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450nm NDB7875 @ 2A in PL-E

Cel

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-- 450nm NDB7875 @ 2A in PL-E --







- Intro -

I have owned (and I still do) this laser for a few years (2 at the time of writing) now. It is still as awe-inspiring and fun as from the day it was assembled (by me :D).
I don't have a name for it, I just call it "The Laser".

So, here we go. Read on. :)


- Build -

Host

I've ordered the host a few years ago from Gray (JetLasers). Gray has answered my countless questions and has been very helpful. Many thanks to him! :beer:

The host is made of anodized aluminium, but the core is copper (which was custom built/machined).
I've used thermal paste between the 12mm module and the copper core, which is screwed into aluminium outer shell.

Needless to say, the laser has superb thermal conductivity and cools the diode remarkably well.
The duty cycle is unlimited. It warms up in a few minutes, but doesn't become hot at all. It just stays warm indefinitely, as long as it is lasing.

The host, main parts:









Assembly complete:



The host is beautiful. It is definitely among the best looking ones, and in person it looks much better than on-screen. It's also well-made and does its job really good.
It feels pretty heavy (it weighs around 1 kg). Its diameter, knurling and button positioning makes holding it pure joy. And that is before it fires blue photons! ;)


More photos:






Here you can see the indicator LEDs in action (meaning the laser is on):




I love knurling:










And now, the assault crown:








Finally, the tailcap:






An extraordinary host indeed! :cool:


Diode & Driver

NDB7875 is the heart of the laser, lasing at 450 nm. It is regulated by X-Drive set at 2 A.
The laser diode and the driver are enclosed in 12mm module.
I got the diode and the driver from DTR, many thanks to him! :beer:

Photo of the module with lens:



3-element glass lens is used for collimation, but can easily be swapped with another lens.

The focusing is done by rotating the ring located right behind the assault crown (it has grooves similar to the ones the tailcap has).


Power Source

The laser holds 2x26650 Li-ions, or 2x18650 with sleeves to keep them in place. 2x18350 / 2x16340 can also be used if sleeve is inserted and extension battery tube is removed.
Frankly, the laser looks much better if the extension tube is used. The battery extension tube makes room for larger batteries, so the total capacity can be higher,
therefore longer run times can be achieved (without the need for recharging the batteries).

I use 2x26650 Li-ions. Their capacity is about 4000 mAh, which gives the total running time of a little over 2 h (the current draw at the tailcap is 1.8 A).

On the opposite side of the power switch, an input jack is located. Using an AC adapter (that outputs 8 V and at least 2 A), the laser can be run on AC too! So you can lase indefinitely!
A pretty neat feature, if you ask me.

I have custom built a simple circuit that includes side switch and indicator LEDs, and connects internal electric components together.
It is located between the batteries and the heatsink, under the switch and the indicator LEDs.

I like having 2 power switches: the first one, the master switch, is on the tailcap; and the second one is the side switch.


- Beamshots -

It was really hard for me to take photos showing how the laser really looks like in person, while lasing.
The photos I've posted show the laser almost as it looks like in the reality.
The photos were taken with a mobile phone camera.


















- Conclusion -

I am extremely satisfied with this laser. It is the jewel in the crown of my collection.
Unfortunately, it doesn't fit in a pocket. On the other hand, it can be deployed as a beacon. :D

I reckon it outputs about 2.5 W optical power (a guesstimate).
3 element glass lens is used to collimate the lovely blue photons.
At long range the dot becomes a line, which is normal for multimode laser diodes.
Superior beam visibility more than makes up for that.

It can burn stuff when focused to infinity up to a few meters, but when focused properly, it vaporizes almost anything it touches. :eg:
Lighting matches (the hard way too), engraving wood, burning leaves - no problem!
It can also charge glow-in-the-dark stuff!

Nevertheless, I prefer watching the beam, and pointing it at objects. Beam quality is more important to me than raw power.


As always, proper precautions must be used when handling a powerful laser like this one!
With great power comes great responsibility.

Thanks for reading! :thanks:

 
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Cel

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UPDATE: 450nm NDB7875 @ 2A in PL-E



- Update -

I've upgraded the laser's electric circuit by adding a LED and an adequate resistor.
So the result is being able to tell when the laser is "armed", i.e. when the master switch (on the tailcap) is on.
All the other functions are the same as before.

The red LED draws 43 μA.
The laser draws 1,97 A (at tailcap) when operating.
(Tests were done at 8 V)




- Photos -

1) The laser is unarmed
Master switch is off.
Power supply (batteries) is disconnected from the rest of the laser.





