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Thread: Newbie questions regarding Galvos (controls, basic properties)

  1. #11
    mixedgas's Avatar
    mixedgas is offline Creaky Old Award Winning Bastard Technologist
    Infinitus Excellentia Ion Laser Dominatus
    Join Date
    May 2007
    A lab with some dripping water on the floor.


    A call to Cambridge Technology and their application engineers would perhaps solve your problem. You may just need something like a G330 galvo or a resonant scanner. Galvos other then laser show exist, however most PLers will have not seen them.


  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Charleston, SC

    Smile I hope you didn't buy any scanners yet...

    Quote Originally Posted by skuupi View Post
    So theoretically one point-to-point movement could be the whole 40 degree span (this would result in the 50 microsecond movement) ?
    No, not with any non-resonant scanner currently available. You're going to end up at least an order of magnitude too slow, and probably two orders of magnitude or more too slow. Here's why:

    30Kpps scanners have a maximum small step bandwidth of around 2.5hz at 8 degrees optical scan angle. (8 degrees optical means the maximum deflection of the scanners is only 4 degrees, since the beam bounces off the mirror, effectively doubling the angle) Of that 4 degrees of actual scanner travel, a small step equates to around 1 degree (or 2 degrees optical). Remember too that even at such (relatively) slow speeds and small angles, you'll still have significant distortion.

    If you step up to the Cambridge 60Kpps units (The HC6215's), then you can expect to get close to 5Khz at the same angle. Still, that's nowhere close to your goal of 20Khz, and if you really need the full 40 degrees of travel, you're going to be slower still. (Probably another order of magnitude slower, if not more.)
    I'm just wondering because it seems a bit much to expect for the motor to be able to make either a really small movement (say 1/100th of a degree or so) or 4000 times larger movement in the same time.
    Your gut instincts have served you well! For you are absolutely correct.
    I think the piece of glass will be lighter than the mirror it replaces.
    The rotor mass is the limiting factor. The mirror weight is small enough that it doesn't play a major role. Furthermore, a very thin mirror can actually resonate, introducing more distortion.
    Nevertheless if it's even roughly near to the theoretical value of 50 microseconds it would work for me.
    It will be closer to 500 microseconds, and that's only if you can work with just 1 degree of travel. For a full 40 degrees of travel, you're probably looking at something near 5 milliseconds, if not more.

    I don't know what the speed limits are for resonant scanners, as I've not had much experience with them, but I do believe you could get much better performance using one of them instead of a closed-loop scanner that was designed for laser show applications. Note, however, that you may still have trouble meeting the 40 degree travel specification.

    For the other people reading this who wonder where the above numbers come from, here is a brief breakdown of what "30Kpps" really means: It means you can properly scan the ILDA test pattern at 8 degrees optical with the center circle just touching the inner square. But what is that center circle? If you look at the test pattern in an ILDA frame editor, you'll see it's actually made up of 12 points that are all positioned well outside the center square. (It's a decagon *EDIT* dodecagon, and it's scanned 3 times in succession.)

    Think about that for a moment: It takes 12 points to make it around the "circle". 30,000 points per second divided by 12 points yields a bandwidth of 2500 Hz for each trip (or cycle) around the circle. There's your small-step bandwidth.

    Now consider the fact that those points are seriously distorted. The beam never makes it outside the square, much less far enough out to actually hit any of the 12 points that make up the decagon. Those points are "rounded out" as the scanners race to catch up with the next point. The scanners are said to be ballistic (that is, under maximum continuous acceleration) while drawing that circle. Thus, this is the fastest they can move...

    But also remember that the circle is not as wide as the entire test pattern. It's much smaller. So while the entire test pattern is being scanned at 8 degrees optical (which represents only 4 degrees of total mirror movement), the center circle is much less than half the total size of the pattern. So the circle is being scanned at around 2.5 degrees optical, which means the scanners are only moving a little over 1 degree total when they are scanning that circle.

    Last edited by buffo; 01-23-2019 at 17:34.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2011


    Thank you for the clarifying post buffo. However I already bought these cheap Phenix Technologies PT-20K galvos. It was a bit of a leap of faith, I know, but they were really cheap and in the end I'm aiming just for a simple linear scan. Hopefully it will work even partly :P

    Now that I have the system I'm wondering how to get them working with the function generator I have. Basically the setup looks like this: I have the PSU hooked to mains current and all the connections set up like in the picture. However I'm not exactly sure what is the input signal I should feed to the X and Y input wires (the two non-attached wires shown in the picture below the PSU) and how should I put it there.

    The input signal wires consist of 3 pins, I'm guessing they are +5V and -5V and GND if you can trust the manufacturers website. I tried inserting a sinusoidal 50Hz signal with 5V amplitude to all of the single wires separately but nothing happened. It's probably not even near the way it should be done, but I couldn't find any good info on this, since everyone seems to be just hooking the wires to their DAC boards and then to the computer.

    So if anyone happens to know how this should be done properly, help would be appreciated.

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