The construction and operation of a reliable externally heated copper vapor laser for parametric studies is presented. A long-life high-temperature heating element is described. A temperature measurement method has been developed that is compatible with laser operation and has an accuracy ofpm20degC over the range0-1700degC. The laser is operated in the burst mode to eliminate effects of discharge hearing and enable measurement of the time evolution of laser behavior. An electrical circuit was developed which eliminates transient electrical behavior at the beginning of the burst. An example of parameter measurement, the dependence of output power on tube temperature under specific operating conditions, is also given.