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Old 01-18-2012, 04:35 AM   #1
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Default Lazerer 1.2W 445nm Rifle V2 (1310mW) - Died after 3mo and then FIXED!

Hello all!

Ordering and Shipping:
I placed my order late Xmas day after receiving some gift money. I also sent the $2 fee for registered/insured mail upgrade. My order was acknowledged on the 28th, and went in to processing on the 30th. It was shipped out the 31st. On Jan 5th it went through Chinese customs and on Jan 6th it arrived in the US. It was held in customs until Jan 14th when it began stateside transit to me. It finally arrived at about 11am on January 17th.

The Goods (or should I say, the goodies!?):
Once I opened it up I found it was very well packaged, and it was not messed with by customs. The first thing I did was check the voltage of the two 16340 batteries - 3.59V per cell. I then proceded to pop them in my universal CC/CV Li-Ion charger. I then unpackaged everything and visually inspected my laser and case - all was well. I reinforced the foam padding in my aluminum case with another base layer of closed cell neoprene adhesive-backed foam, and a strip above where the rifle sits in the case. It does not rattle around at all now.

I then donned my Eagle Pair goggles and clicked the tail switch for the first time.... WOW! This laser is amazing! With fog in the room I could see the beam through the goggles. Without fog you can't see the beam at all. After getting my beamstop in place and the laser secure I turned it back on and flipped up my goggles. Careful to not look at the beamstop and only the beam, I marveled at this beautiful laser for nearly a whole minute. I've been keeping a stopwatch active to stick tot he duty cycle. Boy this host gets warm after only 45sec.

The Power Certificate states that my Rifle does 1309mW Peak and 1308mW Sustained. Given there is a 1mW resolution for the LPM, I think it is safe to say it is pretty stable!

Wavelength:
This laser's output appears to be considerably higher wavelength than my single mode 50mW 450nm pointer from laserlands but I've been told this is mostly due to the increased output. The 50mW pointer looks very indigo/violet compared to the Rifle. You can really see the tinge of violet in the beam, spot, and reflected light from the Laserlands pointer. The Rifle is certainly "darker blue" than my 473nm labby, but not as much as I would have thought. I really wonder if this one is close to or around 460nm. It REALLY looks like it could be. It looks VERY much like the beam from StyroPyro's 460nm labby. I don't have a spectrometer so I can't check the wavelength but it is quite visually different than my other "450nm" pointer. RHD has been binning diodes based on wavelength and has only found one at 458nm, so while rare, it is possible. Also, since we are runing these diodes on such hich currents, their wavelength does increase a bit.

Batteries:
By the way, speaking of the batteries; how long do 16340's normally last, per charge? After exactly two 60sec duty cycles the battery voltage was down to 3.98V per cell. After a third duty cycle the voltage was down to 3.89V per cell. Oddly enough after about an hour of charging the lights on my charger for one cell went green. I checked and the cells were only at 4.1V each. Thankfully my charger continues to output 4.19V at a low rate to keep cells charged. I left them in the charger for about 5 hours until they read 4.19V.

My charger is charging them again, and one of the cells always "goes green" faster than the other, by a long shot, but when I measure the voltage (with no load) both cells have the same amount despite the difference in indicator state. I should say that this has never happened with the 18650s I charge on this charger regularly, but those are all protected cells. I don't know if these cells are odd or if my charger can't really measure them well. It is playing it safe and trickle charging them once they get above 4.05V though, so no worries.

Oh, I forgot to mention; I tried using a single 18650 cell, but no go; didn't lase at all. I think maybe it tried to draw too much current and the protection pcb kicked in, or the Vf was not met.

UPDATE 1/23/12 - After cooling the laser enough to do proper extended testing, I determined that one of my two 16340s that I got from Lazerer is underspec in capacity. That is why it was appearing to charge faster, it was. It also discharges faster, and it's voltage sags faster. These batteries trigger the charger's protection circuit before fully charged as well, which makes them take a lot longer to charge up fully.

At 6.65V input the laser drops output considerably and takes much longer to burn dark wood. At 6.3V input it ceases to burn dark wood. At 6.25V input and lower output power drops drastically to the point that it appears dimmer than my 50mW 450nm pointer. At 6.0V input the diode barely lases faintly.

