Can I link several lasers with DMX cables to forward the ILDA signal of the first unit?
Of course not: DMX and ILDA are very different types of transmission protocols. DMX is very limited in its capabilities, so it's not suitable for any complex signal transmissions.
If you work in ILDA mode, you can only use the ILDA signal. DMX is deactivated at the laser devices as soon as an ILDA signal is available.
Please see also the explanations of the ILDA and DMX signals in the FAQs above.
Do you sell any waterproof lasers?
Yes, MotionLasers offers a large number of waterproof lasers:
All Nano units are IP65 waterproof, meaning they can be used outdoor in the rain.
The Spectrum All-Weather and Low Divergence Series are rated to IP65 waterproof, perfect for outdoor touring applications.
The LightCube 851 models are rated to IP68, suitable for permanent outdoor solutions in a submersible shell.
Why do we have condensation inside our laser device?
Professional laser systems usually have cooling/heating elements built inside the projector. Although these are meant for keeping the laser modules at operation temperature, the climate inside the laser device needs to be quite balanced.
If you place a laser projector next to a fog machine or next to the air condition outlet (or even to the normal ventilation system) there may be a condensation of water/liquid inside the housing due to the temperature difference. The effect is comparable to the situation if you come from a cold outside into a warm room and your glasses fog up.
That's why it is very important to place the laser system appropriately and to avoid any situation that may raise the risk of condensation.
Condensation inside a laser device may lead to short-circuiting of the unit and crash of laser diodes.
Please consider the operation temperature stated in the user manual of the laser system!
A Sealed Housing technology enclosure does not prevent condensation! Please head for an even more professional system that is rated IP54+ to reduce the condensation risk.
What is the difference between 655/650nm and 638nm red?
Professional diode laser systems are usually equipped with 638nm red diodes. These have a very good visible red color and can be proper collimated to good beam shapes. The handling of these kind of diodes is quite tricky, especially if there is the need of combining more than two diodes. We use this diode type in our professional laser systems. Most Chinese manufacturers are not able to handle this kind of diodes.
The 655/650nm red is easier in handling and cheaper, although the beam profile is worse. This kind of diodes is normally not suitable for optically combining more than two single diodes, that's why the red power is somehow limited. We use this diode type in our budget systems to have a very good price-performance-ratio. The red color is somewhat deeper.
Below you can see the the visibility curve of the different color spectrums. Lime color is at best visibility point, whereas red and blue ar worse visible.
The red and the blue color react completely different if mixed with green (which is done in RGB color mixture): Whereas blue (445nm( can be smoothly enriched with green and gains much visibility with only having small portions of green added (and smoothly turns to different cyan tones), the red color very soon turns into orange and yellow if mixed with green.
What is a "grating effect"?
A grating effect is an optical deflection grid, that multiplies the input rays. E.g. if you shoot a single laser beam to the grating, you get kind of a star effect (burst grating) or a "dotted line" (line grating) on the other side.
Every color spectrum is deflected in a different way, so if you have a multi-color input, you get the colors split up as well. That's why it is physically not possible to generate a white star effect with the use of a deflection grating.
Grating effects can also be used with mirrors (BURST-10, LIN-10)
What does a dichroic filter in a laser projector?
The dichroic filter is used in a multi-color laser system for combining the single colors to one beam. The dichroic filter deflects a certain color spectrum, whereas it lets pass others. Due to that, it is possible to have e.g. a red and a green laser source, that is combined: The green light heads straight to the scanner mirrors, whereas the red source is placed 90° to the green beam. With the dichroic filter, the red laser light is deflected to exactly match the green beam and hit the scanner mirrors in the same point as the green laser light.
If colors of a multi-color laser systems mismatch, it is necessary to realign the dichroic filters and rematch the colors again.
How is the ILDA connector pinout?
A common interface is used in the laser show industry to operate laser projectors by computer control. As interface the DB-25 connector is used, as the signal transmission is done in a parallel transmission. The signal transmission itself does not use a modern protocol type like used e.g. in ethernet networks or other serial transmission types, but it is a very low-level transmission that only modulates the voltage on every pin - usually in a range of 5V difference (-2.5V - +2.5V or 0V - 5V).
