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Calibration FAQs


What is the recommended recalibration schedule for my laser calibration product?

Below are the recommended recalibration schedules for items when used in a 'normal' environment. More frequent calibration is advised for units used in extreme environmental conditions, or where damage is suspected. The requirements of your quality assurance programme or national/local regulations may also dictate more frequent recalibration. Also, during storage, transportation and use, they should not be subjected to excessive shock, vibration or extremes of temperature, pressure or moisture, since any of these factors could invalidate their calibration.

 XL-80 and ML10 2 - 3 years
 XC-80 and EC10 1 year
 XR20-W 3 years
 RX10 2 - 3 years

I need a replacement calibration certificate, how do I get one?

Replacement certificates for all Laser Calibration products can be purchased through the Service Centre. There is a small charge for this service due to the administration work involved.

To get a replacement you will need to contact your local Renishaw office.

When contacting, please ensure you know the type of product, the date it was last calibrated, or recalibrated, and the date of manufacture.

The replacement certificate can be sent in paper format or electronic PDF format if it is required immediately.

What are the US FDA accession numbers for importing laser calibration products into the USA?

In accordance with the United States Food & Drug Administration the products listed below have been assigned the following accession numbers against the Regulations for the Administration and Enforcement of the Radiation Control for Health and Safety Act of 1968 (Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, Subchapter J) as they pertain to laser products (pursuant to Section 1002. 12).
XL-80: 0720313
ML10: 8820431

How small is an arc second/millirad?

An arc second is equal to 1/3600th of a degree.

A millirad is equal to one thousandth of a radian.

XL-80 hardware

I get a tingling sensation when I handle my XL-80. Is this safe?

This is caused by a tiny electrical leakage current within the external power supply. Tiny leakage currents are common in power supplies of this type. The current is normal and not hazardous in any way, but you may notice a slight tingling sensation in your fingertips as they touch the metal surface of the laser head. If you are concerned by this, then an alternative Power Supply with an earth connection can be used (providing that it is the same specification as the original). The alternative Power Supply which we have used is manufactured by XP plc. The only thing to note about this item is that it is a slightly larger product than the one currently supplied with XL-80's.

Can the XL-80 capture faster than at 50 kHz?

No. The limiting factor for the capture rate is the USB connection not a software limit.

XR20-W hardware

I've damaged my optic can I replace it myself?

No, you are not able to replace the optics without returning it to Renishaw. The optics need to be placed into the device so that they are perfectly parallel to the base of the XR20-W to guarantee the accuracy of the device.

If the optics have been damaged on XR20-W then there is also a high chance that the housing and/or workings that surround the optics have also been damaged. Therefore to ensure the accuracy of the device they must be returned to Renishaw for a full diagnosis, maintenance and recalibration.

Does the XR20-W need to have periodic recalibration?

Yes. The recommended time between recalibrations is 36 months for items when used in a 'normal' environment. More frequent calibration is advised for units used in extreme environmental conditions, or where damage is suspected. The requirements of your quality assurance programme or national/local regulations may also dictate more frequent recalibration.

During storage, transportation and use, XR20-W units should not be subjected to excessive shock, vibration or extremes of temperature, pressure or moisture, as any of these factors could invalidate calibration.

Can I purchase the battery locally? What is the reference number?

The battery in an XR20-W is a Varta EasyPack XL (rechargeable Li-Polymer) 3.7V. Manufacturer part number VKB 56446 702 099. These are available through Renishaw or alternative suppliers. A variety of chargers are also available.

I want to use the alternative USB power facility but I get an error message. Why is this?

The USB power facility will not work through a standard USB port on a PC as it cannot draw enough power. It must be connected to a power source running at mains power. To ensure correct operation please only use the USB power supply and USB cable supplied with the correct power rating for your location. Replacement USB power supplies and USB cables and are available from Renishaw.

What is the battery life when using XR20-W?

Typically, the battery will last for 3 hours of usage. After a prolonged period of inactivity, the charge stored in a battery will reduce so we suggest charging before use and rotating the batteries you use.

Does XR20-W maintain its accuracy in all orientations?


I may need to use my XR20-W in other countries. Are there any special considerations when exporting/importing the unit?

There are no importing/exporting issues when transporting the XR20-W unit as it is classed as an ‘unrated' product. Using the XR20-W travel case will protect it from shock, moisture and variations in temperature. When travelling, we recommend that you do not leave the battery in the XR20-W unit for safety purposes.

RotaryXL software

Can I use my new RotaryXL software with my RX10?

No it is not possible to use RotaryXL software to capture data with an RX10. Both RX10 and XR20-W record files in .rta format so can be analysed with either software package.

Bluetooth communications for QC20-W and XR20-W

Why is the Bluetooth range poor?

