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Old 06-02-2011, 11:45 AM #1
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Thumbs up Another Odicforce Focusing Laser Host Review (kit w/ driver) - 275mW!

Hey Guys, after lurking a lot around I thought that it was time to write my first review about the odicforce focusing laser host. I know this kit has been reviewed here before by Kryczeck and Morgan in 2010 and by itsmei in Feb 2011. They have a lot of nice pictures in their reviews, so you might want to check theirs as well. But I think a few angles were not covered by them, so I thought I give you my impressions of this kit as well.

I live in Europe and odicforce is one of the few places where we can get laser goodies without having to wait for weeks for their arrival. I was especially curious about their small focusing host, which you can either get for 8.99 GBP (host only) or together with a driver for 11.99 GBP. I chose to order the latter (item OFL255).
The also have a special offer for LPF members: two hosts (no drivers) for 14.99 GBP plus s/h.

Ordering:
There were no problems with the ordering process, the goods arrived safely packed in under two weeks time. The whole order came in a padded envelope and the single items were bubble wrapped. The kit has arrived in good shape without scratches or defects.
5/5 points

Quality:
The host is made from aluminum with a black coating. It showed minor burrs and some metal shavings were found in the host. The threads were pretty dry but I prefer greasing them after everything is finished.
My lens has has a strange halo, more on that later. Thats why I only give
4/5 points

The contents of the kit:
- lens mount (M9x0.5 threads)
- AR coated plastic lens (blue coating for red lasers)
- focusing head
- spring (for lens)
- heatsink with diode pocket (direct press, no Aixiz module needed)
- body tube
- clicky switch
- retainer for the switch
- tailcap
- lanyard
- driver with separate contact spring
- several page long instruction sheet (very detailed, lots of pictures)

Build:
The build is fairly easy and IMHO perfectly suited for beginners. All you need for a high powered red laser is this kit, a LPC-815 sled or a single red diode and two CR2 batteries. Some tools are of course needed too ;-)

I used a LPC-815 sled which I got from a member of this forum. The extraction of the diodes was easy, thanks to the excellent guides and pictures in this forum.

I put a slight chamfer on the diode pocket to make the mounting process easier. Before the diode would get caught on the edge. I found that with the chamfer setting the diode is no problem. Use a piece of tube which is slightly smaller than the diode pocket to set the diode all the way. It should sit slightly lower than the bottom of the heatsink for best heat transfer.

Once the diode is pressed it, you solder the driver board to the diode and the supplied contact spring to the board. Read more about the driver and why you don't have to have a test load below. Continue to screw the heatsink in the body. Put the lens in the lens mount and screw it to the focusing head. Put the tailswitch in the tailcap, secure it with the retainer ring. Put the batteries in, plus sides first, screw everything together and you are done! Put on your safety glasses and push the switch.

I don't have a LPM to measure its power. Odicforce clamis in their instructions that they measured 307mW with a LPC-815 diode driven at 350mA. This figure seems to be fairly optimistic. I would guess that 250mW is a more realistic number.

EDIT: I got my LaserBee today. I measured this laser at 275mW peak, 270mW average. IMHO a great result! The measurements were done with used batteries and tailcap current of 414mA. So with fresh batteries the results should not be much higher since I set the driver at 417mA diode current.
5/5 points

Pros:
-very detailed instruction sheet
-very easy to assemble
-nice fit of the parts
-small host (can also be a con if you have large hands ;-)

Cons:
-heatsink should be larger and have more material around the diode

Room for improvement:
- wrap batteries with two layers of electrical tape to eliminate the rattle
- put a strip of electrical tape on the threads for the focusing head for a more precise focus

Notes:
My lens has a problem. It shows a cresent shaped, quite bright halo. I have contacted customer support and Jon has offered to send a replacement. He is a really nice guy, I had a reply in less than two days!

I have tried to replace the plastic lens with a three-element glass lens. The threads are identical and you can put it in the lens mount. But it is not possible to get it to focus. You would have to handhold the focusing head to the body for it to focus. When you try to screw it onto the body then you loose focus. The focal length of the glass lens is apparently longer than on the plastic lens. Maybe an 650-G-1 lens would work? Unfortunately I don’t have one to try it.

EDIT:
I tried another three-element glass lens for red lasers from a different supplier. And to my surprise the focusing was possible without a loose focusing head. I did a little test and it seems that the focal lengths of the two lenses are different. The new one has a shorter focal length and can be used in this host without any problems. There is no way to tell which lens is which by just eyeballing it. The look exactly the same. Only difference is their focal length

The driver:
The driver which is supplied with this kit seems to be the same as their high power red laser driver OFL184 for 3.90 GBP. It comes preset to 200mA. That is good for beginners who don't have a test load. If you want to crank up the current at a later point of time and you still don't have a test load, you can go by the tailcap current. The tailcap current is approximately 20mA higher than the diode current when you stay in the 300-400mA range. For example, if you measure 420mA at the tailcap, your laser diode is running at ~400mA.

