Old 09-03-2014, 06:18 AM #1
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Default Cleaned my uniphase 2214 series cylindrical argon ion laser [With tutorial]

Well...a new month, a new maintenance burn...but my dot has had a messy pattern around it since I got it, so I took it apart and cleaned it up, and got a substantial amount of power back. might be worth taking a look at your own. Sadly I do not own a box style argon, so I cannot do a tutorial on these.

Cleaning a cylindrical Uniphase 2214 series Argon Ion laser:

Before cleaning.....make sure it's worthwhile to do. you'll need a screwdriver for the outer screws...and yourself. you'll also need 99.9% purity acetone, and some clean cotton swabs or lens tissue. DO NOT PERFORM THIS WITH THE LASER PLUGGED IN OR AFTER IT HAS BEEN RUN RECENTLY - HIGH VOLTAGE WILL BE PRESENT ON THE TUBE AND THESE VOLTAGES ARE LETHAL! Always unplug the power from the wall and then disconnect the head from the supply and let stand for at least 5 minutes before disassembly to allow it to bleed off.

First off, this isn't really a terribly HV prone area we'll be working in, but be mindful of where you touch. READ THE ENTIRE PROCEDURE AND UNDERSTAND IT BEFORE ATTEMPTING THIS I cannot stress this enough. This way nothing will be a mystery, and you will be far less likely to make a mistake. Also....wash your hands first, and thoroughly dry them on a clean towel so you don't leave fingerprints everywhere. Also remember that electronics are sensitive to static, so work in a place this won't be a problem, and handle the PCBs from the edges where possible to prevent damage.

The first pic shows the screws we'll be working with. Don't touch the others.



Unscrew the first set of screws near the end and remove the cap and shutter assembly gently. it just slides off, nothing fancy. You will be greeted with the optical feedback PCB assembly. the green and yellow wire is your earth ground. you can see your head's hour meter here as well. Do not mess with the blue pots, as these are pre-set and editing them is BAD. You are not going to get extra power from messing with them. Don't be tempted.



Remove the red connector carefully and bend it out of the way. then remove both the black and then the silver screws. This will loosen the PCB and the optical pick-off (the black cylinder) from the chassis and you can lift them carefully out. BE CAREFUL AS THE BLACK OPTICAL FEEDBACK IS SUPPORTED ONLY BY THE TWO THIN WIRES OF THE PHOTODIODE! DO NOT LET THESE BREAK! if these break you will have to repair them. the laser CANNOT function safely without the feedback.

Flip it over and you will see the likely culprit:


The optical plate is likely dusty as it is exposed all the time when it is running, and closing the shutter helps keep it clean, but it isn't perfect. Blow off both sides with dry nitrogen/compressed air gently so the particles don't scratch the lens. If the back side is still not clean, douse a cotton swab lightly in the lab acetone and dab off the extra into some lens tissue, then GENTLY brush off the dust, so as not to scratch it in one direction only. careful not to smear acetone on the plastic as it will melt it. if necessary repeat until it is clean. a bright light will help with determining clarity, or another laser. use each side of the swab only once. otherwise you're just redistributing the dust and grime. DO NOT attempt to clean the other side with acetone, if you can't clean it with air then let it be.

likely your laser will be plenty clean now. however if you think the mirror is to blame, then proceed further to clean it. Note that the mirror is behind alot of dust protection, so it is HIGHLY unlikely to be dirty! Be aware the front mount of the laser tube is potentially live, so another reminder to not do this with the laser running or connected to power.

remove the next two sets of screws. This allows you to remove the grating around the anode/OC mirror mount as shown:


Look back in the laser and you have the base plate and mirror seal cover left inside (on the reverse side of the optical feedback base plate)



There are several more ground wires affixed to the back, so carefully reach in and bring the base plate forward toward the front of the laser and out the front CAREFULLY. Go slow and take your time. It may be a bit snug, so take care not to damage anything or to bump the mirror mount, or to tilt the plate too far, Lest you bend the mount or rip the mirror off and have a much more serious issue. (or potentially shock yourself sending yourself flying toward the ceiling and the laser toward the floor simultaneously, which will ruin your day in more ways than one )




Now that the mirror is free of its dust protection. clean it with the same procedure as the optical feedback plate. A light swab of acetone should clean it easily. too much will leave a residue, don't soak it. just lightly douse the end of the cotton swab, then dab it into some lens tissue to take off the excess, then swipe over it once gently. Don't be a wimp about it, but do it with minimal pressure so as not to scratch it.

