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Old 02-27-2014, 10:44 AM #1
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Default Powering 2 laser pointers + collimator lens

Hi everyone, i have a two questions for which i hope someone can help me with.

I have 2 green star laser pointers that i jury rigged together so it provides a beam on both sides. Problem is that the thread i used is conductive, so i am powering both of them from one 3 volt aa battery pack.

The beams are naturally a little weaker compared to being powered individually, so im wondering what are my options.

Would parallel connection of 2 battery packs make a difference?
Upping the voltage to 6 volts would fry the circuits?

Second issue i have is making the beams thicker. For that i would need what exactly?

From what i could find out, a collimator lens. If im mistaken, please correct me :/

If anyone knows where i could order one that i would simply attach on the end of the pointer, i would appreciate it

Thanks in advance


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Old 02-27-2014, 02:16 PM #2
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Default Re: Powering 2 laser pointers + collimator lens

Why wouldn't you consider powering each laser off their own battery pack? It would be much easier...

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Old 02-27-2014, 02:26 PM #3
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Default Re: Powering 2 laser pointers + collimator lens

To make the beam thicker you would need a beam expander, which probably isn't available for a pointer like yours... correct me if I'm wrong.

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Old 02-27-2014, 09:56 PM #4
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Default Re: Powering 2 laser pointers + collimator lens

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Originally Posted by oahu99 View Post
Why wouldn't you consider powering each laser off their own battery pack? It would be much easier...

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because i like to complicate things

no seriously, the thread for connecting the modules is conductive, so the positive lead goes through both. only solution is to somehow make a wooden thread or something, because i want the beams to look perfectly straight, and they do.

wouldnt an expander make the laser beam look like a V instead of a thick ass I?

i didnt mention this, but im a total noob when it comes to electronics an lasers
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Old 02-27-2014, 10:56 PM #5
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Default Re: Powering 2 laser pointers + collimator lens

I'm pretty sure a beam expander is what you want.
It increases the beam diameter and restrains the original shape.
As for the battery pack issue, are your lasers in parallel or series?
If they are series you need the batteries in series. If they are in parallel you need the batteries in parallel.
Post again if you have any other problems.


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Old 02-28-2014, 12:00 AM #6
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Default Re: Powering 2 laser pointers + collimator lens

A beam expander is what you would need to make your beam diameter larger. They are not cheap. The cheapest I've picked one up for was around $75 and it is a cheapo Newport. It works fine but I suspect it is quite lossy. What beam ex panders are really good for is reducing the size of the dot at a distance. It makes the beam bigger at the aperture so you can narrow it farther out against its natural divergence. Good for increasing power density (burning) at a distance, or making the size of your projected dot much smaller than you could without one at a distance (100ft give or take fifty).

I'm not really sure I understand how you have these things connected with a conductive thread. Maybe a picture or two would help illustrate what you are doing.
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Old 02-28-2014, 07:51 AM #7
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Default Re: Powering 2 laser pointers + collimator lens

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Originally Posted by oahu99 View Post
I'm pretty sure a beam expander is what you want.
It increases the beam diameter and restrains the original shape.
As for the battery pack issue, are your lasers in parallel or series?
If they are series you need the batteries in series. If they are in parallel you need the batteries in parallel.
Post again if you have any other problems.


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ok thanks, so expander it is

i believe lasers are connected in series, but since im a noob, i could be wrong...

i will clarify on the way they are connected in the next post
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Old 02-28-2014, 08:07 AM #8
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Default Re: Powering 2 laser pointers + collimator lens

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Originally Posted by Jmillerdoc View Post
A beam expander is what you would need to make your beam diameter larger. They are not cheap. The cheapest I've picked one up for was around $75 and it is a cheapo Newport. It works fine but I suspect it is quite lossy. What beam ex panders are really good for is reducing the size of the dot at a distance. It makes the beam bigger at the aperture so you can narrow it farther out against its natural divergence. Good for increasing power density (burning) at a distance, or making the size of your projected dot much smaller than you could without one at a distance (100ft give or take fifty).

I'm not really sure I understand how you have these things connected with a conductive thread. Maybe a picture or two would help illustrate what you are doing.
lasers in question are two <5mW cheapo green lasers



so what i did is i took the laser modules, ran a cable from each their center negative leads out through a hole i drilled in the casing.

