Old 02-17-2010, 12:11 AM #1
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Thumbs up LikeitBright's 650nm "Minichrome" Review

Hi2all

It's been a while since my last review and to be honest, it should have been published way back when ...but there was a minor complication (documented below)...



Intro
It's been a little over a year since I joined LPF and I'm thrilled to say that I've learned quite a lot and met a lot of nice people along the way I'm also pleased to say that although the Minichrome is unique in it's own way, it is by no means my only "treasured lazor"...



Mini-Me
Getting back to LikeitBright and his Minichrome; LikeitBright is no stranger to most members who've been tracking LPF for the past 18mths or so and his meticulous work and fine builds speak for themselves. As a matter of fact, the Minichrome is the second laser I've taken off his hands, the first being a beautiful 280mW 650nm LOC in a matt-black Romisen host. The one thing that really struck me about this Romisen build was the completely self-contained copper "module". Inside the module was the 650nm diode and the driver, all neatly tucked away and out of danger! Not to mention, that module was small...

Small? Lol, I didn't know what small was until I received the Minichrome; talk about a "Mini-Me"... It's just not even feasible to me how he managed this feat, let alone the fact that here it sits, in front of my very own eyes... !!! He once suggested that he had "mad skillz" and after seeing this mini... - no, make that a micro copper module, which again, contains a 650nm LOC and driver (Flexdrive), completely self-contained, I am duly convinced of his skillz



Taking it for a spin
So like, this host is sooo small and the battery it uses is sooo puny, it's hard for a layman like myself to buy LikeitBright's claim of 280mW. Length-wise, it's about the same as a Romison host (roughly 88mm excluding lens) but talk about thin... this little fella is only 15mm wide!!! So anyways, I pop in the provided mickey-mouse-looking 10440 (which is however still rated at 3.6V...), turn it on, adjust and... wow! Next to my verified 280mW Romisen, it looks identical

Time to roll out the-one-and-only Kenometer; Now as I let the Kenometer warm up a bit, I remind myself that LikeitBright has included a Virtual Village AR lens. Now this acrylic lens can't hold a candle to say, one of JayRob's glass-lens assemblies, but compared to a standard Aixiz acrylic, this lens should give us a few more mW, literally free of charge

Ok, Kenometer warmed up, laser aligned, *click*... what's this?!? 300mW!!! Yes sir, 300mW from such a little host with such a micro module!!! Talk about satisfaction! It's time to celebrate and to welcome yet another killer-lazor to my collection... but wait just a sec... what's happening?!?



Ah, Huston... we have a problem, over.
300mW, 280mW, 220mW... 150mW... 50mw... !?! I couldn't believe my eyes, the power was dropping faster and faster, all in a matter of seconds... So the first thing I thought was... "Ha, I was right! This mickey-mouse battery won't even power the laser for a measly 30s!" It just so happened that I had a few more 10440s laying around (fully charged), so I replaced the battery and... same deal. 300 to 50mW or so in no time flat... . Well after a few back-n-forths with LikeitBright via PMs and a few theories such as poor contact in the host, faulty module, etc. (and a few over-seas shipments too), it turned out to be my 10440.
All three of them. *gasps*
Yeah, I can almost picture you shaking you head, but it's true; turns out Ultrafire churned out a bad batch of 10440s. And since we're talking China here, a "batch" means a whole lot of batteries... Now of course LikeitBright came to this conclusion because he had a few "functioning" 10440s around and was kind enough to send me one. So of course I was relieved to see the Kenometer reading 300mW for like over 45s... *lets out a long sigh*

So finally, the reason I delayed this review was because what good is a laser, no matter how well designed it may be, if you don't have a power source for it? But I waited like four months and ordered another set of 10440s from DX and was quite relieved to see them all powering the Minichrome as it was intended This is also a good time to mention that LikeitBright reacted quickly and diligently and was hell-bent on solving the problem and making sure I was going to be one satisfied lazorist



Conclusion
*Note to self: need to shorten these reviews...* 300mW from a 15x90mm host and a great-looking host at that! One thing that I forgot to mention is that this chromed host has some heft to it - and that's a good thing, because anything this small would feel like a toy if it weren't for the steel-is-real feel to it! LikeitBright was not the first to use this host per say, but what he has managed to do with it is definitely a first, to the best of my knowledge. If my words above didn't manage to impress upon you how amazing LikeitBright's work is, the images below should do the trick I'm thrilled to conclude that LiketBright's minichrome will make a fine addition to my small but impressive collection of DIY lazors.
Recommended



Imagery
The following images are pretty much self-explanatory, noting that I am comparing the Minichrome to the Romisen as well as one of Daguin's Dorcy builds. Larger versions are available over at my Flickr acct.









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Old 02-17-2010, 11:33 PM #2
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Default Re: LikeitBright's 650nm "Minichrome" Review

How much was that laser pal? KILLER review +1
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Old 02-18-2010, 12:49 AM #3
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Default Re: LikeitBright's 650nm "Minichrome" Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don't Laze Me Bro View Post
How much was that laser...
I paid $140 for it "shipped", which is the same price as his Romisen LOC builds too.

Thx / glad you liked the review / great nick, btw
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Old 02-18-2010, 12:04 PM #4
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Default Re: LikeitBright's 650nm "Minichrome" Review

It is always a pleasure to read your reviews. I'm glad LIB still does marvelous work !
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Old 02-18-2010, 12:14 PM #5
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Default Re: LikeitBright's 650nm "Minichrome" Review

Nice to have your reviews back Traveller, they are always an enjoyable read.

That's a fantastic laser there, the price is amazing as well. If I wasn't so tied up for money at the moment I would be able to purchase this GGW waiting for me and have a similar Dorcy as you have in your pictures, they are still my favorite hosts
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Old 02-19-2010, 04:17 AM #6
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Default Re: LikeitBright's 650nm "Minichrome" Review

Good review as always
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Old 02-19-2010, 03:28 PM #7
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Default Re: LikeitBright's 650nm "Minichrome" Review

Thx gents / LIB, thx & congrats again on another great build



@All, please don't overlook how impressive this all-in-one Cu module is:

  • The lens is threaded directly to the module (no Aixiz "body" getting in the way of thermal cooling)
  • The diode is pressed directly into the module for optimal heat-sinking
  • The driver, which does & will get quite hot, also benefits from the heatsink's thermal cooling properties.
  • Cu's thermal transfer properties [heat absorption] are better than aluminum*
  • And finally, everything is self-contained and sealed, keeping dirt and other foreign objects from messing with the business-end of your Lazor

*To be completely correct, Cu has less ability (than Al) to then transfer heat into the air but the fact is that the non-Cu host is, in the end, responsible for said transfer.
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