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Thread: Need help starting an ALC-60X Argon

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bungy View Post
    It appears the heater is functional, cathode is on the right side in the pic.
    Yup. That's the cathode filament glow you're looking for. Perfect.

    I could also see anode flashing purple as it tries to start.
    Even better news. That means the starter is almost able to light the tube. So you're close.

    My BD-10 doesn't have a button, I feel like I should make some kind of momentary footswitch before I attempt this.
    You have the one with the dial at the back? That's OK. You can still do this. But you'll need both hands. (One to hold the unit and one to turn the knob.) As Steve Roberts said though, the BD-10 is super-well insulated. You won't get shocked. Just keep your fingers away from the metal tip.

    Quote Originally Posted by bungy View Post
    After leaving it on for an hour, the cathode side is lit. The anode side is still trying to start, it is flashing purple weakly.
    As NobleGas posted, this is actually not so good. It means the tube is trying to light down the gas-returns rather than down the bore. (You can't get any lasing action if you don't have the plasma in the bore.)

    Now that Steve has posted detailed pictures of where to use the BD-10 on your head, I'd just give that a try. Be sure to be ready to immediately re-install the cover and blower/fan to restore cooling to the head if it lights though! Once the tube lights it's going to get hot really fast, so you need to get air flowing through those fins as soon as possible.

    You'll know if it works almost immediately. Both brewster stems will light up with the purple plasma glow you see in your picture of the cathode end above. If your alignment is good you might even get a beam. But even if you don't have a beam, just seeing the plasma is enough to know that the tube is lit.

    Once it lights, turn off the BD-10 and set it aside, drop the lid over the tube, and fire up the blower (or fan) immediately. Then run it for a good 8 hrs or so at ~ 7 amps of tube current. Don't run it wide open or it might wink out, but don't run it at idle either. You want a strong arc blasting down the bore to bury some of the gas in the walls of the tube.

    After that, see if it will start back up on it's own without the help from the BD-10...

    Adam

  2. #12
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    Thanks all for the info. I still haven't had a chance to mess with the laser again, but I think I can try it out tomorrow morning.

    Where can I measure the tube current?

  3. #13
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    Well, I just tried the coil. I gave it some sparks at the position indicated on the cathode side, but nothing happened.

    I only gave it a few sparks but my coil was intermittently cutting out, so I opened the case but couldn't separate the internal components from it. After I screwed the halves back together, the coil doesn't work at all.

    Looks like Amazon has new ones for $250, and none on ebay right now.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bungy View Post
    Well, I just tried the coil. I gave it some sparks at the position indicated on the cathode side, but nothing happened.

    I only gave it a few sparks but my coil was intermittently cutting out, so I opened the case but couldn't separate the internal components from it. After I screwed the halves back together, the coil doesn't work at all.

    Looks like Amazon has new ones for $250, and none on ebay right now.
    Open the coil back up, dig through the wax a bit and find the broken magnet wire. I bet its between the two loose units inside that use apezion wax as potting, i f they have not changed the design. You should not have to dig deep.
    ~
    Google "repairing quack BD-10"
    ~
    Parts are available from Electro Technic Products as a web order.
    ~

    Steve
    Last edited by mixedgas; 06-07-2018 at 06:23.
    Qui habet Christos, habet Vitam!
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  5. #15
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    When you say nothing happened, what exactly do you mean? If you've got a blue glow at the cathode already, no amount of trying to start it with an Oudin coil will work. If you have the ionisation glow, put a voltmeter across the red and black jacks on the side of the head marked current (under no cirumstances use a meter in current mode, it must be on DC volts); if I remember correctly, the scaling is 0.2V/A. Let us know the measured voltage with the ionisation at the cathode.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mixedgas View Post
    Open the coil back up, dig through the wax a bit and find the broken magnet wire. I bet its between the two loose units inside that use apezion wax as potting, i f they have not changed the design. You should not have to dig deep.
    ~
    Google "repairing quack BD-10"
    ~
    Parts are available from Electro Technic Products as a web order.
    Steve
    I came across that repair page, but I can't get to any of the internal components. I'll mess with it some more, nothing to lose now.

    Quote Originally Posted by NobleGas View Post
    When you say nothing happened, what exactly do you mean? If you've got a blue glow at the cathode already, no amount of trying to start it with an Oudin coil will work. If you have the ionisation glow, put a voltmeter across the red and black jacks on the side of the head marked current (under no cirumstances use a meter in current mode, it must be on DC volts); if I remember correctly, the scaling is 0.2V/A. Let us know the measured voltage with the ionisation at the cathode.
    The cathode side doesn't always light up blue. When I sparked it, it was not blue. The sparks went to the cooling box/fins, they didn't seem to want to go down to the tube, and I got real close to the tube without touching it. No flickers, no bangs, nothing in the head seemed to change.

    I see the tube current jacks on the side now, yes it is 0.2V/A. I will take some readings the next time I mess with it.

  7. #17
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    Hold a white piece of paper at the put end next time you try.

    Steve
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  8. #18
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    Lightbulb Bring it to SELEM?

    Just a thought...

    SELEM is coming up in a couple months. You could sign up and then bring the laser with you.

    We'll have several people in the Ion Laser Work Room for the duration of the event. If they can't get that tube lit, they'll at least be able to tell you why.

    Adam

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by buffo View Post
    Just a thought...

    SELEM is coming up in a couple months. You could sign up and then bring the laser with you.

    We'll have several people in the Ion Laser Work Room for the duration of the event. If they can't get that tube lit, they'll at least be able to tell you why.

    Adam
    I'd love to! But with 3 little kids it wouldn't be very nice of me to leave them with my wife for a long weekend.
    I was at SELEM 2013 (I brought Sam), it was the first time I saw an Argon laser. Hopefully I will be able to attend again in the future.

  10. #20
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    Bring your wife along, have everyone pack bathing suits, and have your wife take the kids to the water park at Carowinds for a day or two. Trust me, they will have a great time! And you'll be able to have some fun with the lasers at SELEM while they are playing at the park.

    Just a thought...

    Adam

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