Now, from the top end i took the end cap off, and salvaged the thread to connect the two modules together so i get two beams from each side

im doing this for a friend who is a performance artist and wants to use it on stage. even though the laser will not be pointed in the crowd, i want an expander that will make the beam safer in case it catches a stage hand or something, and will make the beam more visibile
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Old 02-28-2014, 08:52 AM #9
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Default Re: Powering 2 laser pointers + collimator lens

Expanding the beam won't make it look brighter. If anything it will become less bright. The tighter the beam the brighter the beam for the same amount of output. When I use corrective optics on some of my multimode diodes, even though there are losses associated with using them and the measured output power drops significantly (from the optics, not the laser diode) the beam actually looks denser and brighter. If you are in the 5mw range you don't need to worry about eye damage from a performer on the stage. At this level of output power it would take a sustained and focused exposure for even the slightest damage to occur. I believe the lowest known threshold for retinal damage was documented in a Rhesus monkey retina at 9mw. This was not a flash to the retina, it was a prolonged exposure in the order of tens of seconds or more IIRC.
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Old 02-28-2014, 09:38 AM #10
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Default Re: Powering 2 laser pointers + collimator lens

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Originally Posted by Jmillerdoc View Post
Expanding the beam won't make it look brighter. If anything it will become less bright. The tighter the beam the brighter the beam for the same amount of output. When I use corrective optics on some of my multimode diodes, even though there are losses associated with using them and the measured output power drops significantly (from the optics, not the laser diode) the beam actually looks denser and brighter. If you are in the 5mw range you don't need to worry about eye damage from a performer on the stage. At this level of output power it would take a sustained and focused exposure for even the slightest damage to occur. I believe the lowest known threshold for retinal damage was documented in a Rhesus monkey retina at 9mw. This was not a flash to the retina, it was a prolonged exposure in the order of tens of seconds or more IIRC.
interesting, i figured thicker beam, more contact with fog but yea, i can see the logic

thanks for your help
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Old 03-02-2014, 08:59 AM #11
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Default Re: Powering 2 laser pointers + collimator lens

Very true about the optics , but we need to keep in mind these cheapo pens rarely come at 5mW and are usually overspec, but im guessing the laser and the crowd would have to be perfectly still for a few seconds with eye contact with the laser for any damage to be done which is one in a million
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmillerdoc View Post
Expanding the beam won't make it look brighter. If anything it will become less bright. The tighter the beam the brighter the beam for the same amount of output. When I use corrective optics on some of my multimode diodes, even though there are losses associated with using them and the measured output power drops significantly (from the optics, not the laser diode) the beam actually looks denser and brighter. If you are in the 5mw range you don't need to worry about eye damage from a performer on the stage. At this level of output power it would take a sustained and focused exposure for even the slightest damage to occur. I believe the lowest known threshold for retinal damage was documented in a Rhesus monkey retina at 9mw. This was not a flash to the retina, it was a prolonged exposure in the order of tens of seconds or more IIRC.
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Old 03-04-2014, 05:15 AM #12
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Default Re: Powering 2 laser pointers + collimator lens

use RCA jacks- perfect size- the neg (spring) touches the center part of the plug and the outside makes good contact with the case- if not spread it a little- I have used a 4.5 vdc wall wart to power two w/o any problems-BUt they are not all alike- so sticking to 3 vdc or a 3.7vdc li-ion may be your best options-

I am not sure what you mean here==are you wanting to have a two ended laser??
We have seen those already from WL and its the general consenses that they are inherently dangerous as with one end aimed safety the other is quite often NOT.

BTW pointers have very poor heatsinks- many a green pointer lasted just one party.
make safe duty/rest cycles or not.


I think Jmillerdoc means mW NOT mw-- I wonder how the monkey liked this??

not sure about the blink reflex of monkeys but the longest exposure we will get is .25 seconds- we look away- close our eyes or block the laser in about that amount of time.

So I am thinking the ONLY way one could make a monkey look at 'tens of seconds' could be done while forcing the monkey's eyes open like they did to malcom mcd in 'a clock work orange'--

but what do i know??
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Old 03-04-2014, 07:35 AM #13
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Default Re: Powering 2 laser pointers + collimator lens

hmmmm. Poor monkey, they shouldnt point lasers at animals, i could understand pointing a laser as a self defense at an animal thats going to get you, but not a poor lil monkey for a test....
Good idea with the RCA too Hak! ill remember that one.
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Old 03-04-2014, 09:58 AM #14
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Default Re: Powering 2 laser pointers + collimator lens

Quote:
Originally Posted by hakzaw1 View Post
use RCA jacks- perfect size- the neg (spring) touches the center part of the plug and the outside makes good contact with the case- if not spread it a little- I have used a 4.5 vdc wall wart to power two w/o any problems-BUt they are not all alike- so sticking to 3 vdc or a 3.7vdc li-ion may be your best options-

I am not sure what you mean here==are you wanting to have a two ended laser??
We have seen those already from WL and its the general consenses that they are inherently dangerous as with one end aimed safety the other is quite often NOT.

