Weird issue when using power scale

I have an Eleksmaker A5 clone with a 2000mW 445nm laser. I have it working well for B/W engraving/cutting but have a weird issue when using a power scale chart to set up greyscale. I’ve set up a grid of boxes as per the tutorial with speeds and powers on the two axes, 3000-600 mm/min and 10%-100% power set by using the power scale feature.

When it hits the 20% power box (G1XwhateverS51) the stepper pauses, gives off a ‘squeak’ then carries on with the next box, having missed steps. Every time it gets to that box it loses more. I can change the power to 25% for that column, or delete it, and the grid prints completely OK. I can manually pick any other box and set that one to 20% with power scale (100% power, 20% scale) and it does it on that one instead.

I have compared the gcode and it’s literally only the power (the S51) that changes. I don’t understand it - I can move faster or slower, or use higher or lower powers successfully. Any ideas?

My best guess is electrical noise happening at that specific power value inducing a harmonic in the stepper line. I’ve never heard of this happening before, but I can’t think of anything else that could cause what you’re seeing.

Being a cheap clone the cable management is pretty awful, for now. I’ll have to explore it a lot more, see if I can find other ways to trigger it.

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