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Old 04-22-2009, 01:29 AM   #1
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Default A Guide To Buying Your First Green Laser

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Before reading this, keep in mind that I wrote it quite a while back and anything written here could be outdated. I don't come around here often enough to keep up with the latest, so don't make a purchase just based on this guide. That said, the FAQ info is still up to date. Companies can change, physics don't.



Ok, first of all, every day, I see threads on "what laser should I buy", "what power green laser should I get", etc. So I've decided to make a guide to answer all of those questions. Then maybe we will have far less of those threads popping up all over the place!

The first section of this guide will be to answer the most common questions people post, and the second part will be a list of the most affordable/most expensive lasers.

FAQs

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Q: What is the best laser for its price?

Scroll down to list.
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Q: How much power is bad for my eyes?

5mW is the "limit" for taking a direct hit to the eye. This is because a laser above 5mW can cause damage before the blink reflex kicks in, shutting out the beam. This is also why the FDA doesn't let lasers above 5mW get into the US. So kids don't blind themselves. The usual maximum for looking a the dot of the laser is 30mW, although I definitely wouldn't stare at a dot of that power for long. There is no limit for looking at the beam, so you can point any laser at the sky and stare at any beam as long as you want.


This is a little rant I'm adding in (more recent), you can skip it if you want. First of all, some of you guys are taking this FDA limit thing WAY to seriously. The FDA states that laser damage CAN occur from a >5mW beam, this is the lowest power that they could come up with. They have done scientific tests to find the absolute lowest power that could damage your eyes, with every worse possible condition (basically point blank range, low divergence, the most sensitive part of your eye, etc.).
UNDER NORMAL CONDITIONS a 6mW laser is extremely unlikely to cause damage. Especially considering that almost every hit will come from a distance, or a reflection which will distort the beam, double the distance, and lower the power of the laser. With most accidents, the beam will have diverged/diffracted to a point where it isn't even a danger. Most people picture getting hit with a laser beam as the beam being exactly as it comes out of the device, and if you could recreate the incident, the beam would most likely not be the same.
Now I'm NOT saying that a close ranging hit from a 20mW+ laser wouldn't harm you, it would, I'm just saying that you don't have to go yelling that a 6mW laser is completely unsafe and you can't do any reflections with it, just because the FDA says not to. Those people are wrong.
Bottomline, they are just exaggerating to the point of telling you the worse conditions, and under normal conditions, you could probably get hit with a random reflection from a 15mW laser with no problems. Thanks for listening, and please don't go test this. lol
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Q: What is the maximum power for different purposes (eg. burning)?

Usually 5-30mW is used for pointing around, 31-75mW is used for beam pointing, and 95+mW for burning. This is also because most lasers 95+mW are "portable laser" style. If you buy a pen style above 100mW, be aware that it will need a duty cycle (due to terrible heat dissipation in the head.) Here's a video by one of our members, Styropyro, that shows really well what I'm saying. Green Lasers: What Can Certain mW Do?
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Q: Are you SURE you can't burn with ~60mW?

Yes you could, but it would require an additional lens (aka-magnifying glass), or else you won't be able to burn well or not at all..
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Q: How does the beam visibility vary from laser to laser?

For a visible beam, 5mW is enough at night, and ~35 in a lit room. 50mW has a very visible green line at night, and anything above that appears extremely bright in low light conditions.
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Q: Do I need an IR filter?

People have argued over this for a long time, so I won't try to start any arguments here. In my opinion, no, you don't NEED an IR filter. As you probably already know, the IR surrounds the green, with a much bigger dot. But there really isn't a safety issue, as the IR stays collimated enough. The only thing that could go wrong is if you point the laser near someone's head (Which you should NEVER do!!!). The only real reason for getting one is to get more accurate readings on an LPM.
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Q: How does the FDA decide to let the laser through or not?

The FDA does not allow lasers above 5mW that aren't FDA approved. FDA approval means having a power key, secondary interlock key, safety shutter, two second delay, and warning light. Note that people order illegal lasers all the time, and I have never once heard of one getting caught. The chance is very slim, and it really only affects companies like Dealextreme, who won't even let you order them.
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Q: Can I pot mod a low-powered laser into a burner?

