Vinyl Express Q24 / Graphtec FC8000 Vinyl Cutter - Share Info

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Old June 25th, 2019, 04:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
mlathem1998 mlathem1998 is offline
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Default Vinyl Express Q24 / Graphtec FC8000 Vinyl Cutter - Share Info

I recently acquired a heck of a deal on a Vinyl Express Q24 vinyl cutter, sold for parts out of a salvage company. They did have the ability to test it, but from even looking at the pictures you could tell this thing was keep in a pretty bad environment and really ran hard.

I get it shipped in and it powers on, pen block moves, seems to be doing most everything it needs to do. However, what ended up happening is was the unit would do it start up check, test the tool up/down motion, then engage the cut off on every instance. After some discussions with Graphtec, it was suggested that the most likely issue was the pen block. The replacement cost of a pen block can run around $500 to $600 ish. So at this point, even $600 would still have me well below retail and working used price for this thing, but what if the pen block wasn't actually the issue.

Thankfully, Graphtec does include the ability to run self diagnostics. One of the checks the diagnostics looks for it movement of the tool up/down motion. I found that it was not seeing the tool up/down motion and that confirmed that the pen block for sure was the problem. Next, I looked into the pen block plunger operation and this motion is measured with a decoder strip and decoder. The likelihood of the decoder strip being bad was very unlikely. This left me to one last possible component, the decoder. I contact Digi-key with the information and within two days had the part in my hands. I torn down the pen block removing the decoder and re-soldering the new decoder. I partially reassembled the pen block, hooked back to the the cutter and went back into the diagnostics again. Yes... sure enough the decoder was working and I could now see the up and down movement of the tool holder.

Now I have put it mostly back together, and so far it seems to be acting the way a normal cutter should be acting. I just wanted to share this because not enough information exists out there on problems and fixes for these machines. Most people just suck it up and fork out the money because someone tells them that have to replace a whole board or assembly such as the pen block. But I get it, maybe your machine has warranty or a heavy production load and you can't be down to long. I hope this helps someone.
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