Dodgy(?) Chinese eBay laser seller question

I reckon this topic could be a forum in its own right.

I bought a Redsail laser (90W RECI W2 CO2) from an eBay site in China, knowing full well that I’d get what I paid for and some mucking around would be necessary. That said, I’ve been very happy with what turned up. A couple of little “huh?” observations, but in general I’m stoked.

Now for the mucking around. After a week of pottering around doing material tests and a couple of little projects I realised the power was fading. Pretty quickly.

The eBay vendor was adamant it was a mirror problem and I couldn’t convince her otherwise. Finally I sent a video of the machine not burning a hole in a piece of paper stuck right at the end of the tube. At last she was convinced.

Now the story became “Smash the tube, send me a picture and I’ll send you a refund for the tube”. How much of a refund, I asked? “Oh, sorry, didn’t I say? $120 (USD)”. ($120 was what I paid for the 80W noname tube to be upgraded to a 90W RECI). I let her know that the price of a RECI W2 in Australia is $1100 (AUD) - I haven’t heard back.

Now, if the tube is knackered I’m happy to smash it, but it seems to me that I’ve gone from “definitely a mirror problem” to “definitely a tube problem” with no consideration of other possibilities. Could it be a PSU problem? “No no, smash the tube”.

Now, my suspicious mind can see all sorts of problems with this. It’s in her interest to do a warranty claim if what she gets from RECI is more than what she’s prepared to refund me. Also, how do I enforce the refund? She can’t make a claim until I’ve demonstrated that the tube is ruined.

Any suggestions, kind folks?

(EDIT) I should also say that I’ve been pretty happy with both the machine and the service from this vendor - up until the $120 refund offer that is, that’s clearly dishonest.

#1 Smashing the tube is dishonest.
#2 What does $120 do for you if a new tube is $1,100?

You said it was working ok, then not. How long have you been using it? Do you have a milliamp meter installed on the power supply? Where you running at full power often? It is said this will kill a tube quickly. I’ve heard it is very important not to run over the suggested milliamperage, and if run too hard a tube can last as little as 3-6 months.

Will Ebay/Paypal do anything for you?

I’d write off the idea of settling for $120 and focus more on trouble shooting at this point…you may end up smashing a good tube, $120 and the issue being something else.

Last thought, have you contacted Redsail for possible troubleshooting help or suggestion?

I can see the point in smashing the tube; it proves to RECI that I’m not making a warranty claim for something that is actually working. The output collar of the tube has the tube serial number engraved on it, so taking a photo of it next to the tube serial sticker proves that I’m not trying to score an extra tube dishonestly.

I’ve had the machine for two weeks now. The first week was fine doing material tests, then I noticed the power required to cut MDF increasing. Now it will mark MDF, but once the power exceeds about 60% it suddenly won’t even put a hole in paper. I haven’t checked to see how long it takes to recover. I still see a bright purple plasma arc down the length of the tube and it still draws 22mA, but there’s no output.

The tube has never been run at more than 70%, which was 24mA on the ammeter. Even that was only briefly during material tests; for the most part it hasn’t been run at more than 65%, or 22mA. I’ve been very careful about that.

There’s no way I’m agreeing to $120 refund. That was disappointing; the vendor had been honest with me up to that point. If they won’t refund at least the cost to me for a new tube I’ll take it through the eBay/Paypal process, and they’ll end up with a very bad review rather than the good one they were getting. I don’t have a problem with teething issues, but trying to rip me off is going to go badly.

The Redsail idea is good, thanks for that. I’m not really sure who I’m dealing with so far, they might be associated with Redsail or they might be some sort of independent sales contractor. Their email address is @bluesaildirect.com . I also think there might be more than one “Julie” that I’ve been talking to.

I’ve also organised another power supply to try. One of the “huh?” moments was discovering that the HV PSU supplied was 80W, driving a 90W tube. (Another “huh?” moment was discovering that the tube was 90W, not 100W as had been advertised. It’s capable of 100W though, so caveat emptor I guess).

The information you supplied is good for trouble shooting.

I am pretty new to lasers, but I had a bad HV PSU on my new laser and went through the lengthy process. I spent a month troubleshooting, researching, communicating to try to find the unique problem. Many people here helped me.

The purple light on the laser while firing is good. Your operation of the tube sounds good, and it is a very new laser.

It appears that HV PSUs are very susceptible to failure. I am surprised that the vendor put only an 80W PSU with a 90W tube. That raises a red flag in my mind. Also, I am new myself, but in reading it seems to me (someone correct me if I’m wrong) that reci tubes use a specific reci matched PSU?

Yeah, there are a few red flags.

The original eBay advertisement included an 80W noname tube and I asked for it to be upgraded to a 100W RECI, which actually turns out to be 90W, capable of 100W. Would they put in a bigger tube but not think to change the PSU? Maybe.

An 80W MYJG80R PSU on eBay is 230mm x 161mm x 96mm. This one is 190mm x 140mm x 90mm, but still labelled MYJG80R. Sticker fraud? Maybe.

The cover safety switch doesn’t seem to be connected to anything, it certainly doesn’t go to the controller and the laser still fires with the cover open and the override switch turned off. Bloody stupid? Mayb… er… yeah.

Same with the alarm connector from the chiller. Wires don’t go to the controller and disconnecting it doesn’t make a difference. (There’s still an inline flow sensor, though).

Anyway, I’ve just received a new 100W HV PSU from Cloudray which I’m told will safely drive tubes from 80W to 100W. I’m just waiting for my local hardware store to tell me I can pick up some connectors from the carpark so I can do a proper job of wiring it in. (My part of Australia is in lockdown, so I can’t just walk into a shop and buy the stuff I need).

Does anyone know; do I have to tell my 100W PSU it’s driving a 90W tube, or is that done automagically?

The safety cover switch not working is concerning. I go overboard and wear proper laser glasses even with the lid down. I’ve not heard of anyone adjusting the output of a power supply, but I know there are internal potentiometers. PLEASE DOUBLE CHECK, but I believe if Cloudray states its for 80-100W, and it is a proper PSU for your model Reci tube, you should be good as long as you operate keeping the mA within range for the tube. Tube life is directly related to usage, the closer to 70% power, and the more often you run it at upper levels, the shortage tubes last. I have noticed that all of my PSU’s have a micro switch in the location of the connectors…mine are all switched to the left. On person reported not having control of his tube output, stated that it was firing at 100%, so he switched the switch from the position he received it to the other side…I don’t know which side his PSU was on at the time, and I don’t know what the micro switch is for, but he stated it fixed his problem.