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Thread: Epilog Laser Power Problems

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Epilog Laser Power Problems

    Dave,

    Now is a bad time to ask me if I would choose an Epilog again...my engraver is down and I'm afraid the problem is in fact the tube. Over the course of the last two weeks I was involved in a very large job and I put some very long hours on my engraver. The power started to decrease and it is now to the point where vector cutting is not possible. I have made two calls to Epilog Tech Support and they have had me checking the mirrors first and now doing a beam alignment test. Honestly I don't even understand the results of the test I did yesterday morning so I will have to wait until I discuss the issue with the technician this afternoon before I know what the next step will be.

    I was told that If the tube needed to be rebuilt I had several options, the most agreeable to me is for me to send Epilog my tube and a check for $1500.00 and they would run diagnostics on my tube and send me a rebuilt tube if necessary. This is much cheaper than having Epilog send a replacement tube and then return my tube to them in their shipping container. The good news is that I don't have any engraving work that is pressing right now, I'm running my CNC router and doing some dye-sub projects so the down time isn't as big an issue at this point. If I was in the middle of a big job I would have to go the most expensive route to get my engraver back up and running as quickly as possible.

    What upsets me at this point is that although my engraver is three years old it couldn't possibly have 1000 hours on it, in fact it is much less. The good news is that the machine has been reliable up until now and lately very profitable so the cost of repair is less of a factor than the down time. The mirrors on my machine do show some degrade around the outside edges which according to tech support should not be a problem. I'm not sure why this has happened as I have been very carefull selecting materials that are laser safe. I do expect to have to purchase new mirrors in the near future.

    I'll let you know this evening what my next step in the process is going to be, much depends on the technicians recommendations at this point as it is possible that the beam is not aligned properly.

  2. #2
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    Feb 2005
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    Central Florida
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    Keith,

    Sorry your machine is down. A tube for $1500 seems more reasonable to me than the 2500 or so I've heard. Good luck and keep us posted.

    Dave

  3. #3
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    Dec 2004
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    Southern California
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    Kieth,

    Considering that down time is not a factor for you. you may want to investigate dealing directly with the MFG. of the laser tube. (Synrad or Deos) Might even save you some more money. Could be a simple fix in our experience a lot of laser tube failures are due to RF supplies, or Internal Optics. Both of which are fairly in expensive to repair.

    Just a suggestion.

  4. #4
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    Oct 2004
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    Keith you can narrow it down a bit. If you can cut at 1/2 the speed you previously cut at , its most likely an RF board that has gone down. (and if its a synarad , it just gets worse till the other one goes or there is no power
    If your cuts have suddenly gone slanty or the finest detail gets bad and or you find that you can cut well at one point on the table and not well on the other , it's most likely alignment.

  5. #5
    Dave,

    Typically the charge is not more than $1500 on repairing an Epilog tube. As Mike and Rodney (in this thread) have already said, there are parts of a tube other than the CO2 that might also need to be repaired which could possibly take it above that.

    Yes that is more than it will cost you for similar services from ULS. Ask both your ULS distributor and your Epilog distributor "Why is that?"

    Thanks for the kind words; yes, we believe the distributor makes a difference and we try very hard to do the best we know how.
    Roy Brewer
    Epilog/Control Laser/Roland engravers/Xenetech

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    I spent late afternoon yesterday talking to Epilog Tech Support and finished running the beam alignment test. The results of the test proved that the beam alignment was not the problem. We did make a change to one of my menus that apparently was adjusted automatically when I did the last software upgrade that was incorrect for my machine. I would also like to clarify for the record that Epilog has been quick to respond, working with me and helping me identify my problem. The time frame involved to date is lengthy because of my schedule and has nothing to do with Epilog support.

    The bottom line is that my engraver is still suffering from a loss of power however I am able to engrave and vector cut now. All of the settings that I normally use for materials will have to be adjusted for the power loss which by the way isn't 50% or anything near that much. A loss of 50% power on a 35 watt machine would render it useless in my mind, at least for the projects I normally produce.

