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Old 12-27-2015, 02:22 PM #1
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Talking Review of the Skytech Class IV 520nm Green Portable Diode Laser

This is a long page with at least 47 images on it; dial-up users please allow for plenty of load time.

Skytech Class IV 520nm Green Portable Diode Laser, retail $649.00 (http://skytechlasers.com...)

Manufactured by Skytech Lasers (http://skytechlasers.com)
Last updated 02-13-16







The Skytech Class IV 520nm Green Portable Diode Laser is an extremely powerful self-contained, green-emitting handheld laser.

But it's not DPSS (Diode-Pumped Solid State) like those now-common green laser pens -- no, this one uses a new technological advancement that allows green laser radiation to be produced directly, without the need for those messy, fragile nonlinear crystals!

It is rated to produce up to 0.5W (500mW) of laser radiation at 520nm (power output was measured at 954mW; wavelength was spectrographically measured at 519nm) in the green part of the spectrum.

It comes in a very sturdy aluminum body that has been hard-anodized, feeds from either one or two 18650 Li:ION rechargeable cells, and has safety features mandated for a powerful portable laser.

It comes packaged in a lockable, hard-sided aluminum case with cutouts in its foam interior for the laser and its accessories.
The thing that came immediately to mind when I opened the box and removed this case was that it reminded me of the cases on the TV game program, "Deal or No Deal".
***EXTREME DANGER!!!***
This laser can produce up to 1,000mW (1 watt) of laser radiation at 519nm (bright green), and can cause instant and permanent eye damage from an accidental reflection or accidental direct exposure!!! You need to know what you're doing and have the appropriate safety precautions for a CDRH Class IV laser device in place before you energize this laser!!!

SIZE (1x cell)

SIZE (2x cells)



To use the portable laser, follow these instructions:

1:Insert one of the furnished cylindrical interlock keys into the keyway (keyhole) on the barrel, give it a 90 turn clockwise (as though screwing it in) and then remove it.

2: Turn the beam shutter on the "business-end" of the laser counterclockwise (as though loosening it) until it stops.

3: Press & release the red button (located on the barrel just under the interlock key).
You should now be rewarded with a bountifully overflowing cornucopia of coherent 519nm (green) photons!

The Skytech Class IV 520nm Green Portable Diode Laser has a focusable beam; to adjust the focus, you simply turn the knurled ring directly beneath the beam shutter.

Before firing up this studly little laser, you *MUST* be certain that you have green-blocking laser safety glasses on!!!



This is me with the green-blocking protective eyewear on.
I'd have normally used a "Phoam Head Phred" {a styrofoam wig modelling form} for this photograph, but I was forced to dispose of it in mid-October 2008 prior to our moving back to Washington state.

To neutralise the Skytech Class IV 520nm Green Portable Diode Laser, push the little red button on the barrel until it clicks, reinsert the interlock key & turn it counterclockwise (anticlockwise) {as though you were loosening it), and rotate the beam shutter clockwise until it stops moving.

This laser has a duty cycle recommendation of 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off for cooling.



To charge the battery (or batteries) in your Skytech Class IV 520nm Green Portable Diode Laser, unscrew and remove the tailcap, and set it aside.

Tip the used 18650 cell out of the barrel and into your hand, and pop it into the included charger.

Insert one or two freshly-charged 18650 cell into the barrel, flat-end (-) negative first. This is the opposite of how batteries are installed in most flashlights, so please pay attention to polarity here.

Screw the tailcap back on, and be done with it.

Current useage measures...
(One cell): 0.954mA quiecent, 80.30mA when lasing.
(Two cells): 2.732mA quiescent, 2.042A when lasing.

Retest on current usage:
(One cell): 366mA when lasing.
(Two cells): 2.033A when lasing.


To charge the 18650 cell, place it in the charging cradle, orienting it so its button-end (+) positive is on the same end of the chamber in the charger that has a (+) embossed on its upper surface (in this case, the end of the charger that the power cord goes in).

Plug the charger into any standard (in the United States) two- or three-slot 110 volts to 130 volts AC 60Hz receptacle.

A red light on the charging cradle should now come on; this indicates charging is in progress. When the 18650 cell has reached full charge, the light on the charging cradle will turn from red to green.

At this point, unplug the charger, remove the charged cell from the charging cradle, and install it in the laser as directed above.


***EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!!!***
This laser is a rather powerful (measured at 954mW) CDRH Class IV instrument, and the photons generated by it are much higher in energy than the photons generated by a red laser of equivalent power (not that you'd want to shoot your eye out with a 1W red laser anyway!!!); so you definitely do not want to shine it into your eyes, other people's eyes, pets' eyes, for that matter, the eyes of any person or animal you encounter. Eye damage can occur faster than the blink reflex can protect them, regardless of what species' eyes you irradiate with this laser. So just don't do it.
And para los motivos de Cristo (and for heaven sakes and for Pete sakes and your sakes too) do not shine the Skytech Class IV 520nm Green Portable Diode Laser (or any other laser for that matter!) at any vehicle, whether ground-based like a motorcycle, car, or truck, or air-based like a helicopter, airplane, or jet. And if you shoot it at a person in the dark and he turns out to be a police officer, he may think he's being targeted, unholster (pull out) his gun, and hose you down with it!


This is a CDRH Class IV laser device. Treat it with respect, and it'll treat you with respect.

This laser is water-resistant but not submersible, so please be careful around sinks, tubs, toilets, fishtanks, pet water bowls, or other places where water or water-like liquids might be found. However, you need not worry about using it outdoors when it's lightly sprinkling or snowing.

The case is made from 6061-T6 Aircraft-Grade Aluminum, and is treated with a black HA-III (hard anodized) finish.

Laser temperature when using two cells after five minutes (in violation of the duty cycle recommendation) was 89F (31.7C) with an ambient temperature of 66F (18.9C).
I'll re-run this test with known fully-charged cells and post my findings here probably approx. 5:30am PST 12-29-15.

Under the admittedly extreme circumstance of running the laser with cells hot off the charger, the following measurement was taken:
Laser temperature when using two cells after five minutes (in violation of the duty cycle recommendation) was 92F (33.3C) with an ambient temperature of 63F (18.3C).



Beam photograph on a wall at ~5 feet (1.5M) {low}; my test target has become misplaced.



Beam photograph on a wall at ~5 feet (1.5M) {high}; my test target has become misplaced.
The beam terminus image bloomed ***SIGNIFICANTLY*** on both of these photographs -- much more so in the second which was made with the laser emitting almost one watt. The white color that you see is also absent -- the camera's CCD sensor was severely overloaded by the 519nm radiation.



Photograph of the beam itself in light fog.


Photograph of the beam itself in clear sky (no fog); the beam is visible primarily due to Rayleigh scattering


Photograph of a room illuminated solely by this laser directed at the ceiling.


Grainy photograph of the beam terminus while the unit was operating below lasing threshold.



Low power.



High power.

Measures 42mW (low) and 933mW (high).


Low power.


High power.

Retest: measures 172mW (low) and 932mW (high).
When I retested maximum power, I actually saw a whisp of smoke come off the sensor of my LPM!



Low power.

High power.

Re-re-test: measures 204mW (low) and 954mW (high) using batteries hot off the charger.

As you can see, I had to once again violate the duty cycle recommendation as my laser power meter is a thermopile type rather than a silicon photodetector type.



Maximum power long-term stability analysis.
Laser temperature was measured at 139F (59.4C) at 2,000 seconds.
Operates for just over 38 minutes on "high".



Minimum power long-term stability analysis.
Laser temperature was measured at 92F (33.3C) at ~2,700 seconds.
Operates for nearly 67 minutes on "low".



Minimum power long-term stability analysis; second attempt (different 18650 cell was used).
Laser temperature was measured at 96F (33.3C) at ~2,400 seconds.
Runs for 55.5 minutes on "low".



Minimum power long-term stability analysis; third attempt (with an unprotected 18650 cell this time).
Laser temperature was measured at 90F (32.2C) at ~3,200 seconds.
Runs for 97 minutes on "low".


Minimum power long-term stability analysis; fourth attempt.
Runs for 29.1 minutes on "low"; perhaps the battery itself is too old and has essentially pooped out.


Minimum power long-term stability analysis; fifth attempt (retest with same battery).
Runs for 25 minutes on "low" -- this tells me that the battery is indeed faulty.

Ambient temperature was 67F (19.4C) for all of these tests.

These tests were conducted on a LaserBee 2.5W USB Laser Power Meter w/Thermopile.




Spectrographic analysis of the Skytech Class IV 520nm Green Portable Diode Laser (single cell).


