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Old 01-02-2013, 11:24 PM #1
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Default LM317 driver help! I am a noob!

I am sorry if this has been covered previously. As you guys can tell from the thread title, I am a complete laser noob. I have been watching tons of videos on youtube of different burning lasers. I recently purchased a 2W 445nm M140 laser diode and housing from ebay. I will paste link later. I only bought the 2W as it was a few bucks more than a 1W. However, I only want to run it at 1W since this is my first build and do not want to burn it out.

I have seen many sources that state you can successfully run the laser with an LM317 driver. My host is a Smith & Wesson LED flashlight that I had laying around. The power source is three AAAs. I have build the driver using an LM317 as a current regulator. I have used a 1 ohm resistor to get it as close to 1 watt as possible (the resistor test at 1.4 ohms). I get a very dim beam. A voltage test shows 1.2V and I get nothing when testing the current. If the calculations are correct, I need about one amp to achieve one watt (1.25V * 1A = 1.25W). I then calculated 1.25V / 1A = 1.25 ohm resistor. Shouldn't that be a nice bright beam?

Can someone tell me what I am doing wrong? Do I need a more sophisticated driver?

Link for the diode and housing I purchased-

2W 445nm M140 Blue Laser Diode in Copper Module w Leads Three Element Glass | eBay

I do apologize if this has been discussed. I did not see what I was looking for in other threads. Please point me to the correct thread if there is another discussing this issue.

Also, If I bypass the LM317 and just run one AAA in series with the 1 ohm (1.4 ohm) resistor, it does not light up at all. Not sure if that is relevant.

Thank you in advance for the feedback and patience.

I would also like to add that I am dead set on building this thing from scratch as much as I can. That is why I am using the host that I picked. If any pictures would help, please let me know.


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Old 01-02-2013, 11:31 PM #2
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Default Re: LM317 driver help! I am a noob!

Do you have a plan as to get a heatsink for the host?

Using a LM317 in the way you described would work fine. The 445 diodes are quite robust and dont't die easily. If using an lm317 you need more voltage than 3xaaa can provide. 3x10440 would work as a substitute.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:53 PM #3
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Default Re: LM317 driver help! I am a noob!

I cut my own heatsink. I used a heavy duty CPU heatsink and cut it to fit the end of the flashlight. It is about 1.5 inches thick and the diode housing is copper. I will add some thermal paste once the laser produces something I am happy with. Until then there is no point in permanently putting the laser in the host.

Please advise if I have wired the following incorrectly:

Positive side of power source -> Vin of LM317,
Between the Vout and adjustment pin sits the resistor,
Positive lead from LD is connected to the adjustment pin as well,
Then the ground from the LD to the ground of the power source.

I can draw the schematics if it would help. I also have the LM317 on a small heatsink of its own...

With the 350mah of the 10440s, wouldnt those batteries die fast?

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Old 01-03-2013, 12:01 AM #4
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Default Re: LM317 driver help! I am a noob!

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...nstCurrent.svg
Put the resistor in the same place as that schatmatic.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:09 AM #5
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Default Re: LM317 driver help! I am a noob!

I do believe that is the way I have it now. Can you briefly explain why I need more voltage when it comes out as 1.2V?
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:12 AM #6
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Default Re: LM317 driver help! I am a noob!

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Originally Posted by jsteg1981 View Post
I do believe that is the way I have it now. Can you briefly explain why I need more voltage when it comes out as 1.2V?
At 1A a 445nm diode will have a voltage drop of 4.1V~
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:48 AM #7
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Default Re: LM317 driver help! I am a noob!

Wow! You have been a tremendous help and I greatly appreciate it!

Now to find a quick inexpensive acquisition of 10440 batteries. Lol our local battery shop has never heard of 10440s.

I look forward to finishing this project and posting some pictures.
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:50 AM #8
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Default Re: LM317 driver help! I am a noob!

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Originally Posted by jsteg1981 View Post
I used a heavy duty CPU heatsink and cut it to fit the end of the flashlight.
Requesting photo
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:03 AM #9
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Default Re: LM317 driver help! I am a noob!

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Originally Posted by jsteg1981 View Post
Wow! You have been a tremendous help and I greatly appreciate it!

Now to find a quick inexpensive acquisition of 10440 batteries. Lol our local battery shop has never heard of 10440s.

I look forward to finishing this project and posting some pictures.
No problem

10440 li-ions are not standard cells. The most likely place to find them locally is a mom-and-pop style electronics store or hobby shop, but it's still unlikely to find them there. My local shop carries some sizes of Li-ions.

The best place to get them would be eBay, lighthound (Located in the USA) or some other online shop.

AW 10440 Unprotected Rechargeable Lithium Battery

They have a charger there as well, under related items.

Last edited by ARG; 01-03-2013 at 02:06 AM.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:19 AM #10
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Default Re: LM317 driver help! I am a noob!

Photo as requested.

LM317 driver help!  I am a noob!-laser-heatsink.jpg
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:27 AM #11
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Default Re: LM317 driver help! I am a noob!

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Photo as requested.

Attachment 40477
Not bad! Looks like your lathe needs a tune up though. (Kidding )
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:43 AM #12
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Default Re: LM317 driver help! I am a noob!

LMAO! Man I used a makeshift vise and a dremmel! I'm working with a very limited amount of tools here. I wouldn't even have the dremmel if it weren't for this project!
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:12 AM #13
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Default Re: LM317 driver help! I am a noob!

Here is another question...

The piece that holds the three AAAs is 14cm x 35cm. Any 3.6V LiIon batters that fit that? Maybe two batteries that would fit? That way the driver doesn't have as much heat to dissipate...

Just an idea
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:14 AM #14
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Default Re: LM317 driver help! I am a noob!

That is one way to do it. How long did you sit there grinding that thing down?
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:24 AM #15
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Default Re: LM317 driver help! I am a noob!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsteg1981 View Post
Here is another question...

The piece that holds the three AAAs is 14cm x 35cm. Any 3.6V LiIon batters that fit that? Maybe two batteries that would fit? That way the driver doesn't have as much heat to dissipate...

Just an idea
Unfortunately not There is a single Li-ion that would be close to the size, but no combo of two that I know of would work. You can use a single Li-ion if you wish, but then you have to get a boost driver.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:53 AM #16
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Default Re: LM317 driver help! I am a noob!

Yeah that's what I was afraid of.

It took about 3-4 hours cutting that dang thing! I can't say I didn't enjoy it.

If I went the single battery w/ boost driver, does that eliminate the need for the other driver I made?

Last edited by jsteg1981; 01-03-2013 at 03:55 AM.
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