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Old 07-20-2017, 05:20 PM #1
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Default First post after a long lurk and search. Need some advice regarding power.

First let me thank everyone in advance for taking the time to read all this.

I need a burning handheld laser to help in culling invasive mushroom corals in reef aquariums. Without getting into it deeply, these corals, while pretty, multiply rapidly in a reef tank and sting/kill other corals. They can't simply be removed because any piece left behind will result in a new mushroom.
I am also a professional in the marine aquarium industry and would like to use it to control other sessile pests in customer's aquariums. A few days ago a customer lent me a "high powered laser" to try on some of these mushrooms. He doesn't know much if anything about lasers and simply said make sure you wear these glasses and keep the beam on them. The laser he lent me seems to be doing the trick but it takes Many repeated burns of 30+ seconds to get the mushrooms to really shrivel (15-20 times). Due to that I believe I am using the wrong caliber weapon for the job. Even with the precision of a laser I would like to minimize the time I flash a death ray into these delicate tanks. I wish I could tell you what laser he lent me but there are very little markings anywhere on the unit. The label says <1000mw and it runs off of 2 x 16340 batteries. It is a 450nm blue beam. In my reading I have learned that these labels are pretty much useless. If anyone has instagram I posted a photo of it, my username is the same as on this forum. I have since done enough reading to make my head hurt and am finally posting for advice since I can not seem to get a clear answer on what to pull the trigger on. Here are my questions:

I need something that will burn coral through up to 5/8" glass and 24" of water. It needs to burn, but not slice as many corals will simply reproduce if lacerated. How much power is too much for this?

I see so many powered by 16340 batteries but through years of experience (other hobbies) I know that 18650's have better cells available for purchase. I have found some lasers that will run on 18650 batteries. I will be using the laser for up to an hour at a time (not continuous). Are 16340's really adequate or should I look for an 18650 rig?

Thanks again for any help you guys can give me.

~Mike


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Old 07-20-2017, 05:58 PM #2
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Default Re: First post after a long lurk and search. Need some advice regarding power.

Looks like a cheap 1W 445nm to me, although as always it's impossible to tell without putting it on an LPM.

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I need something that will burn coral through up to 5/8" glass and 24" of water. It needs to burn, but not slice as many corals will simply reproduce if lacerated. How much power is too much for this?
Are you sure a laser is the best option for the job? What other options have you researched? Not my field but at least once a week we get someone looking to use a laser for something that there's already another product out there for, which also does a better job. They just see laser and think "COOL!".

Keep in mind you can't really burn stuff under water either... At least not easily, seeing as burning requires oxygen.
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Old 07-20-2017, 06:07 PM #3
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Default Re: First post after a long lurk and search. Need some advice regarding power.

At this point a laser is one of the only options. I've tried everything known in my industry and none are good options. By "burning" I don't mean in the sense of smoke and fire, when certain soft corals are exposed to extreme light and temperature change, they essentially melt away. It "burns" them by killing the cells in the coral. Like I said in my previous post, this seems to be working, I would just prefer it not need so many applications to get the job done.
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Old 07-20-2017, 06:50 PM #4
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Default Re: First post after a long lurk and search. Need some advice regarding power.

As far as I know there's no practical information for how much wattage is needed to do this task in less time. But one thing I can say is it will take more than 1 watt to do what you want in less than 30 seconds. You do raise interesting questions.
What makes lasers in the application affective? It is the wavelength? Duration of exposure? Or wattage? Or some combination.
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:03 PM #5
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Default Re: First post after a long lurk and search. Need some advice regarding power.

The corals I am using this for are photosynthetic. The light from the laser seems to kill the cells with the concentrated beam. It gives the coral what we we would call a Light Burn in the aquarium industry, just on an extreme scale.

The ones I am after are growing in areas that are impossible to get to with anything else. If they attach to the glass it can be scraped off easily with a blade, but these are popping up in between other much more delicate and sensitive pieces. The precision of the beam lets me just target the mushroom without harming the coral around it.