So, this means you can not use any single cell, nor can you use primary lithium batteries. I ordered some good AW Protected RCR123A 16340 cells that I will be using from now on.


Beamspecs:
When I defocus the laser fully and shine the beam at a far wall (~50ft) the spot is circular..... I was expecting a bar... not sure what is going on here. The central stripe of the spot is definitely brighter and it isn't an evenly lit round spot, but I was expecting a pure BAR, with no roundness to it at all.

I'll have some pictures of beamshots and such up in the future.

Pictures:











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Old 01-18-2012, 11:38 AM   #2
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Default Re: Lazerer 1.3W 450nm Rifle V2

Nice detailed review of your Lazerer Laser....

Jerry
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Old 01-20-2012, 12:21 AM   #3
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Default Re: Lazerer 1.3W 450nm Rifle V2

Good interesting review

I've just been running some tests to see how long the batteries last.
I started with 2 freshly charged 16340's (@4.18v).
After the first 60 second cycle they had both dropped to 4.03v.
It then took another 16 duty cycles for them to drop to 3.71 and 3.76v - averaging 0.015v drop every cycle as good as damn it.
2 more duty cycles - 3.35v and 3.11v
On the next cycle and around a combined voltage of 6.2v - the beam practically turns itself off...lol

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Old 01-21-2012, 01:46 AM   #4
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Default Re: Lazerer 1.3W 450nm Rifle V2

Video:
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Old 01-21-2012, 04:24 AM   #5
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Default Re: Lazerer 1.3W 450nm Rifle V2

WOW
thats alota fog you got there!
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Old 01-21-2012, 06:32 AM   #6
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Default Re: Lazerer 1.3W 450nm Rifle V2

It's not as much as it looks like with the Rifle on. Since it is a small white room having the laser on lights up everything, it was 1360mW of light, that's about the same amount of light as a 100W bulb. With it off there is just a slight haze visually.

Update: I've managed to increase the run time safely by pre-cooling the laser to 48F. I can run it for 3 minutes before the host reaches the same temperature a 60sec run reaches at room temp. I pre-cool it by placing it inside a plastic bag, and placing the bag in my fridge for a couple minutes. It really doesn't take long when resting against the aluminum rack in my fridge.
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: Lazerer 1.3W 450nm Rifle V2

Forgive the double post, but I wanted to bump as well.

UPDATE: Partial Failure of Laser:


I've strictly followed the duty cycle and used this laser for less than one hour total on time. I've never inserted the batteries in reverse, and it has been kept clean and dry in it's box since I received it.

I took it out to use it today and it powered up fine for about 2 seconds, and then went out entirely. I checked the batteries, tailcap connection, host continuity, and everything checked out. I removed the negative battery contact spring unit by gently wiggling it without turning it to see if it was a bad connection perhaps with the host. What I found was a broken and overheated wire going from the back of the contact spring unit to a driver covered in thermal epoxy (or maybe just silver colored regular epoxy). I took some of my 26ga teflon wire and repaired the broken connection. The copper wire that came with the laser was blackened and tarnished underneath the insulation. The laser worked again now, but at greatly reduced output! It initially put out ~450mW before settling down to 385mW. I haven't been able to get higher than 385mW but I'm still charging my batteries to see if 4.2V/cell will bring it back up to 450mW.

One thing I noticed... there is NO HEATSINK on the driver at all! The driver is coated on all sides with (thermal?) epoxy but it is not heatsinked to anything at all, not even the host. I know when I got it this laser was drawing 1.42A through the tailcap.... I don't know of any drivers which can operate >1.2A without a heatsink. I think the reduced output is due to a driver failure, and not a diode failure. While outputting 385mW the laser is drawing 467mA through the tailcap, it is my understanding that zombie diodes still draw full current when outputting reduced levels. So, my diode seems fine.

Ironically I hadn't given this laser much use because I found that 1300mW was too much to enjoy. I had been secretly wishing for a lower power 445, well now I've got one. Unfortunately I had 750mW in mind, not <400mW. No idea how long it will hold out though, if it dies further I'll just resell the host for someone to make something out of - though the diode should be fine I doubt someone could reuse it since it is bathed in epoxy.