NO. Don't even try, don't even think about it. Most pot mods result in lower power, not higher. The only way it will work is if you have enough time to burn one match, before it dies. I didn't say you couldn't do it-people have gotten 30-40mW for a 5mW pointer-I just said you can't get it high enough to burn. Either way, do so at your own risk.
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Q: Then what about this video?

I always see this video popping up, and people thinking it's an actual mod. It isn't. All that guy did was add fog to the the room, which can make any laser extremely bright.
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If you have a question about a specific laser, look through the review compilation by nikokapo before asking me about it (chances are I won't have it). Review Compilation - All Reviews In Just One Thread!


Okay, I think I've covered most common questions (PM me if I haven't). On to the list!

EDIT:: This list may be outdated, as I sort of lost interest in the hobby and stopped updated this post. Don't rely solely on this list to make a purchase decision, and make sure you check around to make sure the company you decide to go with is still good!

The List

First, the cheap list. Note: cheaper companies produce lasers that aren't quite up to spec, they could be significantly higher or lower, and some lasers are more reliable than others. Don't go dangerously messing around with ANY laser ordered from these companies, regardless of the advertised output. For all you know your true 5mW could be outputting over 50mW. There are some exceptions here, if you get your laser tested and you're absolutely sure that it's <5mW, go ahead and point around with it. Or from better companies, Nova, Laserglow, etc., they will give you the exact output before the laser is shipped, and these measurements can be trusted.

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DealExtreme (DX)

Dealextreme (DX) sells a lot of lasers. A lot. Mabye even hundreds... Most of their laser pens are okay quality. The 5mW's are the only ones they will allow into the US. The outputs are up to spec (sometimes over) until you get to 50mW-Their 100mW pen is nowhere near 100mW! The Romisen flashlight style 30mW's are also good quality.

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0-like

O-like used to be the best cheap company out there, but now I'm not so sure. It seems like the quality has become more and more inconsistent, and Rayfoss seems to be exceeding it in every way. Susie still gives great customer service, but be aware that the products are getting worse.

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LEDshoppe

LEDshoppe sells pretty good pens. Most notable are the 5mW's (extremely overspec sometimes), and the 50mW laser. People living in the US have been buying the 5mW lasers as an alternative to the DX lasers, which stopped shipping due to the FDA.

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Priceangles

I'd put it somewhere between Dealextreme and LEDshoppe. The lasers are often underspec from the listed output, but the prices are so low you're still getting what you pay for. In other words, a great value, even if you don't get the advertised output. Near 50mW for $11 is the best value I've found so far!

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Laserlands

Laserlands is a risky company. They look a lot like rayfoss, and have similar products. The lasers usually seem to be up to spec, but I have seen the occasional "bad" review, so I would be careful buying from them.

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BudgetGadgets

Budgetgadgets sells only a few good lasers. The 20/30mW "stars projector", and the 30/50mW pen flashlight. The other lasers could be good or bad, but are not very consistant so I wouldn't recommend them.

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Kaidomain

Kaidomain is pretty much DX; the only difference is that some lasers ship to the US, and some don't.

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FocalPrice
Quality China Goods


Focalprice and QCG are pretty much the same thing. They sell a variety of laser pointers, but I wouldn't trust any of them, mostly because they vary in output so much. You could get a good one, you could get a bad one. The risk is up to you.

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BlueSky

I don't have too much info on these guys, but a member has convinced me that they're good.

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The Good

Alright, now to the good sites.

Laserglow

Laserglow sells 3 different green lasers. Their supplier is CNI, so the pens have the typical "CNI pen" look.
1.-The Lyra series. This is the best 5mW pointer you can buy! It's incredibly stable, has great divergence, and is made of anodized aluminum (will not scratch off).
2.-The Aries. It's a reliable portable laser. Not much else to say... Again, from CNI, so the quality is top-notch.
3.-The Hercules. It's pretty much different from any laser out there (using D sized batteries). And I'm pretty sure it's the highest powered portable laser you can buy.

