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Finally!!! Argon goodness!!

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GooeyGus said:
[quote author=Switch link=1214412765/24#28 date=1214474960]WOW that looks awesome.Have you taken power readings yet? :p
I've tried... but its really hard with this laser. It moves SO much air around it that it is messing with the thermal head. I tried and the needle went up to 50mW, but then dropped way down below zero when i moved it away from the beam, so I'm guessing its probably around 80mW. Over the next few weeks I'm going to try adjusting the mirrors in the tube to see what kind of output I can get. ALso, I'm not sure if the tube is getting the full 10A as I have yet to measure. I dont know how high the adjustment knob allows the current to go. I'll figure everything out over the next few weeks, but right now I just like to look at it ;D I guess brand new the thing was supposed to do ~200mW at full power, so I'll see what kinda tinkering I can do to try to get it near that. BUT the tube has around 3000 hours on it, so I'm not expecting full out-of-the-box power.

Here's a mega matrix picture! My camera REALLY doesn't do it justice...

[/quote]


Actually your camera (or did you run the pics thru Photoshop to re-balance the color?) captures the main argon color better than mine does, and mine is a nice digital model with all the bells and whistles! In fact, my argon looks almost exactly like my 473nm blue laser...which I would call a royal blue. But no - an argon laser beam looks so much nicer in person - cameras don't do it justice.
 

Tallaxo

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Congrats Gus.

You will love your argon . I have managed all sorts of tricks with mine. Separating the individual beams with a dichro is fun, and white light is easy to make , you just add red. The blue and green are already mixed for you.

You say you may adjust the mirrors, I really would not recommend that. If you are lasing all 5 main lines, then your argon is working well and an old saying comes to mind " If it ain't broken, then don't fix it" You can screw these tubes up forever if you are not careful.

If you really want to adjust the rear mirror and the front Output coupler, you will notice 3 adjustment screws on each of them. They are arranged in an "L" shape on the rear of the optic housing. It is critical that you never touch the middle of the 3 screws. That is the pivot point of the optic and the screw above and to the side of this pivot point controls the x and y axis of the optic. Use the x and y screws at your own risk , but don't whatever you do touch that middle screw. Once you loose your pivot datum, you will be very lucky to get it to lase again if you mess up with x and y.

You will have lots of fun with this laser. These small multilined air cooled argon lasers are becoming rarer and rarer as they are being sold off on ebay and other sources from the surplus market.

Give your tube a good burn for a few hours a couple of times a month minimum and hopefully the tube and power supply will last you for years to come (These lasers are built like tanks !)

Jase.
 

GooeyGus

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Mine doesn't even have the adjustable mirror mounts :(

People say you're just supposed to poke them with an insulated object (like a dowel) to adjust them
 

GooeyGus

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A few more pics... This thing just gets more impressive every day.






Just wait until i get a decent camera.... You may end up pooping your pants.
 

GooeyGus

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I have a bit more info on power output now.

I've been reading and learning a LOT about this laser. Well I figured out how to measure the current that the tube is operating at (because if you do it at the + on the tube itself your multimeter will probably blow up, not to mention the electrocution risks of having the head open to begin with) by measuring voltage accross two pins on the 'remote' umbilical cable. So I tested at Idle, and came up with almost exactly 4A, right where it should be. I turned the power to the 'max' with the knob on the power supply and measured again, only about 6.5A. So, even with the knob maxed, the tube is no where near it's full potential. When you're using the knob it adjusts the current based on light output, to keep the light output very steady. Using the knob is called 'light mode'. Now, I've figured out what I need to do to wire the laser for 'current mode' where I can adjust the current directly. Stay tuned for some crazy full-power pictures. Should be around 200mW, right now it's probably only doing about 60mW :eek:
 

Switch

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It just gets better and better for you doesn't it? ::) Just be careful with it.
 

Cyparagon

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My spectra physics exhibits almost identical output utilizing light and current mode. I haven't checked the current on either though.
 

GooeyGus

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Cyparagon said:
My spectra physics exhibits almost identical output utilizing light and current mode. I haven't checked the current on either though.
The original pictures for the ebay auction were taken with the current at 10 or 11A and they look MUUUUCH brighter than mine does right now. I guess I'll just have to wait and see tomorrow when I get it all hooked up.
 

Tallaxo

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Hi Gus.

My Spectra physics has the same output modes as yours. Light and current mode. Light mode uses a photo diode in the beam attenuater shutter on the front output coupler (it is part of the black block on the laser aperture ) and uses a small optic that bounces a part of the beam into a photo diode to control stability and power output.

