Laser Projectors FAQ

How is laser power specified in Laserworld projectors?

 Laserworld always specifies power directly at the laser source. This is done due to the fact that optical elements, like dichroic filters, polirization cubes or the front glass deflect light differently and may get dirty as well. As Laserworld guarantees the minimum specified power value given for their projectors directly at the laser source, customers may claim if the values are not met. In fact, this usually does not happen due to the 100% quality control in Switzerland, where the power values are measured and evaluated.

How are the different colors created with lasers?

With a fullcolor solid state laser, (at least) three different laser modules are used together. White light as well as mixed colors are generated by the additive color mixture of red, green and blue (like e.g. the TV set). Color shades are produced with the partial switch-off or the dimming of single colors, which is so called "analogue modulation".

To increase output power or to create a larger or more vivid color range, it is possible to mix even more than three colors (e.g. we do so in most of our RTI NANO systems). It needs some knowledge to operate such systems properly.

The wavelengths of the individual laser modules define the color. That's why it is very important to have the "right" red and the "right" blue to get good visibility with a good color spectrum at the same time.

Why does Laserworld always give minimum and maximum values for their laser products?

It is physically not possible to give exact power values of show lasers, as several factors influence the power.

Especially DPSS (Diode Pumped Solid State) laser modules are quite sensitive to exterior influences like temperature and excessive shock.


DPSS modules consist mainly of three sections:

- a pump energy source (where there may be slight differences in power),

- a resonation area (that consists of two reflection mirrors that must be absolutely parallel - small deviations lead to reduced output)

- a crystalline structure as laser active material (which is naturally grown and thus may differ in quality).

>>> read more >>>

Why do we have condensation inside our laser device?

Professional laser systems usually have cooling/heating elements built inside the projector. Although these are meant for keeping the laser modules at operation temperature, the climate inside the laser device needs to be quite balanced.

If you place a laser projector next to a fog machine or next to the air condition outlet (or even to the normal ventilation system) there may be a condensation of water/liquid inside the housing due to the temperature difference. The effect is comparable to the situation if you come from a cold outside into a warm room and your glasses fog up.

That's why it is very important to place the laser system appropriately and to avoid any situation that may raise the risk of condensation.
Condensation inside a laser device may lead to short-circuit of the unit and crash of laser diodes.
Please consider the operation temperature stated in the user manual of the laser system!

A Sealed Housing technology enclosure does not prevent condensation! Please head for a even more professional system (e.g. RTI NANO or SwissLas HighEnd) to reduce the condensation risk.


I want to terminate the laser beam after about two metres, like the laser swords in Star Wars. How can I do that?

It is not possible to create laser-sword like effects: You cannot "terminate" the laser beam somewhere, it can physically not be terminated without having an end-point (surface).

Light can not be ended somewhere, it can only "fade out", meaning intensity is reduced with greater distances. But this is of course not feasible for a "laser sword".

Please also read the FAQ regarding projection surfaces


What is the difference between 655/650nm and 638nm red?

Professional diode laser systems are usually equipped with 638nm red diodes. These have a very good visible red color and can be proper collimated to good beam shapes. The handling of these kind of diodes is quite tricky, especially if there is the need of combining more than two diodes. We use this diode type in our professional laser systems. Most Chinese manufacturers are not able to handle this kind of diodes.

The 655/650nm red is easier in handling and cheaper, although the beam profile is worse. This kind of diodes is normally not suitable for optically combining more than two single diodes, that's why the red power is somehow limited. We use this diode type in our budget systems to have a very good price-performance-ratio. The red color is somewhat deeper.

 >>> read more and see chart >>>

What is a "grating effect"?

A grating effect is an optical deflection grid, that multiplies the input rays. E.g. if you shoot a single laser beam to the grating, you get kind of a star effect (burst grating) or a "dotted line" (line grating) on the other side.

Every color spectrum is deflected in a different way, so if you have a multi color input, you get the colors split up as well. That's why it is physically not possible to generate a white star effect with the use of a deflection grating.

Simple grating effects are used in the very common Star Effect Lasers (like the EL-100 MICRO), but also in professional systems like the TARM Beamtable.

Grating effects can also be used with mirrors (BURST-10, LIN-10)

What does a dichroic filter in a laser projector?

