Now that I have a cleanroom to work in, lets get started.
Today, we are going to open the Hokuyo URG-04LX-UG01 Laser Rangefinder to uncover its secrets. Hopefully we can figure out a way to make it lighter, stronger and/or faster.
The laser diode is mounted on the lid and it looks like the optics are the only parts that spin, which should remove the need for a slip ring.
Here you can see the lens for the laser detector.
The mirror and lens assembly is mounted on top of a rotating motor.
This photo shows clearly where the encoder is located. This is used to synchronize the laser pulses with the position of the mirror/lens.
Now lets check out its bottom.
Here are the power electronics for driving the laser.
A stack of circuit boards is connected to the brushless motor.
It looks like a harddrive or cdrom drive motor. I can tell from the wires and having taken apart a few harddrives.
Here is another photo.
Now it is time to reassemble the laser.
Here it is reassembled and working.
The laser itself without any cables weighs 139 grams according to my uncalibrated scale. The cable weighs almost as much, coming in at 101 grams. Re-making the cable seems like an easier solution than trying to make any changes to the laser rangerfinder.
The cable has two USB Type A connectors to provide enough power for the laser without violating the USB specifications, only one of them is used communications however.
Now I just need to convince someone that it is a good idea to let me take apart a SwissRanger.