    My options are to keep using the machine, send my CO2 tube back to Epilog and exchange it for a rebuilt tube ($1250.00 + shipping) or contact Synarad and discuss my options with them. I inquired about upgrading my CO2 tube to 50 watt and was told my engraver would have to be returned to the factory for the upgrade. This is contradictory to the Epilog sales brochure I received from the salesman who sold the machine to me which states that;

    "Only the Legend offers a true field upgrade path that allows laser systems to be upgraded to a higher power level in a minimum amount of time using only hand tools. All electronics are plug connected for quick and easy disconnect. You can field upgrade up to 100 watt system. All lasers are pre-aligned with Epilog's proprietary Acculine beam alignment system which completely eliminates the need for field alignment. As your business grows. your laser can grow too. Only Epilog's convenient modular design provides for true field upgradability."

    Now I am told that my machine isn't field upgradable

    I have another brochure that states "A laser tube with longer life expectancy will translate into thousands of dollars less spent later replacing your laser tube. At approximately 30,000 running hours, Epilog's laser tube has as much as three times longer life expectancy as other tubes."

    I discussed the life expectancy figure with the technician and was told that the C02 gas in the tube could last for the time they advertise however the electrical components also effect tube failures and they aren't exactly part of the expected life span figures. I guess a C02 tube could last for 30,000 hours which is 14.4 years of running 40 hours per week, my machine failed at less than 1000 hours so I'm on the low side of the statistics

    There is one more test that I will perform on my machine before I make up my mind as to what course of action I will pursue which is a power comparison test that involves a test material Epilog will send me with instructions as to speed and power settings that I will use to test my machine and compare the results to a machine of known performance that they have in their facility.

    Are you getting all of this Dave?

  7. #7
    Hi Keith,
    Sorry to hear you're having problems with your laser. I have a 75 watt Epilog Legend 24EX and was wondering what setting they had you change in the menu as I too have been keeping up with all the newest drivers and software updates. You have probably tried this but have you taken off all the back covers and blown out the dust. My machines power goes up about 10% when I do this every couple of months. Can you get them to loan you the door interlock bypass and meter so that you can know exactly what your laser is putting out instead of guessing?
    It s**ks that you can upgrade in the field. I remember when I bought mine that this was one of the selling points. Also I don't thing they advertise it anymore but if they say that the laser tube should last 30,000 hours then I would take that to mean the whole tube and whatever is in it not just the gas. I didn't see this claim but if they were to make it the copy should read something like "the tube should only need refilling with CO2 about every 30,000 hours", Jeff.
    Epilog Legend 75W, Corel 12,Onsrud inverted pin router

  8. #8
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    Central Florida
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    Keith,

    You're living my nightmare right now, and yes, I'm listening to all of it. Continue to keep us posted and good luck.

    Dave

  9. #9
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    One thing you can check if you have a synrad tube is that the tube optic is clean , inside the hole in the tube the beam comes out of is a lens that can get dirty , a long cotton swab with lens cleaner will clean it and another dry one will clean any lens cleaner residue. We did this maintance on a monthly basis with our synrad sources.
    It might not be the laser machine suppliers fault that a new source cant be field replaced. Our Explorers were retrofitted with new and additional power supplies to the laser itself due to inconsistent operation of the Coherent sources as the power supply that was specced to be adequate by the tube manufacturer and was supplied correctly by the machine manufacturer , was not adequate for sustained and heavy full power usage we subject it to.
    Had we wanted to upgrade the source , we would have had problems with PS's and if I were a machine mnfgr , I wouldnt want a user messing with Power supplys , it's not a bolt in installation.
    The utility of a laser power upgrade is very dependant on the type of work you do. If you use 100% power for cutting most of the time its a definate enhancement. If a lot of the work involves engraving multiples at 100% speed and less than 100% power , either a twin head or another machine is more productive. I understand your dillemma Keith , the machine and tube do not operate independantly and thus one can't be sure that either is the faulty unit , so if sending the tube to synrad doesnt cure the problem , you are once again up the proverbial "creek" without a paddle
    I would get the repair done by the machine supplier so long as there is a decent warrantee on it or they warrant that that will fix your problem.

  10. #10
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    Rodne,

    I believe the procedure is to send my tube to Epilog and they will test it to identify the problem. They would then immediately send me a rebuilt tube and an aligment guage which I would return as soon as I had my machine back up and running. Epilog has other more expensive options for those who are in a hurry and need to get their machine back up fast.

    The issue over my machine being field upgradable was Epilog's policy based on their super duper alignment system they advertised. I believe it was a condition of the sale since it was part of the sales package.

