FERMI is the FEL-based light source in operation for external users since 2011 at the Elettra Research Center in Trieste, Italy. FERMI@Elettra is the name of the project for the construction and commissioning of this source. The design strategies adopted in the project had to consider the extremely close presence and the routine operation for users of the synchrotron–based source Elettra. There are more than 350 magnets and coils distributed along the linear accelerator, the two chains of undulators and the electron beam dump. Almost each magnetic element requires a dedicated DC power supply. Magnets, power supplies, and the connecting cables constitute a system, strongly interconnected with the remote control system, the machine and personnel safety system, and the infrastructure. All this has to fulfill the requirements from the particle physics specialists. We adopted a “systemic” approach in the design of new magnets and the re-use of the old ones, as well as the choice and the design of the associated power supplies. The commissioning of the systems started early 2010 and almost all magnet power supplies are in operation since then. During these 5 years, we introduced few minor upgrades and patches while the adopted solutions proved their soundness in terms of performance and reliability, causing very little downtime to the FERMI operations.
FERMI@Elettra is the first seeded VUV/soft X-ray FEL source. It is composed of two undulatory chains: the low energy branch (FELl) covering the wavelength range from 20 nm up to 100 nm, and the high energy branch (FEL2, employing a double stage cascade), covering the wavelength range from 4 nm up to 20 nm. At the end of 2012 FELl has been opened to external users while FEL2 has been turned on for the first time having demonstrated that a double cascade scheme is suitable for generating high intensity coherent FEL radiation. In this paper we will share our experience and will show our most recent results for both FERMI FELl and FEL2 sources. We will also present a brand new machine scheme that allows to perform two-colour pump and probe experiments as well as the first experimental results.