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Laser Electronics

 have broken out the Laser Electronics into  
  • Schematics
    • AWC608 versions
    • AWC708C Plus versions
  • DSP Controller Descriptions
    • AWC608
    • AWC708C Plus
  • Stepper Motors
  • Laser Information
    • Laser Tube
    • Laser Cooling
  • Auxiliary Functions
    • Exhaust Air
    • Laser Air
    • Laser Pointer
    • Lighting
  • Schematic For AWC608 Laser Controller using HY-DIV268N-5A Drives 
The following schematic for a laser cutter uses an AWC608 Laser Controller, 3 HY-DIV268 Stepper Motor Drivers and a 48 Volt, 16A Power Supply from www.antekinc.com PS-8N48R5.  The power supply has more than enough current to drive all of the stepper motors as well as 5 VDC, 1 Amp to drive a laser pointer and digital temperature gauge from www.lightobject.com.  I had more wiring and plumbing to do before I close the door.

To drive the motors I chose the  CNC Single Axis TB6600 0.2 - 5A Two Phase Hybrid Stepper Motor Driver Controller  from EBay.  When considering the quantity I chose one per axis  (X and Y plus future U and Z).  I negotiated a $108 for a total of 4 drivers; delivered to my home.  At 5-6 times more expensive you can purchase gecko drives at www.geckodrives.com (they are the best in my opinion; I own 4 G203s and 1 G320) but I did not think that I needed them for what I was doing with this laser at this time.

NOTE:  The AC connection for the AIR Compressor is WRONG; please refer to the drawing of the AWC708C for the proper wiring!!!!  I will update these drawings soon.

  • Schematic For AWC608 Laser Controller using Gecko G213V Drives and HY-DIV268N-5A Drives 
After speeding up the laser motion and working with smaller more precise movements I decided to update the X and Y Axis stepper Motor Drivers to Gecko model G213V.  The stepper motors are now singing when they move.  They are pricey but well work their bullet proof reputation and ease of use. 

NOTE:  The AC connection for the AIR Compressor is WRONG; please refer to the drawing of the AWC708C for the proper wiring!!!!  I will update these drawings soon.


  • Schematic For AWC708C Plus Laser Controller using Gecko G210X Drives and HY-DIV268N-5A Drives with Normally Open Limit Switches 
I have updated to the new Anywells AWC708C Plus Laser Engraver & Cutting Controller.  It has a color display that also shows the path of the laser cutter on the display.  I guess they do that just in case you cannot see the laser head moving.  As a result of the controller upgrade I had to purchase 2 each Gecko model G210X Motor Drives.  The output current from the AWC708C Plus was just not strong enough to drive the Gecko Step and DIR signals.  The Gecko G210X drives have a universal common on the Step and Dir so you can tie the common to 2.5v, 3.3v, 5v or GND.  The added feature of a microswitch to change the current setting is a plus.  I wish they would do that for the microstep setting; it is a pain to take off the cover and move the jumpers around. They are less pricey than the G213V but they work just as well as and are easier to use with the universal STEP/DIR inputs.  I should have chosen these drives to start with.

The limit switches in this schematic version and ALL previous schematic versions are Normally Opened.  This is a standard configuration but not the safest.

  • Schematic For AWC708C Plus Laser Controller using Gecko G210X Drives and HY-DIV268N-5A Drives with Normally Closed Limit Switches 
I have updated the limit switches to a normally closed configuration.  If the circuit is opened because of a cut wire, failed switch (open) or terminal falling off this will stop the motor movement and prevent a Laser Head or X-Beam crash.  Make sure that you update the Manufacters Parameter Limit Polarity=Positive and using the AWC708C Plus display set the Manufacters Parameters "5. Hard Limit" for the X and Y access = "OPEN".  I know that does not make sense but due to the language barrier "OPEN" means to open or enable the feature.  Note:  The Hardware Limits in the LaserCAD software does not enable the hardware limits in the AWC708.

I get a lot of help from yh.chen@sztrocen.com.  Check out www.sztrocen.com if you want to find out more about the other designs and features they have.

11/1/2016 Added a Digital Ammeter and small DC-to-DC converter.

3/26/2017  Corrected the the air compressor circuit and added protection circuit breakers for Laser cabinet (15 Amps) and Air Compressor outlet (5 Amps). 