Re-assembly is just the reverse. carefully slide the base plate back down into the laser, keeping in mind the orientation. The opening gap for the wires is at the bottom of the laser (the side with the power box). Make sure you push it gently, and evenly down, like when you removed it, this way the dust shield doesn't rub on your now (hopefully) cleaned mirror too much. re-install the air intake grating. the baseplate is held by the top set of grating screws so you can use those as a guide to not push the plate too far down. then reinstall your clean optical feedback and screw it back down. then re-install the shutter/cap assembly and fire it up to check your work!

Mine was quite clean, but after cleaning it off and removing the dust and films that develop from normal operation, I found myself with a much cleaner beam profile, and substantially more power at lower currents. the max power is not too much higher, but where I had mine set for 40mW (my head is rated for 40 it's a 2214-40MLA) it was giving me 52mW+! so I had to back it off quite substantially. it runs cooler than ever now as I can run it at a lower current and still achieve my rated power.

Hope you enjoyed!



Last edited by ultimatekaiser; 02-23-2015 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 10-18-2014, 07:43 AM #2
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Default Re: Cleaned my uniphase 2214 series cylindrical argon ion laser [With tutorial]

Finally got around to updating this with my tutorial and pics!
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Old 10-20-2014, 02:08 AM #3
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Default Re: Cleaned my uniphase 2214 series cylindrical argon ion laser [With tutorial]

Excellent tutorial!
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Old 10-20-2014, 02:15 AM #4
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Default Re: Cleaned my uniphase 2214 series cylindrical argon ion laser [With tutorial]

Thanks! I thought it might be useful to someone else at some point.
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Old 01-26-2015, 05:07 PM #5
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Default Re: Cleaned my uniphase 2214 series cylindrical argon ion laser [With tutorial]

Hey, I figured I would continue the conversation about cleaning the argon head here instead of the exercise your argon thread.
Great tutorial with pictures.
I'd like to clean the optic plate assembly and PCB board also I haven't checked the hours since I've owned it so this will be a good opportunity. As far as using Cotton swabs is there any particular brand? Roger on the strong acetone. I will be doing this with nitrile gloves to prevent finger prints.

I don't intend to remove the mirror as you said it is sealed pretty well.
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Old 01-26-2015, 05:17 PM #6
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Default Re: Cleaned my uniphase 2214 series cylindrical argon ion laser [With tutorial]

Probably good.

Not a particular brand in mind. But glueless pure cotton ones from a lab supply are best. 99.9% reagent grade and filtered acetone or methanol only for cleaning. Do the optical plate back side first using compressed air and clean the back with acetone. If you have a laser pointer or green hene you can run through it it'll help determine how clean it is. Minor dust shouldn't make huge difference, it'll never be perfect. The more times you swab it the more risk of damage. Honestly if you shine it on the wall at idle and the dot is clean it is likely not very dirty.

It takes sound practice, and may take you a few tries.

At 10-11A it's useful life is less than a tenth of it's rated lifetime, even with good cooling.
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Old 01-26-2015, 11:39 PM #7
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Default Re: Cleaned my uniphase 2214 series cylindrical argon ion laser [With tutorial]

yeah -- as the OP says
the cotton is GLUED onto the stick and the solvent WILL cause this to 'melt' and mess uu your lens for SURE & prolly FOREVER.

the newest/best way ATM is a pricey stuff called 'First contact' IIRC you 'paint' this on the optic and when it dries you peel it and the dirt off-- for galvo scanner mirrors this stuff is a 'must-have' s they have been known to fall of when you look too hard at them( VERFY THIN!!!) iirc $40 for a smal bottle of the stuff.

avoid blowing air with your mouth or fogging optics with your breath.

a 'squezz ball ' blower is safe as well as MOST canned air - do not hold can upside down or shake it - test on somethimng else made of glass FIRST when using canned air.

the best is to just keep optics away from dirt dust etc as much as possible and dont clean when it not needed.

may 'Q-tips' from wood toothpicks and cotton.
'lens cloths' are good to use but afaik NOT with a solvent.

