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Old 08-01-2012, 04:24 AM #1
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Default Why are LPM's so expensive?

This is something I've never quite understood. I built my own LPM using maybe $20, if even that worth in parts. The only thing I would need to do to make it look professional would be get an enclosure box for it (which would cost another what, $5?)

Point is I don't understand the high price tag for LPM's. I know labor and development obviously contribute to it, but for a basic Analog LPM, it seems like they could easily sell for $40-50!


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Old 08-01-2012, 04:29 AM #2
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Default Re: Why are LPM's so expensive?

The problem is the initial investment. You need a 1%+/- accuracy to calibrate an LPM with +/-5% accuracy. A coherent meter with this accuracy is around 3,000$ IIRC.

Calibrating from a +/- 5% LPM wouldn't give a good accuracy.
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Old 08-01-2012, 04:39 AM #3
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Default Re: Why are LPM's so expensive?

And, well, because they can. There is no laws or limits on how much you can mark something up. Someone could come out with a nice LPM for $40 right now and absolutely destroy the market, but why do that when you can charge $100+ and make a heap m ore profit?
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Old 08-01-2012, 05:04 AM #4
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Default Re: Why are LPM's so expensive?

The response time of your DIY meter is over 30 seconds; am I right?
The response time of a professional meter is 2 seconds or less.
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Old 08-01-2012, 02:11 PM #5
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Default Re: Why are LPM's so expensive?

I have a free "laser power meter" that I call my finger. If the beam spot for one laser feels hotter than another I know the laser is more powerful. I even observe the color and do some calculations in my head to determine how well my finger absorbs that particular wavelength. For more powerful laser beams I put a piece of PCB between my finger and the laser dot to spread out the heat, and then I apply a mental coefficient to calculation.

So why don't I stick with my free LPM rather than some "expensive" piece of equipment I bought off Jerry or Kenom? Because the "expensive piece of equipment" is calibrated. It's analogous to why I buy certified laser goggles rather than just eyeballing the goggles' filter color and absorption ability.

As far as I know, the Laserbee meters are calibrated against some expensive professional meter. The meter heads Kenom would build his Kenometers out of had known voltage/mW response curves so he could just use that. Yeah, Jerry and Kenom built the meters with a nice MCU and some plotting features and all that, but the meters would have been just as useful to plug the sensors into an amplifier to read the values off with an Arduino. The key is that you know how to utilize the values the sensor gives you, and that requires calibration against a known source.

I remember some odd years ago someone had his own LPM that he performed calibration for without the need for another LPM. He used a resistor as a heating source, assuming that it would act as a black body radiator that a thermopile would be able to be calibrated against. I'm not sure how effective it turned out to be (he eventually disappeared), but definitely an interesting idea, and probably not that far off from actual methods of calibrating LPM sensors.
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Old 08-02-2012, 01:03 AM #6
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Default Re: Why are LPM's so expensive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Quack View Post
This is something I've never quite understood. I built my own LPM using maybe $20, if even that worth in parts. The only thing I would need to do to make it look professional would be get an enclosure box for it (which would cost another what, $5?)

Point is I don't understand the high price tag for LPM's. I know labor and development obviously contribute to it, but for a basic Analog LPM, it seems like they could easily sell for $40-50!
Business does not work like this... parts are just a portion of final cost. A "real" business has taxes, utilities, payroll, licensing, insurance, etc. I ran a business for 12 years and the costs are unbelievable... and everything is due up-front, before the first product ships.

Please form a company, incorporate, buy part inventory, design, produce, warehouse, advertise, and ship. If you survive the first year, you can answer your own question.

Ray
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Old 08-02-2012, 09:22 AM #7
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Default Re: Why are LPM's so expensive?

Simple answer... This hobby is expensive no matter how you put it. JUST because you can make a 1W 445 laser for $100 now days doesn't mean the whole market will change. If you want to make a halfway decent product ( in this case LPM) and actually sell/market it as a professional grade product it takes a hell of a lot of r&d and legwork to get there. Hence the price tag.

Hell, when I joined this site a mere (almost) 2 years ago the cheapest LPM you could even dream about purchasing straight up was $300+ dollars. Thanks to jerry @lasersbee + a few others you can have one for even cheaper.