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NOVAlasers

Nova Lasers are manufactured by CNI, so the quality is the same as Laserglow (probably the best besides the RPL). The X-series is illegal in the US, but NOVA guarantees the laser's arrival, so they will send you another one if it gets taken by customs. The Alpha is great, ALWAYS overspec, and it still keeps the "portable" look, while staying relatively small. NOVA recently updated the website, at the same time releasing the Endeavor 275, which is the most powerful green laser pen ever made (it uses CR2's).

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Optotronics

Optotronics is a great company, with great customer service. They have been selling pen styles for a while now, and have earned an excellent reputation for doing so. Manufactured by Viasho, the RPL is often regarded as the best handheld laser money can buy (with a price tag to match). The lasers are always overspec, and optics and other goodies are included with the RPL's. IR filters are also least expensive there, if you think you need one.

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CNI Laser Systems

CNI manufactures extremely high quality lasers, and they supply lasers to many of the best companies out there, including NOVA, Dragon Lasers, and LaserGlow. You either have to contact the company directly for prices, or buy through scopeguy's group buy. I would highly recommend any laser made by CNI.

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Dragon Lasers

Dragon Lasers sells a pretty good selection of lasers. The quality is good, and they are overspec. DL also sells the cheapest safety goggles.

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The BAD

These are the sites you should NEVER buy from. They're underspec, have questionable quality, and are just plain scammers.

SKYlasers (SKY used to be a good company, but they started charging more and ripping people off)
WarnLasers
TechLasers
BOBLaser
BestOfferBuy
Laser DIY
Laserto
ShopHDE
MilitaryLasers

I'm really lost as to where to place Wicked Lasers right now. They just seem to go up and down and up and down... The best way I can sum it up is: good lasers, bad company. The lasers are very nice looking and very well built, but they are REALLY overpriced. The customer service is also pretty bad. Chances are you'll get a good/working laser if you order from them, but you'll still be paying way too much for what you get. And don't expect Wicked to give you much help if something happens. Overall I would say NOT to buy from them, just because of their unreliability.

eBay/amazon are sites I can't really place. Some sellers are good, and some are scammers. You'll really just have to research them and decide for yourself. 5mW lasers are almost always up to spec, and more often then not overspec. Ebay is also the best place to buy the WickedLasers Core (which is the only good laser WL sells).
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And that's the end. Please inform me of any typos you might come across, I just found a ton. I hope this guide helped!
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Old 04-22-2009, 01:40 AM   #2
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Default Re: A Guide To Buying Your First Green Laser

Great guide! +1

To the list of &quot;bad&quot; sites, add Boblaser. Also, make a statement that if it has not been mentioned on this list, it is probably bad...scam laser sites are everywhere.

-Mark
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Old 04-22-2009, 01:43 AM   #3
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Default Re: A Guide To Buying Your First Green Laser

Quote:
Originally Posted by rocketparrotlet
Great guide! +1

To the list of &quot;bad&quot; sites, add Boblaser. *Also, make a statement that if it has not been mentioned on this list, it is probably bad...scam laser sites are everywhere.

-Mark
Thanks! I'll do that, although I wasn't going to put on suppliers...

I'm hoping it will get stickified. ;D

EDIT: Added Boblaser.
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Old 04-22-2009, 02:07 AM   #4
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Default Re: A Guide To Buying Your First Green Laser

Bestofferbuy - BAD
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:54 AM   #5
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Default Re: A Guide To Buying Your First Green Laser

there is a little error....you say that aries is similar to nova.. but are different. aries uses a 1200mw pump diode at 1000mw.... NOVA uses a 2000mw pump diode. nova starts from 200mw true green and aries arrives at max 225mw.
the 200mw aries is 889$...200mw nova 799$. laserglow is not cheaper than nova.. but it's the most expensive company specially from 20mw to 200mw!
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1- red dilda 200mw from olike ( tested 195mw) 0.5 mrad!.
3- 50mw bottle shape from FOCAL...1.2 mrad, not estimated power 40/60mw in winter. 20/30 in summer ;(. nice design.
4- 80mw bluray PEN from olike, NEGATIVE divergence focus point at about 2meter (good) and divergence of LESS THAN 0.5mrad for sure.
5-rayfoss FMK 200mw at 270+ real output peak 306 i SELL at 190$ worldwideSHIPPED!!!
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Old 04-22-2009, 02:02 PM   #6
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Default Re: A Guide To Buying Your First Green Laser

