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Old 02-09-2014, 10:00 PM #1
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Unhappy Help a Noob. Weird laser problem

Hello guys, from Southeast Asia, Malaysia
This is my first post... sadly not in the welcome section but the repair section. I thought I would post after I finish my first build from a DVD burner. Gotta have something to show the club right?
Anyway, I made the Lm317 circuit without the capacitor, a 4.7ohm resistor and a pot with min resistance of 0.2 ohms hooked up a 9v battery with a 16x red in Aixiz housing. (tested beforehand)
My second time trying to get the circuit to work (fried the first one due to impatience and lack of overall knowledge).
Potentiometer at max resistance, slowly wind down.... it started as a led sort of red light, then at a certain point, it started lasing (I assume it means the observation of bright red jumpy particles thingy). It worked, not very very bright, and the pot isn't at its end. (I had duty cycles)
So I tried to tune it further down, those few degrees made a LOT of difference in terms of brightness.
Near the end of the wheel, it suddenly became dim (no more bright particles)
My mind was like o.snap.
I turned resistance back up and then proceeded to slowly decrease it as I did before.
It started lasing again, Yay. (I don't know if it still has the same threshold current)
And then, after awhile, it went led even when I turned resistance all the way down.
Here's the confusing part, it occasionally (rarely) lases for brief moments when it is passed the threshold.
Do you call that a led diode?
A DVD diode is probably like the utmost cheapest laser here, but as a Asian student from a middle class family, there is little left of money that you won't feel guilty for spending.
Perhaps it's true that right now, all the reason I wish to own a powerful enough laser revolves around pointing them, looking at the beam, burn stuff; which is in essence, not constructive & not useful.
But those are the things which has brought me here, and hopefully make me stay in some way.
Right now I feel so stupid, angry, sad and confused
there's people out there who just hook up batteries and they get similar results as one would with a driver. Yet I play by the rules and all kind of unforseen circumstances come to play. Annnd, my diode probably died. At the same time, I still haven't any clue (pretty sure I'm not gonna get anything by searching: "my diode fluctuates betwen led and laser")
Was looking around at degree courses also, apparently there's :
PHOTONICS ENGINEER just, wow.


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Old 02-12-2014, 10:06 PM #2
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Default Re: Help a Noob. Weird laser problem

If you kill a laser diode, it doesn't magically come back.

Some diodes do lower output when you get past a certain point, and then when you dial it back, the output comes back.

One thing to be wary of is turning the pot while the circuit is powered up. For a linear driver, I would guess it is ok, but be careful if you get any fancy drivers that buck or boost.

Last thing is, try using a different power source, like a bunch of AAs in series, an old wall plug power adapter, or even a lead-acid battery. A 9v battery is meant for very low current draws. I dunno what sort of currents you've been trying to pull from it, but 9V will generally sag quite a bit at relatively modest currents. Would be a good start to rule that out.
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Old 02-15-2014, 04:04 PM #3
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Default Re: Help a Noob. Weird laser problem

Out of frustration I was poking around the driver with the multimeter. By some chance,i connected the circuit via bypassing the POT and it started lasing...
I resoldered the circuit by removing the POT.
It works fine now, hasn't dimmed yet.
I did not try to measure the current going through the diode now, as I would have to unsolder the diode part, and for some unknown reason or excuse, things may go wrong. Not something I want to risk when I have only 1 laser..
I guess it ended quite well... no idea what happened though, it seems like the diode decided to have a high threshold current
It certainly feels great to see a laser BEAM, though it's so faint. Long journey ahead !!
Thanks for the info on the other drivers, it seems that linears are really not space-and-battery-choice-efficient
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