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Old 07-07-2007, 06:49 PM #17
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Default Re: Odd issue I want to share...{MAJOR RANT}

I think something a LOT of people do not understand is the beam specs play a MUCH larger role than total power for burning things. You can have watt+ lasers that won't burn anything ( besides your eyesight ) and are only good for illumination, even with a divergance of .1mrad You need a tight or converging beam to burn anything. A 5mw laser properly focused is capable of burning things.

The most expensive things in a good laser are the optics and the crystal set. the diodes are cheap. A good AR glass/crystal lense can cost $50 or more. There's a LOT of math behind calculating the right optics and many companies just use a generic lense that's the same between different wavelengths, especially on reds.

ALso keep in mind that almost every laser is made with cheap labor in china, there's bright guys designing them but not so much for assembly, and someone somewhere is cutting corners to make more profit. If you want a good laser, you have to pay for it. Stick in the crummy shipping comapnaies these days, a 5-6,000 mile journey from the maker to you through who know what shipping hell and many of those fragile cheap optics get knocked out of alignment.

Additionally, few people on this board have the right tools to measure beam specs and output reliably. Homemade meters for the most part are good for ballpark estimates at best, at worst they are just flat wrong and misleading.


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Old 07-07-2007, 07:08 PM #18
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Default Re: Odd issue I want to share...{MAJOR RANT}

Yep, in fact low divergence can be a bad thing as it means a larger minimum diameter (lesser defined natural focus on the beam), and as you say, I don't know of anyone with a beam profiler to get accurate readings of beam specs.
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Old 07-07-2007, 11:04 PM #19
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Default Re: Odd issue I want to share...{MAJOR RANT}

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Originally Posted by SenKat
> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >
As a moderator on here, I do lots of things [smiley=engel017.gif]- but one of the things I really try my best to do is help people out. Part of helping people out is - I get some emails and PM's from time to time, and try to answer some questions - I recently received this email, and I am stumped - so I need everyone's help to figure out how I can help this forum member out, please !

Here is the email he sent to BFG lasers, shortly after receiving his new BFG :


Hey,

I ordered my laser on June 5. It is really amazing at night. I was a little shocked that it didn't pop baloons as good as 150mW should. I didn't get it to light matches good either. Anyway, I got a power meter today and measured my homemade red which reads 201mW. I fell really confident about it. My BFG is only showing 100mW on startup with NEW lithium batteries. It is averaging 80-90mW. Is there anything I should try, or do I maybe just have a problem, like I see so many others have been having?

Now - after reading that, I assumed he would be offered an RMA - instead (and in addition to an RMA) he received this :



There are several things I should explain, in case you are not familiar with it.



1. The lasers are tuned to an output of 140-150mW maximum. Due to FDA regulations, the labelling must show the maximum (not the average) output. I know Wicked Laser uses the average, but that's because they are based in China and not subject to US regulations for laser labelling. In fact, you may be aware that because of this, and other factors, WL items sometimes gets confiscated at the border.
Okay - I am confused -What border ? The company is in Canada, and FDA rules apply to him, how ? Why even mention Wicked ? I don't get that...He ordered from a Canadian company, not Wicked. Every laser shipped into the US has the risk of being confiscated at customs.

I agree SenKat, What kind of BS is this guy spewing out with this comment? The labeling, regulations or country are not an excuse, either the laser performs to the specs they promised or it doesn't.. period.

2. IR filters will remove the IR light, but it will also filter about 10-15% of all other light, including the green. Assuming the laser was exactly 140-150mW. it would remove around 15mW, making the maximum measurable output as 125-130mW.
I beg to differ - I own an inexpensive IR filter, and the loss ratio is only approx 5% MAX for 532nm light, and I am sorry - it is LABELED at 150mw, right ? Then it should put out 150mw !! Or at least pretty damned close to that.

So this place bases their power ratings on what they estimate they would be if the IR filter were removed? This tells me they don't even measure output power and if they do, they don't care or have any moral obligation to give the customer the power that is being paid for... UNBELIEVABLE.


3. Green lasers contain crystals to create the beam. Although the construction of the laser itself is done by my people, the parts themselves are manufactured independently from other companies. The crystal quality is often inconsistent, no matter the supplier. This is also the same problem all other laser companies have, even WL (you've prob heard stories of WL RMA's as well). The crystal quality inconsistencies are universal in the laser industry.

I can tell you right now, this place is not constructing these lasers themselves, perhaps they are buying laser modules and mounting them in tubes, but they know very little about how lasers actually work. Anyway, the customer does not care about the manufacturer's inconsistent suppliers, that's not their problem. It's the manufacturer's responsibility to make sure the components they receive are tested and consistent or remove them from the production so that the customer only gets a quality product. SenKat mentioned he got in a sample and it worked great...Well that's because the seller knew they better make sure he gets a good one and it's a top performer because it's going to someone who knows lasers and has the ability to test them....that's how alot of these places run their business.