The wireless range is determined by the Bluetooth device in the QC20-W / XR20-W and the dongle or onboard device in the PC. The ‘Class 2' device in the QC20-W / XR20-W has a specified range of 10 metres. This ‘specified range' describes the expected performance when ballbar is used in a ‘good environment', i.e. when there is minimal interference with the Bluetooth radio signal between the ballbar and the dongle/PC.

Physical obstructions to the wireless path will all affect the Bluetooth range, machine guards and even the PC itself can block Bluetooth signal. The worst materials for Bluetooth transmission are fibrous materials such as office partitions and liquids (the human body being a good screen).

It is good practice to have the dongle pointing towards the ballbar wherever possible. One solution if experiencing loss of communication or poor Bluetooth range is to plug the dongle in to a USB extension cable, This can then be placed closer to the ballbar or better still, hung over the top of machine guards.

How do I choose a USB dongle?

1. Check the packaging – dongles that refer to Widcomm, Broadcomm or Blue Soleil may be more difficult to set up as they are designed for operation with their own stack.

2. If a dongle is packaged without any software, then it will have been designed to use the Microsoft stack and so will stand the best chance of working 'out of the box' with Ballbar 20 or RotaryXL software.

How do I check if I have the Microsoft stack installed?

1. Click on the start menu and select 'control panel'.

2. In the control panel select the 'system' icon.

3. The system properties window will then appear with multiple tabs along the top.

4. Click on the 'hardware' tab and then click on the 'device manager' button.

5. If the device list shows 'Generic Bluetooth Radio' and 'Microsoft Bluetooth Enumerator' then your PC is both Bluetooth capable and has the Microsoft stack installed.

For more information on this subject read our Application note: An introduction to Bluetooth® for QC20-W

My PC has Bluetooth - do I need a dongle?

When PCs (usually laptops) have an internal Bluetooth device they will also have a stack installed. The first action for each PC should be to install Ballbar 20 software. When complete, search for a QC20-W from within the software. At this point one of two things will happen:

1. The software will connect to the ballbar and start showing live ballbar readings.

2. An error message will appear stating 'There is no Bluetooth radio present'.

When the error message is shown it is most likely that this is due to the Bluetooth device not using the Microsoft stack required to communicate with Ballbar 20 software.

At this point there are two options:

1. Use a Bluetooth dongle that uses the Microsoft stack - this is the simplest option.

2. Attempt to set-up the internal Bluetooth to use a Microsoft stack. For more information contact your PC manufacturer. If your device cannot use the Microsoft stack, you will still need a dongle.

The use of Bluetooth devices is controlled in some countries. Where can I use the QC20-W and XR20-W?

In many territories, devices which use the radio frequencies used by Bluetooth are exempt from many of the normal regulations covering radio devices, whilst for others, specific approval is required. Please see the following support documents for up to date information:

Support document: Compliance of XR20-W rotary axis calibrator with radio device regulations

Support document: Compliance of QC20-W ballbar with radio device regulations

QC20-W hardware

Can I use rechargeable batteries in my QC20-W?

Renishaw do not recommend the use of rechargeable batteries.  Customers who choose to use rechargeable CR2 batteries in their QC20-W should be aware of the following:

1. When a rechargeable battery is used with a QC20-W the noise expected from the unit can be 2 to 3 times higher than it would be using a prime CR2 battery. The full impact of this noise would only be seen if the customer was using the ballbar at its maximum sample rate (for example a high speed small radius test) where they could see 200 to 300nm of noise on their plot.

2. On less demanding (and perhaps more typical) tests this noise will reduce proportionally; for example a 100mm test run at 3000mm/min feedrate will give around 60 to 70nm noise.

3. We have done less testing on this configuration and hence our understanding of how noise changes between different battery manufacturers is limited.

4. We would advise anyone wanting to use a rechargeable battery in their QC20-W to try it out with the ballbar sitting on a ballbar calibrator first to see whether the noise level is acceptable to them.

5. It is our understanding that some rechargeable CR2 batteries do not include a PTC device (an internal short circuit protection mechanism) which protects the QC20-W against the battery being inserted with reverse polarity.  Extreme caution should be taken to ensure correct polarity of the battery.

Is there a recommended orientation for the ballbar when using the small circle adaptor? The manual shows the transducer in the centre, but what if transducer on the spindle side?

It is not essential to mount the small circle adapter in a particular orientation. The orientation shown in the manual is recommended because the centre of gravity of the ballbar helps to secure the device into the cups. This orientation is good practice.

Ballbar 20 software

Can I change the partial arc sweep angle and overshoot angle?

No, the partial arc analysis will only work with a 220° sweep angle and 2° overshoot. This combination is the best compromise for collision safety and data capture

Next steps

If you are unable to find an answer here, please submit your question using the email enquiry form or contact your nearest regional office.