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Thread: Community LASER controller hardware

  1. #1

    Default Community LASER controller hardware

    Hello PhotonLexicon forum,

    In some recent post, I read that some users are interested in developing the community LASER controller hardware design. I have designed the prototype LASER DAC based on Philips LPC2148 32-bit ARM microprocessor, and I would like to give this idea to the community, to see if it will begin the development of the community LASER controller hardware design.

    As you know, current parallel-port based LASER DAC is ideal for the hobbyist purpose (cheap to make and easy to program), but it is limited by stability, output rate and colour support. To get professional quality output, it is necessary to use the USB or ethernet interface, which makes the hardware much more complicated.

    There are current open LASER controller hardware designs like bILDA, but this device is restricted for Linux use (most hobbyist use MS Windows). There are also commercial USB and ethernet controllers available. I can recommend many of these, and they can offer good value for money however there are still some users who have the interest or want the personal satisfaction to design or build their own controller instead.

    This design is very different to any existing designs because it is to provide the minimum required features in the smallest space for the lowest cost. It has no onboard memory (uses real-time frame streaming from PC), it has no DMX, controls or display and no power supply required. Because most hobbyist only use a single computer/projector, it has only USB interface for power and data (no ethernet), but unlike parallel-port DAC, it can have good stability, support high output rate and colour support.

    16-bit differential X, Y output.
    8-bit differential R, G, B, I, U1, U2, U3, U4 output.
    Also shutter output (TTL) and power sense input (analog).

    This design is not at all ready to use, I can supply the prototype schematic only. If you want to develop this device, you must design and make the printed circuit board, assemble the printed circuit board, debug the circuit if there is any problems, and design the microcontroller firmware and PC software driver / API. This is a big effort, for somebody with experience with hardware design and microprocessor firmware and PC driver writing.

    Unfortunately I do not have time to do this work personally, and I do not expect somebody else to do it. So, I suggest that this thread is not for this design specifically, but for the community LASER controller hardware in general. You can use this design for ideas or component recommendations for the lowest cost design.

    I have attached the prototype schematic (serialase_schematic.gif)
    Example of 4-layer PCB design (serialase_pcb.jpg)
    Example of Pactec CNL-0103 enclosure (serialase_enclosure.jpg)
    Example of power supply section hardware prototype (serialase_power.jpg)

    I can answer any simple questions you have. If you have time and interest to work on the community LASER controller hardware design (maybe not this one), you can communicate in this thread.

    Good luck!

    sonaluma
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails serialase_schematic.gif  

    serialase_pcb.jpg  

    serialase_enclosure.jpg  

    serialase_power.jpg  


  2. #2
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    Default

    For some reason the schematic link doesn't work for me when I click on the schematic.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default

    It works fine for me!
    It just opens the image up in its own window.
    I am confused why the DAC and associated drawings are so professional but the power supply looks like it was knocked together by an amateur. Was it designed and built by somebody else?

    Jim

  4. #4

    Default

    Hello Jim,

    The power supply prototype is hand assembled from small parts (the pitch of the pins of the power supply regulator IC are 0,50mm). This is why it does not look like a machine assembled circuit board which you may be used to.

    You are welcome to criticise this design, because I am sure there are many problems and it will help everybody to learn, but I want this thread to be about the community project in general. Maybe a better design will not be like my design at all, but I have published my design so that you can use it for some ideas or to get started. Maybe you have experience and interest to work for this idea.

    Also, I want to make this very clear, this is not competition with any commercial controller. The cost of the parts is very low, but the cost of designing and building the controller is very high, so it is not competition with commercial devices. This idea is for people who are interested to learn and to build their own device, for learning and satisfaction more than for other purposes.

    Kind regards,

    sonaluma

  5. #5
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    Default

    Well, I still get a little red X when I click on the schematic picture . The other pictures work OK, though.

  6. #6
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    Smile

    If you can't see the pictures, there are two things to check. First, make sure you're logged in. Second, make sure you're not behind a corporate firewall.

    For the record, they're working just fine for me in the post above, and I *am* behind a firewall, though other pictures in other threads have been filtered from time to time. (Photobucket is automatically filtered by the firewall here at work, for example.)

    Adam

  7. #7
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Buffo View Post
    If you can't see the pictures, there are two things to check. First, make sure you're logged in. Second, make sure you're not behind a corporate firewall.

    For the record, they're working just fine for me in the post above, and I *am* behind a firewall, though other pictures in other threads have been filtered from time to time. (Photobucket is automatically filtered by the firewall here at work, for example.)

    Adam
    When he posted that, I couldnt see the picture, now I can. I think it was a linking or PL issue

  8. #8
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    Default

    I can see all of the pictures in the body of the post. It's just that if I click on the top one I get a new window with a little X. If I click on any of the other 3 pictures I get a new window with a large picture.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Florida
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    Default

    I just get a blank frame...ah well
    "My signature has been taken, so Insert another here"
    http://repairfaq.ece.drexel.edu/sam/laserfaq.htm
    *^_^* aka PhiloUHF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Florida
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    Default

    I was thinking that it was about time somebody came up with a USB controller/interface instead of the bulky cumbersome 25 pin printer cable--
    Thanx Chuck Great Idea

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