A quick story, When I 1st decided to begin Optotronics, I ordered in 6 samples from a manufacturer in China. 5 of the 6 worked well (1 was DOA) with in spec output and beam quality, this was/is a 16% failure rate. Anyway, everyone who bought the original 5 loved them, so I placed an identical order, but for 30 lasers instead of 6. I was super excited when that huge box arrived, I could hardly wait to test them. Put the batteries in the 1st laser and turned it to full power...it only put out about 3mW...very bummed. Tried a 2nd laser, it was good. then the 3rd was the same as the 1st.... By the time I got through with them that day, 8 of 30 were out of spec and I wasn't very happy. The next day I decided to retest the 22 that were ok and burn them in a bit... By the time they I had gone through them again, 5 more had died, so now 13 of 30 were out of spec.
Now I was losing my confidence in the reliability/quality of these lasers and I had customers who were waiting for their lasers. I decided to retest a 3rd time all those that still worked (17 of 30) and if the laser passed this 3rd time, I would take the chance and send them to a customer. Well I had 3 more fail and shipped out 6 of the working ones to customers. In the end, one of the six I sent to customers failed in the same manner within a day or two of them getting it, so I had to pay the shipping costs on the exchange. I was feeling quite sick and let the manufacturer now how I felt in a long letter about quality control and if they wanted more of my business they better fix things and be double testing anything they send to me or they'll be paying the shipping both ways to have them fixed. I had to trust them at this point, they had my money and I had a box of defective lasers. The next day 17 lasers were shipped back to China and got stuck in China customs for 5 weeks...It was the worst. Since then things have gotten much better, they know they have to pretest and burn-in anything I order, but no more huge failure rates, now at most it's a 5% failure rate I get, but the customer never see these.



Please notice the words above : inconsistencies are universal

Based on that, the output itself you are experiencing is not out of the ordinary, although it is a little on the low side. Other times, people get extremely high quality crystals Wait - WHAT ?? I htought they were universally inconsistent ? and the laser manages to exceed it's labelled output. But this is fairly rare, just as a low rating is also fairly rare. Keep in mind also the laser specs. Assuming your meter is accurate, a 100mW or 150mW does not necessarily mean it can light matches In who's world ?? YES IT DOES !!!. There are other related factors such as beam diameter and beam divergence that play a role. The measurement that determines whether it can light a match or not is the beam density. You'll notice the listed beam diameter and beam divergence is <1.5mm and <1.5mRad respectively. In comparison to WL, the specs are a little bit higher, meaning a higher output is required (or a lens to focus the beam) to light matches. But I don't claim it can light matches, although some people have found that their's do.
At the rated specifications, if it cannot light matches, it is not performing at the expected, and advertised output levels. I own several 50mw greens that light matches instantly, and the beam specs are a far sight worse than the BFG's are



Anyway, based on that info, I would be happy to resolve the situation. I would keep in mind, that although the laser is a little weaker than you expected, I'm guessing that if you were not using it to light matches, you would be satisfied by the brightness and overall quality of the laser. For it's cost, it's still a bargain at it's current output. I have found overall, the average tends to sit around 110-130mW. Which is normal with the IR filter in place and given the crystal quality variations. But even at that, the beam typically does not light matches even if it hits 130mwWRONG !. If we were to RMA your laser and get you one at the normal specs, it would not do what you wanted it to without a magnifying lensIf this is true, then they are advertised wrong, and the demo I was sent was a freak, and was not indicative of the quality of the laser - which to me is falsly representing the laser.

Yes, and if I were blind, the brightness would be good too I suppose.
You can bet SenKat, that your's was a well tested "freak" and I agree, sending a laser for review that is not representative of the average product is not only misrepresenting, but borders on fraudulent.


So it would be a waste of money to send it back to replace with another and pay for the shipping back and forth. I can offer to reimburse you $20 to keep the laser as is. The profit margin is quite thin on the lasers, as my intent was to supply laser enthusiasts like yourself with safe and affordable lasers, rather than for personal profit, which is why the price is competitively low. Otherwise, I can refund your money minus the shipping costs if you decide you do not want the laser anymore, provided you send the laser back.


