Laser projectors contain advanced optical components and sensitive electronics. Taking proper care of your laser projector can help it perform better and last longer. Check out this detailed writeup (and video) including some simple steps you can take to keep your laser performing so your lighting rig keeps impressing audiences.
First, this short video contains a few topics that we felt were best explained visually. If you can’t watch the video, simply read on below!
Tip 1: How to clean galvanometer/stepper scanner mirrors
If your laser’s scanner mirrors become dirty, the quality of the laser’s beam projections will suffer, both in brightness and sharpness. Giving the mirrors a quick cleaning easily solves this.
- Use a lens cleaning towelette, and gently wipe each mirror. You can apply very gentle pressure to the back side of the mirror during this process to keep the mirror stable while wiping it. If you can’t reach the mirrors, try wrapping the lens wipe around a cotton swab and access the mirrors that way.
Tip 2: How to clean a laser’s fan filter
Keeping the inside of your laser unit cool is critical to its performance and the life of its diodes, so clean, cool air must be able to flow into the housing. A simple way to improve the quality of the air flowing into your laser is by keeping its fan filter clean.
- 1) Remove the fan filter (pliers are helpful but not always required depending on the laser model).
- 2) Gently wash the filter in cool water and let it dry completely before reinstalling.
- 3) Simply place the filter back into the fan housing and clip the fan filter cover in place to make sure it fits snugly.
With regular cleanings, your laser’s fan filter should last as long as the laser itself, and regular filter cleanings will help your laser function properly and efficiently for longer. If you need a replacement fan filter, we’ll happily send you a new one for free.
Tip 3: How to get the most out of your laser’s user manual
- 1) Read it. Your laser’s user manual contains a wealth of information including common troubleshooting tips, DMX traits and laser safety guidelines. Remember to read the manual for your unit, which is also available online. If you have a question that isn’t answered in your laser’s manual, feel free to call or email our support team (firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-702-7768 ext. 155).
Tip 4: How to properly connect an ILDA cable into an ILDA-capable laser projector
If you try to plug in an ILDA cable into your laser without the connection pins aligned correctly (like upside-down) and apply too much force, it can cause the ILDA board to break, resulting in a malfunction. Replacing a laser’s ILDA board is a costly repair. Here’s how to properly and securely attach an ILDA cable in a matter of seconds:
- 1) Make sure the pins are aligned on both the cable and the projector.
- 2) Gently push the ILDA cable into place and secure the connection by tightening the screws. Make sure not to over-tighten the screws.
Tip 5: How to properly handle your laser projector
Lasers contain sensitive optical and electronic components that can easily be damaged or misaligned if the laser unit is handled incorrectly. A common problem that comes from mishandling a laser is that the internal optics will shift slightly, causing the laser’s projections and colors to come out of alignment. In some cases, this will require the laser to be sent to us for repair.
- When packing your laser to take it to a show, remember to make sure the laser is snugly packed in its box with the proper packing materials.
- When setting a laser in the car, for example, place it gently into a spot that will not experience too much motion or impact during the trip.
- Generally, a good rule is to handle a laser like you would a laptop or any other fragile electronic equipment, even if it is in a heavy-duty case. Many lasers made today have rugged optical hardware, but dropping or tossing a laser while it is in its box or road case can misalign or damage its internals.
The rest of the tips here were not included in the video, so read on to get all the laser maintenance details.
Tip 6: How to properly store your laser
A rule of thumb for how to store your laser while it’s not in use is to consider if you would be uncomfortable spending the night where your laser spends the night (or time in storage). This typically means that your laser should be stored (preferably in its box) somewhere where the temperature stays between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tip 7: Keep your laser clear of environmental hazards
What’s in the air where you operate your laser is also important, especially for lasers without sealed housings. Any dust, sand, grease, smoke, confetti or similar materials can get inside your laser and cause the scanner mirrors to get dirty or cause general damage to the electronics inside.
- Laser effects always look best with plenty of fog and haze in the atmosphere, but be careful as to not shoot fog or haze directly toward a laser, as it can get inside the laser housing and cause scanner mirrors to get dirty. Oil-based haze can cause a problem as well, as its residue can build up inside the laser on its electrical components and scanner mirrors.
- Temperature is a key factor in where to rig and operate your laser. When installing a laser as a permanent or semi-permanent fixture, keep in mind that the upper part of a room near the ceiling is usually much warmer than a dance floor or guest area, so make sure that lasers mounted near the venue’s ceiling are properly cooled with clean air.
- Operating the laser in very hot (above 85 degrees Fahrenheit) or cold (below 50 degrees Fahrenheit) environments will have a large effect on the life of a laser’s diodes as well.
Tip 8: Only have laser repairs done by authorized technicians
Laser projectors, including X-Laser products, are regulated by the U.S. FDA. Any change to laser hardware requires the laser to be re-certified by qualified technicians. Legal, authorized repairs can only be done by such technicians like those in our workshop. Attempting to repair your X-Laser product on your own will void its warranty and will likely make it illegal due to hardware changes without proper FDA-spec recertification. If your X-Laser is built to allow end-user field realignment, you can call our support team (866-702-7768 ext. 155) and they will guide you through the process.
Tip 9: Protect your laser’s stickers
It may seem simple, but the labels and stickers on your X-Laser product are there for a reason, mostly to show that the unit has been certified in accordance with U.S. FDA laws. The sticker containing the unit’s serial number also helps us keep track of the laser, its owner(s), and any repairs it has undergone. Please keep the stickers on your X-Laser product intact, and take measures to prevent them from fading or becoming unreadable. If your laser does need repair, an intact and readable sticker will help us diagnose and repair your laser more quickly, so you can get back to impressing audiences with your X-Laser product.
Tip 10: Don’t leave your lasers running for too long.
Many people believe that lasers have no specific duty cycle and that you can leave your laser turned on for hours on end. We recommend a fairly simple duty cycle guideline for our range of laser products:
- Do not leave your laser projector running for more than four hours at a time.
- After four hours of operation, let your laser cool down for at least 15 minutes before starting to use your laser again.
- If the ambient temperature is very warm (80+ degrees Fahrenheit) where you are operating your laser, let your laser cool down for more time (30+ minutes) in between cycles.
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions about laser maintenance or best practices, feel free to contact our support team:
866-702-7768 ext. 155