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Thread: Copper vapour laser needs tube: please help

  1. #1
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    Default Copper vapour laser needs tube: please help

    Please help me fix this old Rock 'n' Roll laser! I discovered this old dinosaur and fell in love with it at first sight and pray it can be salvaged. Any suggestions and guidance for getting it fired up would be amazing.

    Everything seems to power up properly but I believe the tube is shot.

    Does anyone have replacement tubes for old copper vapour lasers like this anymore? I have been looking and asking around for quite a while and can't find any easy source so I thought I would ask you kind folks.

    If tubes are not available is there anything that can be done with it beyond salvaging it for parts?

    Here is what is on the label:
    Microh C589422
    CuBr Max Laser 10w
    Pulse Energy .5mJ
    510/580nm

    Here are some pics:
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    Thank you for taking the time to read this. Any help would be wonderful. -John/idk

  2. #2
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    That is a relabeled Spektronika…


    Steve



    Here are some pics:
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    Thank you for taking the time to read this. Any help would be wonderful. -John/idk[/QUOTE]
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  3. #3
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    Where are you located at? Spektronika did not survive but Pulslight did... They just don't make them regularly at all, if they still do, basically there was one retired glassblower left a few years ago.
    Do you have a lot of money to spend on this? Repair is going to cost well over 2k$ to have a tube made and pumped.

    How are you sure it is the tube?

    BTW, Tube is quartz with quartz to metal seals, so the number of glassblowers in the world who can make one is small..

    A now deceased friend of mine would have been the one who arranged the import of that for Michroh.



    Steve
    Last edited by mixedgas; 05-10-2019 at 04:10.
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  4. #4
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    Remove the steppers and electronics, upcollimate a green DPSS beam into the steppers , hook up DMX and enjoy.

    Be really careful of the HV transformer and power supply in the unit, it can easily kill you.

    Your well into needing access to a Senior, Experienced, Electrical Engineering or Physics skillset to get that tube working.

    Steve
    Last edited by mixedgas; 05-10-2019 at 04:38.
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    Default next step...

    Steve, you are a God send. Thank you for the tips.

    "That is a relabeled Spektronika…"
    Copy. Thank you.

    "...Location..."
    I am in Vancouver, Canada

    "Remove the steppers and electronics, upcollimate a green DPSS beam into the steppers , hook up DMX and enjoy."
    Fascinating! I will learn more about this process to explore this option.

    "Be really careful..."
    Understood!

    "Your well into needing access to a Senior, Experienced, Electrical Engineering..."
    I have basic electronics knowledge. But I agree that I need an l/x engineer to consult. I realized that the second I saw this beautiful monster. But still, I can't resist (no pun intended). I do know one local person to ask (wish me luck).

    "Pulslight"
    Are they located in Bulgaria? Know any contacts there?

    "
    How are you sure it is the tube?"
    Honestly I don't know if its the tube. It powers up, but the tube doesn't fire up and the tube has lots of particulates floating around inside (see photo) so I assume it broke its seal. Can I test without a DMX board? Sourcing DMX board now...

    "
    Tube is quartz with quartz to metal seals..."
    Copy. Thank you.

    "...the number of glassblowers in the world who can make one is small.."
    So sad. Like stone carving Masons, its a disappearing art.

    "
    Repair is going to cost well over 2k$..."
    What I guessed. $2k is approaching my pain point. But I believe it would be worth it. It is my childhood dream to have a laser like this. Am I crazy? ... Dont answer that.

    I will do a proper test in the next few days after I get a DMX board and will post my progress/failures here.

