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Old 06-21-2012, 04:29 PM #1
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Exclamation 10 Watt Ar Ion Gas Laser Wont Start :(

I have a water cooled Lexel Excel 3000 argon ion laser that wont start. She started fine a few months ago after being in storage for some time but due to a plumbing issue only ran for about 5 minutes before we had to shut her down. Then she wouldn't start after that and with other projects in the mix has unfortunately sat for another 6 months or so.

All voltages to and from the cathode and anode are as they should be. The spark is working as confirmed by looking down the bore while starting (brewsters obstructed of course). The filament does not appear to be sagging nor does the ohmmeter show it open or making a connection with anything else. Removing the water jacket to spark with an oudin coil is just too tedious a job for this model and best left to the professionals in my opinion. This leads me to believe that the laser and ballast are overpressured due to outgassing from the walls but im not sure?

If so my prescription was going to be to build a Styrofoam box around the head unit of the laser, bypass the cooling to the head and leave the power supply cooled so that only the head cover interlocks need bypassing. Then baking the entire head at say 150 Fahrenheit or so with a heat gun and a Variac transformer for two or three days then trying to start the laser.

Any input on this issue would be greatly appreciated!!! THANKS



Last edited by remorris; 06-21-2012 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 06-22-2012, 02:40 AM #2
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Default Re: 10 Watt Ar Ion Gas Laser Wont Start :(

Sitting for 6 months or so and overheating is definitely a cause for concern, all can lead to higher gas pressure and thus harder starting.

You could try leave it click for a while, though that degrades the filament pretty quickly, other than that the oudin coil is probably your only choice.
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Old 06-22-2012, 02:45 AM #3
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Default Re: 10 Watt Ar Ion Gas Laser Wont Start :(

In my reading it seems that even if it started via oudin coil is successful it needs to bake at high current for several hours to cure the problem. I simply assumed that keeping the bore at elevated temperature as if it were running for a while might drive some of the gas back into the walls of the ballast...??? Does this seem accurate to you?
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Old 07-04-2012, 01:13 AM #4
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Default Re: 10 Watt Ar Ion Gas Laser Wont Start :(

Quote:
Originally Posted by remorris View Post
In my reading it seems that even if it started via oudin coil is successful it needs to bake at high current for several hours to cure the problem. I simply assumed that keeping the bore at elevated temperature as if it were running for a while might drive some of the gas back into the walls of the ballast...??? Does this seem accurate to you?
Lexels dont go high pressure, thats what the ballast tank is there for. Excel 3000 are notorious for PSU problems, that is where your issue is. Especially if its tapped wrong. Call Lexel and get the manual before you do anything.

Its nearly useless to try to Tesla start a Lexel, the starter coil shunts the spark to ground.

Steve
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Old 07-10-2012, 08:31 PM #5
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Default Re: 10 Watt Ar Ion Gas Laser Wont Start :(

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Originally Posted by remorris View Post
In my reading it seems that even if it started via oudin coil is successful it needs to bake at high current for several hours to cure the problem. I simply assumed that keeping the bore at elevated temperature as if it were running for a while might drive some of the gas back into the walls of the ballast...??? Does this seem accurate to you?
Simply heating the bore to operating temperature will not help. The argon ions are driven into the various surfaces at very high speeds, due to them being ions inside a very large electric field. The tube needs to run in order to do this, there is no other way to drive the pressure back down. If the problem is indeed high pressure (which it may not be) then you need to get it started and running. And if I were you I'd run it for several days, not just several hours.
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