Old 09-26-2016, 05:26 AM #1
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Default Optotronics Premium +10mW green laser (55mW on LPM)

I wanted to write a review for awhile, but I decided to hold off until I had access to a LPM. That opportunity came this weekend at the Texas Petawatt Laser Facility where I got to meter my 3 portable lasers. This review of the Optotronics Premium +10mW green laser is my first review on this board, so please be gentle

Shipping was extremely fast. I ordered directly from the Optotronics website on June 26. On June 27, my order was shipped out and on June 29 it arrived at my apartment. The laser was shipped in a small box, and was well-protected from shock. Printed on the manual was a handwritten note with the tested power of the laser, which was noted at 15mW. The laser takes (2) AAA batteries that you insert with the positive end towards the tail cap, and it turned on without issue.



The build quality is decent, but I have a few complaints. The button is not too sturdy, and sometimes I need to press down while slightly pulling back to get a stable beam. The threaded ring that you unscrew to insert the batteries actually came off after a couple weeks (see picture), and I had to put it back in place with epoxy. The lens is housed deeply (approx. 1 cm) inside plastic, which is nice for protection, but I prefer to have access to the lens so I can wipe it off when it gets dirty. After awhile of use, I started to get "wings" on my laser, and while a quick blast with compressed air reduced them, I'll need to do an alcohol clean at some point.



The crystals like it hot, and the laser takes about 2 minutes to fully warm up. When it does, the beam is clearly visible at night, though my camera couldn't seem to pick it up. I could even see the beam indoors in the daytime (see photo). However, this lasted for only about 10 minutes with fresh Alkaline batteries. This quickly got frustrating, so I built a dummy battery by drilling a hole into a wooden rod, pushing a copper tube through the middle, and wrapping the outside in tape as you saw in the first picture. The real battery was changed to a 10440 3.7V Li-ion to give it an extra boost of 0.5V. This worked remarkably well, and the beam remained bright until the battery was fully discharged.



Beam quality is great with a measured divergence of 0.656 mRad (5 mm diameter at 3.048 m, and 13 mm diameter at 15.24 m) that I measured several times against some fine grain black sandpaper. I was confused about the power because Optotronics metered this at 15mW, yet I could smoke electrical tape and put tiny pinholes through it (see picture). I could also burn through a nitrile glove in my laboratory, but could not light a match that was painted black. I metered the laser using a Scientech LPM and was surprised to see it read 54.5mW.





Overall, I'd say excellent experience with purchasing, lightning fast shipping, decent host with some build quality issues, excellent divergence, and way overspec though this might be the result of my battery modification.


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Last edited by KMitch; 09-26-2016 at 05:33 AM.
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Old 09-26-2016, 09:08 AM #2
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Default Re: Optotronics Premium +10mW green laser (55mW on LPM)

How long did it sustain that 55mw? Either way thats great but lets hope it lasts.
Optotronic's doesn't even recommend high output Eveready batteries.
My buying experience was a pleasant one also on my 75mw that he measured at 86mw.
My host doe's have that ebay pen issue's but just mostly the loose button.
Just by picking it up I can feel it has a heavier more solid feel and even though it has that standard look the host seem to be made to some different standards. The body threads are different for example wider and made in brass and none of my cheapie pen parts seem to interchange.
Did you ever measure the output with just the regular alkalines?
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Old 09-26-2016, 09:39 AM #3
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Default Re: Optotronics Premium +10mW green laser (55mW on LPM)

It was jumping around quite a lot in the 40-50 range, peaking at 60mW and settling somewhere in the 50mW range. This was the last laser we tested at the Petawatt facility, and we metered it for only 1 minute. About 20 seconds for the meter to stabilize, then the rest of the time taking measurements. Qualitatively, I can say that once it's on, the beam maintains its brightness for as long as I push the button. It does begin to get warm after a few minutes though, so I don't keep it on for any longer than that. I didn't bother to measure the output with alkalines since I like the li-ion so much better. It'd be interesting to see how the two compared though.
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Old 09-26-2016, 11:56 AM #4
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Default Re: Optotronics Premium +10mW green laser (55mW on LPM)