    Thank you again!
    -John/idk

  6. #6
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    Wink

    I have a shop near me in Ohio that has 13 employees
    that just do quartz. Other then the precise windows and quartz to metal seals , it is not that magical in the Quartz department. The vacuum processing and neon backfill is an art practiced by only a few. I'm not even sure if my turbopump station still runs, as I have not used it in six months.
    ~
    Yes, they are in Bulgaria, for a while Copper Bromide CVLs came from Bulgaria in droves. Cost new in 1990s Money was 7700$ US and shipping, without the scanning option or DMX. AT the time, that made great business sense. Now they are a boat anchor because of DPSS and Direct Diode technology. No current contact, my contact retired after her marriage. There is a source in Russia for something similar, a ceramic tube, very rare, but more modern. That is probably priced through the roof.
    ~
    You need a DMX sender, I'd suggest starting with Elation "DMX OPERATOR" or similar as you can sell it for 50$ on Ebay later.. Otherwise your looking at 250$ for something really useful and USB for DJ work, minimum.
    ~
    7000 volts at 30ma will KILL YOU DEAD... Be careful. It takes 20-25 minutes for this to warm up before the tube starts to get hot. It should not need DMX to start, just working safety interlocks, and good fuses, and warmup time for the tube oven. DMX will let you know if the steppers move to create beam effects.
    ~
    I have a friend who has a pile of 1.8 watt Green DPSS and will put a year's warranty on them.
    ~
    Did you buy this from "Ed" in BC ?
    ~
    God is God, I am not a God. " I am not worthy to eat the crumbs from under his table, but if He says the word, I will come ...... "( Quote from Anglican Mass #2)
    ~
    I just have a servant's heart and a deep interest in CVLs after owning one. And also long ago I played with the first ones of those imported to North America in my mentor's shop in Ontario. I love the yellow line.
    ~
    I sold my medical version to a best friend at well below my cost, and we have some data on the tube design and one spare new tube, but a spacer inside that spare tube is loose. He always wanted one, so he got his birthday wish.
    Medical ones (same design and material) are still made in Australia , but the cost of their tubes is um, shocking, and they are a bit longer then that model. We have thought about drawing it out on paper and using the relevant scientific papers to get a quote. We just never got around to it yet.
    ~
    Steve
    Last edited by mixedgas; 05-10-2019 at 15:21.
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    Default Working!

    Well... well.. happy egg on my face. I just didn't wait long enough... here is a video.



    It has intermittent flickers. One flicker dims a bit and another flicker is brighter. I assume the brighter flicker may be an issue when securing proper permits for public use?

    Update: Flicker is now obvious and getting more intense as time passes and doesn't seem to be "settling down".

    I see the Elation board you mentioned on eBay for about 80CA. cheap and will do the job. Thank you!

    I got this beauty for about $100 from a pro lighting/audio auction. Would like to meet "Ed" to learn more and see if it was his.

    Now I need to secure my ILDA license and permits... any tips there?

    I will post again after I get a board and do a little programming to see how well it actually works.

    Thank you again! Sooo excited!
    -John/idk

    PS: I said you were a God -send- not God. And technically everything is sent by God and so you're included.
    Last edited by idk; 05-10-2019 at 17:48.

  8. #8
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    It flickers because it is a pulsed laser, and the method used is rather low tech but rains beautiful light in big fat beams. Dirt in the plasma is an issue, as is setting the tube temperature. Your not ready yet for adjusting the laser cavity mirror, just don't do that yet as it can kill the tube. There is an oven in the bottom that vaporizes the copper bromide, and adjusting that temperature controller a few degrees can work wonders. But lets not start with that yet. Its pulsed, driven by a capacitive discharge switched by a thyratron tube, so the peak energy per pulse is huge. It will clean up as it runs. It is the preferred laser wavelength for dermatology too, so there is a skin hazard from direct contact with the beam.

    Don't try to focus it with a lens either... or try to burn anything yet..


    Well, She looks healthy and is definitely lasing....

    Now you need:

    Laser Safety Education, Bigtime.. That is a professional tool, not a toy, and comes with some nasty permanent eye hazards both close up and at long distances. Probably a good thing you cant open the shutter without DMX right now.

    2. Laser safety glasses for 510.6 nm green and 578.2 nm yellow, at least OD6

    3. Canada is where "Guns are Dangerous and Lasers are Legal" Quoting my friend who Imported those... Permits are easy in your part of North America, unlike here...

    4. Given the nature of that that can do when tuned up, you need to keep the laser light three meters up and one meter horizontal separation from any member of your audience. Any of the light, including bright reflections from things like lighting fixtures etc.