Quote:
Budgetgadgets sells only a few good lasers. The 20/30mW &quot;stars projecter&quot;, and the 30/50mW pen flashlight. The other lasers could be good or bad, but are not very consistant so I wouldn't reccomend them.
You might want to add that the 30/50mW laser is also available in 100mW. Speaking of which, I ordered the 100mW and will be making a review of it once it arrives.

Great guide! I should have read this when I bought my first laser!

-Jakob
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Functional Lasers

405nm 12x Diode: 400mA: Jayrob Keychain CR2 Host: 505mW
405nm SF-AW210 Diode: 240mA: Jayrob 4171 Flashlight Host: 210-220mW
• 445nm XJ-A140 Diode: 280mA: Dorcy Junior Host: 200mW
• 445nm XJ-A140 Diode: 1500mA: Hotlights 18650 Host: 1600mW
473nm Oceanus 5mW RPL Style: <5mW
532nm Rayfoss 200mW Adjustable Focus Pointer: 150-190mW
532nm BudgetGadget 50mW Keychain Pointer: 60mW
532nm DX 5mW Pointer: 8mW
• 543nm Coherent 0.5mW HeNe Laser: 1mW
593.5nm CNI “Rigel” Pen-Style Pointer: <5mW
650nm LPC-815 Diode: 380mA: FT-NS-3AAA TaskForce Flashlight Host: 200-220mW

Exceptional lasers are very similar to exceptional women: they're beautiful but they drain your wallet dry.
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Old 04-22-2009, 02:34 PM   #7
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Default Re: A Guide To Buying Your First Green Laser

Laserglow sells 3 different green lasers. Their supplier is CNI, so the pens have the typical &quot;CNI pen&quot; look.
1.-The Lyra series. This is the best 5mW pointer you can buy! It's incredibly stable, has great divergence, and is made of anodized aluminum (will not scratch off).
2.-The Aries. It's a reliable portable laser. Not much else to say... Again, from CNI, so the quality is top-notch. It's the same thing as a Novalasers NOVA, but cheaper.
3.-The Hercules. It's a higher powered Aries. And I'm pretty sure it's the highest powered portable laser you can buy.


Just to clarify, the Hercules is not at all a pen style (almost a full foot and a half long, over 5lbs) and is an entirely different design than anything else on the market. The Herc features no duty cycle due to internal forced air fan cooling, has external power inputs, and also is set up for TTL modulation, not to mention they use a full 2.5w pump diode and are designed to allow the user to adjust the output to their needs (meaning if you want your herc 400 to only put out 200mW for a demonstration, etc you can easily dial it down, back up, etc)...

Laserglow is unique also in that they test the output of the Aires and Herc series of lasers over time, and use the actual &quot;settled&quot; power of the laser as it's rating (for example, my herc 350 actually peaks and holds at 500+mW for awhile, then settles to around 370-380mW, hence them selling it as a 350 when almost anyone else would market it as a half-watt laser).

If you have a few grand laying around, Laserglow can custom order the Herc for you well in excess of 1/2 watt - but for a mere $2K, the Herc 350 is an incredible piece of engineering!

BTW, here it is next to a &quot;pen-style&quot; laser for comparison
Attached Thumbnails
A Guide To Buying Your First Green Laser-laserglow_001.jpg  
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LaserGlow Hercules - Over 500mW of Perfection! (Sadly, this one has been sold!)
400mW RPL-style in need of minor realignment - not as cool as the herc but a temporary fix...
(2) SXD Modules in Ehgemus Hosts - 156mW and 173mW
Laserglow Galileo with O-like Module - 144mW
(6) Assorted Chinese AAA Pointers from 44mW to 144mW
Laserglow Aquarius - 18mW peak 15mW steady
6X GGW in Custom Kryton by Daguin - 264mW w/Larry DFW Lens
8X BDR in Custom Kryton 401mW (Mohrenburg Build)
LCC in Kryton Groove - Conservative 255mW
(2) Old-Style Dildas running at 8.4V - 241mW and 233mW
2-3mW HeNe Custom Desk Lamp *Under Construction*


(26) Assorted Laser Displays from SHINP 100-500mW
(2) Custom 130mW Diffraction Projectors
Custom 170mW Lumia Wheel Projector
20K Scanner System *Under Repair/Renovation*
LaserBee I With Data Logging - Great Low Cost LPM!

