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Affordable Analogue RGB Laser Projector?

Aiki1

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Hi All - new here, and happy to be a part of this community. I do have a question and I could use some help. I'm wondering if anyone knows of a reliable analogue RGB laser projector that's affordable and has ILDA control. I've only worked with simple projectors, but I'd like to be able to fade colors, and I'm assuming that can only be done with analogue. I don't need a lot of power at all - something around 350 to 450mw at the most is all that's necessary by far at this point.... any help would be appreciated. I'm afraid to buy a cheap unit from China, although I have no experience there so maybe there are a few reliable ones?

Thanks!
Larry N.
 



10fenny

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Unfortunately if you are in the usa and want a legal pj that is analog it will not be cheap. If you only need it for hobby use you can build one. Have you been on photonlexicon yet?
 

lasersbee

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As suggested above there is a Forum called Photonlexicon
that is more Laser Projector related. I'd try there first.

Welcome to the Forum Larry...

Jerry
 

Aiki1

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Unfortunately if you are in the usa and want a legal pj that is analog it will not be cheap. If you only need it for hobby use you can build one. Have you been on photonlexicon yet?
I will check out Photolexicon, thanks. I don't mind paying for a "proper" analogue system, as long as it's not Too expensive, but maybe I'm being unrealistic.... I'm hoping for some suggestions.... I don't have the skills to build one, or the time to learn them unfortunately....
 
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Aiki1

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Any one have any suggestions for an ILDA projector under, say, $500? Don't need a lot of power particularly....
 

BowtieGuy

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You could try and contact hakzaw, he may be able to help you out with projector related questions! :yh:
He hasn't been on much lately, but he'll probably answer a PM.
 

Grix

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Any one have any suggestions for an ILDA projector under, say, $500? Don't need a lot of power particularly....
With that price you're basically stuck with cheap chinese options. It probably won't matter much which you buy, they will all likely be similar quality. I've bought from four different companies, Meierlight, Spacelas, Laserking and EMMA Light and they were all comparable. Perhaps the most important factor is whether the company you buy from are respectable with good customer service because it's likely that you will need it, because the cheap parts often lead to something breaking. That happened with the green module in two of my projectors after just a few hours of operation. However luckily both the manufacturers were honest enough to send a replacement.

If you step up the price a little bit there's the Laserdock at $700. It has a dac integrated so you save a bit of money there, and the projector is relatively good quality. Noiseless too which is great for hobby use. I have one of those also and I like it. Downside is no ilda input so you have to use the integrated dac.
http://www.wickedlasers.com/laserdock

Otherwise there's this, which seems to be manufactured by the same people as manufactures the Laserdock and with similar specs, except ILDA input instead of integrated DAC, and cheaper. It has 520nm direct green which is more reliable and gives better modulation performance than DPSS green. The analog modulation is optional so make sure to specify that. You don't say whether or not the $500 limit includes a DAC or not but paired with for example one of my Helios DACs it will just barely be below $500 excluding shipping. But I haven't tried this one personally so I don't know whether it's actually as good as the laserdock or not.
http://www.magnumlighting.com/English/Products/2016/0531/104.html
 
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Aiki1

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Thanks. I have been thinking of the Helios DAC actually - how is it different than the LaserDock DAC, other than price?

I could spend some more, I'd like analog modulation, would like to buy in the US as well, so all-in-all I'm probably going to have to spend twice as much....? It could be lower power than those projectors as well....

Also I'll need a Mac program.... :-(

Thanks for all help....

With that price you're basically stuck with cheap chinese options. It probably won't matter much which you buy, they will all likely be similar quality. I've bought from four different companies, Meierlight, Spacelas, Laserking and EMMA Light and they were all comparable. Perhaps the most important factor is whether the company you buy from are respectable with good customer service because it's likely that you will need it, because the cheap parts often lead to something breaking. That happened with the green module in two of my projectors after just a few hours of operation. However luckily both the manufacturers were honest enough to send a replacement.

If you step up the price a little bit there's the Laserdock at $700. It has a dac integrated so you save a bit of money there, and the projector is relatively good quality. Noiseless too which is great for hobby use. I have one of those also and I like it. Downside is no ilda input so you have to use the integrated dac.
http://www.wickedlasers.com/laserdock

Otherwise there's this, which seems to be manufactured by the same people as manufactures the Laserdock and with similar specs, except ILDA input instead of integrated DAC, and cheaper. It has 520nm direct green which is more reliable and gives better modulation performance than DPSS green. The analog modulation is optional so make sure to specify that. You don't say whether or not the $500 limit includes a DAC or not but paired with for example one of my Helios DACs it will just barely be below $500 excluding shipping. But I haven't tried this one personally so I don't know whether it's actually as good as the laserdock or not.
http://www.magnumlighting.com/English/Products/2016/0531/104.html
 

Grix

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Thanks. I have been thinking of the Helios DAC actually - how is it different than the LaserDock DAC, other than price?

