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Laserbuilder's collection of gas and other lasers

Laserbuilder

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Here I will share photos of the lasers I currently have in my collection. Approximately it contains about 60 laser heads, laser tubes, laser pumping chambers and about 15 laser related equipment like associated to laser heads power supplies, cooling machines, dye circulators etc. Less than a half of them is operational and can give laser beams. I will post here only those lasers that are operational, some of them are in quantity more than 1. Each post will be about one of the lasers, because it is quite difficult to write a HUGE post with loads of photos.


1)

So, to start with, I'll show a small He-Ne laser designed for school physics lessons. It is called LGN-109 and has 1 mW output on 632.8 nm line. Its main feature is that it has a transparent cover made of acrilic glass, so all insides of it can be seen. the power supply is built in and consists of a simple mains line HV transformer, multiplier and ballast resistors.
 

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Laserbuilder

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2)

Vintage LGN-108 He-Ne laser pointer. Originally it had a special laser head shown in the first picture, but the tube inside was broken. So I replaced it with another more widespread in our country tube, also 1 mW 632.8 nm. The power supply is portable with a carrying strap and has a compartment for 6 CC battaries, but can be powered on from line voltage.
 

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Laserbuilder

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3)

LGN-105 small lab He-Ne laser. It is rated for 2 mW power and 632 nm wavelength, on the picture it has an orange laser head and PSU of the same colour. Inside the laser head there is a laser tube of very nice coaxial construction. I use it for laser alignment.
 

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Laserbuilder

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4)

One of the oldest lab He-Ne lasers by design. It is called LG-75. This particular unit was manufactured in mid 80s, but it was introduced in production not later than in 1969. This is a classic design with non-coaxial tube, hot cathode, heavy frame made of "Invar" alloy that forms an optical resonator and a round perforated case. Early Perkin-Elmer lasers have somewhat similar design. This laser is rated for 25 mW multimode, 632 nm and still works well, though it had already lost at least half of its rated power. It was very popular as a light source for holography and other optical experiments.
 

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Laserbuilder

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5)

Here, next to LG-75, is the newer He-Ne laser LGN-111. It has a cold-cathode coaxial tube glued into the round case. It is rated for 25 mW multimode too and has still its full power, though the laser is 25 years old. Anyway, it has a defect (?). The output beam is splitted into 3 fractions. Its power supply is significantly smaller than that for LG-75, because the electronic circuitry was improved.
 

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Laserbuilder

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6)

This is my first argon ion laser, ALC60X, which is quite common among laser hobbyists. I have bought it on e-bay for only 50$, as it was declared to be non functional. It had only 634 hours on the meter and made its very long way to Ukraine and I managed to make it working. It really has a defect in the power supply -- current regulating transistors are burnt and it had some troubles with starting the arc. And it needs 110V mains voltage, which is uncomfortable for me, because we have 220V in our electric grid. So, I had to use a variac to run it. After fixing most of electrical defects the laser managed to start, but there was no beam. I spent nearly a half of the day to align the resonator properly and got very nice multiline beam! It gives 8 lines from 457 to 514 nm with estimated power of 10 to 130 mW depending on the tube current (information from Sam's laser FAQ).
 

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Crazlaser

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Wow you really like that ~632nm color. :D
I'm curious as to how the last one got 634 hours on it. That's a long time. What is used for?
 

diachi

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Wow you really like that ~632nm color. :D
I'm curious as to how the last one got 634 hours on it. That's a long time. What is used for?

That's actually really low hours... There's online games I've spent more time on than that, twice as much actually. And I'm by no means a gamer.

These tubes are usually rated for 10,000 hours. I've seen them with more than that, although I've also seen them dead with less than that. Depends on the tube and how it was run.

A bunch of the ALC-60s out there were used for industrial printers, but there are of course other uses.

Also, Laserbuilder, I'm jealous! I miss my ALC! Nice collection so far, keep 'em coming! :)
 
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Crazlaser

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I suppose if you compare the tubes runtime to its rated life then that's pretty short.
But imagine having be in a confined space for 634 hours. That's pretty freaking long if you look at it that way!
 

diachi

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I suppose if you compare the tubes runtime to its rated life then that's pretty short.
But imagine having be in a confined space for 634 hours. That's pretty freaking long if you look at it that way!


That's 26.4 days - if you were a human that'd be a long time to be in a confined space maybe, but a machine doesn't care and that's not a long time for a machine to be running continually. Hell, the laptop I'm on just now was last rebooted 1,334 hours ago (55 days, 14 hours).

I've got Cisco network switches at home that had been on continuously for ~12,000 hours without a reboot (Damn UPS died and killed the streak!) - that's not total runtime, that's just the time since they last restarted. I've come across network switches with >80,000 hours of continuous run time, i.e. up/online for ~9-10 years.

Styro ran a little red diode laser 24/7 for years until it died. Can't remember how long it ran, but IIRC it was at least a couple years.

634 hours is nothing.
 
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Laserbuilder

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7)

Quite soon, after getting ALC60X, I had a good luck to get nearly for free the second argon laser -- JDS Uniphase 2213-150MLK. This is probably the most powerful model from the whole 2213 line of JDSU lasers, 150 mW multiline in singlemode beam. I got both the laser head and the PSU which can be plugged in normal 220V mains voltage. The remote control box I had to make myself (thanks to Sam's laser FAQ site) and I found a proper cooling fan for it. The laser works very well! But, it emits only 6 lines, unlike the ALC60X.

As for ALC60X -- 634 hours is very little for it, it can be considered as "new" with such mileage. Most of these lasers are single line and were used in high speed Xerox laser printers until tube death. very often they have 4000-5000 hours of mileage when sold on e-bay.
 

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Crazlaser

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Do you know what function a laser serves in a xerox machine. Just curious. Sounds cool.
 

Laserbuilder

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I don't know for sure, but I think it has the same function that a laser in an ordinary laser printer.
 

diachi

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I don't know for sure, but I think it has the same function that a laser in an ordinary laser printer.

That's my understanding of it too.

They sometimes show up covered in toner/paper dust. Pretty messy!

Anyway ... will stop derailing your thread now.
 

Laserbuilder

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8)

This is my third argon laser -- JDS Uniphase 2213-15VL. I've bought it on e-bay for 40$, it was sold as non-operational and the umbilical cable was cut off. So, I've made a very crude and simple power supply, which consisted of filament transformer, variac, voltage doubler and ballast resistor. The starting circuit was simply activated by short-circuiting the emitter and collector of the commutating transistor on the green circuit board, located on the laser head. And it works! The laser emits only two violet lines -- 457 and 454 nm, as it is expected from the label (VL -- violet line, 15 -- 15 mW). I cannot understand only one thing -- why does the laser tube have such an abnormal voltage drop. 500 volts! Tube current was 6A in this setup. Possibly, this laser was scrapped because of this defect.
 

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diachi

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Damn, don't see many of those 2213s and you have two!

500V drop ... are you measuring that right :p (I'm sure you are)? Should be a little higher on the 2213s as they are larger tubes IIRC, but not even close to 500VDC... Odd!
 
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