Assorted Labbies, Modules, PHR's LOC's, etc - LOTS of it!
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Old 04-22-2009, 07:13 PM   #8
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Default Re: A Guide To Buying Your First Green Laser

There is only one exception to the &quot;bad&quot; list, which is the wicked lasers &quot;CORE&quot; 5mW pointer. I´ve heard good things about it and as my signature states I even do own one of my own, which I am very happy with. You should, however, not buy from WickedLasers directly, but rather from the redistributor &quot;guitmath&quot; on ebay - that´s where I got mine:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Wicked-Lasers-5m...3A1%7C294%3A50
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: A Guide To Buying Your First Green Laser

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewCityMusic
Laserglow sells 3 different green lasers. Their supplier is CNI, so the pens have the typical &quot;CNI pen&quot; look.
1.-The Lyra series. This is the best 5mW pointer you can buy! It's incredibly stable, has great divergence, and is made of anodized aluminum (will not scratch off).
2.-The Aries. It's a reliable portable laser. Not much else to say... Again, from CNI, so the quality is top-notch. It's the same thing as a Novalasers NOVA, but cheaper.
3.-The Hercules. It's a higher powered Aries. And I'm pretty sure it's the highest powered portable laser you can buy.


Just to clarify, the Hercules is not at all a pen style (almost a full foot and a half long, over 5lbs) and is an entirely different design than anything else on the market. The Herc features no duty cycle due to internal forced air fan cooling, has external power inputs, and also is set up for TTL modulation, not to mention they use a full 2.5w pump diode and are designed to allow the user to adjust the output to their needs (meaning if you want your herc 400 to only put out 200mW for a demonstration, etc you can easily dial it down, back up, etc)...

Laserglow is unique also in that they test the output of the Aires and Herc series of lasers over time, and use the actual &quot;settled&quot; power of the laser as it's rating (for example, my herc 350 actually peaks and holds at 500+mW for awhile, then settles to around 370-380mW, hence them selling it as a 350 when almost anyone else would market it as a half-watt laser).

If you have a few grand laying around, Laserglow can custom order the Herc for you well in excess of 1/2 watt - but for a mere $2K, the Herc 350 is an incredible piece of engineering!

BTW, here it is next to a &quot;pen-style&quot; laser for comparison *
I didn't say the Hercules was a pen style. At least I couldn't find it...

Quote:
Originally Posted by realista
there is a little error....you say that aries is similar to nova.. but are different. aries uses a 1200mw pump diode at 1000mw.... NOVA uses a 2000mw pump diode. nova starts from 200mw true green and aries arrives at max 225mw.
the 200mw aries is 889$...200mw nova 799$. laserglow is not cheaper than nova.. but it's the most expensive company specially from 20mw to 200mw!
i gave you a rep+
Something must have gone wrong here... I was writing this really late at night. ;D I just got rid of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pianoman2011
Quote:
Budgetgadgets sells only a few good lasers. The 20/30mW &quot;stars projecter&quot;, and the 30/50mW pen flashlight. The other lasers could be good or bad, but are not very consistant so I wouldn't reccomend them.
You might want to add that the 30/50mW laser is also available in 100mW. Speaking of which, I ordered the 100mW and will be making a review of it once it arrives.

-Jakob
That's exactly the reason I didn't put it up. It hadn't been reviewed yet. This guide is mostly for beginers, and I'd hate to point them in the wrong direction if the laser ends up being a bad deal. I'll keep an eye out for the review.