Spectrographic analysis of the Skytech Class IV 520nm Green Portable Diode Laser (single cell); spectrometer's response narrowed to a range between 515nm and 520nm to pinpoint wavelength, which is 517nm.

The raw spectrometer data (comma-delimited that can be loaded into Excel) is at sky520-l.txt





Spectrographic analysis of the Skytech Class IV 520nm Green Portable Diode Laser (two cells).


Spectrographic analysis of the Skytech Class IV 520nm Green Portable Diode Laser (two cells); spectrometer's response narrowed to a range between 517nm and 523nm to pinpoint wavelength, which is 519nm.

The raw spectrometer data (comma-delimited that can be loaded into Excel) is at sky520-h.txt



Spectrographic analysis of the Skytech Class IV 520nm Green Portable Diode Laser right below lasing threshold.



Spectrographic analysis of the Skytech Class IV 520nm Green Portable Diode Laser right below lasing threshold; spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 505nm and 525nm to pinpoint wavelength, which is 516nm.

The raw spectrometer data (comma-delimited that can be loaded into Excel) is at sky520lb.txt

USB2000 Spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.


A beam cross-sectional analysis would normally appear here, but my poor defenseless helpless innocent ProMetric 8 Beam Cross-Sectional Analyser that I use for that test was destroyed by a nearby lightning strike in mid-July 2013.



In leiu of the beam cross-sectional analysis, I present this photograph of the laser's beam terminus with the focus altered by the laser's own adjustable lens.




Brief video hosted on YourTube that shows the Skytech Class IV 520nm Green Portable Diode Laser igniting three matches.

This video is 7.7 megabytes (7,669,857 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than thirty eight minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.



TEST NOTES:
Test unit was sent by Avery of http://skytechlasers.com on 11-16-15, and was received at 5:24pm PST on 12-24-15.

This is a Class IV laser product!!!
Eye exposure will cause INSTANT (and permanent!) damage, and it is a hazard (with regard to burn injury and fire) to skin, clothing, and any other flammable materials as well!!!


UPDATE: 01-01-16
Performed multiple repeat power output analyses and current usage measurements of this studly little laser.


UPDATE: 01-12-16
Performed multiple repeat power output analyses and current usage measurements of this studly little laser.


UPDATE: 01-13-16
Captioned both "target" photographs with info. regarding image blooming.


PROS:
EXTREMELY POWERFUL output for such a small, self-contained unit
Powerful enough to set things on fire
Battery it uses is rechargeable; never have to find disposables for it

NEUTRAL:

CONS:
Beam divergence seems a bit high
Unit is improperly labelled for CDRH classification & maximum output power (these two issues are what nocked that last star off)


MANUFACTURER: Skytech Lasers
PRODUCT TYPE: Portable directly-injected green-emitting portable diode laser
LAMP TYPE: DPSS green laser
No. OF LAMPS: 1
BEAM TYPE: Very narrow spot; it's a laser, remember? (adjustable to medium spot)
SWITCH TYPE: Key interlock, pushbutton on/off on barrel
CASE MATERIAL: Hard-anodized aluminum
BEZEL: Metal; has aperture (hole) for laser beam to emerge
BATTERY: 1x or 2x 185650 rechargeable cells
CURRENT CONSUMPTION: (One cell): 0.954mA quiecent, 80.30mA when lasing. (Two cells): 2.732mA quiescent, 2.042A when lasing.
Retest of current usage: (One cell): 366mA when lasing, (Two cells): 2.033A when lasing.

WATER-RESISTANT: Yes
SUBMERSIBLE: No
ACCESSORIES: Hard-sided aluminum storage case & key for locking it, barrel extender, 2x barrel-type interlock keys, 2x tailcaps, interlock dongle, charger
SIZE: 35mm D by 275mm L
WEIGHT: 339.40g (11.970 oz.) {incl. 1 cell & lanyard}, 453.70g (16.010 oz.) {incl. 2 cells & lanyard}
COUNTRY OF MANUFACTURE: China
WARRANTY: 2 years

PRODUCT RATING:



Update 01-01-16: Performed multiple repeat power output analyses and current usage measurements of this laser.

Update 01-05-16: Weighed the product in 1x and 2x cell configurations.

Update 01-11-16: Re-remeasured optical power output in minimum & maximum power configurations.

Update 01-12-16: Captioned both "target" photographs with info. regarding image blooming.

