Introduction: How to Use a CO2 Laser Power Probe to Certify a CO2 Laser Is Performing to Warranty Specifications

The video provides a sample demonstration of the Mahoney laser power probe, and describes how it saved me from a fake seller of CO2 laser tubes.

My story is as follows:
The fake seller had sold me a 150 watt laser for more than two thousand dollars, including the power supply. I measured the laser output power and got 145 watts. Then, I measured the power supply current. The power supply current was set for 34mA. According the manufacturer manual, it should be set to 30 mA or less or else the gas in the tube will be consumed very quickly and the laser will not work.

After reducing the current to 30 mA per the instruction manual and measuring with my multimeter, I then used the Mahoney CO2 laser power probe to measure the maximum laser output power. The max power was 129 watts.

I contacted the seller and told them that the 150 watt laser he sold me was a 130 watt laser with a 150 watt laser price. I told the seller that his quality was unacceptable and returned the laser to the seller and did not pay the invoice because the laser was returned.

The laser tube shown in the video is an example, and not the one in the story. The laser tube shown in the video is a 100 watt RECI. I bought this laser as a 100 watt RECI laser from a Jinan laser company. I read the power supply manual and reduced it to 28 mA, the long life recommendation by the power supply manufacturer. Then, the maximum output power on this laser tube was reduced to about 92 watts. I kept this laser, even though the maximum output power was only 95 watts at 30 mA. I believe that I could have argued for a discount from this supplier and gotten one becasue of the reduced power, but did not pursue it.

I recently received six, 60 watt laser tubes, and they all tested at 62 watts and above.

I recommend to anyone buying a 130 watt CO2 glass tube laser, or the 150 or 180 watt lasers--that they buy this power probe and test it after receipt, so that they can make a claim to the seller if it does not meet the power rating specified (and be sure to use your multimeter to test the power supply so that you are not tricked by the current setting cranked up so that the laser lifetime is greatly reduced).


izzetshn (author)2014-04-14

Today, i have completed assembly of a CO2 laser from RECI, 150W. After all. i get very low power when it setted up to full of its power (100%). I measured the laser power suppy output was 29mA. According to this article i need 34mA power supply output. Our suppliars are really insistent to sent me correct power supply.

HelmutHound (author)2013-09-15

What is the length of operating life of a 100 watt RECI laser, and how much does one usually cost?

laser_power (author)HelmutHound2013-09-16

Two week ago, I had my worker (he is Chinese) contact all the major CO2 glass tube laser manufacturers for current pricing and warranty times on the tubes. The RECI company 100 watt (and we have one here in house now that we use for testing), is warrantied at 300 days. However, if the laser tube is bad, then RECI will want to check it. If the laser power supply has had its current too high then the electrode turns to a new color. This new color voids the warranty. (See my instructable lesson, not video, on setting your power supply). RECI also sells their own power supply, and I buy it and find it is good. But, that power supply is not required for the warranty, only that it is run at the proper current.

Regarding price, RECI has a special program, where they will sell direct, but at a high price for quantity one. Their program is to encourage resellers to buy from them, not end users. So they have a club discount price, or reduced price when you spend more than USD 5000. So, when you get RECI pricing and sales information, it is typically from a reseller that sets the price. And, their purchase volume from RECI dictates their pricing discount (higher volume means lower cost to the reseller). So, the pricing varies from suppliers in China. Our cost is around USD580 for the 100 watt. I find most Chinese suppliers around the USD700-750 plus range.

Keep in mind, however, that this is a large glass tube, and prone to break in transit. I have had many broken laser tubes sent from China to the USA by air, and it has cost me a lot of money because I have to replace them for my customers.

So, if you plan to buy a large laser tube, such as the RECI 100 watt, a suggestion is that you try to stipulate that the seller pays the insurance for the shipped item (DHL is by far the best with the fewest breaking, Fedex is terrible in my experience). Otherwise, when you receive it you may be the one to make the claim and have to wait for a replacement tube to arrive.

Buying on eBay can be safe for the transaction because the seller has a reputation to maintain and eBay has strong policies that it can enforce, especially with paypal.