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Old 01-25-2010, 10:19 PM #1
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Default Converting a Laser Pointer to Mains

Hello Everyone,

I'm an Artist who is currently exploring the potential of small laser pointers in an piece in working on. Everything I've done so far has worked excellently but I'm really struggling with the issues that surround batteries. They just wont work in a Gallery setting. I need a laser that is low powered, any visible colour and can be on for a whole day at a time. I'm looking for a fairly cheap solution at the moment.

So, is it possible to convert a cheap laser pointer to be able to be plugged into mains? (I was thinking about wiring something like a phone charger in) Or will this just fry the laser? If not, is there a cheap solution to my troubles?

Thanks very much

K


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Old 01-25-2010, 10:23 PM #2
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Default Re: Converting a Laser Pointer to Mains

If you want it to be on for extended periods, you'll probably need either a lab-style laser or one with good cooling. As long as your power supply regulates safely and provides a similar voltage to the batteries, you should be fine (use a capacitor and resistor if you're worried). A standard, cheap pointer may well get very hot and stop working, unless you are careful. What kind of a budget do you have for the project?
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Old 01-25-2010, 10:35 PM #3
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Default Re: Converting a Laser Pointer to Mains

You should try a 5mW green (green being the most visible) module, try Welcome to O-Like.com, Your source for laser products, you could get a heatsink like this one : Lab style heatsink for 12mm laser modules - $21.99 : Modwerx Shop

To power the laser, a cheap alternative is a computer PSU, one of the voltage outputs is 3.3V, which should be ok, but you could add a low value resistor to drop to 3V or use a 8003 voltage regulator (http://www.datasheetcatalog.org/data...FF00007CEB.pdf) which should give you a 3V output, but use a heatsink for it too.

I'm maybe a little technical here, so if you need more details, just ask.
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:03 PM #4
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Default Re: Converting a Laser Pointer to Mains

If you can spend $40 here is a complete system ready to go....

This laser is 15mw green, can run all day without a problem, and ships from Texas USA so you don't have to wait a month for an order to arrive from China.

aixiz.com StoreFront
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Last edited by photonaholic; 01-25-2010 at 11:05 PM.
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:18 PM #5
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Default Re: Converting a Laser Pointer to Mains

If you want a green, consider the aixiz one above - its easier and not more expensive that building it yourself.

If you want a red or blu ray version, DX sells a 100 mW red in a big beefy heatsink at low price, and that can run all day from 5 volts. You could convert it to take a bluray diode with a driver set at conservative current levels.

Using a pen style laser and feeding it from mains usually isnt the best idea - most of those are not designed for continous operation and will probably overheat at some point, especially the greens (they go dim when that happens, though often no permanent damage is done yet at that point).
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Old 01-29-2010, 02:04 AM #6
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Default Re: Converting a Laser Pointer to Mains

We need to know: power, quantity, color, and budget if you please.
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Old 02-03-2010, 02:46 AM #7
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Default Re: Converting a Laser Pointer to Mains

I've used the power setup in this scanner tutorial by rog8811:


It can be done - Liquid sky


the only thing i did differently was add a surge protector to the mix, which probably isn't even needed
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Old 02-03-2010, 04:17 AM #8
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Default Re: Converting a Laser Pointer to Mains

Let us know how long it lasts.....
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Old 02-03-2010, 09:26 PM #9
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Default Re: Converting a Laser Pointer to Mains

I think it would hold up for quite a while, I had the diodes heatsinked along with intake and outtake fans. My build was a bit sloppy looking though. I just pulled it all apart a few days ago so I could redo it, I literally just finished powder coating the new project box parts. I'm just waiting on one more laser module before I can put it all together again. I'll post pics when its done.

This is sort of a big project though, its a few different units that can be linked or run individually, and only one of them is actually laser related.
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Old 03-10-2010, 05:48 PM #10
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Default Re: Converting a Laser Pointer to Mains

Hi guys,

sorry for being so slow on this, been so busy recently!

as far as budget goes, recently i've come into some money for this so i guess around 70 as im based in the uk that works out around $100

It seems that perhaps a ready made module would be the best option for me. That $40 one, does it come with a powersupply? I can buy from the states as i have a friend over there who can forward it to me so shipping only to us is not a prob for me.

Is there a better option out there?
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Old 03-10-2010, 05:53 PM #11
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Default Re: Converting a Laser Pointer to Mains

oh and i forgot to say, colour isnt really an issue. red, blue or green. are they all as visible as each other?
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Old 03-10-2010, 06:01 PM #12
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Default Re: Converting a Laser Pointer to Mains

also, I was wondering about safety. In the piece im working on the beam line (if thats what you call it) is visible, not the point. Is this safe?
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Old 03-10-2010, 08:16 PM #13
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Default Re: Converting a Laser Pointer to Mains

Quote:
Originally Posted by kees View Post
oh and i forgot to say, colour isnt really an issue. red, blue or green. are they all as visible as each other?
The human eye sees green substantially better than any other colour.


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Old 03-10-2010, 10:45 PM #14
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Default Re: Converting a Laser Pointer to Mains

Green is more visible per-mW surely, so that would be the best choice.

If you get the aixiz module mentioned: this does not come with a mains supply, and needs 5 volts input. It doesnt state current requirement, but i doubt it will be that high - you can probably power it one of those usb-charger-adapters used for charging ipods and the like...

You can also get this http://www.aixiz.com/shop/product_in...ea7070727dceb3 more powerful module that comes with a mains supply for $65 - could be worthwhile, but be careful that you dont point that 50 mW beam in peoples faces!
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Old 03-12-2010, 04:27 AM #15
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Exclamation Re: Converting a Laser Pointer to Mains

Quote:
Originally Posted by kees View Post
also, I was wondering about safety. In the piece im working on the beam line (if thats what you call it) is visible, not the point. Is this safe?
Since this is an art piece... presumably it will be displayed in some place - where people might be close to it? Not to be a wet blanket, but:

If that beam is anywhere that a person could possibly get anything into the beam (an eye, or anything shiny; a small hand with a ring?) then you'd better stick to less than 5mW... at which point your beam won't be very visible unless the room is dark, or the beam is going through something other than air.

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Old 03-12-2010, 09:25 AM #16
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Default Re: Converting a Laser Pointer to Mains

The 50 mW one from Aixiz is both modulable (via TTL signal, on and off, not analog) and tunable in power output (the small trimmer near the TIP41C can be used for decrease the output power)

It can also be modified for add a sort of "analog modulation", but is not matter of a pair of wires ..... it require to build an add-on part of circuit ..... anyway, i suppose that for the use that the OP require, it can be a good solution ..... just remember to put the power supply board in a plastic case (with a fan and some grids for cooling is better), and to not place the module in some very closed space where don't run free air (it require cooling, so a free air run, a fit on some big place of metal that can help to disperse the heat, or also better a little fan, is needed) and you can run it for all the day .....
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