The dichoic filter is used in an multi color laser system for combining the single colors to one beam. The dichroic filter deflects a certain color spectrum, whereas it lets pass others. Due to that it is possible to have e.g. a red and a green laser source, that is combined: The green light heads straight to the scanner mirrors, whereas the red source is placed 90° to the green beam. With the dichroic filter, the red laser light is deflected to exactly match the green beam and hit the scanner mirrors in the same point as the green laser light.

If colors of a multi color laser systems mismatch, it is necessary to realign the dichroic filters and rematch the colors again.


What blue color is best visible - 405nm, 445nm or 473nm?

In terms of visibility, the Nanometre values that are nearer to 550nm are better than values farer away.
Please see the visibility curve below:

>>> read more and see chart >>>

My laser is only some months old and the beam gets a halo more and more. Is it defective?

Most probably not. The halo-effect normally occurs when the optics are not properly clean. You need to regularly clean you laser device, especially the optics, to ensure best output quality together with long lifetime of the unit.

Dirt and dust inside the laser enclosure may lead to overheating or mechanical failure, so you need to regularly clean the device.

If you have one of our professional systems, you're lucky: The Sealed Housing units only need very few maintenance, the IP65 or above units are normally service free.

For cleaning the optical components we recommend using a microfibre cloth, probably together with some water.

In some cases there may be the need of window cleaner or similar, but be careful to not damage the coating of the dichroic filters. We do not recommend to use any strong cleaning liquids and also no strong alcohol.

Be careful when cleaning the optics to not break the scanners or dichros! Only small scratches have tremendous influence on the laser light parametres, so remember to not use any rough materials for cleaning.

Is your laser control software Mac / Apple compatible?

There is actually no known professional showlaser software in the market, that works on MAC / Apple operating system. However, it is possible to operate all software products, that we offer, in a Windows emulated environment on Mac systems.

There are several technical limitations that make it tricky to just switch existing software solutions to Mac OS ( e.g. deep integration with DirectX or OpenGL and similar Windows APIs).


I need to do a very large and complex graphics projection. I fear that even the fastest CT-6215HP scanners will not be able to manage it. What can I do?

We already did many projects like that and it is quite similar to video projections: If you need to cover a larger space, you combine several projectors. It's the same with lasers: You can split-up the graphics in several parts, that can be handled by different laser projectors then.

Please ask if you need support in doing such kind of split-up projections. It's not too tricky, but in fact needs some knowledge.

We recommend to use the RTI units for highest end graphics applications, as these are very precise in scanning and accurate in beam.

I got a brand new laser, but it doesn't seem to work. What shall I do?

Before calling your vendor our our service line, please check the following points:

- do you use the right operation voltage?
- is the environmental temperature not below 10°C?
- is the interlock connector plugged in (if there is a interlock connector, of course)?
- is the key switch turned to "on"?
- if there is a mechanical shutter: is it moved aside?
- doese the laser only not work in one operation mode (sound, auto, ILDA - as far as the options are available for your unit)?
- if operated in ILDA mode: Do you operate your software properly? (Interface connected, cable properly attached, laser output activated in software, right interface selected for output in software?)
- if operated in ILDA mode: Do you try to project a single beam or a very small pattern? Probably the scan fail safety blocks that (it only does if switched to full block mode! This is not the standard option.)... please try a larger pattern.

How is the ILDA connector pinout?

A common interface is used in showlaser industry to operate laser projectors by computer control. As interface the DB-25 connector is used, as the signal transmission is done in a parallel transmission. The signal transmission itself does not use a modern protocol type, like used e.g. in ethernet networks or other serial transmission types, but it is a very low-level transmission that only modulates the voltage on every pin - usually in a range of 5V difference (-2.5V - +2.5V or 0V - 5V).

This so called "ILDA connection" is a rather old transmission method, however it is used for nearly all computer controllable laser systems at the moment.

>>> read more and see pinout setting >>>

How does the interlock work in Laserworld projectors?

The interlock is a safety option in laser projectors to provide a proper option to connect a safety shut-off button to the laser. The connector used with all Laserworld systems is a D-sub (DE-9) standard connector, with a quite simple pinout:

If pin 1 and 2 are linked, the laser output is active. If there is no connection between pin 1 and 2, the output is interrupted.

All projectors have a bridging plug for the interlock connector included in delivery. This is necessary to operate the laser if there is no safety shut-off button connected (if you don't want to use a Safety shut off button or if you do a mains shut-off in emergency).

You can also connect the interlock to any other switching device, e.g. a light barrier or key switch

What is the difference between optical effects and normal scanners?

Optical effects are created by using a certain glass/mirror structure mith micro structures, that deflect or manipulate one laser beam hitting the optical component, so that a special effect is generated. Optical effects are e.g. burst grating, line grating, shot beams, etc.

Also the glass gobos in the ES-180S RG are optical effects.

The advantage of optical effects in contrast to normal scanners is, that there is no flickering with optical effects and the deflection angle can be much wider than with scanners. Anyway, the flexibility of scanner systems can not be achieved, as the effeect is limited to the built-in optical effetcs.

Our Beamtable products, e.g. combine optical effects with scanners. That's why they are also called optical benches.

How can I evaluate the quality of a scanner system?

The quality of a scanner system (galvo system) is not easy to determine. The scan speed is only one factor that needs to be respected: There are very huge differences between a good 50kpps and a bad 50kpps system.

A very important factor is the angle stability of the system, meaning how precise the system works if the scan angle is widened up.
If the scanner is properly centered aligned, the scanning behavior is usually Gaussian shaped - with the scan angle as variable.
Evaluation of scanner quality is quite tricky and needs some deeper knowledge of other components like the mirrors used or software settings.

In general we recommend to use either Xscan, Xscan 60, CT-6210HP/SE or CT-6215HP (whereas CT-6215HP is the best option) if you intend to do professional graphics projections.

The wider the scan angle, the trickier it is to get good scanning results. The limitation in speed results from the incredibly high frequency the little mirrors needed to be moved with.
This mechanical limitation is also the cause why it is not possible to project areas, but lines. 

Do you sell any waterproof lasers?

Yes, Laserworld offers a large number of waterproof lasers:

All RTI NANO units are IP65 waterproof, meaning they can be used outdoor in the rain.

For even more advanced use we offer the SwissLas High End units, which are IP67 rated - so you can even place them under water.

Please ask for further details if needed: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Do you offer a white light star effect?

No, this is physically not possible with the kind of laser sytsems we use in showlaser technology nowadays.

Every color spectrum is deflected in a different way, so if you have a multi color input, you get the colors split up as well. That's why it is physically not possible to generate a white star effect with the use of a deflection grating.

Simple grating effects are used in the very common Star Effect Lasers (like the EL-100 MICRO), but also in professional systems like the TARM Beamtable.

Grating effects can also be used with mirrors (BURST-10, LIN-10) and give multi-star effects.

It is possible to have a RGB star effect (like the CS-800S), but its physically not possible to do white.

Do I need fog or haze to make the laser beams visible?

You always need a surface to reflect the laser light. This can be fog or haze for beam shows, or all kinds of screens for projections. Very common screen types are waterscreens, gauze screens, rear projection screens or fog screens.

All 3D-like projections with lasers also need kind of a surface to be reflected on!

It is not possible to create laser-sword like effects: You cannot "terminate" the laser beam somewhere, it can physically not be terminated without having an end-point (surface).

Laserworld recommends to use a haze machine for indoor beam shows to get the smoothest effect.

It is definitely not possible to see any laser beams in the air without having particles in the air! 

Can I use DMX capable show laser systems in Master/Slave mode?

Many of our showlaser systems are equipped with quite versatile preset boards, that provide a basic functionality for operation in Music, Auto and DMX mode.

To have the option of Master/Slave operation it is essential, that the units connected can act as transmitter and receiver of DMX512 control signals: The Master unit acts like a DMX controller and sends the control signal to the Slave unit(s). This would only be possible for Auto and Music mode. 

As it is quite tricky to implement a function like that in very cheap units, we decided not to have such an option with our units. especially as they have very good options for DMX control: A DMX controller is available for very cheap nowadays and you have much more options in the way you control the laser(s).

So we recommend:

- use a simple DMX controller as Master
- address the units with the same address to have them doing all the same
- give them different addresses to have even more control options.

Anyway, for semi-professional or professional use we recommend to control the lasers over ILDA (computer control). If DMX is needed, then we recommend to remote control the ILDA software over DMX and not the projector directly. This provides extremely more features and options!

Can I link several lasers with DMX cables to forward the ILDA signal of the first unit?

 Of course not: DMX and ILDA are very different types of transmission protocols. DMX is very limited in its capabilities, so it's not suitable for any complex signal transmissions.

If you work in ILDA mode, you can only use the ILDA signal. DMX is deactivated at the laser devices as soon as an ILDA signal is available.

Please see also the explanations of the ILDA and DMX signals in the FAQs above.

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