Generally I would try to expedite this explanation, but considering how much time and money I have put into this project i’m going to be long and descriptive here, in hopes someone here can help me.
Roughly 3.5 years ago I purchased a chinese laser from a gentlemen whom had ordered it himself from the manufacturer and picked it up from the port. I had (and still have) a pretty limited understanding of how the machine actually works, but have been using it for my small woodworking business needs successfully and without any failures until about 2 weeks ago. This has been a long drawn out repair attempt, but I will attempt to keep it short while getting to the main occurences.
80W chinese laser engraver, with a 24" x 36" bed
(that’s about all I know)
1) Chiller stops holding temperature correctly. A quick google search suggests I have an AC guy out to take a look. AC guy shows up, his son (and helper) is in school to be an electrical engineer. I feel comfortable.
They determine the fans aren’t working. They are undecided if the fans have just gone bad, or if its some other relay or mechanism. They attempt to ‘hardwire’ the fans. ZAP big spark when they turn the power on. This was obviously a mistake, but they write it off as no problem when they find a burnt fuse in the power cable connection. They put in a new fuse and tell me they aren’t experienced with the equipment and aren’t sure how to fix it. They suggest ordering new fans and trying that.
Prior to this the chiller was not working correctly, but the laser was fine.
2) “After the ZAP”
Well, even though the chiller isn’t working - I have some orders to get out and figure I can do a few small burns just running water through the laser, since my laser is in an air conditioned environment.
The problems start here. At this point, when the chiller is plugged into the wall outlet - the laser burns 100% of the time (it burns during framing the file, as well as 100% of runtime) Basically, the laser won’t stop burning anytime it’s moving. If the chiller is not plugged in and the laser itself is running, it will not burn at all. (Keep in mind, things were working fine before the ZAP).
3) My electrician buddy
I have buddy that works an electrician. I’m thinking it could be a power issue (considering the chiller is plugged into the wall, and not the laser - and seems to be changing the way the laser operates when it’s plugged in).
My electrician comes out. He pulls wiring diagrams for the chiller and does some research on the laser. He notices that the alarm cable from the chiller is hardwired into the power supply (in the P and G ports on the plug is that’s of use).
He opens the wall outlets (the outlets for the laser and the chiller are both tied into a switch that he put in for me, this way I can just flip the switch up and turn everything on). He determines all of the wiring inside the outlets/wall are still good.
He is uncertain what is wrong and decides he has done all he is comfortable with. He explains that he thinks its possible that the ZAP damaged the power supply, since the chiller alarm is wired directly to it.
4) Questionable repair guy (the real nightmare starts here)
There is a small business in my town, run by a guy that buys/sells chinese products out of his warehouse - as well as servicing them. He dubs himself as a CNC guy. I originally purchased my chiller from him. I bring him the chiller to diagnose. He decides that the fans are bad, tells me new fans are $300 + his labor, which will be roughly 2 hours at $100/hr. I feel a bit uneasy and decline. I ask him to just come out and look at the machine, and bring the chiller with him. I purchase a new power supply from him ($260), if only to rule it out (no returns by the way, regardless).
I install the new power supply. No change in operation. Still broken.
I find the fans for the chiller online for $40 ea. Decide i’ll do that myself. Looks like 30 min- 1 hours worth of work.
The laser repair man shows up. He “forgets the chiller”, but can still look at the laser. He fools around for about the first hour, cleans the lens, calibrates the auto focus. At this point I stop him and urge him to only focus on getting the machine working correctly, as I have orders stacking up. Turns out there is an alarm cable that goes from the chiller to the laser and he is a bit uncertain as to whether or not he can test the machine without a cooler. Tries to get me to buy a new chiller. I say no, but fix the machine, i’m paying your hourly rate. He somehow bypasses the alarm problems he had described. Unplugs/replugs all the controller cables. He takes one cable out (I believe from power supply to controller) to check if there is any bad wires. He decides it has to be the controller that is bad.
I ask him to come the following day with a new controller (at $560 mind you (for the part alone)). He never shows up.
5) After the repair man
I decide I am finished with the said laser repair man. I go to his shop to pick up the chiller myself, and a new controller. I return home and realize he did not include the cables with my chiller, so I again make a trip to his shop to get my chiller cables. I install the new controller, and hook the chiller back up. No luck, but now - the laser burns 100% of the time, regardless as to whether or not the chiller is plugged in or turned on.
Flash forward to this current moment, and here I am typing this. I have angry customers, and am now roughly $1200 into this thing with no improvements.
New power supply (Inside laser engraver)
New Controller (Two piece Ruida inside laser engraver)
Failed chiller repair
My next thought it to just order a new chiller (from someone besides this repairman), as I am wondering if maybe the chiller is somehow telling the machine to act weird (since the ZAP happened inside the chiller). Maybe there is something inside the chiller that talks to the laser that isn’t working properly. Or maybe the infamous ZAP damaged something inside the laser that I haven’t replaced yet.
I really need help here. Grateful for any time and/or knowledge spent.