Re: Slightly OT: How can I dissolve Potting Compound?

Greg Muir

If you want to kill your liver, soak your hands in MEK. Acetone and lacquer thinner are just as bad. All can be very destructive on components.

A considerable time ago when I was frequently reverse engineering products I used several variants of potting dissolving products specifically designed for the job. Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the manufacturer at this time. You might try Googling a few key words to see if there is anything out on the Web.

For a quick glance inside with smaller items I would take them over to my dentists office and had him X-ray them. We had a good working relationship and he saw me frequently but not for my dental work.

Nearly four decades ago when I was designing frequency stabilized HeNe lasers for calibration purposes I had the luxury of obtaining the tube specs from the manufacturers. The tubes required grading to determine gross drift before I applied my “magic” to bring them into high stability. The coarse grading was achieved by heterodyning the HeNe laser against an Iodine stabilized laser which produced an RF signal that could be measured with conventional test equipment to optimize the operating current for best initial stability after a 72 hour burn-in (which was still horrid at best).

There are a few hints that may provide a few answers to your dilemma. Googling “determining proper operating current for a laser tube” will bring up a few hits. One I noticed that was at the top of the list was


Phone calls to manufacturers are always an option even if they have no relationship to the tubes that you have. That’s providing that you can get past the receptionist who answers the phone. It’s better to burrow in through the tech services department since you are talking to people who normally have at least a modicum of knowledge in the subject.

The best resource are universities who have labs involved in laser research. Investigators are usually more comfortable bantering on such subjects. I found them to be of great asset when involved in my laser work.


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