3/28/2017 Updated the 120VAC Input plus any other corrections.  PDF



The limit switches in this schematic version and ALL future schematic versions are Normally Closed.  This is the safest way to implement limit switches because it can stop the machine if the limit circuit is broken open or shorted to ground.


DSP Controllers
  • AWC608 Laser Controller
To control the Laser I have chosen the AWC608 DSP controller.  This controller is available from www.lightobject.com or www.aliexpress.com.

The AWC608 2012 version uses a 24vdc power, can be controlled by computer via Ethernet or USB or locally via the control head shown above on the right. 
I included links to the manuals provided with the controller.  (Not a whole lot of detailed electrical specifications listed; just good enough to get by.) 
  • AWC708C Plus Laser Engraver & Cutting Controller
My latest update included the addition of the AWC708C Plus Laser Engraver & Cutting Controller from www.sinjoe.com.  At $399 Plus $65 DHL it is still in the price range of the hobbyist.   The brains of the controller are primarily in the control panel.  There is now a USB on the control panel (top/right).  The Ethernet and USB for controlling the AWC708C are made available from the Control Panel via an umbilical cable.   

I included links to the manuals provided with the controller.  (Not a whole lot of detailed electrical specifications listed; just good enough to get by.) 
  • Link to www.sinjoe.com AWC708C Plus webpage <<< Select "Download" tab for manuals, drivers, firmware, software and updates.
  • The PASSWORD is still "608" when setting the Manufacturer's parameters from withing LaserCAD
  • To access the Display ONLY Manufacturer's Parameter's (limit switches..etc.)  Press and while holding the <STOP> button and then enter <6> <0><8> from the keypad.

If you have a 708C Lite and want to access the Display ONLY Manufacturer's Parameter's (limit switches..etc.)  Press and while holding the <STOP> button press <Shift>.  No code required.  

Stepper Motors
To move the laser gantry I now use the same size stepper motors
The original design I chose a smaller stepper for the X-Axis.  The reason I chose a smaller motor for the X-Axis was that the X-Axis motor did not have to move the same mass that the Y-Axis had to. The X-Axis only has to move the laser head.  The Y-Axis has to move the X-Axis gantry, the X-Axis motor, the laser head, plus the cabling and tubing.  Using a bigger motor allows you to move more mass faster but adds mass to the system.  Making the X-Axis motor smaller allows the Y-Axis motor to move less mass.
10/31/2015:  I just changed out the 370oz-in X-Axis and put in a 570oz-in stepper.   This change was needed when I increased the speed of the X-Axis swing for engraving.

Originally To power the drivers I chose 2 24vdc power supplies from EBay NEW High Quality 24V DC 15A 360W Regulated Switching Power Supply Transformer from the US.   The reason I went with two power supplies was that I wanted to separate the X & Y-Axis power from the controller power (yes, maybe overdone).  They were $27.95 each with free shipping; why not.  Later on I found this choice of power supply to be a mistake!!
Stepper motor drivers like to have raw unregulated power going to them.  Stepper motors work faster and have stronger holding power at higher voltages but higher voltages can result in over heating the motor.  I chose 24 vdc to drive the motors because I thought that the speed and torque would be "good enough"; I was wrong and stalled the stepper motor trying to move the X-Axis mass too fast without enough torque.  Watch this...
Stepper Motor Stalling... 
I kind of knew that this might happen but I also knew that I would just have to spend the $ to get the correct power supply.  What I ended up doing was to fall back to the high torque design I used on my CNC Mill; an ANTEK unregulated power supply.  But first I had to calculate how much voltage and current that I needed and then decide on a price point.  When deciding on a price point remember that sometimes you can get more power than what you need in a power supply cheaper than getting the power supply you really need.  I first went to www.geckodrive.com and looked up their FAQ on stepper motors and power supplies for stepper motors.  The basic rule of thumb is the maximum voltage you should supply a stepper motor is 32 times the square root of the mH (inductance) of your wired configuration (Unipolar, Bipolar Series and Bipolar Parallel).  You can get the mH from the datasheet for the stepper motor; I included the datasheets for the X & Y Axis above.
For the 570oz motor wired in a bipolar parallel configuration (32 x SQRT(2.7))=52.58 maximum vdc power supply
For the 370oz motor wired in a series configuration (32 x SQRT(6.6))=82.21 maximum vdc power supply  {Originally, I chose the series configuration because the weaker motor did not have enough inductance to use higher voltage in the parallel configuration.}
I settled on the ANTEK PS-8N48 800 Watt 48 vdc power supply.  I definitely did not need 800 Watts, 400 Watts would have been marginal with 4 motors homing at the same time.  600 Watts would have been perfect but it was the same price as the 800 Watts $130 plus shipping; so why not get the 800 Watt power supply and have margin.   Check the www.geckodrive.com site to help in determining the average power required for your stepper motor configuration(s) and power supply.  Problem solved and I can move the laser head faster :)).