I'm done buying non-DPSS lasers from China, this is the last straw. When I can afford to Ill be making my own dependable 445 from Gary's new SS host, a Mohgasm 16mm round Linear, and a DTR H1600 + 405-G-2 Lens module (total cost $170!).
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: Lazerer 1.3W 450nm Rifle V2 - Dying after 3 Months!

That's worrying.
I had to send my first 1.2W Rifle back once I bought an LPM and discovered it was only knocking out 650mW. (I wouldn't have known otherwise) During email conversations Max summised that was probably due to a faulty driver; I've not heard anything since it was returned.
I've had this feeling the new one is going to suffer the same fault sooner or later, your post doesn't help.
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Old 03-12-2012, 11:25 PM   #9
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Default Re: Lazerer 1.3W 450nm Rifle V2 - Dying after 3 Months!

Aye.

I just picked it up and it started getting very warm to the touch after 30sec on, like it used to, so I checked the tailcap current... 1.42A.

I'm going to pop in some fresh cells but it is peaking at 1.2W now with 3.8V/cell, it's not stable at all though... it peaks and then declines rapidly losing as much as 10mW/sec after the peak. It used to stay stable after a peak with only a few mW drop. I suspect this is a driver heating issue.

Edit: yup 1310mW on fresh 4.2V cells. It then drops down after about 5sec from peak as rapidly as before. I'm going to see if I can't work out some kind of heatsinking for the driver...

UPDATE:

I think I've figured out what the problem is and corrected it. There are two points where the negative lead can be connected at the rear of the driver; one at the center and one at the far left edge. The stock position where the negative lead is soldered to is the edge one, and when combined with lack of heatsinking the pad gets so hot that the solder softens. I removed the negative lead and resoldered it across BOTH pads and this seems to spread the heat around a bit better so that it doesn't loosen up. It's been through a few duty cycles now holding steady at >1.2W (batteries are run down). So, this confirms my earlier assessment of thermal driver issues. I wish the driver wasn't completely bathed in epoxy... I'd fashion a heatsink for it and thermal epoxy it on. I can't get the module out because of all the epoxy though, even if I had a spanner wrench I'd need tons of torque to even budge it. Resoldering the lead across both pads while the driver was recessed in the host was NOT easy.
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Old 03-13-2012, 04:19 AM   #10
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Default Re: Lazerer 1.2W 445nm Rifle V2 (1310mW) - Died after 3mo and then FIXED!

Nice job on finding and fixing the problem

System won't let me +rep you for it yet.

The big problem with these lasers is the they are not really designed with our use in mind.

Most people buy a laser and use it a lot to start off with, first week tops, but after that it's generally relegated to a drawer somewhere. For light use the lazerer/o-like/rayfoss lasers are great... but if someone is planning to use them as lot (as we are prone to do) they just don't cut it.
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Old 03-13-2012, 11:20 AM   #11
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Default Re: Lazerer 1.2W 445nm Rifle V2 (1310mW) - Died after 3mo and then FIXED!

Thanks! I think you're absolutely right. I've had more than 10 lasers die on me so far, aside from this Rifle all were pen style, and all but the rifle and my WL nexus were inexpensive chinese lasers (those two are/were expensive chinese lasers =P ). They're just not built to last through what we would call even "light" use when the time scale is longer than your average joe's impulse buy attention span.

I don't even use my lasers nearly as much as I'd like to! I probably average about 45min/day total on time for my lasers, and that's spread between the four I use most (Rigel-6, PHR-805 C6, single mode 450, and waterproof 658). My Rigel-6 hardly ever sees more than 10min/day on time due to the short duty cycle, and the other three are unlimited duty. I expect that when the warm weather comes I'll be getting a lot more use out of my Rifle, waterproof 658, and Phobos-405 as these three are ideal for outside pointing (class 4 and high end 3B, all too bright for indoor use). I don't have to worry about the Phobos or the 658, but I really wonder how well the Rifle will hold up. I'm heavily considering building my own ~2W 445 for the summer time.
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Old 03-18-2012, 08:19 PM   #12
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Default Re: Lazerer 1.3W 450nm Rifle V2 - Dying after 3 Months!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigurthr View Post
Aye.

I just picked it up and it started getting very warm to the touch after 30sec on, like it used to, so I checked the tailcap current... 1.42A.