Everything fixed.
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Old 04-23-2009, 12:33 AM   #10
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Default Re: A Guide To Buying Your First Green Laser

You should also include that the Novalaser NOVA series is out of stock.
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635nm: 5mW Focusable Z-Bolt
632.8nm: 10mW Hughes HeNe - 15mW Melles Griot HeNe - 1mW Melles Griot bare tube in a transparent project box
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Old 04-24-2009, 01:35 AM   #11
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Default Re: A Guide To Buying Your First Green Laser

Quote:
That's exactly the reason I didn't put it up. It hadn't been reviewed yet. This guide is mostly for beginers, and I'd hate to point them in the wrong direction if the laser ends up being a bad deal. I'll keep an eye out for the review.

Everything fixed.
Ahh smart. Well I'll be doing a review in 8-13 days when I get it.

-Jakob
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405nm 12x Diode: 400mA: Jayrob Keychain CR2 Host: 505mW
405nm SF-AW210 Diode: 240mA: Jayrob 4171 Flashlight Host: 210-220mW
• 445nm XJ-A140 Diode: 280mA: Dorcy Junior Host: 200mW
• 445nm XJ-A140 Diode: 1500mA: Hotlights 18650 Host: 1600mW
473nm Oceanus 5mW RPL Style: <5mW
532nm Rayfoss 200mW Adjustable Focus Pointer: 150-190mW
532nm BudgetGadget 50mW Keychain Pointer: 60mW
532nm DX 5mW Pointer: 8mW
• 543nm Coherent 0.5mW HeNe Laser: 1mW
593.5nm CNI “Rigel” Pen-Style Pointer: <5mW
650nm LPC-815 Diode: 380mA: FT-NS-3AAA TaskForce Flashlight Host: 200-220mW

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Old 04-24-2009, 06:06 AM   #12
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Default Re: A Guide To Buying Your First Green Laser

[quote=pianoman2011]
Quote:

Great guide! I should have read this when I bought my first laser!

-Jakob
I'm glad that I didn't read this buying guide first. Otherwise I wouldn't have bothered to get three VERY nice 5mW Chinese lasers for less than $9 each, shipping was free, from eBay. I gave one away and kept 2. All pot-modded to get a decent 50mW (approx.) output. They have no problems starting a match when using a magnifying glass. But I suspect that they have strong IR filters, because the projected dot is much much much too bright to look at on most any surface. The beams are all clearly visible in a day-lit room with partial sunlight streaming in. One of them is working nicely in TEM11 mode for a little extra power. They've been running fine for a month this way. And at that price? I can buy another 10 and still get the same amount of laser out of them that other companies would sell a comparable product for just 1 laser.

That &quot;buyer's guide&quot; should be prefaced with a huge &quot;IMHO&quot; header. It's very misleading and reads like some clique of companies that everyone here wants to support, for who knows what reason.

Hint for eBay Chinese laser buyers: When getting the 5mW ones from China, they are sealed up really tight inside, but you can still &quot;wiggle&quot; the end cap off with a strong grip, to easily focus them a little tighter by turning the lens element. I got all of mine down to a 1.1 mRad divergence with a little focusing. Then look inside the battery contact, where the spring is on the back of the laser module Take out the little foam gasket surrounding the spring. To one side of the circuit board, next to the push-button switch, you'll see the edge of a little flat pancake of metal. That's the potentiometer you need to adjust. Since they can't be taken apart easily, it's best to measure the distance of this pot from the barrel edge, using a toothpick or something, and then approximate where to carefully drill a small hole directly above that pot. Then use a jeweler's screwdriver to turn it slowly counter-clockwise until you feel it's as bright as you need. Don't go overboard, they crank up pretty high with just a slight turn. I wouldn't turn it brighter than what I've already described what mine do (beam visible in sun-lit room), to keep them functional for a long long time. Cover up the hole that you drilled with the little holographic &quot;QC Passed&quot; sticker that's on the barrel end. Then it looks like it still came right from the store that way.
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Old 04-24-2009, 01:47 PM   #13
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Default Re: A Guide To Buying Your First Green Laser

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keo
[quote author=pianoman2011 link=1240363779/0#5 date=1240408955]
Quote:

Great guide! I should have read this when I bought my first laser!