This so-called "ILDA connection" is a rather old transmission method, however, it is used for nearly all computer controllable laser systems at the moment.
As the ILDA signal is a parallel transmission, the computer control signal (which is serial) needs to be converted to ILDA. This is done by the so-called DAC (Digital Analogue Converter), which is also called "USB Interface" or "USB box" in combination with laser software. The parallel signal can only transmit one type of signal. It is not possible to address different lasers and give them individual control signals with one DAC. Do so, you need additional DACs (one for each laser that should be controlled individually). However, the same ILDA signal can be used by many laser projectors - but they would do all the same.
To reduce the need of DACs, we suggest to link the ILDA signal of some projectors.
The ILDA connector has the following pinout:
Pin 1 x-axis scanner, positive signal. Difference of 10V Pin 2 y-axis scanner, positive signal. Difference of 10V Pin 3 intensity/brightness, positive signal. Difference of 5V Pins 4 and 17 Interlock. Linking of both enables output Pin 5 red intensity, positive signal. Difference of 5V Pin 6 green intensity, positive signal. Difference of 5V Pin 7 blue intensity, positive signal. Difference of 5V Pin 8 deep blue intensity, positive signal. Difference of 5V Pin 9 yellow intensity, positive signal. Difference of 5V Pin 10 cyan intensity, positive signal. Difference of 5V
OR: DMX512 IN; positive signal (Showeditor and Phoenix interfaces).
Pin 11 DMX512 OUT; positive signal (Showeditor and Phoenix interfaces). Pin 12 Projector return signal Pin 13 Shutter. Difference of 5V Pin 14 x-axis scanner, negative signal. Difference of 10V Pin 15 y-axis scanner, negative signal. Difference of 10V Pin 16 intensity/brightness, negative signal. Difference of 5V Pins 17 and 4 Interlock. Linking of both enables output Pin 18 red intensity, negative signal. Difference of 5V Pin 19 green intensity, negative signal. Difference of 5V Pin 20 blue intensity, negative signal. Difference of 5V Pin 21 deep blue intensity, negative signal. Difference of 5V Pin 22 yellow intensity, negative signal. Difference of 5V Pin 23 cyan intensity, negative signal. Difference of 5V
OR: DMX512 IN; negative signal (Showeditor and Phoenix interfaces)
Pin 24 DMX512 OUT; negative signal (Showeditor and Phoenix interfaces). Pin 25 Ground
How can I evaluate the quality of a scanner system?
The quality of a scanner system (galvo system) is not easy to determine. The scan speed is only one factor that needs to be respected: There are huge differences between a good 50kpps and a bad 50kpps system.
A very important factor is the angle stability of the system, meaning how precise the system works if the scan angle is widened up.
If the scanner is properly centered aligned, the scanning behavior is usually Gaussian shaped - with the scan angle as variable.
Evaluation of scanner quality is quite tricky and needs some deeper knowledge of other components like the mirrors used or software settings.
The wider the scan angle, the trickier it is to get good scanning results. The limitation in speed results from the incredibly high frequency the little mirrors needed to be moved with.
This mechanical limitation is also the cause why it is not possible to project areas, but lines.
Can I use DMX capable show laser systems in Master/Slave mode?
Many of our laser systems are equipped with quite versatile preset boards, that provide a basic functionality for operation in Music, Auto and DMX mode.
To have the option of Master/Slave operation it is essential, that the units connected can act as transmitter and receiver of DMX512 control signals: The Master unit acts like a DMX controller and sends the control signal to the Slave unit(s). This would only be possible for Auto and Music mode.
As it is quite tricky to implement a function like that in very cheap units, we decided not to have such an option with our units. especially as they have very good options for DMX control: A DMX controller is available for very cheap nowadays and you have much more options in the way you control the laser(s).
So we recommend:
- use a simple DMX controller as Master
- address the units with the same address to have them doing all the same
- give them different addresses to have even more control options.
Anyway, for semi-professional or professional use we recommend controlling the lasers over ILDA (computer control). If DMX is needed, then we recommend to remote control the ILDA software over DMX and not the projector directly. This provides extremely more features and options!