Does the button and clip not align when fully screwed in? That's the first time I've ever heard of any of this type of pen laser having the threaded ring fall out and I've messed with hundreds of them.
As soon as you started describing what it could do there was no way their 15mW rating was correct. At your measured output it is possible to light a black match but not without focusing the lens. I find it difficult to believe that it has anything but a plastic lens in it and unless you know for sure it is glass it's going to get much worse if you try and clean it.
I would like to see what it looks like with the front cap removed but if you don't use the proper technique you will mark up the cap.
What did you pay for it?
Depending on the driver some pens will output more by raising the voltage and some wont. It has been my experience that the more you pay for a brand name one the more likely it will output more as the voltage is increased. Of course it's a risk doing so but there is an alternative to a 10440. You can use LiFePO4 which fully charged are about 3.45-3.55V depending on charger used. Some lithium chargers can charge them correctly but if it's not meant for it they will overcharge them to 4.2V which isn't good for them.
Did it come with an IR filter? I'm just curious as there are not many places that offer it and even though I personally don't "worry" about the IR content like some do its a nice option if you can get it especially if the output is guaranteed with the filter. I've seen IR content from 1% to 95% so you never know what you are going to get.
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Old 09-26-2016, 01:18 PM #5
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Default Re: Optotronics Premium +10mW green laser (55mW on LPM)

Nice pen KMitch!
I'd also be curious to see what it metered at 3.0V with aaa batteries. My first 532nm was a Optotronics 150mW(161mW) pen, I bought it in 2012, and 4 years later it's still going strong!
Obviously your diode has been living with 4.2V and seems to like it, but like GSS, I was also told not to use more than 3.0V, your pens' output makes me almost want to try a Li-Ion in mine, ...almost.

@Pman - I think all Optotronics pens have an IR filter, their site claims >96% IR blocking.
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Old 09-26-2016, 05:59 PM #6
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Default Re: Optotronics Premium +10mW green laser (55mW on LPM)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pman View Post
Does the button and clip not align when fully screwed in?

I find it difficult to believe that it has anything but a plastic lens in it and unless you know for sure it is glass it's going to get much worse if you try and clean it.

What did you pay for it?
It's interesting that you mention the alignment, because it is off a good quarter turn. I believe it was aligned when I first got it, but after gluing the ring back the button and clip don't line up.

You just saved the plastic lens of my laser pointer, +rep! I should have known better since it's low power, and there might not be a reason for them to spend the extra money on glass.

I paid $40 plus shipping for it, and you can find the exact product below. I'm on my phone, and can't figure out how to make the fancy links.

https://www.optotronics.com/proddetail.php?prod=Opto10

As for the batteries, I also wondered if it was the voltage increase that was allowing the beam to remain highly visible for more than 10 minutes. When I first received the pen, I popped in 2 carbon zinc batteries from a flashlight that had some charge left in them. The beam was only visible for a minute or two before it settled on a dimmer green. I went out and bought a 4 pack of alkaline AAA, and was satisfied for awhile, but that same night I was back to a dim beam. Same with 2 other AAA batteries, but the beam remains bright and stable for the entire life of the 10440. I wonder if it has something to do with the linear discharge curve of the alkaline vs the flat discharge curve of the Li-ion.
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Old 09-26-2016, 06:23 PM #7
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Default Re: Optotronics Premium +10mW green laser (55mW on LPM)

Hi Kmitch,
I wanted to replay to warn you that using an over-voltage lithium source will void your warranty. These lithium cells say 3.7V, but are more like 4 to 4.2V when fully charged. This is way too much voltage (more than 20% overspec) and the driver is designed for no more than 10%. Exceeding this 3.3V burns the high voltage sense fuse to let us know that voltage was exceeded. when this fuse goes it doesn't affect performance, it's just a way for us to tell as we were having a higher than normal amount of returns from hobbyists several years ago and needed a way to determine and prove if voltage was exceeded by more than 10%.

That said, using the rechargeable lithium cells may greatly increase power output, but also dramatically the lifetime of the laser from years to days or weeks...sometimes only a few minutes depending on other conditions like temperature.