Update 01-14-16: Performed stability analysis cum battery discharge analysis at maximum power output.

Update 01-15-16: Performed stability analysis cum battery discharge analysis at minimum power output.

Update 01-16-16: Performed a second stability analysis cum battery discharge analysis at minimum power output.

Update 01-17-16: Performed a third stability analysis cum battery discharge analysis at minimum power output; also performed multiple spectrographic analyses of the product below lasing threshold.

Update 01-24-16: Added a photograph of a room illuminated solely by this laser directed at the ceiling.

Update 01-27-16: Performed a fourth stability analysis cum battery discharge analysis at minimum power output.

Update 01-28-16: Performed a fifth stability analysis cum battery discharge analysis at minimum power output.

Update 01-29-16: Added a grainy photograph of the beam terminus while the unit was operating below lasing threshold.

Update 02-06-16: Added a photograph of the beam itself in clear skies.

Update 02-13-16: Shot the obligatory, "match lighting" video.


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Old 12-27-2015, 10:07 PM #2
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Default Re: Review of the Skytech 520nm Class IV Green Portable Laser

Decent review as always, sir. A few questions: are you able to measure the current, the range of voltages in which the driver is in regulation, the temperature rise on the case, or the beam divergence? Are those shipping dates a typo? 6 weeks is a long time. Website says 2 weeks is typical.
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Old 12-27-2015, 11:43 PM #3
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Default Re: Review of the Skytech 520nm Class IV Green Portable Laser

Amazingly detailed review. Love the little bit of humor you put in there
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Old 12-28-2015, 04:28 AM #4
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Default Re: Review of the Skytech 520nm Class IV Green Portable Laser

Great review! Just a quick note, I believe you got the sizes backwards next to the pictures of the host with and without the battery extender.
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Old 12-28-2015, 04:59 AM #5
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Default Re: Review of the Skytech 520nm Class IV Green Portable Laser

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Originally Posted by Ricker View Post
Great review! Just a quick note, I believe you got the sizes backwards next to the pictures of the host with and without the battery extender.
lol I saw that too but didn't want to offend
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Old 12-28-2015, 06:58 PM #6
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Default Re: Review of the Skytech 520nm Class IV Green Portable Laser

Wonderful and something new. Thanks a bunch for posting all that. I actually like long posts like this with explanations and pics. +REP from Pete
Couple things I found unexpected were the 2 output levels and battery options. Is the battery tube an extra so you can use a longer battery for more run time or can you actually use 1 or 2 cells OR it just that you get lo by running a single cell verses 2 and it doesn't actually have a lo/high?
Do you happen to have an equivalent DPSS you could compare to it? Would like to know the divergence comparison.
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Old 12-28-2015, 11:04 PM #7
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Default Re: Review of the Skytech 520nm Class IV Green Portable Laser

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyparagon View Post
Decent review as always, sir. A few questions: are you able to measure the current, the range of voltages in which the driver is in regulation, the temperature rise on the case, or the beam divergence? Are those shipping dates a typo? 6 weeks is a long time. Website says 2 weeks is typical.
Good afternoon Cyparagon,

Thank you so very much for your thumbs-up on my review!

I just now added four current usage measurements ((One cell): 0.954mA quiecent, 80.30mA when lasing. (Two cells): 2.732mA quiescent, 2.042A when lasing.)

I'm not equipped to measure the voltage drop when the unit falls out of regulation though; however, the way things appear to be designed, the highest optical power occurs when two 18650 cells are in series, dropping sharply when a single cell is used (the laser is specifically designed to used in this fashion) -- this alone tells me that overall regulation could be shitty.

The shipping date is not a typo -- Avery was on vacation for several weeks and simply was not able to ship it to me during that time.
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Old 12-29-2015, 03:30 AM #8
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Default Re: Review of the Skytech 520nm Class IV Green Portable Laser

I just performed temperature measurements.
Laser temperature when using two cells after five minutes (in violation of the duty cycle recommendation) was 89F (31.7C) with an ambient temperature of 66F (18.9C).

