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omni 543-200MA - quest for another Argon (was which exciter)

vk2fro

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edit: I changed the topic title, so that gas lovers can follow my progress with this unkown, but photo looking intact, low hours laser head.

I'll soon be on the lookout for a power supply for this Argon laser head.

Unfortunatly, I've read the 643_Series_Master_Manual, (which includes the 543 heads as well) and this particular head model is not listed, the only close match is a 543-MA-A01 (the danger sticker says <400mW, so the A02 model being a 400mW part, can be counted out, as can the A03 model which is 490mW).

I'm guessing I'm either going to need an Omnichrome 160, or an Omnichrome 170 power supply to drive this thing. I'd prefer the 170 unit as it uses a more standard DB25 on the remote port which will make for easier interfacing with a home built remote, and I have located the pinouts for this as well as the 160 on sams faq. I have spotted both on ebay with exhorbitant shipping costs, but if the laser works, it'll be worth getting one of them so the laser is a complete set. I have; luckily enough, also located the umbilical!

The tube has just left LA, so I should have it in a couple of days (if the package doesn't rattle, otherwise its return to sender), and have it tesla'ed to check if the gas that makes the photon's hasn't leaked out.

Update - Laser is now in Australia. I wonder if it landed on runway 34 Left or 34 Right (active runways today). Hopefully, not by itself, but still inside the plane :)

Update 2: Tube arrived broken. Will raise a case with seller.

update 3: refund in the bank - seller was very understanding and refunded promptly - I reckon their packing team is going to get a roasting :P
 
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BobMc

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Re: omni 543-200MA which exciter?

Best wishes with your package (hope it get to you in one piece, such a heart break if not) and your build, sounds intriguing. Keep us informed. Beam shots always work well ( hint hint ). :)
 

vk2fro

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Re: omni 543-200MA which exciter?

It will be a controller operated by an arduino nano. Since the voltage conversion tables are known and the pinouts, it should be trivial to have both current and light readouts on a 20x2 LCD along with status, and also be possible to emulate the real AR1A controller using a digital potentiometer. A rotary encoder, key switch and hardware e-stop (never trust code to stop a piece of machinery :P) will round out the controller.

Right now I'm all laser'ed out - been reading tonnes of pdf's on power supplies etc etc, and finally found a thesis that mentioned the use a 543 with 300mW total power, and a 160 power supply, which kinda answered my question, along with google translating the german forum for me, also indicating this supply will work.

It even states right in the laser bible, Sams Laser FAQ, Steve Roberts (LSRFAQ here) talks of the 543 being a tube twice as long as the 532, and mated with a 160 power supply. This is cosmetically pleasing as the black colour matches the laser head. Now to identify that funky round AMPS connector as I want to keep the supply I eventually purchase original. No drilling holes, or having ribbon cables snaking out of the lid to a 25pin DSUB (although this will be my temporary patch until I identify the connector)

Why not just buy an AR1A of ebay? coz they're rare, and I can limit max current on the tube in software so when it goes into service, mr "MOAR POWAH IGOR" can run it at what he thinks is full tilt, but where I know it won't be burnt out in 6 months and be getting calls for help :)

I tell ya what, don't show your laser diode sound activated cheapy chi-jector happy mates who have no real clue about lasers, your argon, coz they'll want one too. I want my ILT back :P

edit: just tested my mini tesla coil for the first time - it lights a flouroescent tube from a short distance away - say around 5 inches. So I'm all ready to test when the tube arrives :)
 
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vk2fro

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I know this is a double post.

I open the box (in the video) and think to myself "This is gonna be broken. brace yourself!". I remained optimistic, and prayed to the laser gods to have pity on my new laser, but alas...

YOU DO NOT PACK GAS LASERS LIKE THIS!!!

I am not happy. I know I'll get a refund or exchange (might take his other ILT unit, but only if he promises to carry out my instructions to the letter for packing), but it sucks waiting a week (impressive shipping!) for a laser to cross the globe, only to find the tube is up to air, rattled, and the seller should have known to pack it properly, heeded the advice of the buyer when told to pack it properly especially when they state "this laser contains a fragile plasma tube, so please pack it like this", or already knew it was junk.



Glad I had my gopro rolling - this is proof that I did not damage the laser (apart from cutting a cable tie to free the fan assembly to find the damage). In Australia, improper packaging does NOT give your a get out of jail free card if you're trying to pass off junk. Ebay knows this, and enforces it. They even make the seller pay for return shipping. I had them (the delivery man) shake it and they told me no rattles after I told them it was a fragile glass product. This indicated to me it was not broken. If we had have heard rattles, I would have said "ok I'll sign, but mark it as damaged".