2) The laser is armed and ready to fire
Master switch is on. Side switch is off.
The red LED glows, indicating the power supply is operating normally, therefore the laser is armed and ready to fire.





3) The laser is firing
Master switch is on. Side switch is on.
The red LED glows, signaling power supply is on.
The blue LED glows, indicating the laser is operating (actually that the LD driver is connected to the power supply).







- More photos -












Background is red because of a street lamp nearby (sodium lamp).
In the photos the red LED is shown as a bit too yellow/orange, or when the laser is operating (blue LED is on) it is shown as magenta, but in reality it remains red with a bit of blue glow around it.
The look also depends on whether it is observed perpendicularly or from a side.

 
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Pman

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Awesomely and a lot of what I have been looking for in how to break down one of these. I had no idea he would sell just the host. Cost? Just realized you bought it a few years ago so that may be moot.
+REP

Any additional information you can add about how you were able to disassemble would be greatly appreciated. You can PM me:)
I wonder if grey will sell the extension tube for these seperately. Curious to see what the 2 I own would look like in person with them even though they take a single cell. Easy enough to make a dummy cell to take up the space. I usually don't like such a large unit but these are so big to begin with and look so good why not. You should pick up the 10x beam expander:) Actually I don't think yours can take the BX.

Are you sure that is actually a PL-E and not an earlier model? Compared to mine it doesn't look the same. There are a LOT of physical differences.
 
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BowtieGuy

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Excellent job Cel! This is very cool. Got to love those J/L PLE's :beer:
:gj: +Rep!

@ Pman, yep that's a PLE host, just not a PLE-Pro version, I've got two just like this. This host takes an earlier style J/L beam expander, not the current style.
 
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Pman

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Got it. The new one adds the Pro on the end. Would have to have one in hand to see which one looks better to me.
I sent Len a message asking if grey sells the extension battery piece seperate. If it isn't too much $ I would be interested in making a dummy cell and seeing how mine look with it.
 
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Cel

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I had no idea he would sell just the host. Cost? Just realized you bought it a few years ago so that may be moot.
I got it when they were getting rid of the "old" PL-Es, before they were replaced by the newer model called "PL-E Pro".
9mm NDB7875 became available a few months before that, and few lasers had that diode at that time.
I really liked the design of the host, so I asked Gray if I can get one without diode (they were offering only 5.6mm diodes then).

I don't really remember the price, it was under 200 $ but customs were a pain to deal with.


Any additional information you can add about how you were able to disassemble would be greatly appreciated. You can PM me:)
It is just screwed together. :yh:
I like hosts that can be easily disassembled, that offers many advantages.


I usually don't like such a large unit but these are so big to begin with and look so good why not.
I agree. :beer:
But it can be used as a labby which is pretty awesome. Kind of a handheld portable labby.

It truly is a trophy laser. :D


Are you sure that is actually a PL-E and not an earlier model? Compared to mine it doesn't look the same. There are a LOT of physical differences.
Yep, that is a PL-E. But then newer model came out which is called "PL-E Pro".
Honestly, I like the older design more. Maybe it's because I haven't seen the new one in person.

Excellent job Cel! This is very cool. Got to love those J/L PLE's :beer:
:gj: +Rep!
Thanks for the kind words! :beer:

@ Pman, yep that's a PLE host, just not a PLE-Pro version, I've got two just like this. This host takes an earlier style J/L beam expander, not the current style.
Exactly. ;)
 

BowtieGuy

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Red, I doubt that they would still be available, but you could try and contact Gray at J/L, also a possibility would be to check with Hakzaw, with all his J/L G.B's, he may have something.
If these aren't available, Gray may have some PLE-Pro hosts available, they're very similar.
P.S. - If you find a source, and they have more than you can use, let me know! ;)
 
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ElectricPlasma

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Holy sh*t. Those are some nice pics you got there to go with an awesome review. Nice build, too bad these hosts aren't readily available to go like that. I'd love to put a 465 or 520nm diode in one of them! +rep
 
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Jhop

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Noobish question: what does "Focus to inifinity" mean? is that when you focus the beam to the smallest dot possible?
 

Cel

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That means the beam is focused to a point in infinity, so the divergence is minimal (photons travel in pretty much parallel lines) and the dot at large range is as small as possible. :)

In reality (and in advanced theory), perfect focus and zero divergence are impossible.
 
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Is this a PL-E or PL-E Pro? It looks much different than my host. I have some pics of how one goes together though if anyone needs it. They're fairly easy to take apart but remember you will void warranty if you purchased a build.
 

dden4012

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Where is the driver? Still planning out for the blackbuck 8a driver. Looking for a host that wont require machining to implement.
 




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