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Frequently Asked Questions from customers who e-mail inquiries
Technical questions regarding laser sensors and scanners

Here are questions recently asked by our customers:

Q- I'm trying to identify which specific type of reflective tape from 3M should be used with the AccuRange 4000-RET laser rangefinder
A- Acuity recommends two different retroreflective targets for the AR4000-RET. We suggest 3M High Gain Reflective Sheeting 7610 or 7590. More informaiton can be learned from the Rangefinder technical data page.
Q- I have an application that requires distance measurement in the range of 45 to 90 feet. The accuracy is not critical beyond a few inches. The target is dark metal and is moving. There are multiple targets at different ranges. The output must be into a PC and interface with my program or into a data logger. The environment is severe and the range finder must be waterproof. There are personel present so eye damage is a concern.
A- We have rangefinders that will measure to 90 feet. We have the AR1000 laser distance sensor that has a Class 2 visible laser and another one,the AR3000, that is considerably more expensive, that is completely eye safe (Class I, infrared). Dark targets are okay, brighter colors are always better. How fast are they moving and what exactly do you mean by "multiple targets are different ranges?" All of our sensors are RS232 and analog output capable.
Q- I am looking for something with the accuracy of +/-.001 inches for checking overall length for some stock bars approximately 145" long. Would you have a device that could accomplish this quickly. You can send info to email address above. Thank You.
A- None of our laser rangefinders that can measure 145 inches will maintain an accuracy of 0.001". Thank you for your interrest in Acuity products, but we can not satisfy your requirements in this case.

Q - Hello,Can you tell me if I can contact a sales agent for New Zealand (or Australia)?

A- We do have an agent for Oceania that handles sensor requests in AU and NZ. Please contact Sam Bhasin at Bestech.
Q- Looking for laser distance measurement device, with the precision of 10 micron or better, with 100HZ or higher sampling rate, digital output, max distance, around 1m.Please kindly advise the model recommended as well as the prices and availability.
A- By precision, we believe that this customer is referring to "resolution". Resolution is the smallest increment of change that can be detected by the laser sensor. It is often a function of the number of pixels on the detector array. Our AR700-8 has a span of 203 mm, too short for this customer's needs. We can offer the AR700-24 which will have a resolution of 31 microns instead.

Q- We have bought three AR600-8 displacement meters to use in a road profiling project .Our goal is to have all three sending their measurements at the same time, the questions we have are the following: What is the best rate we can get using non-continuous sampling, using the “take single sample” character “E”? We have noticed that there is an approx. 1.39 ms delay from the “request” (char “E”) and the sample return; that reduces a lot the 1,000 samples of the continuous mode.- If we send the character “E” to all the three AR600-8 at the same time. Are they going to answer at the same time, or they may differ from each other?- Is there any other way we can “synchronize” them? Thank you in advance for your help.

A- Thanks for your e-mail to our website.  I originally worked with you since you first contacted our company and made the decision to purchase. I do not know of too many Road Profiling organizations who do “polled” sampling instead of using the faster automatic sampling.  However, I can answer your question. Using the “E” command, the fastest sample rate is 625 Hz.  To achieve this maximum rate, you must consider the following: 1) This is open loop.  You issue the command and do not wait for the data response 2) Sensor is set to “RATE” priority. 3) Sensor sampling speed is set to 1250 Hz (S8 command) 4) You operate at the fastest baud rate 5) You operate in binary mode. The sensors should respond at the same time after issuing the command simultaneously.

Q- We are looking to install an automated measuring system for determining block height of polyurethane foam cast on a conveyor. Typical block heights range from 1.5" to 5.5". We are currently using hand-held calipers to measure random points on the block and then inputing the results into an SPC data collection program.
A- Measuring the thickness of polyurethane foam that rests on a conveyor is the simplest example of online thickness measurement using a laser sensor since you can use a single sensor that references the conveyor as the zero point. I recommend the AR700-6 laser distance gage. It's CMOS detector will measure to any color foam. Data can be transmitted to a serial port and handed off to your SPC data acquistion software.
Q- I just purchased a new AR1000 laser distance sensor and I forgot that it did not include any connectors. How do I quickly connect this computer and begin taking measurements?
A- To begin using the AR1000, you need to get power to the sensor and attach the serial communications cable leads to your computer's serial port. See our new Quick Start Guide for concise instructions.
Q- When I apply appropriate power to the AR1000 laser distance sensor, the laser light does not turn on. Is this sensor broken or do I have to do something else?
A- Please download the AR1000 Quick Start Guide. The default configuration has the devices laser turned OFF. To turn on the laser, type DT <enter> to enter a sampling mode.
Q- I am using an AR700-16 laser distance gage and I am seeing periodic noise in my data. I am running the sensor at 230 Kbaud, 9400 Hz sampling speed and binary output. What is causing these "steps" in my data?
A- Verify that analog output is disabled. Follow the instructions in section 5.2.5 of the AR700 User's Manual regarding processing the 2 byte binary values correctly.
Q- I am using the Acuity laser line scanner and the scan frequency is only 35 Hz when I apply a 15 volt power source through the high speed interface card. The literature states a scan rate of 43 Hz. How do I achieve 43 Hz scanning?
A- The High Speed Interface Card controls the motor speed of the line scanner by varying the voltage. Typically, the maximum allowable voltage is 12V which corresponds to a motor speed of 2600 RPM. However, the PCI high speed interface card limits the voltage to 10V. This corresponds to 2100 RPM or 35 Hz. To achieve 43 Hz scanning, you can apply 12V directly to the motor without connection to the interface card, or you can return the PCI card to Acuity and we will modify the board for you. If you only need one speed and have no intention to modify the speed, a direct connection of 12V to the motor is suggested.
Q- I am using your PCI format High Speed Interface Card with the Acuity line scanner and would like to mark the dta stream with an index pulse so I can synchrnonize the scanner with another process. How do I do that?

