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Free Laser from Work :D

HydroSean

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Hey guys, so my boss just gave me this laser from our NIR instrument at work for free! :D She said it stopped working and the company didn't want to waste time fixing it so they just bought a new one :crackup: I am going to take it home and test it out and see if its the driver or the laser that is actually broken, hopefully its just the driver! I'm pretty sure this thing is worth $700 new. It's an exact 632.8 nm 1mW ROHS certified and 21 CFR 1040.10, and IEC 60825-1:2007 compliant so this thing is extremely precise and regulated. I will make a new thread when I figure out if the laser still works! Any input is much appreciated as to how I should test this out :D:thanks:





 



CurtisOliver

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Free lasers are the best sort of laser :D
I once got given the old 50w CO2 tube from work which was part of a laser cutter. That was a cool object to bring home.
I also had a friend donate his 532 pointer to me, as he found it too dangerous for his liking.
I hope your HeNe works well for you. I can't see the images on the computer that I am on because imgur is blocked :(.
 

HydroSean

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Lol why is imgur blocked? Are you at work? Why did your company give you a working 50W laser lol that's awesome!
 

CurtisOliver

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I am an uni. :) They block the most stupid of things. I haven't got a driver for it yet, and it made way for a replacement tube. But I should at least be operating around 35-40W still.
 

Mattronium

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Nice, free stuff is always fun.

Keep in mind that usually for HeNe tubes the Maximum output stated is usually higher than the nominal output. Although for a smaller tube like that 1mW is in line. LHP indicates that it is a polarized tube. Sam's laser FAQ is a great place to do research if you have questions: http://repairfaq.cis.upenn.edu/sam/laserfaq.htm#faqtoc

And as far as the 21 CFR 1040.10, and IEC 60825-1:2007 compliance, to my knowledge all of them say that.

I must say though, that is a very new tube, 2013:whistle:.
 
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HydroSean

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Welp I hooked it up to my DC power supply and it didn't work. Oh well haha easy come easy go. Ima try to open it up and get the lenses out next

**EDIT**
There is a faint light output check down for my comment later on for better explanation
 
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diachi

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Welp I hooked it up to my DC power supply and it didn't work. Oh well haha easy come easy go. Ima try to open it up and get the lenses out next

You hooked up 12VDC (May need up to around 1A) to the laser power supply right? Not the head...? The head needs 1.1-1.5kV DC at ~4mA (as per the PSU). May just be a dead PSU - you should be able to find a replacement, they come up on eBay all the time - do you hear any rattling when you move the head around? That'd at least tell you if the tube is broken.

Most likely won't be any lenses in there, it's a HeNe - the beam should be collimated right out of the cavity. Probably a sealed tube so no way to remove the cavity mirrors without destroying the laser.

Those heads are usually a pain in the ass to take apart too ... be careful, HeNe tubes are glass and rather fragile. Keep in mind they run on HV too - it won't kill you, but HeNe PSU shocks hurt - trust me on that one ;)!

Should be a tube similar to this inside:



Further edit: Have you checked for discharge? Does the tube actually light. It could light and not lase. Stick a piece of paper in front of the aperture when you have everything hooked up and turned on - see if there is a discharge glow on the paper. Of course, never stare directly into the aperture, even on a non-working (but powered) laser, just in case.
 
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HydroSean

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You hooked up 12VDC (May need up to around 1A) to the laser power supply right? Not the head...? The head needs 1.1-1.5kV DC at ~4mA (as per the PSU). May just be a dead PSU - you should be able to find a replacement, they come up on eBay all the time - do you hear any rattling when you move the head around? That'd at least tell you if the tube is broken.

Most likely won't be any lenses in there, it's a HeNe - the beam should be collimated right out of the cavity. Probably a sealed tube so no way to remove the cavity mirrors without destroying the laser.

Those heads are usually a pain in the ass to take apart too ... be careful, HeNe tubes are glass and rather fragile. Keep in mind they run on HV too - it won't kill you, but HeNe PSU shocks hurt - trust me on that one ;)!