I'm going to pop in some fresh cells but it is peaking at 1.2W now with 3.8V/cell, it's not stable at all though... it peaks and then declines rapidly losing as much as 10mW/sec after the peak. It used to stay stable after a peak with only a few mW drop. I suspect this is a driver heating issue.

Edit: yup 1310mW on fresh 4.2V cells. It then drops down after about 5sec from peak as rapidly as before. I'm going to see if I can't work out some kind of heatsinking for the driver...

UPDATE:

I think I've figured out what the problem is and corrected it. There are two points where the negative lead can be connected at the rear of the driver; one at the center and one at the far left edge. The stock position where the negative lead is soldered to is the edge one, and when combined with lack of heatsinking the pad gets so hot that the solder softens. I removed the negative lead and resoldered it across BOTH pads and this seems to spread the heat around a bit better so that it doesn't loosen up. It's been through a few duty cycles now holding steady at >1.2W (batteries are run down). So, this confirms my earlier assessment of thermal driver issues. I wish the driver wasn't completely bathed in epoxy... I'd fashion a heatsink for it and thermal epoxy it on. I can't get the module out because of all the epoxy though, even if I had a spanner wrench I'd need tons of torque to even budge it. Resoldering the lead across both pads while the driver was recessed in the host was NOT easy.
Why messing with what seems to be a defective laser?

Why didn't you contact Max the first the there was a problem and asked to return it for a replacement or a full refund?
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Old 03-18-2012, 08:43 PM   #13
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Default Re: Lazerer 1.2W 445nm Rifle V2 (1310mW) - Died after 3mo and then FIXED!

You mention you use your lasers 45 minutes a day. What do you enjoy doing with them? I have a bunch of RC stuff lying around and have considered making a device with a servo,battery and receiver so I can take my radio and switch my lasers on from a distance. The beam looks so much cooler when you can stand so the beam goes over your head? Have you ever done this or heard of this done?
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Old 03-18-2012, 08:59 PM   #14
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Default Re: Lazerer 1.2W 445nm Rifle V2 (1310mW) - Died after 3mo and then FIXED!

@Snoutke

Because I bought this in December and it is well out of warranty...

It's one thing to request a replacement a week in and quite another to ask it three months later after significant use.

@Abram
I have thought of building a remote switch for a laser, but haven't done any planning on it yet. It might be a summer project for me, we'll see.
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Old 03-19-2012, 01:22 AM   #15
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Default Re: Lazerer 1.2W 445nm Rifle V2 (1310mW) - Died after 3mo and then FIXED!

I sent an email to Max addressing the problem.

He wrote this...

Quote:
We are busy looking for another tail button supplier as well as the new driver for blue laser.

The most difficult part will be on the driver. So far only this driver will supply enough current to make the laser up to spec. Maybe we will find a way to let the heat dissipate more effectively to the heat sink.
So he is working on the problem.
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Old 03-19-2012, 01:32 AM   #16
rhd
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Default Re: Lazerer 1.2W 445nm Rifle V2 (1310mW) - Died after 3mo and then FIXED!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tech_Junkie View Post
I sent an email to Max addressing the problem.

He wrote this...

Quote:
We are busy looking for another tail button supplier as well as the new driver for blue laser.

The most difficult part will be on the driver. So far only this driver will supply enough current to make the laser up to spec. Maybe we will find a way to let the heat dissipate more effectively to the heat sink.
So he is working on the problem.
It's good that they're working on the problem.

But it's totally confusing to me that they cannot find another driver to keep the laser "up to spec".

"Spec", if I'm understanding correctly, is 1.2W. Further, I understand that these "Rifles" use 2x 16340 cells, implying that they don't need a boost driver, they just need a simple linear.

So they need a linear driver capable of handling about 1.2A of current? And they can't figure this out?

That's like... infinitely trivial, is it not?

I mean, we have complete beginners on this forum tossing together 1085 based linear drivers that will handle 1.2A of current, safely, reliably, and right down to the lowest safe discharge voltage of 2x lithium ion cells. You could quite literally build a 1085 based driver that would do exactly what they need, for about $3 (conservatively) without even using cheap components or scrimping on anything. What am I missing? Why is a 1.2A linear problematic to design?

EDIT: Heck, if Lazerer/Max want a linear PCB, I'll happily send them something.
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Last edited by rhd; 03-19-2012 at 01:33 AM.
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