1) The manual for the PCI HSIF explains the connections for both differential and single-ended connections. It should be noted that the standard PCI card is not configured for differential input, but single ended input (single ended means by itself, no differential signal is paired with it). This means that pins 6, 7, 8, and 9 are tied to ground internally, pins 11 and 23 are not connected, and pins 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, and 13 are the inputs.

2) The inputs must be driven with TTL level signals. Any device connected to any input must match this characteristic. This means that the two states are ZERO (0.0 to 0.8 volts) and ONE (2.0 to 5.0 volts).

3) A TTL signal connected to INPUT3 (pin 25) will have its inverted state recorded with each sample.

4) A TTL signal connected to IDX2 (pin 13) will have each positive state transition recorded with each sample. (The data will identify the sample during which the signal made the transition from ZERO to ONE.)

5) A TTL signal connected to either ENC2_B (pin 21) or ENC2_A (pin 22) will cause the channel's encoder count to change by +1 each time the signal changes state. The encoder count is recorded in the data with each sample. If signals ENC2_B and ENC2_A are in quadrature, then the count will represent encoder position.

6) Note that the counter does not count transitions of an input. The two signals (ENC2_B and ENC2_A) must not change simultaneously. If only one input changes, then the count will change between two values (count up for one transition and count down for the other).

A signal generator must have its ground connected to one of the ground pins on the PCI's 25-pin connector. The signal generator's TTL compatible output signal should be connected to the pin that gives the desired output (INPUT3, IDX2, ENC2_B, or ENC2_A).

To cause the counter to keep track of pulses from the signal generator, connect its output to ENC2_B, connect a 1K resistor from ENC2_B to ENC2_A, and connect a 1000pf capacitor from ENC2_A to ground. This will cause the counter to increment by two for each transition of the signal generator output. Note that the two counts don't occur at the same time and it will be possible to occasionally see the two counts in separate data records.

Q - I would like to use the Acuity laser line scanner at a scan rate of 43 Hz, but I can not get the motor to spin at 2600 RPM. The manual indicates the maximum speed of the scanner motor is 2600 RPM, so what do I have to do to achieve that speed?
A- The Acuity high speed interface cards can accept MOTOR INput voltage up to 15 volts and will regulate the motor's speed by regulating the voltage. However, it limits the voltage to only 10V. To achieve the maximum scan rate of 43 Hz at 2600 RPM, apply 12 volts directly to the DC motor without regulating it through the interface card.
Q- We need a 50 meter cable attached to an AR700 laser sensor. This means we will transmit DC supply voltage over 50 meters AND the 0-10 V analog output over 50 meters. Are there any problems in doing this?
A- The 50 m cable reduces the power supply voltage at the sensor by up to two volts. Our 15V power supply with the Connectivity Kit is NOT suggested.. You will need a power supply that produced 18-24 volts to accomodate the anticipated drop. This means that the 20 mA output (with current loop) might not work properly with a 500 ohm (typical) load. It will work with a smaller load (400 ohm). The voltage output will work with a high impedance load (greater than 10 KOhm), but it must be monitored with isloation (measure between brown and orange using a device that measures the difference between them without a reference to ground). This mode is always recommended for using the voltage output.
Q- I have an AR700 laser sensor with the optional bandpass filter. What is the width of the band on this filter?
A- The bandpass filter AQ7230001 is used with AR700 sensors with our 20 mW laser diode at 660nm. The filter itself is from 646 nm (+0, -8nm) to 668 nm (+8, -0nm). The band is 22 nm wide.
Q- I have an AR700 sensor and I do not recall which model it is. The sensor's tag lists "AP7234080", but I don't know which model that is. Where can I easily find out the model number if I know the part number?
A- The Acuity Product List includes every item we sell with its offical part number, Acuity model number and a brief description.



Frequently Asked Questions for Acuity sensors