BTW pointers have very poor heatsinks- many a green pointer lasted just one party.
make safe duty/rest cycles or not.


I think Jmillerdoc means mW NOT mw-- I wonder how the monkey liked this??

not sure about the blink reflex of monkeys but the longest exposure we will get is .25 seconds- we look away- close our eyes or block the laser in about that amount of time.

So I am thinking the ONLY way one could make a monkey look at 'tens of seconds' could be done while forcing the monkey's eyes open like they did to malcom mcd in 'a clock work orange'--

but what do i know??
nice idea with the rca

yes its a two ended laser, and performance should last no more then 5 minutes

when only one laser is powered the beam is bright, but when i turn on the second, the brightness falls off a bit. so its ok to up the voltage to 4.5 volts?

thx for the reply
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Old 03-04-2014, 10:57 PM #15
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Default Re: Powering 2 laser pointers + collimator lens

My first LUMIA was made from Leggos and six pointer arranged in a way thatI could 'play' the three colors along to the music with my fingertips- I just went with batteries in that project- I am working on a full size version using 7-8 big handhelds and switching by using mouse-tails-- it will have at least 4 motors with both flat textured glass 'wheels' and torture tubes and candelabra light bulbs-- it will require constant attention as these lasers all need rest cycling-- so I will need to run the colors accordingly- trying to keep at least on of each color on-- allowing the others to rest--

I am guessing you have already seen the 'Laserman' vids at YTube- he uses a double ended green in his show,, IIRC maybe two greens and also a blue like that--

you could be fine with just 5 minute and besides at only now 4$ each its no big deal if you kill one occasionally-- A Li-Ion 3.7 VDC 16650 battery ( used in the JL TiB 532s)
would have plenty of power and last much longer than you need- these are the same length as 18650s but are slightly slimmer (by 2mm)-- IF you need any i have those in stock at $8 each plus ship-- they are red sanyos and high quality-- I also sell the smart(& much safer) NiteCore i2 intelligent charger for $15-- the last charger you will ever buy-- do watch your polarity on pointers none have protection-- by placing the battery inside a plastic 'sleeve' you could attach the two (front part only) pointers together at the ends and no worry about the two cases touching- PVC comes in lots of sizes--maybe you could somehow keep the 'button' switch on the pointer lasers pressed permanently and add you own switch to one end of the Li-Ion -- we await your video!! hk
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Old 03-07-2014, 04:22 PM #16
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djeff69 djeff69 is offline
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Default Re: Powering 2 laser pointers + collimator lens

Quote:
Originally Posted by hakzaw1 View Post
My first LUMIA was made from Leggos and six pointer arranged in a way thatI could 'play' the three colors along to the music with my fingertips- I just went with batteries in that project- I am working on a full size version using 7-8 big handhelds and switching by using mouse-tails-- it will have at least 4 motors with both flat textured glass 'wheels' and torture tubes and candelabra light bulbs-- it will require constant attention as these lasers all need rest cycling-- so I will need to run the colors accordingly- trying to keep at least on of each color on-- allowing the others to rest--

I am guessing you have already seen the 'Laserman' vids at YTube- he uses a double ended green in his show,, IIRC maybe two greens and also a blue like that--

you could be fine with just 5 minute and besides at only now 4$ each its no big deal if you kill one occasionally-- A Li-Ion 3.7 VDC 16650 battery ( used in the JL TiB 532s)
would have plenty of power and last much longer than you need- these are the same length as 18650s but are slightly slimmer (by 2mm)-- IF you need any i have those in stock at $8 each plus ship-- they are red sanyos and high quality-- I also sell the smart(& much safer) NiteCore i2 intelligent charger for $15-- the last charger you will ever buy-- do watch your polarity on pointers none have protection-- by placing the battery inside a plastic 'sleeve' you could attach the two (front part only) pointers together at the ends and no worry about the two cases touching- PVC comes in lots of sizes--maybe you could somehow keep the 'button' switch on the pointer lasers pressed permanently and add you own switch to one end of the Li-Ion -- we await your video!! hk
i doubt they will be working more then 5 minutes

i wired two battery packs in parallel and now they are both powering fine, i was going to go with 3 rechargeable AA in series giving me 3.6V, but im really scared of overpowering anything... ever since my poor e cig fizzed out

i havent been able to find anything that fits the diameter for now, when i do ill wire them each separately

button i pressed down with a plastic zip tie an dripped some super glue on it
that sucker be pressed from here on out

having solved these issues with help i got from here, im now looking into a wireless controller for turning them on

anyone tackled that?
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