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Old 07-06-2015, 05:09 AM #1
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Default Purchased laser - confusing label?

Hi everyone,

Massive amateur question here. I live in Australia so there are a lot of regulations in regards to lasers, and I believe you can only purchase up to 1mw intensity. That's what I thought I bought off ebay here:

532nm Laser Pointer Light PEN 1mW Beam Laser High Power Green | eBay

On the label however it states:
< 1 mW
532 nm plus/minus 10
Class IIIb

I had a play around and it seems like a quite intense beam, and isn't that pleasant to look at, and looks similar to what is posted in wiki under the class IIIB section (photo).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_safety

I looked up class IIIB lasers and they seem to be in the range of 5-80mW. The thing is I will be using these lasers in close proximity, and I would be looking at the beam on lets say someones scalp about 10-20cm away. Can anyone tell me if the diffuse reflection is safe to look at for extended periods of time? Or should I buy eyewear?

Thanks.


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Old 07-06-2015, 05:29 AM #2
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Default Re: Purchased laser - confusing label?

Not much way of knowing what the output is without measuring it. and trying to guess the output of a DPSS 523nm by it's brightness can be deceiving because there is a lot of IR light coming out that you cant see if the pointer has no IR filter.

Being that skin is not all that reflective, looking at the dot on a person's skin shouldn't do any harm to your eyes.
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Last edited by Mohrenberg; 07-06-2015 at 05:30 AM.
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Old 07-06-2015, 06:27 AM #3
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Default Re: Purchased laser - confusing label?

Ebay lasers have zero quality control. All the chinese manufacturers that make them also a label on them so they can sell them and say they are legal power. There are lots of threads here where people have measured the output of various ebay pens (most are exactly the same) and they tend to be anywhere from 20-90mW with a ton of IR output as well. That is most definitely eye safe, but reflections off skin shouldn't be a huge issue- but if your eyes feel sore or you get sunspots, stop using it lol...I'm also not sure what I think about you pointing it at peoples scalps. What exactly is your purpose for the laser?
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Old 07-06-2015, 06:39 AM #4
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Default Re: Purchased laser - confusing label?

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyspaz View Post
Ebay lasers have zero quality control. All the chinese manufacturers that make them also a label on them so they can sell them and say they are legal power. There are lots of threads here where people have measured the output of various ebay pens (most are exactly the same) and they tend to be anywhere from 20-90mW with a ton of IR output as well. That is most definitely eye safe, but reflections off skin shouldn't be a huge issue- but if your eyes feel sore or you get sunspots, stop using it lol...I'm also not sure what I think about you pointing it at peoples scalps. What exactly is your purpose for the laser?
I'm putting a magnetic coil on someones head (neuroscience experiment at a university), and I want to attach lasers to it so I have some sort of feedback (be able to keep that coil in that one place). The idea is that the subject/person would be wearing a swimwear cap, it wouldn't be directly on their scalp. I'm a little worried now for the subjects eyes if it is indeed between 20-90mW? I doubt it would go in there eyes due to positioning etc but if it did could it cause damage? Or is the blink reflex enough?

Thanks for your help! This is really quite annoying because I bought what i thought were really weak lasers so that I wouldn't have any of these safety issues!
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Old 07-06-2015, 06:43 AM #5
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Default Re: Purchased laser - confusing label?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kugodoce View Post
I'm putting a magnetic coil on someones head (neuroscience experiment at a university), and I want to attach lasers to it so I have some sort of feedback (be able to keep that coil in that one place). The idea is that the subject/person would be wearing a swimwear cap, it wouldn't be directly on their scalp. I'm a little worried now for the subjects eyes if it is indeed between 20-90mW? I doubt it would go in there eyes due to positioning etc but if it did could it cause damage? Or is the blink reflex enough?

Thanks for your help! This is really quite annoying because I bought what i thought were really weak lasers so that I wouldn't have any of these safety issues!
The general rule of thumb is 5mW is considered "safe" exposure to laser light for a brief instant as the blink reflex will protect you. Anything above will, and can cause damage(not saying 5mW can't). 20mW-90mW is more then enough for damage to occur

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Old 07-06-2015, 03:12 PM #6
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Default Re: Purchased laser - confusing label?

It appears that the laser company labeled your laser less than 1mW so they could get it into your country. Most of the time a person is delighted to receive a laser that is way over spec but I can see that you want a low powered laser for what you are doing. The laser is most probably well over the 5mW "safe" blink reflex threshold. Plus there is the chance of a fair amount of IR being emitted also.
You state you are at a university. Do they have a photonics/laser lab there?
If so, they should have a Laser Power Meter(LPM) there and they can tell you exactly what your laser is putting out.
Good luck on your project. Welcome to the forum. Have fun and be safe!!
PS. Hope your eyes are okay because they may have been harmed already
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Old 07-07-2015, 01:49 AM #7
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Default Re: Purchased laser - confusing label?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laser Chick View Post
It appears that the laser company labeled your laser less than 1mW so they could get it into your country. Most of the time a person is delighted to receive a laser that is way over spec but I can see that you want a low powered laser for what you are doing. The laser is most probably well over the 5mW "safe" blink reflex threshold. Plus there is the chance of a fair amount of IR being emitted also.
You state you are at a university. Do they have a photonics/laser lab there?
If so, they should have a Laser Power Meter(LPM) there and they can tell you exactly what your laser is putting out.
Good luck on your project. Welcome to the forum. Have fun and be safe!!
PS. Hope your eyes are okay because they may have been harmed already
Thanks for your help everyone! Yeh i'm sure I could get these lasers checked out if I wanted too, but really i'll just probably end up buying some new ones.

Could anyone recommend a company which has a good reputation? Possibly from America? Bearing in mind that these would be weak lasers. I'll probably check around my uni as well, i'm sure i could get some from certain labs etc.
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Old 07-07-2015, 07:07 AM #8
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Default Re: Purchased laser - confusing label?

Try optotronics or laserglow, both are a bit expensive but also high quality companies. I'm sure they can get you something under the 5mW range!
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