Troubleshooting Resources

Troubleshooting Suggestions - 40W Hobby Laser:



When starting the RetinaEngrave Program, the error "Unable to load FTDI Driver" is displayed.

Connect the laser to the computer and allow the driver to install automatically, before starting RetinaEngrave.  During the driver installation, the laser does not need to be powered on or have the accessories operational. 

The laser does not turn on. The red laser pointer (if installed) does not illuminate.  The fan in the electronics bay does not start.

  1. Turn the key to the on position and make sure the big red E-stop button is depressed.
  2. Check the fuse inside the 3 prong power plug (it is located in the receptacle and is a 220V 6Amp fuse). 
  3. Check the fuse on the power supply.

The ampere meter does not move when pressing the "Test Laser" button.

  1. Turn the ampere knob up in quarter-turn increments.  Power should be visible on the ampere meter after only one turn.
  2. Ensure that you are pressing both the Test Laser button and the unmarked green button above the key switch.
  3. Make sure the key switch is turned to the ON position.
  4. Make sure the red emergency button is in the out position (rotate clockwise) to turn the unit on. This should also activate the side-fan and red positioning laser.
  5. Make sure the red ”Laser Switch” button is switched ON (this controls the actual CO2 laser, not the red positioning laser) Make sure the lid is closed and the magnet is contacting the magnet switch.
  6. Make sure the unit is plugged in and nothing else is plugged into the same outlet if you have less than a 20amp breaker.
  7. Try a different outlet in the house.

The current meter moves when pressing the "Test Laser" button but no laser beam is present.

  1. Put a piece of paper near the stationary mirror (mirror 1, located in the rear of the laser chassis) and press the laser test buttons again with the front lid closed. 
  2. If there is a mark in the piece of paper then the laser is working but the mirrors are out of alignment.  Align your laser according to the provided instructions.

RetinaEngrave USB shows "write errors" or "disconnected" anomalies when communicating with the laser.

In some cases, especially when using non-brushless motors, EMI can disturb the communication between your system and the RetinaEngrave USB card. 


To isolate this problem, disconnect the RetinaEngrave card from the Mach3 card and connect it only to your computer. 


With the laser, Exhaust Fan, air compressor and water pump all powered off, press "Go" within the software.  Because the software is able to communicate with the isolated RetinaEngrave card, this test will determine if another device is causing the disturbance.


The solutions are:

  1. Ensure the power plug is pressed as firmly as possible into the power plug.  We have noticed sparking occurs when the power plug is loosely put into the socket which causes EMI problems.
  2. Replace the power plug with another power plug and inspect the contacts are tight.
  3. Move the computer away from the motors and retest.
  4. Do not plug in anything else besides the laser into the same electrical circuit.  Turn off all external fans/pumps/etc.
  5. Try a computer that runs Windows 7.  We have not encountered any problems with modern systems and have tested Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.  If the system comes preloaded with Windows 7, this is a good indicated of fitness for use with RetinaEngrave USB and the Hobby Laser. If your computer runs Windows XP, try it on a computer that has Windows 7.  Windows XP is over 10 years old and Microsoft has stopped selling it.  Old computers may have buggy USB chipsets.

Vector Lines appear incorrect in RetinaEngrave USB

Import all your drawings into CorelDraw X5 (free 30 day trial at  Reduce all lines to hairlines. (see tutorial section in manual) Different colors (such as red/blue) will appear on different layers when printed and allow for different.

Vector Lines are cut twice

Use CorelDraw X5 and reduce all curves to hairlines.  Non-hairline curves will cut the outline instead of the center of the curve.

Vector Lines are not printing or laser only raster engraves (no cutting).

You are not using a vector program.  Try CorelDraw X5.


Bitmaps are absent from printing of combined vector + raster.


Make sure the DPI of your dithered image is greater than 250 dpi x250 dpi.  You can export to 1-bit BMP files if you require higher resolution and use File\Open in RetinaEngrave instead of direct printing.

While engraving at high speed or jogging, the laser head appears to stall but works fine at lower speeds.




Loosen the X belt tension of the laser through the access hole with a long 3mm hex key as described in the Hardware Setup section of the manual.

Unable to utilize the entire work area when raster engraving.

During raster engraving, the laser head proceeds horizontally across the work area, coming to a complete stop at either side of the work area before returning.  The laser head requires a distance of 0.8” – 1.0” to accelerate to effective lasing speed. Therefore, ensure that margins of at least 1” are present on either side of the work area. These limitations do not apply when vector cutting.

Starting jobs from the same point each time. Ensuring jobs line up when rastering then vectoring. 1. Within your vector software, create a box of maximum 13x9" - this is your work area for the 40w Hobby Laser.  Any objects within will be lased relative to their position inside the box.
2. Create a box and circle within the work area as you see fit and assign a different color to any object you don't want vectored.
3. Direct Print using our driver
4. Within Retina Engrave, press the home button to reach the origin.
Then enter "1" in the left box above the "Move Relative" button and click "Move Relative."  You now have 1 inch on either side of the work area for the laser head to accelerate without interfering with the job
5. In Vector Tab, disable the layer that corresponds to the work area box by setting repeats to "0"
6. Press GO These steps should give identical results job to job.