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Thread: Mid frame argon laser head might go HI pressure?

  1. #1

    Default Mid frame argon laser head might go HI pressure?

    Just wondering,
    I have a Coherent Enterprise argon laser that I bought off of ebay for a really good price last year. the unit was non functional with about 6000 hrs on the tube. I fixed the unit and it is now producing 1.1 watts MLVS :P . I finally found a copy of the manual on the web, I was reading thru, and it stated that I should run the unit EVERYDAY for 1 hour at full power to make sure the gas fill system regulates the tube pressure. Do I really have to run everyday to reduce risk, or is this just technical overkill? (Unit pulls about 6.5KVA, loves my power meter....) Anyone else have any Ideas?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    The technical note is actual truth for maximum longevity, but most of us lazy laserists run them
    just once a week if we're not using them (and let it run for a longer period of time)...
    As you probably know, a tube which hasn't been run in about 6 months is very hard to start,
    and forcing a overpressure tube to start is not good for a tube's lifespan. But you can get away
    with a month between bakings safely, just run it for a good number of hours to force the argon/krypton
    back into the casing.

  3. #3

    Default

    That would make sense, this unit has all kinds of beam stability control for certain wavelengths, and power control. I just want the power, and all of the wavelengths 8) . I usally start it once, if not twice a week, but after reading the tech notes, It made me shiver on the thought of all the power it was going to eat. I run it for about 3-4 hours when I am building shows. That gives it plenty of time to run the gas fill system. Thanks for the info, I do not have many friends with the knowledge of High powered lasers, and or equipment in their garage...

    This fourm is awsome!


    Thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    You're welcome, just passing on the favor I've received from other laserists.
    Gas lasers are both traumatic and fun.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Central Florida
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    An hour a day would get expensive; gas lasers are power hugry beasts... :twisted:
    Love, peace, and grease,

    allthat... aka: aaron@pangolin

  6. #6

    Default

    Yeah tell me about it, I also have a reef tank that eats power 24/7, nice power bills of $450+ when I run the argon laser too!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Florida
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    I haven't heard about running a gas laser once a week or so. I have a home-brew 488 30mW with a Lasos tube. Does this apply to low power argons? What happens if I let it sit too long?
    Thanx
    Steve

  8. #8
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    Default Periodically running an Argon to maintain tube health...

    Run it once a month for an hour or two at medium current and you'll be fine.

    Actually, you can probably stretch that to once ever 2 months. But I like to fire mine up more frequently just to be safe. Still, once a week is overkill for a small air-cooled argon.

    If you let it sit too long, the tube will outgas (gas that is burried in the walls of the tube will leach out, raising the tube pressure). Eventually, the pressure gets too high and the tube becomes hard to start. (You'll need to tickle it with a tesla coil to light it.) If you wait even longer, you'll NEVER get it to start. When you run it, you bury some of the argon back into the tube walls, which brings the pressure back down. So if it's hard to start, use a tesla coil to get it going and then run it for a day or so and you should be OK. Then go back to running it once a month.

    There's lots of good info about the physics behind this process in Sam's laser FAQ if you're interested.

    Adam

  9. #9
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    Thanks. Yeah I got most of the design info for the laser from good ol' Laser-Sam. He's the Man!

  10. #10

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    Well, I now run mine every week for at least an hour and a half( gives the gas fill system plenty of time to stablize). It gives me some time to work on new effects also, I am still battling my wavelengeth issues, but have the laser peaked out now to about 345 mw with all lines idle about 9.3 amps. I think that it started to go high presure, as when I powered it up I only had a 488nm line. I do not know if it was pressure, but something tweaked the optics to loose the lines, as the unit has been stationary (I don't know if it had anything to deal with thermal stablization and drift).

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