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Old 06-08-2011, 06:14 AM #1
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Default red HeNe laser.. whats it worth???

hey, ive always been interested in laser pointers, and how they work.. i ended getting a super good deal at a grage sale cuz the guy selling it, was selling it in proxy for someone else and had no idea what it was.. i reconized it was a laser.. but had no clue i was getting a HeNe.. i didn't even know what a HeNe was at the time.. ive stripped it down to just its bare tube.. its magnificant to look at and so mysterious how it really works (gonna look into that) but ive come to find out that i dont apprciate this like some people.. ive wanted to get away from battery powered pointers, but i just wanted something with a clear visible beam to entertain myself with, probably around 200-250mW, no color preferance so any nm.. i wanna try and figure out what this would be worth about.. what to look for on it.. i'll try and post some pics up later.. hopefully i wanna sell this to get a noob laser to goof around with, or trade it for something like that if i can.. lemme know thanks!


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Old 06-08-2011, 02:00 PM #2
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Default Re: red HeNe laser.. whats it worth???

I do not know what you are looking for with this, but it is not worth much (especially here). Used, red HeNe's are VERY common

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Old 06-08-2011, 03:33 PM #3
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Default Re: red HeNe laser.. whats it worth???

oh there not? hmm kinda dissapointing.. but as ive been reading around bout them, the cheapest ive found them was for around 100 bucks.. or does it significantly loose value once it used.. maybe ill just keep it then, if i wont be able to keep.. if i do i'll probably wanna start messin around with it.. can i mess with the mirrors to change its wavelegnth? is the gas contained in the smaller glass tube, or the whole thing.. i dont wanna tinker with this and let all the gas out
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Old 06-08-2011, 04:11 PM #4
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Default Re: red HeNe laser.. whats it worth???

you won't be able to change its wave length. but you can make a cool desk lamp since you already have it down to the bare tube. henes are fairly cheap. especially bare tubes. how do you know yours is a red? if it is a green hene you might find somebody willing to trade. post pix

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Old 06-08-2011, 04:15 PM #5
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Default Re: red HeNe laser.. whats it worth???

Out of curiosity... who manufactured it?

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Old 06-10-2011, 11:16 PM #6
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Default Re: red HeNe laser.. whats it worth???

There's no mystery about how HeNe lasers work, they're quite well understood. Sam's laser FAQ will answer more questions than you ever had.

Value depends greatly on what exactly you have. Red is by far the most common, and sizes under about 10mW are still plentiful and cheap on the used market. I've paid anywhere from around $5-$35 for the dozen or so that I have. While a lot of people like looking at the bare tubes, a complete enclosed laser is more valuable and harder to find in good condition, so if you've stripped it down the value will be on the low end of the scale unless it's something exceptional. From what I've seen, the most valuable red HeNe lasers are the self contained type commonly used for education, where the tube and power supply are in a nice box with a switch, indicator light and beam shutter.

Green, yellow and orange tubes are relatively rare and command substantially higher prices, starting at around $100 for a good bare tube.

If you want hundreds of mW of visible output, diode is about your only option. Most HeNe lasers are 5mW or less and anything over about 50mW is exceptionally rare. They do a few things much better than any laser diode, but raw beam power is not one of those things.
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Old 06-11-2011, 04:39 AM #7
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Default Re: red HeNe laser.. whats it worth???

hey thanks for that FAQ's page.. it was kinda hard to navigate at first, but its really ensightful, im gonna keep reading later . So thats good to know, and seems more reasonable (price wise) and now i feel kinda bad i stripped it down, it was fully encased.. and, well it wont really go back together.. i used a dremel, oops.. but you know its ok.. im becoming alot more interested in these and think i wanna keep it so i can go visually see what im reading about.. i just built a small little stand for it.

in response to chip douglass, i know its red because i turned it on lol.. i have the whole power brick and wall adapter for it.. there's no info on the laser, at one point there was a sticker on the case, but all thats left of that is sicky goop left behind.
however the power brick talks a little bit, it says:
input: 24VDC
ouotput: 1250 VDC @ 4.5 mA
its made by laser drive inc. somewhere in PA.. and it has a model number and something else about the manufacture.. but i cant remember that (im not at home right now)
thanks for all the responses, they've been really helpful
i understand (the basics) that electrons moving from the cathode to the anode excite He molucules which react with the Ne molocules and produce light when the deexcite and reflect between the mirros till they can finally get out the less reflective mirror.. i still have no clue what that little ring is at the bottom of the tube.. or what that whole enclosed part on the one half is.. between the glass and the plasma tube
i still have som much to learn.. and im still workin on gettin pics up here
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Old 06-11-2011, 08:01 AM #8
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Default Re: red HeNe laser.. whats it worth???

Laser Drive makes probably 75% of the HeNe power supplies out there, including many they OEM for other manufactures. Power Technology is another reasonably common one, with Liteon and Aerotech building most of the rest.

The little ring sounds like the getter. This is "fired" with an induction heater after the tube is sealed and serves to absorb traces of contamination remaining in the tube. Vacuum tubes, CRTs and the outer envelopes of HID lamps often have very similar getters.

The enclosed part if it's what I'm thinking of is the cathode. This is a large aluminum can that is coated with substances that aid the emission of electrons. The large size spreads out the heat and helps keep any sputtered aluminum from contaminating the mirrors.

Be sure to read the safety section of the FAQ. The high voltages can give a nasty bite and the capacitors in the power supply and the one formed by the tube itself can store quite a charge. It probably won't kill you, but it WILL hurt if it bites you, voice of experience here.

Also make sure you keep the polarity correct on the tube. If you connect power backwards it will destroy it very quickly from sputtered electrode material contaminating the mirror. Those DC input Laser Drive bricks will fry if you connect them backwards to the power source also, it fries it in a way that it still works but it runs flat out with no current limiting and will fry the tube.
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