    5. You CANNOT audience scan Canada Style, with a CVL, instant blindness...

    6. Given the nature of that beastie, you NEED ED, I'll find him..

    7. The light from the plasma tube is giving off copious amounts of UV besides the Neon glow.. Clear polycarbonate safety glasses are a good idea until we get you regular laser safety glasses. Clear ones adsorb most UV.

    8. That thing is designed to spray light all around the room. Be careful.

    We'll work thru all this.

    Don't set your walls on fire, when fresh that approached Seven watts of laser Energy... Which is way too much for a beginner, but, Canada Eh...
    You need to be a few meters away from where the spot lands minimum when you first open that shutter. Ever heard of Fire Brick? Well you need a chunk as a beam stop for that beast if its healthy.

    I have a full day today, I will get back to you soon.. Eastern Block lasers just don't die... That should be quite dead given its age.. In Soviet Bulgaria, Lasers outlive You!

    Choice of smoke, fog, haze machine(s) you will need is a matter of personal preference, and round here, on this forum, well, choosing a wife is easier and less political.

    Oh David F., you reading this?, I can use some help with all the CVL explanations....

    Steve
    Last edited by mixedgas; 05-11-2019 at 05:49.
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    Default next step... eye safety

    ok... tools down. now that I know it is working, time for studies and to focus on safety.

    Currently looking at eye safety options. I read Adams post from 2006 as a beginning guide. good stuff.
    https://photonlexicon.com/forums/sho...ght=protection

    Finding a single pair of safety glasses that covers both 510.5nm & 578nm OD 6+ seems to be very difficult. I want to make sure I get the correct pair. Would like to have just one lens but not sure that exists. Shopping now... will eye safety cost more than the laser? Probably. Is it worth it? Definitely.

    Clear polycarbonate safety glasses; I used my UV sunglasses and assume they are ok for that. My optometrist sold them to me and weren't cheap so they better be good for more than looks. Regardless Im not powering up again until I have proper eyewear. ty!

    Permits: Coincidentally, I have a meeting scheduled with the city and parks board next week and will bring it up as a side discussion. They will guide me through that process (much later date). guessing they will want $5mil liability insurance.

    3 meters up; 1 meter horizontal separation and no audience scan; yes I noted that on the ILDR website. I will get a scaffold.

    3 meters away... don't set your walls on fire... fire bricks: why does that make me laugh out loud?

    Yes ED would be good. I think I have a high voltage probe for my multimeter buried somewhere in my in storage locker. Will try to find it next week. I want to know how to safely discharge so I am ok touching components when powered down and how to verify this with my meter.

    Ill post again after I get the safety glasses and make more progress.

    Thank you!
    -John/idk

  10. #10
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    Thorlabs LG3 looks good. Thorlabs.com/

    Check your PMs. When I find Ed D. I'll pm you.

    I'd be in no hurry to talk to the townies until you know the laser is good and bright.

    Last time I checked laser safety was a Provincial / Federal matter, but it is has been a few years since I visited.

    Upon checking, there are a few Laser Show companies in your neck of the woods, I'd talk to the planetarium laser show folks before I spoke to anyone else.

    Quote:

    Health Canada's Therapeutic Products Directorate is responsible for imposing standards on lasers imported into Canada or manufactured here, including the correct classification of devices:

    • IEC 60825-1:2007-Ed.2.0 – Safety of laser products – Part 1: Equipment classification and requirements.



    I'm working on tracking down Ed.. I just saw his website a month ago, trying to find it.

    A cinder block would work or so would a good quality red brick, you want the brick to be a meter from the laser so that any dust blasted off it does not land on your optics.

    Masking the laser using a chunk of metal /blackout foil / cinefoil to prevent beams into the audience is standard practice up north..

    You basically have an IEC compliant projector so getting approval should be easy. Unterminated beams into airspace probably require you to work with Nav Canada on a NOTAM or similar. At least they did back in 1998-2000

    I would NOT probe a Spektronica or Pulslaser CVL product with the power on. If the circuit is ringing resonantly like it should you may have some 20-30 Kv peaks on top of that 3000-7000 volt DC average.

    Steve
    Last edited by mixedgas; 05-12-2019 at 18:02.
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