    The warrantee is 12 months on the rebuilt tube, the same as the original tube that came with the machine.


    It could be 12 months or twelve miles whichever comes first

  11. #11
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    Jeff / Rodne,

    I inspected the tube and mirror just upstream of the tube after closely inspecting the mirrors and lenses in the cabinet, both were absolutely clean so the cover is doing its job. Surprisingly there was very little dust on the exterior of the tube body. This was the first direction I received from Epilog Tech Support, they have been very helpful and patient so far trying to help me diagnose the problem.

    At this point I am willing to do the comparison test so we have as much data as possible to base a decision concerning replacing the tube. If I must replace the tube I will definitely purchase new mirrors for the cabinet as well since they both are showing some degrade on the outside perimeter areas. Having to obtain a beam alignment tool for the tube replacement procedure anyway it kind of makes sense to tune the whole system and be done with it at this point.

  12. #12
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    Lightbulb Epilog Laser Comparrison Test

    Epilog sent me this test to perform on my Legend Model 24 (35 Watt) engraver. The test includes two identical plaques, one blank and one that was already engraved by Epilog, plus a Corel Drawing with directions for speed and power settings engraved on their factory engraved plaque.

    The photo below is of both plaques, the Epilog factory engraved plaque is on the top and my plaque on the bottom. You can tell that there is a considerable difference and the test proves that my engraver is definately suffering from a loss of power. Touching the surface around the bottom of the car tires there is a differance in depth, my plaque seems to have about 50% less depth.

    The next step is to contact Tech Support and report the details, we will see what course of action they reccomend next.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Phillipsburg, NJ
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    I am dealing with the same problem. Mine has a bit more hours but the tube seams to be the problem. I was quoted about 1000 for a new one and hopefully it will solve the problem. That is a lot of money though for what in my eyes is not a huge amount of time. Epilog must do very well with replacement parts.
    Syl

  14. #14
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    Jun 2004
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    Edit: Duh...I just took notice that Keith's original post was back in '05! Well, Sylvia, maybe some of below will be helpful to you.
    Keith, what ended up fixing your machine anyway?

    Hi Keith,
    I think you have a Legend 24TT...right? I've had one (40w)for the last 5 years and it has gone thru several fixes, but no laser tube yet. I haven't even used it in the last 8 months...it's become mostly a backup system for my EXT.

    Sorry you are having the problems...I know the frustration, but I know that Epilog will pull you thru this. In all the discussion so far, I haven't seen any mention of your lens. I did have to replace my lens once, several years ago. It caused a similar problem to what you are experiencing. Have you pulled the lens and examined it up close? Mine had a small spec in its center which caused havoc with the beam, ie. very poor focus. You may want to give that a look at. Yes, the apparent power loss occured, like overnight...good yesterday, not good today.

    Also, have you taken a past engraving job that did well and tried it again with the same settings and same material?

    When I suspect alignment problems on mine, I create a 1" rectangle and position it at all 4 corners of the layout, lay a piece of scrap acrylic in the same areas on the bed and make a vector run with settings that were previously known to cut thru the material. If your alignment is off (...and alignment on this machine is not the easiest to set), all four rectangles won't cut thru. ..a sure indication alignment needs to be tweaked.

    Also, what parameter was it that you were told to change in your setup?

    Hope some of this may help...quite likely you've already tried it all, but it never hurts.
    Last edited by David Harvey; 08-31-2009 at 7:46 AM.
    David
    Epilog Legend 24TT 40w and Epilog Legend 36EXT 75w Lasers, ShopBot PRT4848 CNC Router, Roland SP300V Wide Format Printer/Cutter, BabyLoc 6-needle Embroidery Machine, Mini Lathe and Mini Mill, DeWalt DW737 Planer, Joiner, CorelDRAW X4 & X5, CorelDRAWings X4 , PhotoGrav, VCarvePro v4.6, Cut3D, Rhino v3.0, Aspire v3, ZBrush 3.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Sylvia Feller-Dow View Post
    Epilog must do very well with replacement parts.
    I've requested information from a few laser mfg's (Epilog and ULS being two fo them), and based upon the sales response I've recevied, I can only surmise that they're doing VERY well with sales outside of complete laser systems. I actually received NO response from Epilog when I requested additional information about the used laser on their website.

    The general lack of initiative is quite striking, considering this economy.
    CAMaster CR-408 Cobra X3

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