How are the different colors created with lasers?
With a full color solid state laser, (at least) three different laser modules are used together. White light, as well as mixed colors, are generated by the additive color mixture of red, green and blue (like e.g. the TV set). Color shades are produced with the partial switch-off or the dimming of single colors, which is so called "analog modulation".
To increase output power or to create a larger or more vivid color range, it is possible to mix even more than three colors. It needs some knowledge to operate such systems properly.
The wavelengths of the individual laser modules define the color. That's why it is very important to have the "right" red and the "right" blue to get good visibility with a good color spectrum at the same time.
I want to terminate the laser beam after about two metres, like the lightsabers in Star Wars. How can I do that?
It is not possible to create lightsaber like effects: You cannot "terminate" the laser beam somewhere, it can physically not be terminated without having an end-point (surface).
Light can not be ended somewhere, it can only "fade out", meaning intensity is reduced with greater distances. But this is of course not feasible for a lightsaber.
Please also read the FAQ regarding projection surfaces
Do I need fog or haze to make the laser beams visible?
You always need a surface to reflect the laser light. This can be fog or haze for beam shows or all kinds of screens for projections. Very common screen types are water screens, gauze screens, rear projection screens or fog screens.
All 3D-like projections with lasers also need kind of a surface to be reflected on!
It is not possible to create laser-sword like effects: You cannot "terminate" the laser beam somewhere, it cannot physically be terminated without having an end-point (surface).
MotionLasers recommends using a haze machine for indoor beam shows to get the smoothest effect.
What is the difference between optical effects and normal scanners?
Optical effects are created by using a certain glass/mirror structure with microstructures, that deflects or manipulates one laser beam hitting the optical component so that a special effect is generated. Optical effects are e.g. burst grating, line grating, shot beams, etc.
The advantage of optical effects in contrast to normal scanners is, that there is no flickering with optical effects and the deflection angle can be much wider than with scanners. Anyway, the flexibility of scanner systems can not be achieved, as the effeect is limited to the built-in optical effetcs.
Is your laser control software Mac / Apple compatible?
Pangolin Quickshow and Beyond do not run on MAC / Apple OSX. However, it is possible to operate all software products, that we offer, in a Windows emulated environment on Mac systems.
There are several technical limitations that make it tricky to just switch existing software solutions to Mac OS ( e.g. deep integration with DirectX or OpenGL and similar Windows APIs).
My laser is only some months old and the beam gets a halo more and more. Is it defective?
Most probably not. The halo-effect normally occurs when the optics are not properly clean. You need to regularly clean you laser device, especially the optics, to ensure best output quality together with long lifetime of the unit.
Dirt and dust inside the laser enclosure may lead to overheating or mechanical failure, so you need to regularly clean the device.
If you have one of our professional systems, you're lucky: The Sealed Housing units only need very few maintenance, the IP65 or above units are normally service free.
For cleaning the optical components we recommend using a microfibre cloth, probably together with some water.
In some cases there may be the need of window cleaner or similar, but be careful to not damage the coating of the dichroic filters. We do not recommend to use any strong cleaning liquids and also no strong alcohol.
Be careful when cleaning the optics to not break the scanners or dichros! Only small scratches have tremendous influence on the laser light parametres, so remember to not use any rough materials for cleaning.
I got a brand new laser, but it doesn't seem to work. What should I do?
Before calling your vendor our service line, please check the following points:
- - do you use the right operation voltage?- is the environmental temperature not below 10°C?
- - is the interlock connector plugged in (if there is an interlock connector, of course)?
- - is the key switch turned to "on"?- if there is a mechanical shutter: is it moved aside?
- - does the laser only not work in one operation mode (sound, auto, ILDA - as far as the options are available for your unit)?
- - if operated in ILDA mode: Do you operate your software properly? (Interface connected, cable properly attached, laser output activated in software, right interface selected for output in software?)
- - if operated in ILDA mode: Do you try to project a single beam or a very small pattern? Probably the scan fail safety blocks that (it only does if switched to full block mode! This is not the standard option.)... please try a larger pattern.