Current mode is just that. You manually adjust the current to the tube. You say your tube is pulling about 6.5A? Well these tubes are designed to pull 10A at full load and 12A at a low duty cycle. A 6.5A draw is a good indication of a "high pressure" tube. What this means , is that the tube has not been operated as often and as long as it should be.

When I received my SP tube, it would only accept 8A max by the power supply , any more amps added would make it brighter for a second or two but then it would drop back to 8A. To cure this, you must normalise the tube argon pressure. Sounds painful but is actually easy.

When a tube is not used for some time or infrequently, Argon that has been buried into the tube walls and cathode, due to the lasing action, starts to leak back into the tube . This increases the gas pressure and inhibits full current flow. to achieve the correct tube pressure, you must run the laser at max current (6.5A) for at least 3 hours a day for a few days. Just switch it on and leave it run. After each run you will notice that the tube will accept higher and higher currents as you "bury" more of the Argon into the cathode and the tube walls and reduce the tube pressure. If you are successful, after a few days your tube should be able to accept the max 10A and give you maximum output. Some power supplies can give up to 12A , but please use that in brief bursts.

The worst thing you can do to a tube is constantly switch it on and off using the emission key on the PSU. Your laser head contains an ignition coil that ignites the plasma at several KV . This ignition stage is very tough for both tube and power supply so once you switch it on, leave it on for as long as you can (No duty cycle ;) ).

Hope this helps.

Jase
 

diachi

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He isnt sure, he hasnt succesfully tested it yet, he estimates it a around 60mW.

Diachi
 

GooeyGus

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Tallaxo said:
Hi Gus.

My Spectra physics has the same output modes as yours.  Light and current mode.  Light mode uses a photo diode in the beam attenuater shutter on the front output coupler (it is part of the black block on the laser aperture )  and uses  a small optic that bounces a part of the beam into a photo diode to control stability and power output.

Current mode is just that.  You manually adjust the current to the tube.  You say your tube is pulling about 6.5A?  Well these tubes are designed to pull 10A at full load and 12A at a low duty cycle.  A 6.5A draw is a good indication of a "high pressure" tube.  What this means , is that the tube has not been operated as often and as long as it should be.

When I received my SP tube, it would only accept 8A max by the power supply , any more amps added would make it brighter for a second or two but then it would drop back to 8A.  To cure this, you must normalise the tube argon pressure.  Sounds painful but is actually easy.

When a tube is not used for some time or infrequently, Argon that has been buried into the tube walls and cathode, due to the lasing action, starts to leak back into the tube .  This increases the gas pressure and inhibits full current flow.  to achieve the correct tube pressure, you must run the laser at max current (6.5A) for at least 3 hours a day for a few days.  Just switch it on and leave it run.  After each run you will notice that the tube will accept higher and higher currents as you "bury" more of the Argon into the cathode and the tube walls and reduce the tube pressure.  If you are successful, after a few days your tube should be able to accept the max 10A and give you maximum output.  Some power supplies can give up to 12A , but please use that in brief bursts.

The worst thing you can do to a tube is constantly switch it on and off using the emission key on the PSU.  Your laser head contains an ignition coil that ignites the plasma at  several KV .  This ignition stage is very tough for both tube and power supply so once you switch it on, leave it on for as long as you can (No duty cycle  ;) ).

Hope this helps.

Jase

I've actually heard quite the opposite to this, even mentioned a bit in the users manual of the laser. (This is for light mode ONLY, I haven't been able to run it in current mode) The manual says that over time, as the tube degrades, the power supply will keep increasing current as much as it needs to to get the amount of expected light when one turns the knob all the way up. So from what I've read, the LOWER the current is when cranked all the way up in light mode, the better. Because the tube is producing the correct amount of light without having to add a lot of power. I was told 6.5A is a pretty good reading for being all the way up in light mode. The person who gave me this info has seen tubes with a reading as high as 10A in light mode, but remember, its still making the same amount of light. I would compare it to two of the exact same cars racing, but one with 2000lbs of concrete in the back. The heavier car will have to work much harder to get the same speed.

SOOO In conclusion, from what I've read on Sam's FAQ and the users manual of the laser itself, a reading of 6.5A > A higher reading in light mode.  

Now, If I get it into current mode and it falters as I turn the current up, then I probably have a high pressure situation. But I've ran it for about 3 or 4 hours every night for the last 4 nights so I think its alright. Remember, I've only been using light mode not current mode, which is why I cant get the current over 6.5A (again, because it only increases the current until it sees the amount of light that it is programmed to see)
 

GooeyGus

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keeperx said:
what is the max output of this laser in mW or watts??
The max output of this laser SHOULD be 240mW. 40mW per line x 6 lines total, but I think you'd be lucky to get that reading fresh out of the box  :cool:
 




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