Now that both the  X and Y Axis the same 570oz-in stepper motor.  I rewired the stepper motors to operate in the Parallel configuration.  For the 570oz motor wired in a bipolar parallel configuration (32 x SQRT(2.7))=52.58 maximum vdc power supply.  I now have better instantaneous torque.
The following is how I wired the stepper motors to the Gecko Drives

  • Laser Tube
You can purchase a laser tube and power supply from www.lightobject.com or www.aliexpress.com.  Choosing how much power you want in a laser tube is up to you; don't expect to cut metal or glass (common question).  Go to www.buildlog.net and read up on what they can do.  Watch YouTube videos and see what a 40w, 60w, 80w, 100w or more can do.  A laser tube has a beam size (diameter) too; that helps determine your mirror and lens sizes. 
80 Watt RECI Laser Tube Specification
New 80 Watt RECI Laser Tube From China
(Well packaged and Delivered FedEx)
80 Watt W2 RECI Laser Tube  

DY10 High Voltage DC Laser Tube Power Supply 

  • Laser Cooling
You can purchase a water chiller or cooler from www.lightobject.com or www.aliexpress.com.  The size of your cooler/chiller depends upon the size of your laser tube and the amount of time your laser is turned on.  A cool laser is a happy laser!!  I chose the CW5000DG Water Chiller to keep my 80 Watt Laser Tube cool.  I received my chiller as part of a package deal.
Auxiliary Functions
  • Exhaust
The laser will burn and generate a number of noxious fumes that are not good for you.  Exhaust them outside!!! The are a lot of ways to get rid of fumes; this is the way I chose for now.  I chose two 235 cfm 12vdc Rule In-Line 4" Bilge Blower 240 from EBay to have a lot of exhaust air without a lot of noise and two 4 Inch Rotaire Vent White Plastic NOS  from EBay to make the vents look good and make them a little directional.  I Used 4" Copper couplers to tie the vent cover to the fans, the Rockler 4" x 20 foot expandable pipe to the fan and the two dryer vents.  The tough part was safely drilling all of those 4 inch holes on my drill press. 
  • Auxiliary Functions
    • Laser Air
     When you turn the laser on you want air to blow through the laser head.  The air flow serves multiple purposes: to help develop the cutting plasma force, clear away the smoke to allow the laser to work more efficiently and most important to keep the lens clear of smoke and debris.   The AWC608 and the AWC708C have outputs that turn on when the laser is operating.  You can use this output to drive a relay and control a solenoid to only have air on when you are actually cutting.  Please note that neither the AWC608/AWC708C have enough current to drive a solenoid directly; use a relay or Solid State Relay (SSR) to control power to the pump.
    I chose the high volume but SILENT Eco Plus 7 Commercial Air Pump, 280W 200L/min from www.aquacave.com.  An SSR-240D25R Solid State Relay provides switched power to an outlet on the side of the laser cutter so any commercial pump can be used (up to 5 amps; limited by the push button circuit breakers).  



    Timothy Schmidt,
    Jan 17, 2014, 9:36 AM
    Timothy Schmidt,
    Mar 28, 2017, 2:36 PM
    Timothy Schmidt,
    Jan 17, 2014, 11:42 AM
    Timothy Schmidt,
    Jan 17, 2014, 11:42 AM
    Timothy Schmidt,
    Jan 17, 2014, 12:10 PM
    Timothy Schmidt,
    Jan 17, 2014, 9:49 AM