I could spend some more, I'd like analog modulation, would like to buy in the US as well, so all-in-all I'm probably going to have to spend twice as much....? It could be lower power than those projectors as well....

Also I'll need a Mac program.... :-(

Thanks for all help....
The specs of the DACs are similar if I dare say so myself. The main difference is probably the software it supports. There are some overlaps: LSX, maxwell and LasershowGen support both the Laserdock and Helios, but Laserdock has the edge as you get their proprietary software with it for free too, like the visualizer etc.

The power of those projectors are unfortunately around the cheapest level you can get. Even though it's 1W, if you look at the colors you can see that the blue channel accounts for like 700mW of that or more. That's simply because that's the sweet spot of price for blue diodes. Even if you go lower in power, it won't get cheaper as you'd still have to use basically the same kind of diodes. You can get super weak diodes, like 50mW per channel for cheaper, but no one makes projectors that weak as it would be practically useless for beamshows.

As for Mac, unfortuantely there isn't much laser software for other platforms than windows now.. Laserdock's own apps work with it, but they are a bit limited, you can't make a full custom laser show with it for example. Also maxwell works on mac but again that's kind of niche, it's only a synthesizer.
I believe Showtacle is working on some full blown laser suite for mac. But their software only works with their own DACs which is pretty expensive and you'd be locked to an ecosystem.
 

Aiki1

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Thanks. I'm still looking for the right analog projector, then see where I can go next.... I guess i might have to pick up a cheap Windows laptop or something....

The specs of the DACs are similar if I dare say so myself. The main difference is probably the software it supports. There are some overlaps: LSX, maxwell and LasershowGen support both the Laserdock and Helios, but Laserdock has the edge as you get their proprietary software with it for free too, like the visualizer etc.

The power of those projectors are unfortunately around the cheapest level you can get. Even though it's 1W, if you look at the colors you can see that the blue channel accounts for like 700mW of that or more. That's simply because that's the sweet spot of price for blue diodes. Even if you go lower in power, it won't get cheaper as you'd still have to use basically the same kind of diodes. You can get super weak diodes, like 50mW per channel for cheaper, but no one makes projectors that weak as it would be practically useless for beamshows.

As for Mac, unfortuantely there isn't much laser software for other platforms than windows now.. Laserdock's own apps work with it, but they are a bit limited, you can't make a full custom laser show with it for example. Also maxwell works on mac but again that's kind of niche, it's only a synthesizer.
I believe Showtacle is working on some full blown laser suite for mac. But their software only works with their own DACs which is pretty expensive and you'd be locked to an ecosystem.
 

Grix

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Thanks. I'm still looking for the right analog projector, then see where I can go next.... I guess i might have to pick up a cheap Windows laptop or something....
Can't you install a separate windows partition on your mac? Or use virtualization software. I don't think you have to buy a new laptop
 
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Aiki1

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Can't you install a separate windows partition on your mac? Or use virtualization software. I don't think you have to buy a new laptop
Well, of course you're right - I always forget about that because I've never run Windows on my Mac before.... an easier solution....
 

hakzaw1

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Looks like you are getting the best replies on this.
Cheap AND analog don't go together --- Cheap = TTL NOT analog.
Lowest power I have seen is a 1W analog from LaserKing AND that was a special modification by LK. And, that was because we had already done several 10pc or more Group Buys..
cost was $ 1000.usd
Since then, prices having come down--last buy for me was a 2W analog, about same price ,,, from Song just before he quit USA sales. ( he sold the rights)
To get a great deal-- a Group Buy may be the way to go.
By combining the payments and the host pays for all in one transaction (saves fees for 10 individual payments( a savings on BOTH ends)& the PJs are sent to each buyer-- nothing really to be gained by shipping all 10 + PJs to the host for re=ship.

BTW ....do NOT trust the EEKBAY sellers to be honest-- power is likely to be overstated and it might NOT be analog..
MANY advert. a TTL as FULL COLOR when we know its 7 colors NOT FULL.
Your best bet may be to post a WTB in both forums.
....since we have more members on West coast--you may find a seller close by. gl===hak
 

Benm

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There is no reason that analog has to be expensive, at least analog in the sense of 8 or 16 bits of resolution per color.

You can do this by using an external USB sound device for it's DAC and then converting the output signal to ILDA levels by a couple of opamps and pots to scale things right.

This can be a bit of work to build yourself, but it does not require any expensive components, at all. The USB sound device could be picked up for say $20 or less shipped, and the compensation amp only uses a couple of cheaply available opamps, resistors and pots.

You could build the whole thing including LD drivers for $50 or so in parts, but it will take you time to do it. With solid experience in electronics, soldering etc you can do it in probably half a day, without it mght take you a week. Obviously a week of work is worth a lot of money, but it'll be a week in which you learn and improve many skils.
 




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