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Makrel Johnson
12-06-2016, 3:31 PM
This is my first post that wasn't a response, so hooray for that...

I've been using a Helix 40w (my first laser) since Jan of this year and I'm not sure of the longevity of the tubes that come in these machines. I like to plan ahead when I manage to think of it. Time being money, I was thinking about the 75w tube it has available. Has anyone had experience upgrading the tube in their Helix?

I briefly talked to the sales rep not long ago and he seemed to hint at *several* thousands of dollars.

What I'm hoping to gauge, is how long tube lasted before it was too weak to use and ballpark what recharging it or replacing it ran. I really like the Helix and it's massive chassis/table. It's incredibly easy to use, and being an hour from Epilog, would make parts easy to get.

Thanks!
-Mak

Tony Lenkic
12-06-2016, 4:11 PM
If you purchased new it should be still under warranty. Epilog tubes should last not less than 8 years. Check with place you got it from.

Chris J Anderson
12-06-2016, 5:15 PM
My first tube lasted under 3 years, no warranty.

The next one failed after 25 months exactly. Epilog replaced it under warranty just a few weeks ago.

Replacement price first time was $5000 australian dollars, around $3500 us dollars.

Glen Monaghan
12-06-2016, 10:06 PM
One sales pitch for western lasers is that it is easy to upgrade to a higher power tube if/when the need arises. However, no significant upgrade (such as from a 40W to 75W tube) is really that simple. You'll not only have to replace the tube, but the power supply and at least some of the wiring harness. For business reasons, the upgrade will cost you somewhat more than the difference in retail prices for new machines of the upgraded wattage and the original wattage. That is, if a new 75W model costs $X and a new 40W model costs $Y, it will cost you north of $(X-Y) to upgrade your 40W to a 75W setup. And you'd still have an older machine with original belts, bearings, etc., that was out of warranty other than the limited warranty provided with the new tube and power supply. I suspect many people opt to sell the old machine and buy the upgraded model new, getting full warranty, technology refresh, updated features, that "new laser" smell, etc.

Mike Null
12-07-2016, 6:25 AM
+1 on Glen's point.

Chuck Phillips
12-07-2016, 4:16 PM
We have been running Helix lasers for several years. Longest any tube has lasted is 30 months. YMMV

John Noell
12-08-2016, 3:31 PM
Tubes in my old Mini lasted from six weeks (Epilog's own tube) to about two years. We just got the latest tube back from Evergreen's repair shop. We will be testing it soon.

Chris J Anderson
12-08-2016, 7:38 PM
Doesn't sound good for Epilog tubes at this point ?

Would be interesting to hear form more users on tube life...

Kev Williams
12-09-2016, 12:58 AM
The 25 watt Synrad tube that's about 9 years old now in my old ULS works exactly like the day I installed it...

My 40w Synrad in my LS900 Gravo will be 13 years old in March, I've never had to adjust a saved power or speed setting to compensate for power loss, works like new--

the 35w Synrad in the almost 12 year old GCC I bought from Gary hasn't changed since I've owned it (except for picking up power after a good mirror cleaning!), it works very much like my 40 watter...

Even my 3 year and 2 weeks old 80w glass RECI works like new.

Thumbs up to Synrad and RECI :)

Mike Dempsey
12-09-2016, 2:49 AM
My Synrad Fenix laser celebrates its 20th birthday in a few months. Just had a technician fix it by tracing some faults to dry solder joints on one of the pcb's. Still works brilliantly on the original tube which is date stamped. Synrad offered to sell me a new galvo replacement at a discount which was declined. My bill was 105, that I can live with!

Chris J Anderson
12-09-2016, 3:41 AM
Wow - thats great feedback on the Synrad gear...

Michael Hunter
12-09-2016, 12:56 PM
My Epilog is old enough that it came with a Coherent-Deos laser tube - a big relief!

I had to have it re-gassed back in May after 12 years service.

The guy who did the re-gassing said that he won't touch Epilog's own tubes as there is always something else wrong with them - so that a simple cheap re-gas turns into a really difficult and expensive exercise. His theory is that Epilog got the licence to manufacture an old and not-very-good tube design.

Rick Irwin
12-15-2016, 8:38 PM
We are still using original tube in Epilog Helix manufactured Jan 2007. Ten years next month!! Machine has been used weekly. Kept in clean warm and dry environment with surge protector.