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Old 03-13-2014, 06:30 AM #1
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Default $28 JDSU Argon head- how difficult to test and get operational?

Hello,
On a whim I bid on a JDS Uniphase argon head on eBay. I out a max bid for $30 and got it for $28, opening price I believe. In fact I think I was the only bidder. That probably says everything one needs to know about it but who knows. It was stated in the ad it was in operating condition when removed from whatever it was removed from. As you can see in the pics there is no power supply and the "cord" going into it was cut at about 5' from the head. The unit is clean and appears un-damaged. Beyond these details and the pics I know nothing else. My questions are the obvious and framed from one who has no experience with gas lasers. It was manufactured 14 years ago, is that too old to be functional? Where can I find a schematic to all these wires? Can a spartan power supply be fabricated easily for this? Could another powersupply from another similar laser be modified to work? Basically, what's the easiest way to test and opssobly run it at it's rated? It was rated for 500mW.

Anyone out there care to give me a hand in trying to get this thing running?

I am very well versed with operating and constructing high voltage circuits, previously I built electron tube audio circuits as a hobby. I think the highest I ever messed with was around 1400v at around 200mA.

I would imagine all the wires coming out of this cord are not necessary to test and operate this tube. I have not traced them into the head yet, just pulled it out of the bubble wrap this evening. Tomorrow I plan to remove some of the cowling that appears easy to access.

Even if this thing is dead I figured $28 was worth the education in tearing one down. If I could get it working at or near it's rated 500mW for less than $500 I would start ording parts tonight. For now it's just a paperweight waiting to be dissected.

Time to start studying up on gas lasers. Anyone with some useful advice and links to good reading on this type of head please let me know where to find it,

Here's a few pics, enjoy:
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Old 03-13-2014, 06:31 AM #2
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Default Re: $28 JDSU Argon head- how difficult to test and get operational?

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Old 03-13-2014, 06:32 AM #3
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Default Re: $28 JDSU Argon head- how difficult to test and get operational?

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Old 03-13-2014, 06:33 AM #4
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Default Re: $28 JDSU Argon head- how difficult to test and get operational?

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Old 03-13-2014, 06:36 AM #5
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Default Re: $28 JDSU Argon head- how difficult to test and get operational?

Forgot this one for scale....
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Old 03-13-2014, 02:19 PM #6
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Default Re: $28 JDSU Argon head- how difficult to test and get operational?

First off its a 2214 single line 20mW. You can toss 500mW out the window. On a positive note it was only $28 dollars.

I can't tell you how to make a power supply but I know they pop up often on eBay.
Next youll need to address that umbilical cord wiring. Then a fan, then a remote.

It could be a fun little project but the laser head could be dead after all that effort. One thing ive heard before was give it a shake if you hear moving parts inside its a sign something could be internally broken. Can you provide the eBay link to this sale?

Just my thoughts,
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Old 03-13-2014, 02:35 PM #7
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Default Re: $28 JDSU Argon head- how difficult to test and get operational?

You'll need a power supply and a blower to cool it. You can often pick up power supplies on Fleabay for $100 or so. To build one would be quite involved, mine weighs about 15kg I think. Although I have one of these lasers, there are many members on the forum who are experts in these and know more about them than I do. I think I have a manual for the power supply with pin outs somewhere, I'll have a look tomorrow.
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Old 03-13-2014, 06:25 PM #8
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Default Re: $28 JDSU Argon head- how difficult to test and get operational?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Down with Umbrella View Post
First off its a 2214 single line 20mW. You can toss 500mW out the window. On a positive note it was only $28 dollars.
You mean that just because someone put a sticker on it that says "approx 0.5 watts" doesn't make it so? Who woulda known that....

For real though, I didn't think it really would do 500mW, I was hoping it was meant to be maybe 50mW or so. This thing is too small to be pumping that kind of power (500mW) now that I've done some research.

Still, I'd spend $100 or so for the 20mW.
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Old 03-13-2014, 06:47 PM #9
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Default Re: $28 JDSU Argon head- how difficult to test and get operational?

Check my thread on removing the tube from the shell...

Then I'd buy a second head with a good cable and bad tube... and then swap cables.

Then source a PSU and fan and you are all set..

Or - you could pick up a Beckman Coulter 388mn laser module for around $100 -$150 and get the whole deal in one shot as well... Thats how I got both of mine..

