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We have achieved long-pulse plasma heating using a negative-ion-based neutral beam injector (NBI) in the large helical device (LHD), where the confinement magnetic field is generated by only external superconducting coils. In the initial long-pulse experiments at lower power than that in short-pulse experiments, 80 keV–1.1 MW NBI heating lasted for 10 s with a little increase in the plasma density at the pulse end. Almost steady-state plasma heating was achieved for 21 s with 66 keV–0.6 MW NB injection. Plasma relaxation oscillation phenomena at a period of 1–2 s were also observed for 20 s. Above 1 keV plasma was easily sustained with a long-pulse NBI heating in LHD, without the current drive nor the disruption in tokamaks. Negative ion source operation was stable and the cooling water temperature rise of beam accelerator grids was nearly saturated with a temperature rise below 10 °C. For a higher power injection, the pulse duration is determined by the beam blocking, where the reionization loss is exponentially increased together with an increase in outgas in the injection port. The port conditioning by a careful repetition of injection is effective to the extension of the injection duration and the plasma maintenance duration. The initial long-pulse NBI heating at the reduced power has demonstrated an ability of steady-state operation in superconducting LHD. © 1999 American Institute of Physics.