Seriously a good LpM at~$150 is amazing and spectacular and we should all be thankful to even have the chance.....


An also I completely agree with Rayburne. Start a real company and see what it really takes to make one single finished product. Because until then it's you an your soldering iron whipping out these "$40" LPMs all by yourself doing every bit of the work.
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Old 08-02-2012, 02:01 PM #8
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Default Re: Why are LPM's so expensive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RayBurne View Post
Business does not work like this... parts are just a portion of final cost. A "real" business has taxes, utilities, payroll, licensing, insurance, etc. I ran a business for 12 years and the costs are unbelievable... and everything is due up-front, before the first product ships.

Please form a company, incorporate, buy part inventory, design, produce, warehouse, advertise, and ship. If you survive the first year, you can answer your own question.

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Old 08-02-2012, 05:40 PM #9
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Default Re: Why are LPM's so expensive?

Why are cars so expensive...
They sell millions of them.
I'm sure at those volumes the parts should only cost a few
hundred dollars....

Rayburne hit it on the nose.... One doesn't have a clue of the
costs of running a legitimate company and all the unforseen
expenses that need to be paid if you sell anything or not.


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Old 08-02-2012, 05:56 PM #10
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Default Re: Why are LPM's so expensive?

Mariomaster is (or was) trying to bring affordable laser power meters to the community, and he is only able to produce a dozen or so every few months and they sell for ~$125:
link

But, Le Quack, MarioMaster is using quality parts and making it look (and function) professional(ly). Not sure how much his mark up is, but rest assured, the sensor alone costs more than what you built for "maybe $20, if even that".
Care to release your schematics, or does it utilize another device (like thermometer or DMM)?
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Old 08-02-2012, 09:41 PM #11
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Default Re: Why are LPM's so expensive?

Plus, it's not like there are volume sales of LPMs. It might be worth making a few thousands if they would sell like hotcakes. Then it might be worth the time to automate the calibration process, have another company manufacture the electronics, etc. The price would drop quite a bit...

... but who really buys LPMs? Even most of the people on this forum don't own one, or for that matter need/want to own one for more than they paid for their lasers. People won't even buy goggles to protect their precious eyes, and those cost far less than the meters. So with such few clients, and those clients usually being the type who can afford to pay a decent amount for a good meter... well, there's your pricing.
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:03 PM #12
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Default Re: Why are LPM's so expensive?

Why would you care about measuring your laser ?
Unless if you are selling the laser and you want to proof the power to the costumer you shouldnt care

I wouldn't buy it even for $20

My measure is the burning effect
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Old 08-18-2012, 06:30 PM #13
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Default Re: Why are LPM's so expensive?

Why does it cost so much.....?
To find out, download a simple business plan spreadsheet and plug a few overhead costs and then see how many of product X you need to sell to make even a modest living.

Here in the UK, VAT is 20%, so for a £100 LPM selling price, immediatley a company only receives £80 then minus - direct cost- indirect cost -overheads and then the final kick in the teeth is what small profit you do make, you are have to pay 20% of that in corporation TAX to the government !
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Old 08-18-2012, 06:30 PM #14
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Default Re: Why are LPM's so expensive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoo7h View Post
Why would you care about measuring your laser ?
Unless if you are selling the laser and you want to proof the power to the costumer you shouldnt care

I wouldn't buy it even for $20

My measure is the burning effect
Not only if your selling but if your buying a laser/ doing a review ect I think you would want to know if your laser is outputting near the same amount it was advertised as.. + some people are just curious how much power there laser they built or own really is

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Old 08-18-2012, 07:13 PM #15
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Default Re: Why are LPM's so expensive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoo7h View Post
Why would you care about measuring your laser ?
Unless if you are selling the laser and you want to proof the power to the costumer you shouldnt care

I wouldn't buy it even for $20

My measure is the burning effect
So you are a professional that sticks his wet finger
in the air to get an accurate wind speed...

Example:- two 1 Watt Lasers.
I sells for $100 and the other for $150.
Which one will give you the best mW/$...

Only one way to know if you got screwed and prove it...

Ever heard of the Fraudulent Arctic advertising campaign.....


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Old 08-19-2012, 06:40 AM #16
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