Ok, so power aside, what about the 18650 question? Are they the better option?

I am not unwilling to build my own either. I have fairly advanced soldering skills and all the tools needed.

If this is a 1w cheap laser and is working ok, would a 2w essentially get me double the performance? That's about all the punch I am looking for. Not a ton more power, but more than this current one is providing.
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:10 PM #6
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Default Re: First post after a long lurk and search. Need some advice regarding power.

Another problem you haven't thought of is the refraction and reflection of the glass and the water. If you are using it in a tank full of water, enclosed in glass, the reflections are very dangerous as well. The refraction will make anything you aim at off by several degrees depending on the laser's wavelength also, making hitting your target a hit or miss endeavor. If you move up to a 3 to 4 watt 450nm laser, these problems increase, so make yourself aware of this.
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:12 PM #7
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Default Re: First post after a long lurk and search. Need some advice regarding power.

Hi Mike,

I'm not sure how effective lasers are in this, but I'm aware people use these blue lasers to do this job. The highest power available is 7 W diode. Look for Sanwu lasers or for a member Grainde here on forum. He has a really nice hosts and if longer duty cycle (runtime of laser before it needs to cool down) is needed, you might ask him.

Enjoy and stay safe (=get proper glasses).
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:17 PM #8
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Default Re: First post after a long lurk and search. Need some advice regarding power.

Thanks for the replies. 7w is way more juice than I am looking for (I think)

I am basically looking for a slight performance increase over the cheap 1w (I think) unit I am currently using. Not looking for a light saber. I was thinking 2 maybe 3w at most. Anything too powerful and I risk missing and damaging another coral. Right now, a quick swipe on a friendly target does no harm. Once I lock onto the offending shroom I sit still and let the beam do the work.

Can anyone recommend a reasonably priced 2-3w unit?
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:22 PM #9
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Default Re: First post after a long lurk and search. Need some advice regarding power.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seravatekim View Post
Can anyone recommend a reasonably priced 2-3w unit?
How much are you looking to spend?
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:22 PM #10
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Default Re: First post after a long lurk and search. Need some advice regarding power.

Still Sanwu might be your option. They offer many power options. Large host might be needed for better heatsinking - like Spiker.

https://www.sanwulasers.org/

https://www.sanwulasers.org/product/spiker
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Last edited by Radim; 07-20-2017 at 07:25 PM.
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:28 PM #11
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Default Re: First post after a long lurk and search. Need some advice regarding power.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seravatekim View Post

Can anyone recommend a reasonably priced 2-3w unit?
You have to define what reasonable means.
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:35 PM #12
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Default Re: First post after a long lurk and search. Need some advice regarding power.

If you want to build your own, there is DTRs Laser Shop that can get you everything you need to build your own without having to know a lot about the electronics involved. Basically solder two wires, place your module inside a host, tighten the set screw, add battery(ies) and you're done.

LinK: https://sites.google.com/site/dtrlpf/home

Edit: Try Lifetime17 for a good 2 to 3 watt laser at a reasonable price. Use the User CP at the top left of the page and click on send a new message to him.
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:44 PM #13
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Default Re: First post after a long lurk and search. Need some advice regarding power.

Ideally I would like to be well south of the $200 mark. If it turns out to be exactly what I am looking for then I will possibly upgrade to a higher quality unit at a later time.
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:45 PM #14
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Default Re: First post after a long lurk and search. Need some advice regarding power.

I had a few customers that used lasers for this. One guy reported back saying that 1800mW was not quite good enough for the job but 5000mW worked wonderfully. But this was apparently against pest bubble algae and anemones, not mushroom corals. I don't know if there is much difference when it comes to laser resistance.

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Old 07-20-2017, 08:19 PM #15
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Default Re: First post after a long lurk and search. Need some advice regarding power.

Hi ,
Check out my sales page i probably have what your looking for and a reasonable prices.

Rich
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