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Laser Maintenance and Calibration

The high-level of precision of a laser level can be deceptive. On many applications you may not notice a laser’s loss of accuracy, until there is a major bust on a layout. 

There as several challenges that can affect laser accuracy.

 

Proper Storage and Handling

The first, and most important maintenance aspect is protecting an instrument’s normal wear and tear. Improper storage, poor handling, and any drop of the level will reduce an instrument’s accuracy.

 

  • Always lock the laser’s interior pendulum when the tool is not in use. Most laser instruments, and all laser levels, are equipped with a way to secure the interior pendulum during transport. This lock secures the sensitive device that is key to an instrument’s accuracy by keeping the interior pendulum in place.

  • Store the instrument in an approved and sound instrument case. The instrument’s case is often molded to provide a solid fit for the laser instrument during transport. Store the instrument in its original case. Replace any case that is cracked, has damaged latches, or doesn’t close properly.

  • Use only tripods that are rated for construction applications. On many jobsites, a construction laser is positioned at a safe distance for the entire shift. It’s important to opt for a tripod that is durable and stable and can hold its position while work is going on. Most construction lasers are used within standard operating heights, so it’s important match the common operating height to the normal control point elevation.  

  • Protect your laser targets. These highly detailed mirrors should be stored in their original hard cases and used only with sturdy survey poles when in the field.

  • Watch the weather. Sunlight, winds, and rain can affect an instrument’s accuracy. Try to avoid exposing the instrument to excessive sunlight and heat during operations.  

Calibration

While there are the obvious concerns of accuracy from a sudden drop, any exposure to some of these other conditions can require the need for a unit’s calibration. Calibration is the process of adjusting the device’s operating parameters to assure that it’s operating within its designed accuracy. Most calibration procedures require no interaction with a laser instrument’s inner workings. All you need to do during calibration is to check, adjust and check again, not fix.

 

Check

After setting up your laser control device, you should perform a quick reference check on the beam’s accuracy. Level the laser and project the beam onto one wall, trying to select a point that is near the 100-foot operating range. Mark the control point with a pencil. Next, rotate the laser 180° and repeat the same operation. The marked points should coincide with the laser beams – in both laser positions. The allowable deviation is determined by the laser instrument’s accuracy parameter. If the allowable deviation is greater than the product specification, then adjustment (maintenance or calibration) is required.


Zeroing In

If you discover that the laser unit’s accuracy is off, your next step is to adjust the unit and return it to the requited accuracy. This action requires adjusting the pendulum. Depending on your instrument, there are two methods you can use to zero in on accuracy.
On basic laser instruments, you need to open the device. Most laser instruments allow you to zero in on both the X and Y axis, by adjusting the two screws responsible for the position of the pendulum. 

Many advance laser instruments have self-calibration buttons. These units allow you to adjust the laser line by pushing up and down buttons.

 

Maintenance

Maintenance of a laser instrument should be performed by an approved service center. Depending on use and operating conditions, you should have your unit undergo this shop procedure about one a year. In addition to the calibration procedure, technicians will also check all the unit’s operating systems including the laser diode, the leveling, control, rotation, and charging system. The annual inspection of construction lasers increases their service life and guarantees that the equipment is ready for usage in good technical condition.

 

Durable and Easy to Be Ready

Contractors can count on their laser instruments to ready and accurate by taking a few precautionary steps and adopting procedures for a routine check and annual maintenance. Your White Cap support team can help you by providing the proper cases, tripods, and rods, along with the help you need to calibrate and service your instruments.