If it had been packed properly, I would have assumed I'd lost the laser lottery, taken it on the chin, extracted all the good bits (optics, ignite card, frame) and turfed the tube. But since it was so poorly packed, even after being advised its a fragile device prior to shipping, and it must be packed accordingly, they still used only an inch of fat bubbles to pack it. Idiots - of course its gonna break. I told you it was fragile!
 
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diachi

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First... you sound English! :p

Second, that sucks. Sellers fault for not packaging it properly. One of the things that puts me off of buying 543s and other gas lasers with glass tubes/tube components from eBay. Thankfully last time I did the seller followed my insfructions.

Hope you can get it worked out! :(
 

vk2fro

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Sure did - seller watched my video and sent a refund and a very apologetic email - and I get to keep the laser. So I guess I now own a set of multiline optics, an ignite card and a frame LOL. :)

So I guess this time I got what you would call a free ticket in the laser lottery. A few parts and a refund. Glad I don't have to lug this beast up to the post office - I don't have a car. I remember bringing my FT950 radio back from a post office 2 suburbs away. I had to stop at a pub for a bevvy, and I was sweating like a pig - it was a hot summers day.

They also thanked me for giving them the tips on shipping lasers, especially ions and said they will put those tips into practise.

Its a real pity tho, that would have been a hot tube - 332 hours on the clock and would have probably just needed a realign, something I've done before with ILT (pain) and GLG 3030's :)

Morol of this story: HAVE A VIDEO CAMERA ROLLING! My go pro hero 4 was a real hero in this scenario! They can't argue with a video, even mine was accepted where I cut a lot of footage of me trying various tools (metric) until I realised they were imperial bolts!

oh and english? I'm an aussie - surprised you could hear me at all (except when I grabbed the go pro - stupid gopro housing!) ;)

And with that, I spot an ILT on ebay - these are tougher lasers. Might go for that one.

Good news - scored it! Will save me having to retrieve my old ILT (unless this one ends up lower power - in which case my mate can have this tube, and I will retrieve my current one - its got real balls for a 2500 hr tube!) ;)
 
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That sucks....Well just make sure you check thoroughly as to where it is broken. It’s broken on the glass gas ballast that’s fine. (and a common place for these to break) but if the white ceramic part in the middle is broken thats a high class airborne hazmat!
 

vk2fro

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It was the gas ballast. I had to remove the cover anyway as that was where I was going to put my tesla coil near to see if it ionised. The main tube was fine. Later I will carefully remove all the useful bits and toss the rest.

I've got:
2 huge fans (lets make a wind tunnel!)
2 optics (multiline)
start card - will keep this for any member who gets one of these with a dud card
and a few other nifty odds and ends.

once I pull the bits out, I'll bag the tube to be safe and throw it in the trash.
 
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they would have to go into one of those recycling places. The way we used to dispose of them was that they would go into a thick plastic bag, be flooded with water, label this containing beryllium oxide, and picked up for hazmat disposal.

I doubt that Australia’s procedure would be much different. Throwing it in the trash will likely get it broken and airborne for someone some point down the line, not that I think anyone would ever catch you for it...
 

vk2fro

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Your right - possibly in the back of the rubbish truck when the compactor kicks in. I'd better do some research into disposing of it.

edit: that was easy - just fill in a form online and put it on the curb for collection on collection day. Just need to write on the box "HAZMAT - Beryllium Oxide" and they'll find it.
 
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Yeah, precisely that. people probably do it anyway, But in a perfect world that’s generally how they were treated. Just like with asbestos or anything else. Usually would be contained and then melted down or something. It’s actually for this reason that I still have a broken hecd sitting in my living room, wrapped in plastic
 

vk2fro

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I'll do the strip down later and bag it - thanks for the warning - I knew the stuff was dangerous, but only if you ground it up.
 
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Yeah anything that would cause it to break or powder it. Some of them even have a big red label on the top of them that warn about it. Mine is missing it.

Iirc It said something to the effect of warning contains beryllium oxide do not drop, powder or crush. In case of breakage flood with water and dispose of properly.
 

vk2fro

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Mine were still there - on the opposite side of the tube to the gas reservior - big red and white stickers. I'll take a picture later when I take it out of the shipping carton to remove the useful bits.
 
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What’s the date on yours? I think the main reason that mine doesn’t have it is because it is so old. Mine’s from the early 90s and actually Is a true omnichrome, before they were bought out by Melles Griot.
 




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