I tested the driver before installing it to see where its limits are. I hooked it up to my test load, used two CR2 3V batteries and cranked it up to 460mA current (460mV voltage drop on the test load). After 25 seconds the driver was very hot, but still supplying the 460mA to the test load.
I think for high powered red lasers running at or up to 430mA, this driver is doing a good job when using short duty cycles.

The sheet which comes with the drivers suggests a operating current of 300mA. At this current the driver produces almost no heat and can be run continuously without getting hot. At around 350mA the driver will start to get hot but odic claims that they have run it at 350mA for an hour without any problems. I have not verified this.

I would recommend using 3V CR2 cells, rather than the 3.7V ones. Why? Because with linear drivers all the "excess" voltage will create additional heat. The 3V CR2 cells have a voltage of 3.6V when full and 2.0V when empty. I have used them for quite a while and they are doing a nice job in my laser. I measured the tailcap current every once in a while and it is very consistent. Only in the last few seconds before the laser "dies" you will see a dramatic reduction in the brightness of the laser. Then the battery voltage has dropped to around 2.25V per cell.

Despite the warm words about this driver, I replaced it with a homemade TS1085 driver. Why? Because the new driver can easily supply 400mA and more without heating up much. When I used the red odic driver before, the head of the host quickly got hot. Now with my new driver it is much cooler. My DIY driver has cost me only 50 cent. And I can use the driver that came with the kit for something else.

Summary:
Nice kit for beginners. Easy to put together. Very detailed instructions. Good quality. Excellent customer support. Because the heatsink is quite small, I would say it is not the best host if you want to squeeze every bit of power out of your LOC diode. I recommend short duty cycles for a long, happy diode life.

Thanks a lot for reading!

Here come the pictures:

The finished laser.


The laser taken apart with my diy driver.


The driver supplied with the kit, soldered to the diode.


My DIY driver, bottom.


My driver, top side, showing the TS1085CZ.


My driver inside the host tube.


Beam shot!


__________________
MY TOYS:
0.5mw 632.8 nm HeNe [my first DIY laser built in 1993]
LPC-815: 275mW@417mA, TS1085 diy driver, 2xCR2, AR PMMA lens in odicforce host [reviewed here]
LPC-826: 250mW@417mA, LM1085 diy driver, 2xCR123A, 3-element glass lens, Aurora C6, copper heat sink [see it here]
GGW-red: 180mW@370mA, TS1085 diy driver, 2x10440, 3-element glass lens in Blue M host
several 650 nm modules in the lower mw range

True 50mw 532 nm pen from PriceAngels [56mW]
532 nm pen from odicforce [38mW]
532 nm shorty pen [modded, 80mW +20mW IR]
A140: 1100mW@1100mA, MIC29152 diy linear Driver, 2xCR123A, 3-element glass lens, Aurora C6, copper heat sink[here]
GGW-H20L: 140mW@170mA, boost driver, 3xAAA NiMh, 3-element lens, Blue M host
GGW-IR: 90mW@150mA, diy driver, in o-like module
LPC-815: 80mW@150mA,
diy driver, in o-like module
LaserBee 2.5W USB

Last edited by chefla; 08-03-2011 at 06:09 PM. Reason: updated with power measurements
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Old 06-02-2011, 11:58 AM #2
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Default Re: Another Odicforce Focusing Laser Host review (kit w/ driver)

Nice in depth review! have fun with that new laser
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Old 06-02-2011, 02:25 PM #3
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Default Re: Another Odicforce Focusing Laser Host review (kit w/ driver)

I've got one of these with a PHR @ 100mA inside, very nice kit, took about 1/2 hour to complete
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some 5mW pointers
LPC-815 "mini labby" @ 350mA

SLD63518262 5mW 635nm
DX 5mW
DX 50mW
DX 30mW module in spirograph link
DX 50mW in modded LAS-7 spirograph link

445nm 800mW link
PHR-803T @ 105mA in DildaV2 kit link
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Old 08-03-2011, 06:07 PM #4
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chefla chefla is offline
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Default Re: Another Odicforce Focusing Laser Host review (kit w/ driver)

Got my LaserBee today and updated the review with the test results.
__________________
MY TOYS:
0.5mw 632.8 nm HeNe [my first DIY laser built in 1993]
LPC-815: 275mW@417mA, TS1085 diy driver, 2xCR2, AR PMMA lens in odicforce host [reviewed here]
LPC-826: 250mW@417mA, LM1085 diy driver, 2xCR123A, 3-element glass lens, Aurora C6, copper heat sink [see it here]
GGW-red: 180mW@370mA, TS1085 diy driver, 2x10440, 3-element glass lens in Blue M host
several 650 nm modules in the lower mw range

True 50mw 532 nm pen from PriceAngels [56mW]
532 nm pen from odicforce [38mW]
532 nm shorty pen [modded, 80mW +20mW IR]
A140: 1100mW@1100mA, MIC29152 diy linear Driver, 2xCR123A, 3-element glass lens, Aurora C6, copper heat sink[here]
GGW-H20L: 140mW@170mA, boost driver, 3xAAA NiMh, 3-element lens, Blue M host
GGW-IR: 90mW@150mA, diy driver, in o-like module
LPC-815: 80mW@150mA,
diy driver, in o-like module
LaserBee 2.5W USB
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