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Why would the lights and control panel turn on when the laser head / gantry is manually moved by hand?

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When you move the gantry by hand your are turning the stepper motors.  Most motors, when manually turned, function as a generator.  So, you are generating power that is being back-fed into the system.  This is potentially dangerous for the electronics in your machine so you should avoid doing it.  If you must move it by hand, and don't want to disconnect the motors, move it slowly so you don't generate too much power.
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