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445nm 1.5A Solarforce L2P Waterproof

arcaneinsomniac

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Diode: A-140 courtesy of daguin :thanks:
Host: Solarforce L2P - Grey, from sbflashlights.com
Heatsink: Jayrob's Solarforce kit, "V5 thermal glued design"
Driver: Flexdrive set to 1.5A courtesy of Flaminpyro :thanks:
Lens: Aixiz 445
Battery: 18650 (I use an AW Protected 2900mAh)

Thanks also to Jayrob for excellent work on the heatsink, and great communication. I had him make me a special heatsink for the driver for some extra money, and he went and redesigned the main heatsink to include a spot to attach the driver, and then refunded me the price of the driver heatsink!! :wave: :beer:

Here's a link to his thread for the HS.

I did make some slight modifications during my build. The contact board that Jay provided came with two extremely thin wires attached, and I wanted to be sure there won't be any issues (since I'd be pumping 3.7+V, 2+A through that section of wire) and just soldered the leads from the driver directly to the contact board. This can be seen in picture 1 and is the only picture I bothered to take during my build process.

I also went on to do something kinda stupid. Reattaching the contact board was a bit difficult because of the tight fit, and also there was a lot of wire scrunched up in the cavity. I now know why it needed to be such a tight fit. I sanded the contact board down a bit to get it to fit more easily, but this made its connection to the heatsink (which is connected to battery negative) very flaky. So, people, learn from my mistakes and don't sand down things you shouldn't! I was able to fix it easily with copper wire, as it's difficult to solder to solid aluminum (also don't try to do that). This isn't a knock on jayrob's heatsink design, by the way. It was just me being unable to reassemble it and got a bit frisky.

Extras:

UCL AR coated lens, 28.6mm diameter, 2.84mm thick - this lens is supposed to transmit 99.2% of light, although the coating appears blue when reflecting white light so it might not be the optimal type of AR coating. This lens replaces the glass lens that came with the host, which is installed behind and secured by the bezel ring on the front of the host. With an O-ring it serves to prevent water from entering the host at the front. At night it is still possible to see the beam being reflected by this lens. If we assume that 0.8% becomes reflected, at 1.3 Watts, that is still 10 mW being lost. It seems reasonable that such a power is visible. I do not have a point of reference for what 10mW of 445nm looks like but I suspect it reflected a bit more than that amount. Edit: I have done some nonscientific reflection tests comparing the amount of reflected light between the regular lens and the AR coated lens. The difference is not very significant, it looks to me the AR lens reflects back about 30%-50% less light intensity but I could be off by quite a bit. If anybody can find special AR coating for blue on a 28mm lens, it may perform much better. For now, I definitely will not recommend a setup like this for a 650 or 405 build since I expect those diodes to be more sensitive to reflection (and when focused at infinity, all the reflected light from the host lens will re-enter the collimating lens right back into the LD).

1 inch diameter green GITD O-ring - placed directly beneath the UCL lens. The Solarforce host comes with a specially shaped rubber grommet ring for mounting the lens, which creates a great seal. Unfortunately UCL's 28.6mm lens is 0.6mm wider than the 28mm lens the host comes with, and won't fit on the rubber ring. It does fit in the cavity but a rubber ring was still needed to ensure a watertight seal. So, I used this 1 inch O-ring for that purpose. It's actually a bit larger than one inch and some careful placement is needed to get everything centered.

All O-rings (there are 3) are then lubed with Synco Super Lube which is a multi purpose lubricant containing PTFE (Teflon) and effective at a temperature range of -45 to 450 degrees F. According to the tube it is impervious to salt water.

The only other things I have on it are the B3 "tactical" stainless steel bezel ring, and a belt clip from Solarforce which is about $5 and is very handy. it comes with a lanyard loop on the opposite side too, which sticks out.

Current draw at battery minus terminal: Initially 2.3A, drops to about 2.15A within 10 seconds, did not test further

I burned my couch cushion a bit while conducting the current measurement. :oops:

I do not have an LPM but the current draw from the battery indicates that it should be at 1.2 to 1.3W. I do have an extra layer of glass compared to most builds. It is excessively bright. Since it is the first 445 laser I have seen, I was initially blown away by the purity of the blue light. The beam is visible in a brightly lit room and only when going outside into direct sunlight does it become hard to see.

The waterproofing works great. I took a shower with it but there's not much to do, and it's very very dangerous. Dunking it in the sink after filling it up is also rather uneventful, probably because the water was very clean and didn't offer any additional beam visibility. I guess I'll bring it with me the next time I get a chance to go in a pool.

