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Old 10-29-2016, 08:35 PM #1
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Default "Starter" lasers?

I recently picked up a Sanwu 304 (532nm ~80mW) laser. It cost me ~$25 with shipping and has brought me a ton of joy so far. I'm interested in picking up similarly awesome budget lasers in other colors. I know there are a lot of good deals on places like FastTech and GearBest, but it's so hard to separate the wheat from the chaff on sites like that. I've had some cheap eBay / DX lasers before, but they all gave up the ghost after only a few days of playing with them. Can anyone recommend any particular lasers at the sub-$40 price point for 405nm, 445nm, 520nm, 638nm, or 650nm? Or anything else that's available at that price point and interesting.

I'm more interested in decent beam specs (relatively narrow, low divergence) than I am in power. I mostly use my lasers for sky pointing and looking at the beams at night. I know green is going to be hard to beat for visibility, but I'm interested in some other colors at a reasonable price point.

Thanks!


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Old 10-29-2016, 08:59 PM #2
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Default Re: "Starter" lasers?

Kinda hard to work with a sub $40 price. That excludes any decent 445/520/638 lasers for the most part. I'd recommend on of these as a starter single mode 638 with good beam specs, but it's $60
LZMN - 638nm 200mW Single Mode Orangish Red Laser Pointer
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Old 10-29-2016, 09:09 PM #3
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Default Re: "Starter" lasers?

I actually have all three of these in my Wishlist bookmark folder:
Devil Cyber 405nm - 100mW Focusable Violet Laser Pointer
mini G - 520nm 30mW Pocket Single Mode Green Laser Pointer
LZMN - 638nm 200mW Single Mode Orangish Red Laser Pointer

Except for the 405nm, they all slightly blow my budget, but that might be alright. Is there some way to figure out which diodes those lasers use? I've heard that the BDR-209 diode is a cheap and high quality 405nm so I'm hoping that a cheap 405nm pointer/handheld would use one of those.
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Old 10-29-2016, 09:10 PM #4
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Default Re: "Starter" lasers?

If you raised your limit a bit, Sanwu makes a 445nm 500 pocket series that's really tough to beat for the price. The whole pocket series is really worth the money. If you prefer different wavelengths/colors they have them also. Guess you can tell I'm a Sanwu fan. Take care, enjoy be safe! ( you do have safety glasses?)
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Old 10-29-2016, 09:12 PM #5
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Default Re: "Starter" lasers?

I'll check out the Sanwu Pocket. I definitely dig the 304, so that's a point in their favor. I have two pairs of ~$10 red safety glasses that seem to block a significant fraction of the 304. I also have these in my list to buy if I get anything stronger than ~500mW.
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Old 10-31-2016, 02:45 AM #6
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Default Re: "Starter" lasers?

Actually, in general, how can you tell which diodes laser manufacturers use? Even Sanwu and LaserBTB, which both seem to be pretty highly regarded here, don't seem to specify which diode they use. Is there a thread somewhere where I can find this info?
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Old 10-31-2016, 03:10 AM #7
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Default Re: Proper 16340 Batteries for my 445nm 4W Laser

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluestars View Post
Actually, in general, how can you tell which diodes laser manufacturers use? Even Sanwu and LaserBTB, which both seem to be pretty highly regarded here, don't seem to specify which diode they use. Is there a thread somewhere where I can find this info?
BTB is more secretive; none of us really know exactly which diodes they use.
Sanwu typically uses diodes that are available to hobbyists. If you ask Podo, he will probably be willing to tell you which diode a specific laser uses.
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Old 10-31-2016, 04:37 AM #8
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Default Re: "Starter" lasers?

I recommend a laser using a mitsubishi lpc 826 diode. they are 660nm, and have incredibly good beam specs. plus, the diodes are like $10 tops, so if you burn one out, it's a cheap fix. you'll be hard pressed to beat it's beam quality
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Old 10-31-2016, 05:38 AM #9
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Default Re: "Starter" lasers?

I've heard that the LPC-826 (red) and the BDR-209 (violet) both have good single-mode beams, although the BDR-209s are more temperamental. But to speak to my previous question, how can I find a laser made with one of those diodes? None of the manufacturers that I see seem to list that data.

I've also considered picking up a few cheap diode modules with lenses from eBay and building myself a lab laser with a cheap LM317 power supply just to learn a bit more. I need to find a decent heat sink that can fit the diodes so I can get a nice long duty cycle.
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Uniphase-Cyonics 2201-25ML 488nm+ Argon
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Old 10-31-2016, 05:53 PM #10
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Default Re: "Starter" lasers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Razako View Post
Kinda hard to work with a sub $40 price. That excludes any decent 445/520/638 lasers for the most part. I'd recommend on of these as a starter single mode 638 with good beam specs, but it's $60
LZMN - 638nm 200mW Single Mode Orangish Red Laser Pointer
I ordered that 638nm single mode from lazerer and when i got it, it worked for 2 minutes and it kept shutting down for no reason. Tried with many full charged batteries, not working. Now it doesn't turn on at all. Same happened with my xpl 532nm. Worked fine for a month and then suddenly shut down and only flickered rarely and then stopped working completely. Wtf is this? Is it because my batteries are protected?
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405nm: 830mw 0.3 mrad with G2 lens
445nm: 1.3w SF501B 1.74 mrad with 3 element lens. (3.7 mrad with G2. Ugh.)
520nm: 800mw Sci-fi Arcane 1.2 mrad with 3 element lens.
520nm: 60mw Sanwu Pocket 0.25 mrad with 3 element lens.
520nm: 150mw Sanwu Pointer PL520-B1 0.25 mrad with 3 element lens.
532nm: 150mw Optotronics Pen 1.2 mrad
532nm: 150mw XPL 301 0.86 mrad!
532nm: 50mw Laserbtb Pen 1.7 mrad
660nm: 230mw Dead 303 0.5 mrad with acrylic lens
Quote:
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I have a 160X monster beam expander which when coupled with my 800mw Jetlaser pointer makes a beam so awesome UFO's come to look at it.

Last edited by Koff; 10-31-2016 at 05:54 PM.
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