If power is tested with normal alkaline batteries, it would show more in the range of 10-20mw for the 10mw unit.
The ring threaded ring that came loose has happen ocassionally as I've seen them while testing. They are press fitted into the laser body and can come lose, especially if over tightened or accidentally twisted the wrong direction to change batteries.

Please do not use this over-voltage out of spec cells as they will greatly reduce the laser's lifetime.

Thanks
Jack
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Old 09-26-2016, 08:32 PM #8
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Default Re: Optotronics Premium +10mW green laser (55mW on LPM)

^^ Very true.
In reality though, I've done this with all my pens, and never had a problem.

That's a great pen you got KM.

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Old 09-26-2016, 08:44 PM #9
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Default Re: Optotronics Premium +10mW green laser (55mW on LPM)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bootleg2go View Post
Hi Kmitch,
I wanted to replay to warn you that using an over-voltage lithium source will void your warranty. These lithium cells say 3.7V, but are more like 4 to 4.2V when fully charged. This is way too much voltage (more than 20% overspec) and the driver is designed for no more than 10%. Exceeding this 3.3V burns the high voltage sense fuse to let us know that voltage was exceeded. when this fuse goes it doesn't affect performance, it's just a way for us to tell as we were having a higher than normal amount of returns from hobbyists several years ago and needed a way to determine and prove if voltage was exceeded by more than 10%.

That said, using the rechargeable lithium cells may greatly increase power output, but also dramatically the lifetime of the laser from years to days or weeks...sometimes only a few minutes depending on other conditions like temperature.

If power is tested with normal alkaline batteries, it would show more in the range of 10-20mw for the 10mw unit.
The ring threaded ring that came loose has happen ocassionally as I've seen them while testing. They are press fitted into the laser body and can come lose, especially if over tightened or accidentally twisted the wrong direction to change batteries.

Please do not use this over-voltage out of spec cells as they will greatly reduce the laser's lifetime.

Thanks
Jack

Great information bootleg2go!
If I'm not mistaken, this is Jack from Optotronics, correct?
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Old 09-27-2016, 01:21 AM #10
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Default Re: Optotronics Premium +10mW green laser (55mW on LPM)

Understand what you are saying and the warning Boot/Jack and apreciate the feedback. I always look at it as a risk assessment and warn others. I've also seen some not like the extra voltage so it can go both ways. Don't have an issue with the added "fuse" as it's certainly not fair for a customer to run beyond specs and then make a claim. Unfortunately my bet is most would try and get away with the lie that it wasnt abused but hopefully they wouldn't be a forum member.
I don't deny that the lasers offered are well built with good specs but it's hard to swallow the very high premium price for a portable laser at the stated outputs. You can justify asking more but I think you are pushing the edge of reasonable too far. It's NOT personal at all its just some sticker shock
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Old 09-27-2016, 01:56 AM #11
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Default Re: Optotronics Premium +10mW green laser (55mW on LPM)

This Optotronics pen was the first laser I purchased aside from the cheap red Walmart lasers for playing with cats (as a point of interest, Walmart is now selling high power portable units from Laser Glow). I wanted something that was made in the US, on spec for output, and IR filtered. I'm very happy with the purchase and I'll attribute the higher LPM reading to my modification. That being said, I agree with you about the price Pman, at least in terms of $ per mW.

It's good to know for the future that the warranty will be voided when you modify the laser like I have, and I think it's a reasonable policy. This pen is pretty much my "beater" for lack of a better word though, and I bought it to learn and make mistakes with before getting into the higher power lasers. The mistakes I made in handling something with lower power almost certainly saved my eyes from my 300mW LaserBTB or 3W Sanwu, and if any new members are reading this I suggest you start out small as well.
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Old 09-27-2016, 09:44 AM #12
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Default Re: Optotronics Premium +10mW green laser (55mW on LPM)

That's a big problem now with what's available. Most want the big guns right away before they have any experience handling them. It's hard to know how many people have hurt themselves or someone else and then all of a sudden there's a report on the news about it trying to put everyone into panic mode.
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