View Full Version : Preparing for winter power outages.

Joe Hillmann
12-17-2011, 10:22 AM
Does anyone here have a back up heat plan to keep there water cooled lasers from freezing if there is an extended winter power outage in your area? A few times every winter you see on the news about a winter storm taking down power lines over large areas and the residents being without power for weeks in some cases and every time I hear one of those stories it worries me about what would happen if I lost power to my shop and couldn't keep my lasers above freezing.

Michael Hunter
12-17-2011, 10:47 AM
Antifreeze in the water!

Joe Hillmann
12-17-2011, 10:48 AM
I am really hoping that is sarcasm.

Ross Moshinsky
12-17-2011, 10:58 AM
How big of a space is it? There are plenty of heating solutions that use natural gas or propane that don't require any electricity. I have no idea what your shop looks like so I couldn't even begin to attempt to tell you what would work.

The best solution would be to get a generator. You'll need to spend a few bucks (or thousand bucks) to get it wired up properly, but you should be able to run your heater no problem off a generator. Just remember to stock up on gas and use a bit of stabilizer to keep it good.

John Dahl
12-17-2011, 11:16 AM
If you don't have power, you can't run the laser anyway, so why not just drain the cooling system if you have a long blackout?

Joe Hillmann
12-17-2011, 11:21 AM
At the moment I am thinking of buying a vent less heater and attatching it to the natural gas line that runs to the furnace, Or if that won't work get a 100# propane cylinder so I could run it for weeks without worrying about running out. But am just looking for other options because both of these options are a few hundred dollars, and to fully protect from freezing I would need two heaters because one of my chillers is in the basement and all the lasers are up stairs.

I don't know if it would be sufficient to simply drain the water and blow out the water lines with compressed air, it would be enough to protect the hans chiller in the basement but I don't think it would be enough to protect the waterlines in the laser heads.

Joe Hillmann
12-17-2011, 11:33 AM
If you don't have power, you can't run the laser anyway, so why not just drain the cooling system if you have a long blackout?

I am not sure I could just drain the coolent, a few drops would end up staying in the head of the laser and if it froze it may cause damage. (I am concerned with yags, my CO2's are air cooled. But anyone with a water cooled laser in cold climates should have some plan for how to keep there lasers from freezing)

Rich Harman
12-17-2011, 12:01 PM
I am really hoping that is sarcasm.

What is the problem with using antifreeze?

Michael Hunter
12-17-2011, 12:17 PM

Not sarcasm at all.

One of the UK Chinese laser importers has done "a lot of research" and is selling a "special" glycol based antifreeze especially for water-cooled lasers.
Sounds just like quality car antifreeze to me.

Have a look at hpclaser dot co dot uk and click on the "new products" box on the left-hand side.

Richard Rumancik
12-17-2011, 12:20 PM
I don't know if Michael was intending to be serious or not with regards to the "antifreeze" suggestion, but I don't understand why you felt it was out of the question to use an alternative fluid. Of course, there would be quite a few issues related to material compatibility that would need to be looked at, as water tends to be quite inert against many materials. You would have to know what metals and plastics, rubbers etc are involved in the circulation loop to ensure there were no adverse effects, and ensure that it was also compatible with the pump. Perhaps "glycol" isn't the answer, but there are other fluids with a lower freezing point than water that could be considered. Perhaps start with the laser manufacturer and pose the question - at least they should be able to tell you the materials for which you need to be compatible.

I am not familiar with chillers or water cooled laser tubes but it seems possible that a suitable fluid exists.

Peter Odell
12-17-2011, 12:46 PM
I use Prestone 50/50 with my Lasers Works great

Joe Hillmann
12-17-2011, 3:28 PM
The reason I thought he was being sarcastic is because both of mine require deionized water.

Mark Sipes
12-17-2011, 4:11 PM
What does the manufacture recommend....... ??

deionized water additives....... Artic Antifreeze

The water used in Arctic Blend® antifreeze is de-ionized, which is chemically equivalent to distilled water. It has gone through EET’s multi-step decontamination and desalting processes and won’t contribute to corrosion or scaling in cooling systems

matthew knott
12-17-2011, 7:06 PM
Hi Joe, i can tell you exactly what you need to do here, first dont under any circumstances put antifreeze in your yag lasers, it contaminates everything and takes ages to flush out ( i know becasue i had to do one last year).
Also you need to do is drain the water, on the electrox simply remove the return hose from the chiller and turn the laser on, it will pump the water out till the low level is reached, it might be wise to remove the feed and blow down the pipe just to insure theres no large volumes of trapped water. Thats all we did after test at electrox for shipping and they go in unheated plane holds. Your right to be worried as expanding water can destroy the diodes, q switch, yag rod and flow tube, all the expensive stuff in the laser. The hans will be the same, disconnect the head blow it out and it will be fine. The problem with both the lasers you have is the water directly cools the yag rods, and on the hans the lamp, anything in the water can be baked onto the lamp and rod and can cause damage. Co2 are different, the cooling liquid doesnt come into contact with any critical faces, just the outside of the glass tube so glycol is fine for these. One thing you should defo be using to prolong the life of your electrox is add optisheild as it keeps the diodes from corroding inside, get it from electrox or here http://www.optishield.net/home.php?cat=103
Best solution as you have said is just keep the room at the right temp but draining will save the day!