I'll re-run this test with known fully-charged cells and post my findings here probably approx. 5:30am PST 12-29-15.
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Old 12-29-2015, 12:14 PM #9
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Default Re: Review of the Skytech 520nm Class IV Green Portable Laser

Under the admittedly extreme circumstance of running the laser with cells hot off the charger, the following measurement was taken:
Laser temperature when using two cells after five minutes (in violation of the duty cycle recommendation) was 92F (33.3C) with an ambient temperature of 63F (17.2C).
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Old 12-29-2015, 04:28 PM #10
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Default Re: Review of the Skytech 520nm Class IV Green Portable Laser

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Originally Posted by The_LED_Museum View Post
(in violation of the duty cycle recommendation)
That's all copy-pasta bullshit anyway. The only reliable way to determine thermal characteristics is to test them.

The 75% duty cycle they recommend is the same 75% recommendation of a 30mW pointer in the same housing. Odd, don't'cha think?
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Old 12-30-2015, 05:18 PM #11
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Default Re: Review of the Skytech 520nm Class IV Green Portable Laser

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Originally Posted by Cyparagon View Post
That's all copy-pasta bullshit anyway. The only reliable way to determine thermal characteristics is to test them.

The 75% duty cycle they recommend is the same 75% recommendation of a 30mW pointer in the same housing. Odd, don't'cha think?
thats interesting because i just bought a 300mw rated laserbtb handheld 532nm from a member on here and im having the same issue with the recommended duty cycle that they claim for this laser but in the opposite sense. there duty cycle is 5 min on and 10 sec off. that does not even make sense to me. ya ill run it for 5 min and let it cool for just 10 seconds and then i can go for another 5 min. ya no... in real life this duty cycle would kill the laser. this lasers weight is very light, like it surprised me how light it was. heat sinking cant be very good.

i put this on my lpm and it peaked at 350mw in about 40 seconds. at 1min 30 seconds the output starts to drop like a rock. by 2min 30 sec its at 190mw and dropping and i turned it off and the laser was warm. a more realistic duty cycle would be 100 sec on and 60 sec off.

do they even test there lasers for duty cycle or just make shit up ?
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Old 12-30-2015, 06:04 PM #12
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Default Re: Review of the Skytech 520nm Class IV Green Portable Laser

Alex thats the first straight answer ive gotten on laserbtb. duty cycles claim. Its definitely ridicules...unless it has a thermal sensor that limits the output in time, did it feel overly warm before you shut it down?

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Old 12-30-2015, 06:13 PM #13
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Default Re: Review of the Skytech 520nm Class IV Green Portable Laser

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Originally Posted by GSS View Post
Alex thats the first straight answer ive gotten on laserbtb. duty cycles claim. Its definitely ridicules.
it also mode hops like mad. i dont think its ever a clean circle. divergence is lacking imo especially when the beam diameter is almost as think as my multmode lasers at the aperture. my ebay lasers have better divergence but for the price i payed im happy. it does over 300mw for a min or so and i rarely leave it on that long. this laser also focuses just like the ebay 301-303 lasers and can burn quit well actually. and the beam is very bright. i actually like the fatter beam. overall its an ok laser. i will be getting a 600mw jet lasers Equality soon. it will prolly peak over 700
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Old 12-30-2015, 08:21 PM #14
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Default Re: Review of the Skytech 520nm Class IV Green Portable Laser

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Originally Posted by Alex2893 View Post
do they even test there lasers for duty cycle or just make shit up ?
They pick a number, or they copy a number from a competitor. The vast majority of pointers can be run continuously. All that I have tested have no problem running for 30 minutes at a time. Some DPSS will drop in output, but some will increase in output. That's just how DPSS is. It will not harm anything.

Quote:
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there duty cycle is 5 min on and 10 sec off.
Total bullshit. that 97% duty cycle might as well be 100%. All else equal, anything run at 100% duty cycle will only get 3% warmer than something run at 97% duty cycle. 3% warmer means less than one degree.
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Old 12-30-2015, 10:16 PM #15
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Default Re: Review of the Skytech 520nm Class IV Green Portable Laser

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Originally Posted by Cyparagon View Post
They pick a number, or they copy a number from a competitor. The vast majority of pointers can be run continuously. All that I have tested have no problem running for 30 minutes at a time. Some DPSS will drop in output, but some will increase in output. That's just how DPSS is. It will not harm anything.
Thata good to know thanks. I was worried about the laser dieing past 2 min with such a big output drop. I wonder if it will rise again if i ran it longer or just continue to drop.
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Old 12-31-2015, 09:30 PM #16
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Default Re: Review of the Skytech 520nm Class IV Green Portable Laser

Yeah, that duty cycle has to be a typo. Never liked laserbtb website although I do own a bunch of their units.
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