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Thread: Argon Laser - Help Please

  1. #1
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    Default Argon Laser - Help Please

    Hi All

    I picked up this little gem on Ebay...

    On the power supply it says 110v, however, there are stickers elsewhere in the power supply that mention 250v. Is it possible to do an internal conversion so that this will work on 250v in the UK. At the moment it's running on a step down transformer rated at 117v 21 amps and it's outputting a very steady 20.5mW.

    Ideally I would like to get this running without the step down transformer and tweak the output if possible to something a little higher than the current 20.5mW.

    Amongst the pictures i've also posted a few pictures of the inside of the power supply, hope this helps.

    Cheers

    Jem
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    Quote: "There is a theory which states that if ever, for any reason, anyone discovers what exactly the Universe is for and why it is here it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another that states that this has already happened.... Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

  2. #2
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    Here's the rest of the pic's...

    Guess I just need to know where to poke the screwdriver

    Thanks

    Jem
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    Quote: "There is a theory which states that if ever, for any reason, anyone discovers what exactly the Universe is for and why it is here it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another that states that this has already happened.... Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

  3. #3
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    Smile

    Hi Jem;

    I have an argon laser that is very similar to the one you have there, and it runs off 110V as well. There *may* be a way to run it off 220, but I didn't see any obvious switches...

    As for the power output of 20 mw - that's probably all you're going to get. Those Spectra-Physics 092-series tubes are only good for around 30 mw tops at 488 nm, and once you get a few thousand hours on them the peak power drops considerably. Every once in a great while you'll find a brand new one that can make 40 mw, but it won't last if you run it that hot.

    They're designed to run at 8-10 mw for 10,000 hours. But you can usually get a hell of a lot more life out of one, so long as you keep the tube current low. I've got three of these heads, and the gain saturates at around 10 amps of tube current. Increasing the tube current beyond 10 amps just creates extra heat and dramatically shortens the life of the tube. (I've pushed as much as 14 amps down the tube for short periods, just to see if I can get more power out. No dice.)

    The limiting factor in these lasers is the narrow diameter of the bore. Basically the whole design has been tweaked to give better stability and longer life at low power. But that sucks for us because we always want MORE POWER!

    Here's a good little description of the problem taken from Sam's Laser FAQ. (And yeah, it was written by Steve Roberts, otherwise known as "Mixed Gas" here on PL.)

    Adam

  4. #4
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    Hey Jem

    That looks remarkabley like where I ate my tea last night

    when you said about 250V markings I didnt realise they were only on the fuse ratings. This is in a simple way like saying that the safety label of a laser states <500mW. Im afraid it dont mean that you will get 499mW. In a similar way the fuse just needs to be capable of 250V - it doesnt mean it will ever see that sort of action - its really just defining it as a mains rating. From the pix I have to agree with Adam that there looks like no easy way to switch it - but Im sure by now you had probably reached that conclusion.
    Like I said the SP exciters built by laser drive - for what is essentially a competitor laser have dead easy jumpers and a label inside so even a goof could swap volts.

    Looks like you may be stuck with that ballast.

    Rob

    PS - just to get chins wagging - thanks for a great night last night. And I think in the circumstances your equipment stood up well against such fierce competition......FNARRRR
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by stanwax View Post
    PS - just to get chins wagging - thanks for a great night last night. And I think in the circumstances your equipment stood up well against such fierce competition......FNARRRR


    Jem

    P.S. No worries about the laser, it's a nice little unit and i'm pleased with it, 20.5mW is o.k. - It's just the step down transformer is so bloody heavy, when I first tried to pick it up I could have sworn it was screwed down to the floor
    Quote: "There is a theory which states that if ever, for any reason, anyone discovers what exactly the Universe is for and why it is here it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another that states that this has already happened.... Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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