-Jakob
I'm glad that I didn't read this buying guide first. Otherwise I wouldn't have bothered to get three VERY nice 5mW Chinese lasers for less than $9 each, shipping was free, from eBay. I gave one away and kept 2. All pot-modded to get a decent 50mW (approx.) output. They have no problems starting a match when using a magnifying glass. But I suspect that they have strong IR filters, because the projected dot is much much much too bright to look at on most any surface. The beams are all clearly visible in a day-lit room with partial sunlight streaming in. One of them is working nicely in TEM11 mode for a little extra power. They've been running fine for a month this way. And at that price? I can buy another 10 and still get the same amount of laser out of them that other companies would sell a comparable product for just 1 laser.

That &quot;buyer's guide&quot; should be prefaced with a huge &quot;IMHO&quot; header. It's very misleading and reads like some clique of companies that everyone here wants to support, for who knows what reason.

Hint for eBay Chinese laser buyers: When getting the 5mW ones from China, they are sealed up really tight inside, but you can still &quot;wiggle&quot; the end cap off with a strong grip, to easily focus them a little tighter by turning the lens element. I got all of mine down to a 1.1 mRad divergence with a little focusing. Then look inside the battery contact, where the spring is on the back of the laser module Take out the little foam gasket surrounding the spring. To one side of the circuit board, next to the push-button switch, you'll see the edge of a little flat pancake of metal. That's the potentiometer you need to adjust. Since they can't be taken apart easily, it's best to measure the distance of this pot from the barrel edge, using a toothpick or something, and then approximate where to carefully drill a small hole directly above that pot. Then use a jeweler's screwdriver to turn it slowly counter-clockwise until you feel it's as bright as you need. Don't go overboard, they crank up pretty high with just a slight turn. I wouldn't turn it brighter than what I've already described what mine do (beam visible in sun-lit room), to keep them functional for a long long time. Cover up the hole that you drilled with the little holographic &quot;QC Passed&quot; sticker that's on the barrel end. Then it looks like it still came right from the store that way.
Um...
Quote:
http://www.ebay.com (For lasers over 5mW. This also excludes the seller &quot;snoctony&quot;, who has proven to be a reliable seller.)
You said you bought 3 nice 5mW lasers from eBay so this guide is bad... he only said eBay is a bad place to buy LASERS OVER 5mW, not that the 5mW ones are bad. Read correctly before you insult his guide.

-Jakob
__________________
Functional Lasers

405nm 12x Diode: 400mA: Jayrob Keychain CR2 Host: 505mW
405nm SF-AW210 Diode: 240mA: Jayrob 4171 Flashlight Host: 210-220mW
• 445nm XJ-A140 Diode: 280mA: Dorcy Junior Host: 200mW
• 445nm XJ-A140 Diode: 1500mA: Hotlights 18650 Host: 1600mW
473nm Oceanus 5mW RPL Style: <5mW
532nm Rayfoss 200mW Adjustable Focus Pointer: 150-190mW
532nm BudgetGadget 50mW Keychain Pointer: 60mW
532nm DX 5mW Pointer: 8mW
• 543nm Coherent 0.5mW HeNe Laser: 1mW
593.5nm CNI “Rigel” Pen-Style Pointer: <5mW
650nm LPC-815 Diode: 380mA: FT-NS-3AAA TaskForce Flashlight Host: 200-220mW

Exceptional lasers are very similar to exceptional women: they're beautiful but they drain your wallet dry.
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Old 04-24-2009, 02:12 PM   #14
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Default Re: A Guide To Buying Your First Green Laser

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keo
[quote author=pianoman2011 link=1240363779/0#5 date=1240408955]
Quote:

Great guide! I should have read this when I bought my first laser!

