The PC_plug, a new technology - Wavelength Opto

The PC_plug, a new technology - Wavelength Opto
The PC-Plug-USB/RS232: the Meterless Sensors Family with Many Advantages
Technology evolves toward
simplification, makes cheaper
and reduced-size working
subject to the same process.
Traditionally the complete
measurement set is made of a
detector head connected to
display unit: Laser Point has
developed the next generation
of laser power measurement
instruments introducing a new
microelectronics circuitry that
has reduced the complete
electronics to the size of a
USB or RS-232 stick.
The result is new family of
measurement tools that are
smaller, more economical,
easy to be embedded in laser
either they are
machines or in laboratory setups.
The PC-Plug series of sensors has been specifically developed for all those applications that do not require a display
but where readings can be analysed and displayed on the now ubiquitous computer.
With simple plug and play functionality, no additional meter and at a lower cost, the PC-Plugs-USB or RS 232 sensors
have all the power and sophistication of signal processing and software of a traditional power meter.
The RS-232 version is the most convenient platform to have power measurement integrated inside laser processing
The PC-Plug-USB sensors get their supply power from the USB connection while the only requirement for RS-232
version is a + 12VDC input.
In conclusion, PC-Plugs sensors are another step forward in offering more convenience and ease of use in laser power
measurement. The unique blend of low cost, compactness, high performance will provide additional benefits to all laser
users, in particular systems integrators and field service engineers .
■ Who will need the PC-Plugs?
The PC-Plug sensors have been primarily developed
for applications that need a power measurement
station on board of laser machines, like those for
marking, cutting, welding, micro-machining; those
instruments are also the perfect monitoring tool for
other industrial applications such as laser burn-in or
long-term reliability testing.
Service engineers and technicians who always travel
with a laptop computer will also enjoy the PC-Plugs
because they will no longer need to carry separate
instruments and additional weight.
Finally, thanks to their lower cost and smaller size,
these sensors can be also successfully integrated in
more standard laboratory applications that already
use computer controlled instrumentation.
Laser Point has
many years of experience in
providing sensors and heads to OEM customers,
worldwide. Many of these users prefer to solve their laser measurement problem by purchasing bare sensors and design
a dedicated electronics for signal processing. This is obviously a method but it has some limitations: for example, users
must have both the tools and the know-how of adding accurate calibrations, the capacity of designing very low noise
amplification and accurate A/D conversion, which will drive to good stability and low noise measurements. Often, a
dedicated Software has to be implemented as well.
PC-Plugs sensors now offer to system integrators or machine builders a real opportunity to save precious resources in
developing their own electronics and software: the work of designing a calibrated power measurement instrument is now
made easy by the PC-Plugs that provide to system designers the possibility of an immediate integration of a power meter
with other devices of his system.
■ A Functional and Flexible Platform
Despite their apparent greater simplicity and lower cost, PC-Plugs sensors
still retain high performance. First of all they exploit the speed, calculation
capacities, large display, etc. of PCs. Furthermore their internal A/D
converter provides the high resolution and an accuracy of measurement
comparable to those found in most of power meters.
Spectral compensation is provided for up to 5 wavelengths chosen by
customer and each sensor is supplied with calibrated wavelengths bearing
NIST/PTB traceability (available on request on OEM heads ).
The PC-Plug platform is compatible with all of thermal, photodiode heads
and OEM Power Probes (FIT-H series) manufactured by Laser Point.
Nevertheless the platform can be adapted to other sensors, either
standard from Laser Point’s catalogue or designed on customer
specifications. From UV to Far IR and up to 6KW of laser power, the PCPlugs provide accurate measurements of all types of CW and pulsed
■ The PC- Plugs Software
The applications software for PC-Plugs is supplied free
with each sensor. It enables the operator to get
instantaneous readings of power, to monitor laser
stability, to get statistical information (minimum,
maximum, mean, standard deviation), to log power
Low power measurements can be done by enabling the
X10 function that will increase resolution 10 times.
To those integrators that require an in-house written
software, Laser Point will provide a DLL driver that
supports simple ASCII remote interfacing host
The Main panel permits measurements of laser powers
with direct display of their actual values. The screen
also shows the evolution of power over time allowing
long term stability measurements as long as 12 hours .
■ Data Saved on a File
By the simple click on the
“SAVE” key, measured data
can be saved as a text
(*.txt) file.
The structure of saved files
includes sensor model,
sensor serial number, date
and time of file generation .
Each acquisition records
date, time, statistical data,
interval, generated alarms.
Data can later be imported
into a spread-sheet (e.g.Excel).
■ Log Comment Line
This software feature allows to log power data up to 12 hours, automatically. Loaded data are saved in text file that can
be delivered together with the laser/machine as a proof of its performance, saved by manufacturer as an internal record
or used by service technicians to restore initial conditions.
■ Laser Tuning
The Laser Tuning page is available to reach fine laser
alignments. The analogue needle shows the direction of
tuning; the actual power is displayed on the central box
displays, while the maximum value reached during the
tuning procedure is kept in the Power Max box.
The lower graph plots laser power as it evolves during the
alignment procedure.
■ Warning Messages
Each time the laser power or energy exceeds the head full
scale the OVERFLOW alarm is displayed.
Should a measurement head reach its limit temperature
(overheating of a head may be due to problems to the
cooling circuit such as low water pressure, lack of fluid,
obstructions, etc, or poor heat exchange in air cooled
heads), the COOL message will be displayed on the main
window and the data displayed in the graph are pinned to the last power value acquired before the alarm .
■ Technical Specifications
■Platform compatible with Thermal and Photodiode sensors
■Sensors are supplied with NIST/PTB traceable calibration.
■Measurement Resolution: 4 digits
■ Power Meter Mode
Power Ranges:
Response Time
■ Energy Mode
Energy Ranges:
Response Time
■ Photodiode Mode
Power Ranges:
Response Time
■ Power Probe Mode
Power Ranges:
Response Time
1mW to 6 kW
0.5‰ for any Full Scale
<1-5 sec.( depends on specific head)
1mJ to 300J
0.5‰ for any Full Scale
<1-5 sec.( depends on specific head)
1µW to 500mW
0.5‰ for any Full Scale
1-6sec.( depends on specific head)
1mW to 6 kW
0.5‰ for any Full Scale
1-6 sec.( depends on specific head)
-Displays a Digital Bargraph for Tuning Direction
-Displays Actual Power Value
-Displays Variations (as %) form Tuning Initial Value)
■ Wavelength Selections:
Customers can select up to 5 different wavelengths.
Spectral compensation is provided for wavelengths different from
calibration wavelength.
■High resolution A/D converter
■Software: Full Windows application software
■Communication: -PC-Plugs-USB provide USB connection to PC.
-PC-Plugs-RS232 provide RS232 connection to PC
■Display: Computer Screen
■Speed up Algorithm to accelerate detector’s natural response time
■Data Log: up to 12h
■Data Displays: Trend, Full Statistics, Tuning, Alarms
■Additional Input Gain: 10X
■Dimensions 75 (L) x 22 (W) x 13 (H) mm
■Power : -provided via USB connection for PC-Plug-USB
: -provided by external +12 VDC input for PC-Plug-RS-232
■Operating environment:
°Storage Temperature:-10 to 60 ºC
° Range of Use :5 to 45 ºC
°Reference Conditions : 21 ± 4 ºC ;RH 20-80%
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