For the heavy ion programme of the LHC a new ECRIS type heavy ion source had to be designed and built for Linac3 to fullfill the intensity requirements. Experience acquired during the installation and commissioning of the source and during operation for the LEIR ring commissioning will be presented. The performance of the source and its reliability are evaluated. Further requirements for high reliability, low down time, easy maintenance and for future physics needs will be discussed. SOURCE UPGRADING Experiments to prove the feasibility of stacking and electron cooling of highly charged ions in the LEAR ring were successful. Phase space stacking in three planes i
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