )

    For what it's worth, spammers used to be a problem here as well. But once our host (Spec) switched to the new software (VBulletin) the spam pretty much vanished.

    Looking forward to reading more about your projects!


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005


    Hey Norm..

    Good to see you've finally made it
    Im sure you'll feel at home here

    Welcome aboard

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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007

    Default Warm welcome!

    Thanks for such a warm welcome. Yes Marconi, I already feel at home as you say!

    Question for all those familiar with this place: Where would you see my galvo project's thread? Is there a DIY spot for homemade stuff? Didn't have time yet to explore all the site. Or should it be in the "Sell your stuff" place?


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2005

    Default Hosting

    Hello Norm,

    Nice little kit there, may be tempted soon as I want some sort of scanner / DAC / software setup for messing about with my DPSS.

    On another note I donít know if you are hosting at home because you want to..... But I will give you a "real" / static hosting account for your project if you want. (FOC)

    This goes for anyone else who has good laser projects the community could benefit from.

    Just PM / email me.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007

    Default Web hosting

    Hi Aidan,

    The quick anwer would be: Yes, I like hosting my website from home. Actually, I went through quite a learning curve to understand all the settings to be configured, and features that had to be enabled to get what I wanted. Now I'm happy and all runs smoothly, excepts the damned discussion group, where spammers just seem to thrive everyday. But this place brings a solution to my problem , and I benefit from a much bigger community at same time. But thanks for offering anyways.


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