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Old 06-25-2009, 07:57 PM #1
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Default salvaging / scavenging laser modules

Hi,

first post here... I just got into the fascinating world of lasers (recently bought a 5mw green pointer thingie... spiffy!) and I was reading with interest that Blue Ray drives and DVD burners are an interesting resource for laser diodes.

I have a stock of outdated and obsolete printers, including 4 rather large Apple Laserwriter IInt that are inches away from the garbage container! I retrieved one of the laser modules in one of these printers and it's chock-full of cool laser optics, hex mirrors, step motors and of course the laser module.

Below are images of the module...



I was thinking of using that module as is to create the nice "liquid sky" smoke effect, could that be done?

I tested the step motor and it spins very nicely at 15V, but I haven't fired the laser because I have no info on the laser diode, its polarity, its wavelenght and most importantly, its pinout and voltage. I could remove the diode off the PCB but since it's already on a clean board with a pot and with all the optics perfectly optimized, i'd rather leave it there. Anyone might have the pinout to that particular board from Apple? Number on the board is RG1-0721 out of a laserwriter IInt that was still fully functional.

On the other hand, I could pull the laser board completely and replace it with my green pointer and I can imagine the effect would be even more dramatic! That crazy little pointer is POWERFUL!!! and it's only rated 5mw (I can actually see the beam in total darkness).

Since I'm into music and I organise shows (FMPM.NET - Le Festival des Musiques Progressives de Montréal), I was thinking that I might try to build something cool on the cheap with that stuff.

Anyway, thanks for any advice and wisdom.

Robert


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Old 06-25-2009, 08:02 PM #2
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Default Re: salvaging / scavenging laser modules

Those are always great for the motor, mirrors and optics, but the laser diode in there is going to be a low-powered near-ir diode at ~780nm. Pretty much useless.
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Old 06-26-2009, 04:49 PM #3
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Default Re: salvaging / scavenging laser modules

laser printers don't need high powered lasers. all the laser does is create (go easy on me) static on a film that the tone sticks to. then the paper rolls over that and then goes through a heating element to burn the toner. I don't know why i typed this...

yes i do! i'm close to 500 posts...
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Old 06-27-2009, 06:32 PM #4
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Default Re: salvaging / scavenging laser modules

yes, the original laserdiode is useless. you may however measure the current that the original diode gets, and replace it? i wonder what the outcome would look like.. probably a really thin and homogenous line/liquid sky? ;-)

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Old 06-28-2009, 08:58 PM #5
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Default Re: salvaging / scavenging laser modules

Thanks for your replies guys, yeah I figured it might be just a low power infrared laser diode (this module was put in service in April 1991). So I decided to experiment with this module.

I disassembled the laser module board where the laser diode is located and carefully removed the laser diode. it is a Hitachi AD1B laser diode in a TO18 package, wavelenght and power unknown (no information at all for that diode on the net). The board has only a couple of resistors and a pot on it so it looks like a perfect host for a more powerful green or blue laser diode, once i figure out the schematic of that board. the case of the diode fits snugly over a large cylindrical heat sink so power dissipation should be good.

Ideally, i'd love to get my hands on a green laser diode or even a Blue Ray diode... but i'll start with a DVD burner diode (I have several burners that I salvaged from dead PCs - we have a lot of those at the office!) just to see if I can get a clean, easily visible red line with that module.

If it works, i'll be on the lookout for deals on laser diodes (green, blue, violet). But from what i've seen on the net, these things are damn expensive, so I better be sure of myself before I actually buy one of these... you guys have a pretty expensive hobby!!!

Anyway, i'll keep you posted if my frankenstein experiment works.

Thanks all!
Robert
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Old 06-29-2009, 06:29 AM #6
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Default Re: salvaging / scavenging laser modules

they don't have green laser diodes commercially available right now. you would have to buy a green module. but you could cheaply get a PHR blu-ray. for like 12 bucks. and have a complete blu-ray for about 50 bucks.
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Old 06-29-2009, 09:30 AM #7
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Default Re: salvaging / scavenging laser modules

You could get a pretty powerful green module for $70.Considerably more powerful than a 5mW, and powerful enough for you to need goggles.

Btw chipdouglas, I think the laser removes static that was previously applied through a corona effect or something.
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Old 06-29-2009, 03:37 PM #8
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Default Re: salvaging / scavenging laser modules

[QUOTE=chipdouglas;542507]laser printers don't need high powered lasers. all the laser does is create (go easy on me) static on a film that the tone sticks to. then the paper rolls over that and then goes through a heating element to burn the toner. I don't know why i typed this...

I do Chip to make me LOL keep it up good buddie I love your posts !!!

Best Regards Pyro...
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