+6 to the OP for the great write-up and pics AND reminding me that several of my SLs argons have not been ran for many months..

hak
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Old 01-27-2015, 12:15 AM #8
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Default Re: Cleaned my uniphase 2214 series cylindrical argon ion laser [With tutorial]

Excellent tips and thank you for chiming in hak.

I ask about the cotton swabs because the last time I used a q-tip with alcohol to clean a 3 element lens the q-tip left fibers on the lense which I then used a compressed dry air can to clear off.
I am familiar with first contact but I feel I don't have enough optics justify the cost.
I know I shouldn't run the laser at/close to full power but I am just so enamored with that bright beautiful cyan beam.

Thanks! I'll pick up some supplies and proceed with this process this week.

Also I corrected my post on the other thread. My max power is 10.59A. It was bugging me I couldn't remember but I just read an old thread I posted about the head some time ago.
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Old 01-27-2015, 12:34 AM #9
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Default Re: Cleaned my uniphase 2214 series cylindrical argon ion laser [With tutorial]

Yeah that number sounded a bit high to me. Most of those power supplies say 10.5 A max.

I know what you mean my argon does 135mW max power. But even 40mW is quite a lot. But I'd rather run it at 40 mW and get 10,000 hours out of her, than 600 at full power with high chance of failure of either the head or supply or both, and no chance or far more expensive cost of a rebuild.

I don't have any first contact either, I think I probably ever end up using it on his first surface mirrors. It's probably going a bit far for this. Q-tips aren't bad, i've actually had some great success with them with practice, but glue free swabs are best so they don't gunk up the optics if you reuse one by accident. But as I mentioned use each side only once. Usually just draw some acetone into a dropper and apply a drop or two and the slowly go over the mirror once. If you get too little you do nothing, and if you get too much you leave streaks. The brewster plate/pickoff is the harder one to clean because it's in such a tiny space.

If you don't feel comfortable with it you can always send it to me and I'll be happy to clean it for you with lab-level supplies for next to free.
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561nm: Melles Griot 85-YCA-015, Coherent Sapphire 561-20
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577nm
583.8nm
586.2nm
588.6nm: CNI PGL-M-80

591nm
593.5nm CNI MGL-H-50 Lab Laser
594.1nm: Coherent 31-2230-000 (4.5mW)

604.6nm: LOR-150 HeNe line
609nm REO LHYR-250M HeNe line
611.8nm: Melles Griot LOR-150 HeNe (5mW), LOR-006 HeNe (0.5mW)

632.8nm: Spectra Physics Model-127 (>35mW), Model-124B, Model-120, Model-117, others
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641nm: Melles Griot RCS
647nm: Omni-643RYB Whitelight Line
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671nm: CNI PGL-III-C-100
676nm: Omni-643RYB Whitelight Line
690nm: custom diode laser
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1152.6nm: SP-120 HeNe alt. mirrors
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Last edited by ultimatekaiser; 01-27-2015 at 12:35 AM.
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Old 01-27-2015, 03:30 AM #10
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Default Re: Cleaned my uniphase 2214 series cylindrical argon ion laser [With tutorial]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Down with Umbrella View Post
Excellent tips and thank you for chiming in hak.

I ask about the cotton swabs because the last time I used a q-tip with alcohol to clean a 3 element lens the q-tip left fibers on the lense which I then used a compressed dry air can to clear off.
I am familiar with first contact but I feel I don't have enough optics justify the cost.
I know I shouldn't run the laser at/close to full power but I am just so enamored with that bright beautiful cyan beam.

Thanks! I'll pick up some supplies and proceed with this process this week.

Also I corrected my post on the other thread. My max power is 10.59A. It was bugging me I couldn't remember but I just read an old thread I posted about the head some time ago.


I stop at 10A and never run it that high very often- it gets so hot that shut down has happened twice- but the reading on the remote sez i am getting 145 mW & 7 lines and i am super happy with that --

some guys go halves on first contact and share it - and at most LEMs there will be someone there with first contact who may clean an optic for you-- not sure how many uses one gets from a bottle -- but I hear it does the best and safest job on the more delicate optics like scanner mirrors- brewster windows etc.
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