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Calibration FAQs


What is the recommended recalibration schedule for my 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.

During storage, transportation and use, your calibration product should not be subjected to excessive shock, vibration or extremes of temperature, pressure or moisture, since any of these factors could invalidate their calibration.

ProductRecommended recalibration period
XM-60/XM-600 multi-axis calibrator2 years
XL-80 laser 3 years
XC-80 environmental compensator 1 year
XR20 rotary axis calibrator 3 years
XK10 alignment laser 2 years
QC20 ballbar 1 year

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

Replacement certificates for all laser and ballbar 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, the serial number 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 (Part 1002).

  • XL-80 laser: 1020567
  • XM-60 or XM-600 multi-axis calibrator: 1220576
  • XK10 launch: 1610149
  • XK10 S unit and M unit: 1610216

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 laser

I get a tingling sensation when I handle my XL-80 laser. 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 the XL-80 laser.

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

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

XR20 rotary axis calibrator

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 rotary axis calibrator to guarantee the accuracy.

If the optics have been damaged on the XR20 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 it must be returned to Renishaw for a full diagnosis, maintenance and recalibration.

Does the XR20 rotary axis calibrator 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, the XR20 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 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.

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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 rotary axis calibrator?

Typically, the battery will last just over 3 hours. 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 rotary axis calibrator maintain its accuracy in all orientations?


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

There are no importing/exporting issues when transporting the XR20 unit as it is classed as an ‘unrated' product. Using the XR20 travel case will protect it from shock, moisture and variations in temperature.

The lithium batteries supplied with the XR20 are classed as dangerous goods for air transport purposes under the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR). It is the responsibility of the customer to comply with these regulations. For safety purposes, the lithium batteries must be stored in the case and not in the product.

Bluetooth communications for QC20 ballbar and XR20 rotary axis calibrator

Why is the Bluetooth range poor?

The wireless range is determined by the Bluetooth device in the QC20 ballbar / XR20 rotary axis calibrator and the dongle or onboard device in the PC. The Bluetooth Low Energy 'LE' device in the QC20 / XR20 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 make sure my PC or dongle can connect to the QC20 ballbar or XR20 rotary axis calibrator?

See Application note: How to check QC20 ballbar Bluetooth compatibility

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 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 ballbar and XR20 rotary axis calibrator?

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:

Product note: Compliance of XR20 rotary axis calibrator with radio device regulations

Product note: Compliance of QC20 ballbar with radio device regulations

Can I switch the XR20 rotary axis calibrator power supply during a test?

No, it is not possible to change the battery or power supply during a test.

  • Swapping the battery involves removing the XR20 from the machine and power cycling the device. This results in a datum/reference cycle being required, making all previous captured data void.
  • Changing to a USB power supply requires entering a moving machine envelope. This is a safety hazard that is strongly advised against. Additionally, any change to the power supply requires physical contact and force to the unit making captured data void.

QC20 ballbar

Can I use rechargeable batteries in my QC20 ballbar?

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

1. When a rechargeable battery is used with a QC20 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 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 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 QC20 ballbar when using the small circle adaptor? The user guide 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.