For people who are wondering about this, I would suggest only build a waterproof laser like this if you don't intend on changing focus often. As you can see in the pictures, this build cannot adjust focus without removing the head to turn the lens nut. A waterproof laser with a twistable section for focus would be more convenient, though it would still be questionable if it's a good idea to twist it underwater.

I was also thinking about using a Solarforce L2X for a 445 build. Here's a pic. I have one of those hosts on the way here in the mail. It would be quite easy to drop the laser into that.

Last but not least, (if you haven't noticed already) pictures are attached. The last two are of the laser held under water in the sink, but it's difficult to see because my camera's CCD simply cannot handle all of the blue light. I guess you'll have to trust me that it was in fact under some water.

Well, I think that's it. I'd like to thank everybody here at LPF for making it the informative resource that it is. This build and this new hobby of mine would not exist if it werent for you all. :D
 

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LaZeRz

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Awesome! That's a beautiful laser :D

Most people with your post count are still asking "h0w d0 I build t3h lazier???" :p

Good job!
 

jayrob

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Nice job on the build... :gj:

Hey how about a link to that AR coated lens that you bought? :)

Have you done any comparisons between it, and the stock glass lens?

I'm wondering if you can tell any difference at night just shining the beam. Is there any side reflection noticeable, etc...
 

arcaneinsomniac

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Ah yes, I should have mentioned it. I was outside last night and the lens even though it is the best glass you can get, still reflected a visible beam. It wasn't bright but very visible with my dark adjusted vision. I will compare the reflection with the regular glass tonight and post back. I'm positive it's an improvement over regular glass which reflects around 8% light but it remains to be seen what the performance is at this wavelength. It's a shame I don't have an LPM to give accurate measurements.

Also kinda related. I can't seem to manage to ignite paper or a candle. I can use the laser to cut clean through a matchstick within 20 seconds and making holes in paper is dead easy but ignition doesn't seem to be possible. Oh, also killed an ant easily though I felt kinda bad about it afterwards. Wasn't very quick or painless for the little guy... Sure didn't look that way. Still, it's hard to resist putting DEATH BY LASER into action when you have the means.

Anyway, how are people achieving ignition?
 
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jayrob

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I think it will depend on the paper used, and conditions...

I've done it by crinkling up some black magazine paper...
 

benmwv

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So the switch is waterproof? I figured water would leak past the rubber switch cover and get into the switch. Might get stuck in there and slowly discharge your battery.
 

jayrob

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I believe it's the similar design as most of the torch switches with those silicone tail caps...

If the switch is threaded in tight enough to pinch the edges of the silicone tail cap and seal it good enough, it can be very water resistant...
 
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arcaneinsomniac

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So I got a new package from the Solarforce folks in HK and my 445 has a new home. It's puuuurty. See pics.

As shown here the parts are:

L2X Body
L2P Head
S9 Forward clicky switch
B6 Flat SS bezel
Belt clip (i didn't put this on for the picture)

The L2X head looks terrible, TBH. It's just real dumb looking. However the body is great and offers tremendous grip. The L2X tailcap/switch is a great improvement on the L2P one but I think that forward clickies are much better suited for lasers. The L2X body also has an added bonus which is two O-rings at the tail end of the tube. On the L2P this area is just flat. This is a cool little addition.

The S9 switch looks amazing. I may switch the flat bezel ring back to the weakly crenelated one I had in the old pictures, that would make it match a bit better. But I do like the look of the flat bezel ring a lot. The stainless steel just looks great. The only thing is that this S9 switch fits quite loosely into the L2X body tube. It's not loose by any regular interpretation of that word, but does leave a bit to be desired compared to the other switches. Conveniently I have a Solarforce L2 which came with a slightly thicker o-ring. It actually made that host quite a chore to tighten each time I had to replace the battery. So I swap out the o-rings, and it's perfect. Now the L2 tailcap fits better, and my laser is waterproof!

What I really like about Solarforce is that they sell their flashlight body tubes separately from the lights themselves. If it werent for the popularity of the Surefire lights that they are kind of compatible with, this wouldn't work so well for them. They have just released a new model the L2T. Looks like I'll be placing yet another order soon.

The thing with these products is that sometimes they don't come quite as perfect or polished as they could be, especially the stainless steel parts. The anodizing is generally quite good, there are a few rare nicks. Drop these things a few times, and the hard anodizing will chip off. But it's not gonna flake or anything. A sharpie will help cover up any slight blemishes.

However you really just can't beat the price, and in terms of functionality, nothing is sacrificed.
 

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