Laser tubes and power supplies life - how long did your last?

Hi there

How long do your laser tubes and power supplies live?
Mine lives end surprisingly early.

CO2 laser cutters
1600x1000mm 130W, chiller cl-5500
500x300mm 60W, inside water chiller
Room temperature never goes below 16C.
Humidity: very low.
Maximum power in Lightburn: 75%.

  1. First laser tube, nd950 60W - lived 9 months, ~1500h

  2. It’s power supply MYJG-60W Zye - lived just10 months.

  3. Second tube nd950 60W - died after 8 months, ~1500h of work. After this time I called help and found out that power supply, while having 75% power in Lightburn, gave 120% mA to the tube and it got fried slowly.

  4. Power supply MYJG-150W Zye, blue - died after 18 months.

  5. Tube RECI W6 130-150W - 19 months, ~3600h.
    Also fried by too much mA - my fault this time. Didn’t read manual for the new power supply :’(

Anyway I started to think if it is common to buy a laser cutter in which the power supply is not calibrated right and gives a little bit too much mA so that it fries sooner and so you buy new tube/power supply more often from your supplier.

What are your tubes/power units lives?

Hi Lukasz,

I went thru my batch of K40 40Watt CO2 tubes and most of them last about 1500hrs so it pretty much matches your set of tubes. The first stock tube in my k40 only lasted 300 hrs and I never could cut any plywood with it. The reason was that it was an old stock K40 sitting 2 years in a warehouse. Unfortunately these tubes do age even when not used so make sure to check their manufacturers date. Often there is a sticker or label on the tube.
Reci tubes do stick out in performance and life span above the other brands but they are also a bit more expensive. I managed to buy one on eBay for AUD250 and it did last about two years of use over 2000 hrs.
One tube prematurely went bad and showed a ghostly dancing discharge glow but no beam. Apparently people call this the drunken sailor syndrome.

Maybe apples to oranges and no hard numbers here, but my first machine was a Chinese “red and black” 80W ebay special and served me well for a couple years before I sorta outgrew it. I used it a lot - several hours almost every day since I got it. Eventually I learned I needed a milliamp meter which I installed. I never knew for sure the limits on the tube, but as best as I could reckon about 18mA was pretty near the max it should operate which was about 45% power. When I sold the machine a month ago the tube was still going strong same as the day I got it (as best as I could tell).

When I read in your post that you use 75% power that sounded like a lot to me. Again, my machine is different than yours, but just joining the discussion.

If you do not have a milliamp meter on your laser then you shouldn’t be operating it. Lightburn percentages and power supply percentages have nothing to do with how many milliamps are being fed the tube. Your tube has a max milliamp rating stamped on it and you should get milliamp meter and run that tube at no greater than 90% of the milliamp rating. For $10 worth of meter and 20 minutes worth of time you can save yourself hundreds of dollars worth of pain.

Tubes have a finite life and it depends on many factors. As you have pointed out, higher operation at high current will shorten the life span of the tube. Also it is true you get what you pay for in terms of life and efficiency of the tube.

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