Further edit: Have you checked for discharge? Does the tube actually light. It could light and not lase. Stick a piece of paper in front of the aperture when you have everything hooked up and turned on - see if there is a discharge glow on the paper. Of course, never stare directly into the aperture, even on a non-working (but powered) laser, just in case.
Hey diachi great information +rep well deserved! I made the mistake of hooking up the cell itself to the DC power supply but after hooking up the power supply to the dc power supply I noticed that there is a faint dot! This means that its the power supply like you said right?! Here's the pic of it all hooked up at 12V DC. BTW how much are these power supplies, I'll check ebay here in a bit.


Does the laser have a shutter?
No there is no shutter, but it does have a rubber lens cap
 
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diachi

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Hey diachi great information +rep well deserved! I made the mistake of hooking up the cell itself to the DC power supply but after hooking up the power supply to the dc power supply I noticed that there is a faint dot! This means that its the power supply like you said right?! Here's the pic of it all hooked up at 12V DC. BTW how much are these power supplies, I'll check ebay here in a bit.




No there is no shutter, but it does have a rubber lens cap

The fact that you're getting a faint dot suggests to me that it's the tube that's dead, not the PSU. Is the dot you're getting constant, as in, it doesn't pulse or otherwise flicker? That faint dot is some light escaping the output coupler from the gas discharge, but it isn't lasing.

I've seen the power supplies go for ~$20 before - price will vary, it's eBay. Don't buy a PSU before we've ruled out a dead tube.
 

HydroSean

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The fact that you're getting a faint dot suggests to me that it's the tube that's dead, not the PSU. Is the dot you're getting constant, as in, it doesn't pulse or otherwise flicker? That faint dot is some light escaping the output coupler from the gas discharge, but it isn't lasing.

I've seen the power supplies go for ~$20 before - price will vary, it's eBay. Don't buy a PSU before we've ruled out a dead tube.
I didn't have enough time to check and see if the dot was pulsing or not but it appeared to be solid. Why would this mean that the tube is dead and not the power supply? Shouldn't it be the power supply because the tube isn't getting enough energy?
 

Mattronium

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I didn't have enough time to check and see if the dot was pulsing or not but it appeared to be solid. Why would this mean that the tube is dead and not the power supply? Shouldn't it be the power supply because the tube isn't getting enough energy?
The only way for a working HeNe tube to light and not lase would be for the current to be WAY to high (two to three times normal current) or for it to be WAY to low (Although it might go out before this, I'm not sure). The current tolerance for lasing if fairly broad. If the power supply is lighting it at all it is likely going to be giving it enough current to lase. You could always measure the current to the tube to double check.

It might be that it got misaligned, but seeing as it stopped working before it sounds like it had a chance to be bumped, that sounds unlikely (especially considering how new it is).
It sounds most likely IMO that it would be the tube. What type of equipment was it from? Did it get a lot of use?
 
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HydroSean

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The only way for a working HeNe tube to light and not lase would be for the current to be WAY to high (two to three times normal current) or for it to be WAY to low (Although it might go out before this, I'm not sure). The current tolerance for lasing if fairly broad. If the power supply is lighting it at all it is likely going to be giving it enough current to lase. You could always measure the current to the tube to double check.

It might be that it got misaligned, but seeing as it stopped working before it sounds like it had a chance to be bumped, that sounds unlikely (especially considering how new it is).
It sounds most likely IMO that it would be the tube. What type of equipment was it from? Did it get a lot of use?
It was inside a near infrared instrument on a bench in a laboratory. We use it mainly to measure the concentration of NIR active components of solutions. I doubt anyone bumped it, but even if someone did, the instrument is so massive it probably wouldn't move more than a mm or two. It did get a lot of use though, about 10 times per day including weekends.
 
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Mattronium

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Yah, if it is in a large machine I don't see how it could get misaligned (also with it being in a head form).
But that is pretty strange if the tube doesn't work with it being so new? These tubes are meant to run for many hours. :thinking:
 

HydroSean

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Yah, if it is in a large machine I don't see how it could get misaligned (also with it being in a head form).
But that is pretty strange if the tube doesn't work with it being so new? These tubes are meant to run for many hours. :thinking:
Like how many hours? I know it gets used a lot here and it could in fact be on 24/7. Which in 3 years would be ~26,280 hours
 




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