Now, I will switch back to normal colors. If the above comments seemed like a personal attack - fine. I am pretty pissed off - I was asked to review a product, and was sent what I thought was a representative sampling of this company's laser - evidently I was wrong. I cannot believe some of the stuff that was tossed out in that note. I am extremely upset at BFG lasers for treating people like that. True, he DID offer a refund - but he essentially said that the BFG lasers were worthless, and will not do what they are supposed to do. Granted, I knew, and reported that the BFG was performing at under it's reported 150mw - but STILL. Sorry to be a bearer of bad news like this - but if this note is indicative of the way he is going to treat people ? well, then I wholeheartedly remove my endorsement of his products, and his company. I will cross post this note to all my review threads - so others can be forewarned about it. If people then still feel comfortable about buying a laser that is essentially a green flashlight, with no other uses ? Go for it !

It reminds me of one time I went to Sears to buy a washer and dryer, the whole time I was shopping the salesman was telling me how great they were and everything. Then when I was at the register paying for them, he was trying to get me to buy the 3 year extended, I said, no I never buy these extended warranties. Then he goes off telling me how these washer/dryer units are always breaking down....
Hi SenKat,
Thanks for posting this, it's important to pass on info like this, it eventually weeds out the bad or forces them to change their tune to stay in business; (Or forces them to create their own laser forum which only allows positive posts about their product and doesn't allow any mention of competitor names or products, plus reserves the right to edit / modify your posts to say what they want them to say...if you know what I mean.


I have a few comments to the support letter, and Ive added my comments in green to the above support letter.

Jack

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Old 07-08-2007, 05:29 AM #20
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Default Re: Odd issue I want to share...{MAJOR RANT}

Quote:
Originally Posted by bootleg2go
It reminds me of one time I went to Sears to buy a washer and dryer, the whole time I was shopping the salesman was telling me how great they were and everything. Then when I was at the register paying for them, he was trying to get me to buy the 3 year extended, I said, no I never buy these extended warranties. Then he goes off telling me how these washer/dryer units are always breaking down....
HAHAHAHAHAHA... so true! This just hurts me... I bought an LCD TV just over a year ago... ya, well, the thing was working great and still is. Apparently CircuitCity doesn't think so... they sent me a letter and have been sending the same letter for almost 6 months about how I NEED to get the warranty extended because the TV was going to absolutely, positively fail! The latter was complete with percentage failures and everything... LOL

Here am I thinking 'Well... if I were CircuitCity and my customer bought a TV for $1500 and I'm offering him a replacement guarantee for a TV that WILL fail for a measly $100... wouldn't I keep that a secret?'

Either way... very nice post SenKat and thank you for sharing. I am very sorry about BFG lasers as they are definitely out of my realm of possible future products. The review you made really made me want to get one though... it's such a bummer! I'm surprised the guy hasn't said anything to you or on the forum

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Old 07-09-2007, 07:49 PM #21
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Default Re: Odd issue I want to share...{MAJOR RANT}

This is one reason why i do not trust reviews that much because lets say we will use for example a company called MajorLasers (not a real company) and they email senkat and tell him they are sending him one of their 125 mW lasers. So we here at LPF are all happy waiting for a review but what the company could do is with a power meter spend a couple of days testing out their 125 mW lasers until they get a freak on that measures well above the 125 mW. Thus is sending a freak lasers in for a review it makes the company look that much better on their part when really 1 in 100 might only turn out that good. I know most companies are not like this and offer them to test your laser prior to shipping like LaserGLow but this is one reason why i dont trust reviews that much/
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Old 07-09-2007, 08:35 PM #22
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Default Re: Odd issue I want to share...{MAJOR RANT}

Well... there is some truth and some speculation on your part there. Reviews are a representation of the company's product and of their performance. The review will not tell you exactly what your experiences would be like and never could. When it comes to the output power of a laser this is how I see it. If you contact company 'A' and they reply back within a few hours to a day and tell you we are shipping the product out pronto, then more likely than not they are sending you a product right off their hands, something that even if you as a consumer bought it would get it and not a 'reviewer-class' unit. If it takes them a little while and they tell you some guesswork like "waiting on shipment" when the site says in stock, or they're trying to get the "right unit to send you" then you might as well simply enjoy the opportunity to play with a new laser for a little while. Then... offer to buy that laser for below their sale price. If the laser is really a 'freak' then more than likely they would have some laying around for reviewers to bask in and improve their image. If they do not accept to sell you the product then it's because it's for this kind of impression. If they refuse to give you a discount then it's for the same reason as well (it's such a good one that we can't offer a discount on this one). Companies that are proud of their product and have their product go through a lot of stringent testing will not hesitate to send you a random pick. Laser companies that offer different power levels usually test the output and if it's 100mW then it usually fits in the category closest below the output power(90mW or 85mW). Respectable companies also rate the laser using the average output and not the peak output. IF a company wanted to work around what BFG is stating there in the e-mail then they could put a label on there saying <150mW but sell the product as a 120mW. Peak rating is a bunch of bull! I didn't pay $700 to get a laser that operates at this output power for a split second as soon as I turn it on then have it drop back to a $500 laser. Honesty makes a company with a solid name and a great image and respect for them is well deserved.