-Jakob
I'm glad that I didn't read this buying guide first. Otherwise I wouldn't have bothered to get three VERY nice 5mW Chinese lasers for less than $9 each, shipping was free, from eBay. I gave one away and kept 2. All pot-modded to get a decent 50mW (approx.) output. They have no problems starting a match when using a magnifying glass. But I suspect that they have strong IR filters, because the projected dot is much much much too bright to look at on most any surface. The beams are all clearly visible in a day-lit room with partial sunlight streaming in. One of them is working nicely in TEM11 mode for a little extra power. They've been running fine for a month this way. And at that price? I can buy another 10 and still get the same amount of laser out of them that other companies would sell a comparable product for just 1 laser.

That &quot;buyer's guide&quot; should be prefaced with a huge &quot;IMHO&quot; header. It's very misleading and reads like some clique of companies that everyone here wants to support, for who knows what reason.
WTF does this mean.... :-/ you can't see IR anyway and I highly doubt that a $9.00 Green
Laser has an IR Filter... 8-)

Jerry
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Old 04-24-2009, 11:09 PM   #15
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Default Re: A Guide To Buying Your First Green Laser

Quote:
Originally Posted by pianoman2011
[quote author=Keo link=1240363779/0#11 date=1240553180][quote author=pianoman2011 link=1240363779/0#5 date=1240408955]
Quote:

Great guide! I should have read this when I bought my first laser!

-Jakob
I'm glad that I didn't read this buying guide first. Otherwise I wouldn't have bothered to get three VERY nice 5mW Chinese lasers for less than $9 each, shipping was free, from eBay. I gave one away and kept 2. All pot-modded to get a decent 50mW (approx.) output. They have no problems starting a match when using a magnifying glass. But I suspect that they have strong IR filters, because the projected dot is much much much too bright to look at on most any surface. The beams are all clearly visible in a day-lit room with partial sunlight streaming in. One of them is working nicely in TEM11 mode for a little extra power. They've been running fine for a month this way. And at that price? I can buy another 10 and still get the same amount of laser out of them that other companies would sell a comparable product for just 1 laser.

That &quot;buyer's guide&quot; should be prefaced with a huge &quot;IMHO&quot; header. It's very misleading and reads like some clique of companies that everyone here wants to support, for who knows what reason.

Hint for eBay Chinese laser buyers: When getting the 5mW ones from China, they are sealed up really tight inside, but you can still &quot;wiggle&quot; the end cap off with a strong grip, to easily focus them a little tighter by turning the lens element. I got all of mine down to a 1.1 mRad divergence with a little focusing. Then look inside the battery contact, where the spring is on the back of the laser module Take out the little foam gasket surrounding the spring. To one side of the circuit board, next to the push-button switch, you'll see the edge of a little flat pancake of metal. That's the potentiometer you need to adjust. Since they can't be taken apart easily, it's best to measure the distance of this pot from the barrel edge, using a toothpick or something, and then approximate where to carefully drill a small hole directly above that pot. Then use a jeweler's screwdriver to turn it slowly counter-clockwise until you feel it's as bright as you need. Don't go overboard, they crank up pretty high with just a slight turn. I wouldn't turn it brighter than what I've already described what mine do (beam visible in sun-lit room), to keep them functional for a long long time. Cover up the hole that you drilled with the little holographic &quot;QC Passed&quot; sticker that's on the barrel end. Then it looks like it still came right from the store that way.
Um...
Quote:
http://www.ebay.com (For lasers over 5mW. This also excludes the seller &quot;snoctony&quot;, who has proven to be a reliable seller.)
You said you bought 3 nice 5mW lasers from eBay so this guide is bad... he only said eBay is a bad place to buy LASERS OVER 5mW, not that the 5mW ones are bad. Read correctly before you insult his guide.

-Jakob[/quote]

And if you read the beggining, you also would have seen:
Quote:
Originally Posted by randomlugia
Q: Are you SURE you can't burn with ~60mW?

Yes you could, but it would require an additional lens (a.k.a. magnifying glass).
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Old 04-30-2009, 04:01 PM   #16
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Default Re: A Guide To Buying Your First Green Laser

^Great guide, random.. My only input would be that I think you should remove ebay from your list of bad places to buy green lasers and other laser-related goods. There are a great many awesome deals and awesome sellers that can be found there. People should just look at feedback before they decide who to buy from. Ebay is just too good a source of great laser stuff to be called a bad place to buy from.
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