Laser tube hour meter CHEAP & EASY

Post Reply
Frank Small
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2019 4:12 pm
Location: Bennington, Vermont
Country: USA
Laser Machine Make or Type: 50W China Blue upgraded to Reci 75W tube
Laser Power: 75
Laser Bed Size: 500x300
Home Position: TL
Control Software: LIGHTBURN
RDWorks Version: RDW v8.01.18
Ruida Controller: Other
Accessories: Ruida Controller R644XG
Rotary fixture
Windows Version: Win 10

Laser tube hour meter CHEAP & EASY

Post by Frank Small »

I was looking around on eBay and AliExpress and spotted an hour meter for gas engines that do not require any hard wire electrical connections. It is a self contained module that has a long life battery and LCD display that is potted in epoxy. I got thinking this might work for monitoring the actual time the laser tube is working so I ordered one for less than $10 USD to check proof of concept. I installed this the other evening and ran a couple of jobs and so far I am happy with the results. This unit will only log time while the laser tube is firing and not during traverses of the head or machine operation time.

For people like Gene that has two laser tubes in his machine a unit for each tube would be in order, a different color for each tube?

The connection part is really neat in that all you do is wrap the sense wire around the spark plug wire (in our case the high voltage lead of the laser tube) 5 times and secure it with a zip tie. DO NOT strip any insulation from either the high voltage lead or the sense wire, this is strictly an inductive connection. The other end of the sense wire pushes into a channel in the back of the module, again this is an inductive connection.

This module is not very granular in that it displays in tenths of an hour and updates every 6 minutes while in use. This is ideal to bench mark the tube and check degradation over long periods of time at various intervals.

I have included a few pictures below of the module and how to install it. If anyone else has already tried this or does try this I would like to know what kind of results you had.
983A44A2-D8DB-46DE-ABE1-99BE57EE00FF.jpeg
19F7E453-3B1B-43D2-AAA6-1E2F950CBBFD.jpeg
FDB548A2-6DE9-42CA-B6DD-A6FA4A2E69C9.jpeg
07083DA6-F044-4C5E-816B-97F04840EDA5.jpeg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Eleven months of the year I’m an old fat guy but in December I’m a rock star, aka Santa
Jack Martin
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri May 07, 2021 10:17 am
Location: Washougal Washington
Country: USA
Laser Machine Make or Type: OMTech
Laser Power: 50
Laser Bed Size: 12x28
Home Position: TL
Control Software: LIGHTBURN
RDWorks Version: V8
Ruida Controller: Other
Accessories: Rudia RDworks V8, rotory, pass thru
Windows Version: 10

Re: Laser tube hour meter CHEAP & EASY

Post by Jack Martin »

So how are your results after a bit of time?
Doug Fisher
Posts: 189
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2016 12:42 pm
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Country: USA
Laser Machine Make or Type: Ke Hui KH-7050
Laser Power: 80W EFR F2
Laser Bed Size: 700x500
Home Position: TR
Control Software: LIGHTBURN
RDWorks Version: v8.01.18 & 8.01.33
Ruida Controller: RDC6442
Accessories: Ruida RDC6442G EC controller, 2" lens, S&A CW5000 chiller, chuck type of rotary attachment, Russ' DoHickey (sp?), mA meter, a growing collection of tools and oddities to keep it running!
Windows Version: 10

Re: Laser tube hour meter CHEAP & EASY

Post by Doug Fisher »

Don't forget Ruida's built-in Config > System Settings > System Info tab (default password rd8888). Click on the Read button to read/import the latest information from the controller module. Be warned, many laser builders never reset/cleared this information when the laser was built. If you never reset this when you received your machine, it could be full of wildly false data (mine had 100's of hours in the meter readings when it arrived). Once you clear everything to reset it, the information is quite accurate.
Frank Small
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2019 4:12 pm
Location: Bennington, Vermont
Country: USA
Laser Machine Make or Type: 50W China Blue upgraded to Reci 75W tube
Laser Power: 75
Laser Bed Size: 500x300
Home Position: TL
Control Software: LIGHTBURN
RDWorks Version: RDW v8.01.18
Ruida Controller: Other
Accessories: Ruida Controller R644XG
Rotary fixture
Windows Version: Win 10

Re: Laser tube hour meter CHEAP & EASY

Post by Frank Small »

1) Jack, I am pleased with what I have seen so far. As the laser tube is firing the display has an hour glass ikon that flashes to let you know it is recording time. So far it is pretty close to what the run time given in the preview.

2) Doug, wow! For the numbers of hours of YouTube videos I have watched and posts that I have read I was unaware of that feature. I will certainly take a look at that and compare it to the reading on the stand alone module. It would certainly be a good way to validate the module. Thanks for sharing that with us.
Eleven months of the year I’m an old fat guy but in December I’m a rock star, aka Santa
Post Reply

Return to “Laser Wiring”