I hope that makes sense... ;D

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Old 07-09-2007, 09:51 PM #23
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Default Re: Odd issue I want to share...{MAJOR RANT}

Millionaire - I do not 100% agree :-)

If it were not for reviews, the average Joe would have no way to tell if the company is as good as it sounds - and would most likely pick from a company at random. I like to see reviews on different products - as a matter of fact, I like to see MANY reviews on the same product, before I make a decision on a purchase. Make sense ? The more opinions we can look through, the better off we will be, as consumers.
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Old 07-10-2007, 01:57 AM #24
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Default Re: Odd issue I want to share...{MAJOR RANT}

Now I would have to agree with senkat. Not that senkat's always right. hehe If it were not for product reviews I would be purchasing things without any knowledge of the product prior to purchasing it. These companies are not like walmart where if you buy a product and don't like it you can take it back. The company has to get the word out about thier product by sending out items to review. Now, like deadal said the companies do have a tendency to send out lasers that are rated a bit higher than what they are truly. This is dishonest and usually gets around the forums when they do this. Like for example the BFG. It wasn't rated all that high and actually was below specs when senkat reviewed it. it was the customer service we ended up finding was below par. So without reviews we wouldn't find out about the product pr9ior to buying
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Old 07-10-2007, 05:14 AM #25
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Default Re: Odd issue I want to share...{MAJOR RANT}

Just reading the last few posts, I totally agree with SenKat.

Before I invested in my Turtle beach headphones, I read a TON of reviews, literally hundreds, scanning for problems it might have. Every other person complained about it being too tight on their head, but 5 star through and through otherwise. (avg 4.98) However, a couple of people said they stuck theirs on a football overnight and it fit comfortably. Now, I have a really big head, some hats don't fit me! Needless to say, I was concerned, but after reading a couple of peoples fixes, I dropped the 120 bucks and here I am 1 1/2 years later with a flawless 5.1 set of headphones, and lots more warranty to go. (Well worth the money, I went through 3 headsets in one year once... :-[ Its like a Vita Mix. You can buy a ton of cheezy blenders for 10 years or one kickass commercial blender that can make fluffed ice in 9 seconds or steaming soup in 90... plus its only 300 or so to renew the 10 year warranty! Really good deal!)

Usually though, that situation is applied backwards, though not as severe. E.g., 9/20ths of the people are fine with a product, but then there are a few who are unfortunate to have a problem with it; Look for those problems, weigh the consequences, then decide.

Granted, mass reviews on Newegg or such is a far cry from scant forum reviews on lasers, but still. It applies to both.
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Old 07-10-2007, 01:22 PM #26
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Default Re: Odd issue I want to share...{MAJOR RANT}

Quote:
Originally Posted by pseudonomen137
Yep, in fact low divergence can be a bad thing as it means a larger minimum diameter (lesser defined natural focus on the beam), and as you say, I don't know of anyone with a beam profiler to get accurate readings of beam specs.

I've got a spiricon lba 700 coming soon. It was cheaper than I expected...
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Old 07-10-2007, 01:24 PM #27
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Default Re: Odd issue I want to share...{MAJOR RANT}

People are MUCH more likely to post a review when they have a problem, than they are when the product works perfectly. People just have a need to whine and complain built in.
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Old 07-10-2007, 02:30 PM #28
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Default Re: Odd issue I want to share...{MAJOR RANT}

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I've got a spiricon lba 700 coming soon. It was cheaper than I expected...
Aseras - Please pardon my ignorance (if possible !) What is an Spiricon LBA 700 ? It SOUNDS like a Binford 2000 !
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Old 07-10-2007, 02:53 PM #29
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Default Re: Odd issue I want to share...{MAJOR RANT}

http://www.spiricon.com/selectiongui...LBA700PC.shtml

it got ordered last week so it should be in soon
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Old 07-10-2007, 03:28 PM #30
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Default Re: Odd issue I want to share...{MAJOR RANT}

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http://www.spiricon.com/selectionguide/scientific_technology/lba_pc_beam_analizer/LBA700PC.shtml

it got ordered last week so it should be in soon
Cool, how much did that end up setting you back?
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Old 07-10-2007, 06:21 PM #31
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Default Re: Odd issue I want to share...{MAJOR RANT}

I dont fully trust reviews i still use them as a guideline but not only if their are a couple and not just one solid one because a company could do that. I know their are alot of honest companies but there are alos alot of unhonest companies. so i dont take a single review fully to heart i just use it as a simple guide line in my purchase.
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Old 07-10-2007, 06:38 PM #32
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Default Re: Odd issue I want to share...{MAJOR RANT}

exactly.
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