So, the day finally came. I went to turn on the lasercutter and all i could hear was the warning beeps from the chiller….. Believe me, it was not a good feeling 🙁
My first thought was that there might be too little water in the tank, so i checked. To my surprise it did seem a little low, so i figured i could just fill it up and i would be back up and running. Well no such luck….. It was still beeping.
So i rolled up my sleeves, clamped the hoses that connects to the chiller and moved it in to my workshop. I opened it up by removing 8-10 screws. The first thing i noticed was that the 24 V power adapter was placed in a pool of water!!! I figured this might be the culprit, so i dried it carefully….
I then did a quick test. … Still no luck. I then went on to test the voltage from the power adapter to see if it was damaged somehow, but it was spot on 24 volts…
Then i saw that the water pump was connected directly to the power adapter, so i disconnected it and connected it to a bench power supply. And there it was… – defective. I tried removing the rotor and clean it out, but i was unsuccessful in getting it to work again 🙁
I started looking on ebay, for a replacement and found one on Rabbit Lasers in USA. I ordered one for $47, and started to wait. 2 days went by, and then i got an email from them that said that they didn`t ship to Norway….@!%5(¤… Ok so now i had to figure something out fast….. I contacted CNCCheap, where i initially purchased the laser, and their waterpump would cost $35, but they didn`t have it in stock 🙁 They did however have a brand new chiller they could sell me for $100. That seemed reasonable, at least up until i realized shipping would probably double that.
So shipping ended up at $230. While i was at it i also wanted some extra water tubes, as i was always annoyed by how short the tubes was in regards to where i placed my chiller. So $6 gave me 6 meters of tubing 🙂 The total was now $336. They sayd that shipping would take 5-7 days, and that was fine. I placed the order.
Now i had a new problem. I had a customer that needed something made on the laser, and we had already made the appointment to have it done…. So i started researching cheap aquarium pumps, that i could use together with a bucket of water.
The original pump could pump 540 liters/hour, so that was the figure i used as a guide. After driving all over town, i finally find a pump that could deliver 500-600 liters/hour. Great i thought 🙂
The problem was that the fittings for this new pump required larger tubing… So i bought the tubing at a local hardware store that would fit the new pump. Now all i had to figure out was to get this new tubing to fit the lasertube.
As you can see in the picture above (red arrow) i was able to slide the bigger tubing over the smaller tubing for the laser, WITHOUT LEAKING… I was amazed 🙂 Finally some good luck. The circular object in the water is a pool thermometer and the black object in the water is the aquarium pump.
I turned it on and the water was barely flowing!!!! I looked at the new pump and its specifications, and saw that it was only 5 watts of power, while the old one from the chiller was 28.8W. I gave myself a well deserved facepalm, and tried thinking of a solution….. I shortened all the tubes and raised the bucket up to the lasertube`s level, and then i had a steady flow…. thank god….
So now i was ready to test the laser. I turned the key and flipped the switch to the lasers power supply, and NO lights turned on!!!! What the hell is going on??? Then it dawned on me…. What about the security cable that goes from the chiller to the lasercutter that is designed to shut down the machine if there is a problem with the chiller… So a quick google search later i knew what to do. The cable from the chiller has 3 wires, but in the lasercutter there is only two. I learned that the chiller creates an open circuit if there is a problem, so all i had to do was to short the two wires in the lasercutter…. And it worked. The laser turned on and it was ready to cut.
I tested with a demo cut of approx. 10 minutes to see how the bucket would perform. I quickly realized while i was monitoring the temperature of the water, that it was rising way to fast… The quick fix was to get some ice to put in the water. I figured i would have to add about a liter of ice cubes every ten minutes to keep the temperature from rising to quickly. The new chiller was only 5-7 days away, so i could live with this solution.
Update: I have now received the new chiller and it works like a charm 🙂 Shipping was 5 days on the spot 🙂
I cant recommend cnccheap enough, and a special thanks to Lucy who i dealt with via email. Great customer service 🙂
The following is just some images i took of the chiller when it was opened up: