PROBLEM

DEFINITION

SOME HINTS TO DEFINE A CAUSE OF THE MOST COMMON
PRINT QUALITY ISSUES

If you have found a picture with a certain defect on it, first of all, it is necessary to define exactly which part of your minilab was the cause of this print quality issue.
In some cases, it is not easy.

Only experience and a good source of information will help you to save your time and money.

The main components responsible for visible defects in the picture are:
1. A light source (Laser modules: Red, Green, Blue)
2. A.O.M. driver
3. A.O.M. (crystal)
4. Optical surfaces [mirrors, prism, etc.
5. Image processing PCB and different PCB are supposed to control the process of exposure. 

We can help you to define the cause of the issue if you failed to do it by yourself.
Please print the gray test file and have a test picture.

Then scan the test with a high resolution (600 dpi) and send it to us for revision. The email address you can find on the Contact page of our website.
After the revision of the test, we will advise what to do and what is the cause of the issue.

blue aom driver dead2 before wires change

1. LIGHT SOURCE

green laser inside

This website describes the ways of problem definition with the labs equipped with SSL (solid-state lasers) only.
We do not touch any problems with gas lasers, iBeam engines, MLVA or LED engines, and any other exposure systems.

The light source of a photo laboratory is a Laser optical unit with three Laser modules inside.  Almost all Noritsu and Fujifilm minilabs have laser modules designed on a DPSS basis (Diode Pumped Solid State).

Some AGFA, Durst, and Imetto minilabs are also equipped with DPSS lasers. The newest models of modern photofinishing equipment are equipped with lasers of Direct Modulation.
For many years our company has been engaged in the upgrade of dated DPSS lasers to the ultimate diode lasers, based on semiconductor laser diode design [SLD].

We also manufacture SLD lasers of our own unique design.

The symptoms of a faulty laser module:

1. Light Source Status Error 6105 or 6106 (Noritsu minilabs)
2. Laser Control Error (in some cases).
3. Synchronous sensor error 6073 (in some cases).
4. Stripes (vertical or horizontal, inclined also), ripples, noise.
5. Changing (swapping) A.O.M. drivers does not affect the result (see examples below in the text).
6. The shift of the image (if the replacement of the A.O.M. driver does not help).

Also judging by the color of the stripes you can understand what laser module is faulty.

For example:
If you have yellow-blue ripples/stripes – The blue laser module might be faulty.
If you have green-magenta ripples/stripes – The green laser module might be faulty.
If you have red-cyan ripples/stripes (very rare case) – The red laser module might be faulty.

In this case, you need to repair your laser module or replace it with the new one.
If you have just met with such a situation and are in search of a good and reliable laser module – we recommend buying the original laser module from our company.

It will be carefully upgraded from dated DPSS to the ultimate SLD level, tested, and tuned for your laser driver.

You also can obtain our new SLD laser module made by us.
New and upgraded modules are based on a semiconductor laser diode basis and have the same design inside.

Did you find the similar defect in your picture?

Scan it with a high resolution (600dpi) and send it to us for a free revision.

2. AOM DRIVER

2.1. AOM Driver or  AOM = acousto-optic modulator.
The intensity of the blue and green laser beam is influenced by the acousto-optic modulators (AOM) for each pixel as a function of the color information.
In the AOM a crystal in the light path of the laser is oscillated by a frequency. Depending on the amplitude of the oscillation, the crystal becomes more or less translucent and by this, it changes the intensity of the laser beam. All AOM drivers have the same structure.

2.2. A.O.M. drivers are the most unreliable components of the laser section. Some of our customers have to change it a few times during the lab’s life. A.O.M. driver is to be checked first to exclude of its influence to the unexpected problem especially if there is no error appears. There are no end-user serviceable parts inside!
Do not try to repair it by yourself.

If you sick and tired to change them every six months we recommend to obtain new A.O.M. driver of our design with a “standby mode” and save a lot of money in the future.

Read more here.

aomdriver minilablaser

The symptoms of a faulty AOM driver:

1. Color stripes across the picture from top to bottom.
2. The weak density of a certain color.
3. Synchronous error 6073 (at Noritsu) or S.O.S. detection error (at Fujifilm) in some cases.
4. Instability of colors.
After adjustment, in a short time, the certain color changes and you have to adjust the lab again and again.
5. Time of adjustment and quantity of adjustments exceeds the normal level (usually, you have to make more than 1-3 repeats).

Usually, AOM driver dies suddenly.
Laser module usually dies slowly.

The best way to determine the condition of the A.O.M. driver is to swap it for the next one.

Please read below how to swap the drivers.

Attention!

IF YOU HAVE TO CHANGE AOM DRIVERS TOO OFTEN ON THE CERTAIN CHANNEL FOR THE LAST TIME – MIGHT BE THE LASER MODULE ON THIS CHANNEL IS ALMOST DEAD. BETTER TO REPAIR THIS MODULE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AND BUY OUR NEW AOM DRIVER WITH A STANDBY MODE AND FORGET ABOUT THIS CHANNEL FOR A LONG TIME.

READ MORE HERE.

Did you find the similar defects in your picture?

Scan it with a high resolution (600dpi) and send it to us for a free revision.

A.O.M. Driver Swapping

Swapping is a method to localize the problem and find a faulty part by means of “exclusion” procedure.

All Noritsu A.O.M. drivers are compatible with each other and can be swapped to determine the faulty one.

How to define which A.O.M. driver is faulty:

If Blue A.O.M. driver is defective you will have:
blue-yellow stripes,
bluish maximal density,
the image changes from yellowish to bluish and vice versa so you have to make readjustments again and again.
Synchronous sensor error 6073 (at some models of Noritsu the suffix of the last digits will be 003).

S.O.S. detection error.

If Green A.O.M. driver is defective you will have:
green-magenta stripes,
greenish maximal density,
image changes from greenish to magnetic and vice versa  and you have to make readjustments
Synchronous sensor error 6073 (at some models of Noritsu the suffix of the last digits will be 002)

If Red A.O.M. driver is defective you will have:
red-cyan stripes,
reddish maximal density,
image changes from reddish to cyanic and vice versa  and you have to make readjustments
Synchronous sensor error 6073 (at some models of Noritsu the suffix of the last digits will be 001)


Note:

Some models of minilabs do not generate any suffix after error code 6073 (Synchronous sensor error).

 

Required Tools

screwdriver magnetic

How to swap AOM drivers

It is not difficult to replace the AOM driver almost on all models of Noritsu minilab and you can do it yourself.

Do like this:
1. Power Off the lab by the main switch.
2. Open the cover and get access to the laser section with A.O.M. drivers.
3. Mark each A.O.M. driver for future reference not to mix them.
4. Disconnect 4 connectors (two BNC connectors turn counterclockwise and then pull).
5. Remove one screw, which holds AOM driver ( second crew just loose ).
Then you can remove faulty AOM driver (B AOM driver BNC connectors will be marked with blue color, G AOM driver – will be marked with green color etc.).
6. Then fit in its place the new (or repaired) AOM driver (pay attention that input and output BNC connectors are the same – do not connect wrong ).
7. After that close minilab, turn it on and make a test print.

Note:
It is easy to get access to the A.O.M. drivers in QSS30, QSS 31, QSS 33 series but a bit complicated in QSS 32 labs.
Please find step-by-step instruction in the service manual.
Please contact us if you do not have a service manual for your model.

Important Notes before swapping:

1. Pay attention to the INPUT and OUTPUT wires connection!
They have same connectors and may be easily wrong connected. Do not connect OUTPUT into INPUT, otherwise, you will have Laser Control PCB defective. To avoid it just attach stickers with OUTPUT and INPUT marks to the corresponding cables.

2. Do not forget to mark the AOM drivers before swapping to know their original position.

Actions after the test:

Look at the test:
– if you have no changes or you have just a little color shift (easy removing with adjustment) it means that your suspicious A.O.M. driver works well and you should proceed with the search of the cause of the issue.
– if stripes, maximal density, and synchronous sensor error code have changed – problem with your suspicious A.O.M. driver.
Buy the new one from us.
– if you have the same problem with no changes and you have swapped all A.O.M. drivers with no result – it means that the problem is inside of the laser engine.

Call or write to us and we will help you to have your laser unit in perfect condition.

3. AOM CRYSTAL

A.O.M. (Acousto-Optic Modulator) – one of the most important components of the laser engine. This device adjusts the strength and weakness of laser light and forms the image.
A.O.M. crystal is located inside the laser unit and is subject to repair only by authorized and trained personnel.
In some cases, the AOM crystal unit may be the cause of the defects in the picture.
There are no end-user serviceable parts inside! Do not try to repair it by yourself.

aom crystal qss

The symptoms of a faulty AOM driver:

1. Fog / Indistinct stripes along the direction
2. Weak maximal density (reddish, greenish or bluish hues)
The Lab requires many repeats of adjustments and sometimes cannot be adjusted.
3. A.O.M. driver fails very often
4. Synchronous sensor error

How to define that AOM crystal is a cause of the issue:

If you know exactly that A.O.M drivers are in working condition but you have all symptoms of faulty A.O.M. driver –
maybe your AOM crystal is out of order and the whole unit should be revised by our experts.
Please contact us directly to have your defective AOM crystal repaired.

 

Attention!

Fujifilm and Noritsu labs have 200 Mhz AOM crystal units made by Panasonic.
Noritsu AOM crystal placed separately from a laser module.
Fujifilm AOM crystal is on one base with a laser module and precisely adjusted at the factory.

Attention!
Do not open the laser unit and disassemble A.O.M. crystal! This is an extremely precise device and it has no serviceable parts inside for the end-user.
They have fixed position and can not be moved.

Here we just want to help you to understand how to distinguish the issue of A.O.M from the other parts.

4. OPTICAL SURFACES

Optical surfaces are all surfaces of laser mirror, prism, lenses, and polygon mirror located in the laser unit.

And like all flat optical surfaces, they can be damaged by high humidity of the ambient air, covered by dust or by tar if the operator smokes during the printing process and they also can be scratched during the service works, preformed by non-qualified personnel. 

polygon mirror unit

polygon type B1

The symptoms of faulty optical surfaces:

1. The symptoms of faulty optical surfaces are as follows:
– Fog on prints
– Distinct and indistinct lines along  the paper feed direction
– Synchronous sensor error
– Polygon error 

The Lab requires many repeats of adjustments and sometimes cannot be adjusted.
3. A.O.M. driver fails very often
4. Synchronous sensor error

All optical components inside of the laser unit have a very high level of accuracy and have a sapphire coating.

Any non-qualified interference can lead to the damage of the surface.

It is very easy to make a scratch.
Some problems of a laser unit are the results of broken or moved internal optical components.
If you suppose that the problem of your laser unit is in optics we recommend not to open the laser unit and not to interfere inside.

Please ask a Noritsu or Fujifilm certified technician to inspect the condition of the optical parts of the optical section to perform required high-quality cleaning and service actions.

Or ask us. our experts will help you to have your laser unit repaired:

 

Attention!

Never use alcohol or alcohol contained liquids for cleaning.
We also do not recommend to use the “special liquids for optics cleaning”.

This solution will harm your laser unit’s optics.
Use clear distilled water.
Any works with the laser unit must be done in a clean room to avoid dust contamination.
And we want to remind one more time:
Never look at the laser beam without a protective eyewear!

5. IMAGE PROCESSING PCB

A faulty Image Processing PCB (printed circuit board) and/or any other control boards responsible for the functionality of laser modules may affect the quality of the image.
Laser driver, Laser Control or Image Processing PCB’s have many components carrying out different functions and it is not easy to determine the cause of the malfunction.A lot of problems on PCB’s are from dry / cracked solder joints, especially where different wires connected to the PCB.

The memory bars on the boards are also often a weak point.

pcb

The symptoms of faulty Image PCB:

1. No image in print at all
2. Distinct and indistinct lines along or across paper feed direction
3. Laser control Error
4. Image Processing PCB error

The best and the cheapest way to define the condition of the PCB is swapping with the same working PCB.

In case if you found your PCB faulty – no need to despair.
Send an inquiry to us and we will contact you shortly with a quotation for PCB.

We have been supplying our customers with spare parts from Japan for 24 years so you can buy any used or the brand new PCB directly from a reliable supplier for a very attractive price.

Please send your inquiry

Attention!

Never use alcohol or alcohol contained liquids for cleaning.
We also do not recommend to use the “special liquids for optics cleaning”.

This solution will harm your laser unit’s optics.
Use clear distilled water.
Any works with the laser unit must be done in a clean room to avoid dust contamination.
And we want to remind one more time:
Never look at the laser beam without a protective eyewear!

IN CASE YOU NEED HELP

PRESALES QUESTION?

Please call us or chat online.
We always respond to all email messages. Also, you can contact us through Viber or WhatsApp.
Welcome!

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We give strong  technical support
to all our customers during and after guarantee period.
All technical issues will be solved immediately.

CHECK FORUM

Please visit our forum for all professionals of the photofinishing business to discuss any issue in your lab. You're welcome to visit us at:
https://www.minilabforum.com