argon lasers are kinda like neon signs, you have to hit them with high voltage and light off the gas inside of them and ignite it to lase. Old argons are bad abot there being too little or too much gas so they won't light. It gets harder and harder. You literally cook the inside lining of the glass and bake gas in and out of it, so if you don't run them enough they don't fire up so you need a larger ignition current to light them off. Then you run them for hours and hours until you have baked the glass nice and hot and got as much gas as you can to be released again. You have to run argon lasers, they like it. Some comapnies get away with sporadic use by using gas resevoirs and a pump to add or remove excess gas and help light it off.