The issue with these heads is all the associated items to get them running - mainly the fan, PSU and controller (purchased or DIY).
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Old 03-14-2014, 02:40 AM #10
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Default Re: $28 JDSU Argon head- how difficult to test and get operational?

Search for JDS Uniphase on Sam's FAQ.
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Old 03-14-2014, 03:47 AM #11
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Default Re: $28 JDSU Argon head- how difficult to test and get operational?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmillerdoc View Post
You mean that just because someone put a sticker on it that says "approx 0.5 watts" doesn't make it so? Who woulda known that....

For real though, I didn't think it really would do 500mW, I was hoping it was meant to be maybe 50mW or so. This thing is too small to be pumping that kind of power (500mW) now that I've done some research.

Still, I'd spend $100 or so for the 20mW.

The sticker rating is for regulatory reasons and is just as a reference for "this laser cannot emit more than X power" and they use the same stickers on multiple types of heads that can output various amounts of power.


As far as powering it goes, PSUs aren't hard to find and you should be able to buy the plug for the head on an electronics website like Digikey. AMP connector of some variety if I remember correctly.

If you want to try the tube without buying a PSU you could construct a crude pulse type power supply. ~200vdc in some beefy capacitors connected through a huge current limiting resistor to keep the current below 10A @ 100vdc across the tube. Hit the igniter and you should get a short pulse of blue light (assuming the tube is good and in alignment)
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Old 03-14-2014, 07:08 AM #12
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Default Re: $28 JDSU Argon head- how difficult to test and get operational?

The Remote Controller is on sale right now from 125 dollars to only 68 dollars at Meredith Instruments. This is where I got mine, after seeing them for 100 dollars on ebay and searching the seller's actual website lol.

MEREDITH INSTRUMENTS.

The PSU will probably run you 120 or so but dont be afraid to make the people an offer. When I bought mine, I offered him 90 or so for a 120 dollar PSU and told him I didn't want to spend more on the PSU than I did for the Head. He accepted the offer.

So you could feasibly get everything for about 170 dollars, if you assume the cord will run you about 20 dollars.
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:19 AM #13
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Default Re: $28 JDSU Argon head- how difficult to test and get operational?

For 28 bucks it somewhat worth the chance, but you'd need a new umbilical. Exposed HV from these is lethal. Generally the umbilicals are cut end if life if they won't be refurbished. They're a fair task to disassemble too. A lot of work, but do-able assuming it isn't too high a pressure to start up. I'd check the operating hours and see how much use it's had first. Jdsu tubes aren't bad at the sitting around compared to alc-60s, but it still is a concern, and a lot of use isn't going to help.
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Old 03-14-2014, 03:54 PM #14
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Default Re: $28 JDSU Argon head- how difficult to test and get operational?

If you have 220V available, I will send you a PSU for the cost of shipping

Re: the severed umbilical -- You will probably need another head to trace the colors to the connections anyway.
You can trace either end, but there is nothing "intuitive" about it
Maybe someone here in the forum has another 2214 that is dead that they will give up for little or nothing

Re: the remote -- I can link you to a simple schematic to get it running.
We can test it at "idle" (lowest power) by simple jumping a couple of pin sockets.
That way you don't have to pay for a remote for a tube that doesn't work

Peace,
dave
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Last edited by daguin; 03-14-2014 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 03-16-2014, 06:14 AM #15
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Default Re: $28 JDSU Argon head- how difficult to test and get operational?

Agree..

A cut cord is not a good sign.. and if its been shelved a very long time--not good.
I was going to offer like daguin has- I may have a 2214 tube that wont start--
I will watch this thread. -- good luck- good advice also on the remote- with jumper you can get idle- no idle ..you may never need the remote- -- You can try to start it without air but cannot run it very long even just at idle. Shop vac to PULL air thru (not blow air into) - will work a little. ... Greenmechanic burt up his Vac..

this pic was taken just before the craftsman shop vac started to add to the fog in Mark's garage.. (using a Coherent silicon bounce grating--ML )
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Old 03-16-2014, 12:54 PM #16
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Default Re: $28 JDSU Argon head- how difficult to test and get operational?

Yep, a cut umbilical is never a good sign. Typically they do that because the head is deemed worthless, and even high mileage heads sell rather easily still, so to be worthless one must assume it was either EOL or dead.

On HeNes and such cut cord heads can still be very good health because of the low intrinsic value of common, low price, and obsolete equipment. Ion lasers are VERY expensive, very high value equipment not easily made obsolete, especially since they're still used in gene sequencers.
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