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An "I'm new here, Hi All"/Decision help thread:

enigmahack

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Hia everybody!

I've been lurking for a while, and finally decided to join because I feel that I might have a little to contribute when it comes to lasers. I'm certainly not a noob - I've been playing with DPSS/Handheld lasers for... a good 10 years or so and have made my own handhelds, and even had a crazy idea of making my own using a DPSS and converting it into a torch. But then I found that it's cheaper to buy ones already made ;-)

Anyway, I had gotten out of the "game" for a while, until my interest was sparked again by watching some videos on youtube and playing with my old and trusty 30mw greenie... And I decided I wanted to get into doing reviews like a lot of the other members here. I just needed somewhere to contribute it to :)

I used to / still am a member of the CPF as well, though I haven't visited there in a while.

A little about myself:
I work for Research In Motion, (BlackBerry) as a Technical Principal Instructor (I teach people for a living) in Canada (YES! No super-restrictive laser import laws yet... knock on wood), I'm a part time musician, I am a competitive Rubik's Cube speed solver (I average around 18 seconds on a 3x3x3 Rubik's cube) and all around nerd. Geek. Whatever ;-) If there's something geeky, I've probably dabbled in it a little bit.

But I digress.

The dilemma that I'm hoping you folks might be able to offer a little insight or advice to is this:

I've decided to take a leap and get a decent torch laser. Something more than 300mw, something that has that little extra ummph but the problem is that I only have around 600$ to spend or so, and I also want to get all of the proper eye protection, rechargable batteries, etc. (I want a whole kit basically)

So here's what I've been looking at initially and because I'm still a few months away from actually BUYING anything, I want to be extremely well informed prior to putting any money on the line.

Let me tell you what I want my goals of having a laser are before assisting my decision though.

I basically want a powerful pointer that looks super-bright. I do want to do some burning tests, popping balloons, etc. (Mostly distance popping in a safe environment) Though my main focus is simply a super-bright laser/beam. It's pretty lol

Of higher importance though is an IR filter. Lower power lasers, I don't care if they have an IR filter or not. These higher power lasers are absolutely mandatory for me however. I like my remaining eye. (Hahaha kidding, I have both still)

I've contemplated 635nm, 650-670~nm, Blue (447nm?) and 532nm all in torch form. Here's what I've come up with on my own:

Obviously green is going to appear the brightest to us. Bell curve, 555nm being the middle and all that stuff.
635nm is rareish, and 650-670 isn't as brilliant. It's "just a normal laser" though you can get pretty powerful for pretty cheap and still keep it's reliability.

Blue lasers (Yes I know there are multiple iterations) look super appealing to me and the power output for price is REDICULOUS. I've seen a few 1W blue lasers for 300$ which is incredible. And they're torch hosts which is exactly what I want, but it honestly scares me a little. Intimidating really - I'm extremely responsible, but accidents can happen. 1W is a little too much power for me I think right now.

So I'm wanting another greenie. One that's between 250-500mw

Well, anyway, here's what I've come up with:


350mW New portable Green laser torch(IR filtered)
350mW New portable Green laser torch(IR filtered) [OLNGL350] - $289.00 : Welcome to O-Like.com, Your source for laser products

This is my first idea.
I've heard lots of good things and mixed things about o-like. Quality, price, shipping, customer service, etc.

Overall it seems to be the better of the cheaper places, and I've read many lists, stickies of "where should I buy my laser" kind of threads, etc.
My problem isn't so much the decision making process - I'm looking for insight from you folks, personal experiences and such that would help me make a better-informed decision.

Here's the other one I was looking at comparatively speaking:


RF532-400mW-02:
www.rayfoss.com

It's not much more expensive, higher output, but I don't know if it comes with an IR filter which is of extremely high importance to me.

The advantage with Rayfoss is that it has a battery, charger, etc. where the other one doesn't.

I REALLY like the look of the larger torch lasers (I know it's just the host, but for some reason I just like the idea of having a huge-ass laser lol) and that's my preference, but I'm definitely open to suggestions.

What are the distinct advantages and disadvantages of each? Is there somewhere I might not have considered that would be a better deal (in terms of performance for price, and safety)

I also plan on buying extra rechargable batteries for whichever laser I choose, and I would prefer to get safety glasses from the place I order the laser as well so they come together. I'm certainly looking for the entire package basically.

Alternatively, I'm not opposed to buying a used laser as well - I just haven't started looking in the classifieds/used/for sale section assuming the site has one. (Just haven't bothered to look, I usually just come right here)


ANYWAY!

I digress a lot here.

Those are my goals, focuses, etc. and I very much want to make a reasonably informed decision so that I know I'm getting the most reliable bang for my buck.

All ideas and opinions are welcome, and thanks in advance :)
 



udanis

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Check out Jetlasers.net (i think it's net) Send Jetlasers a PM and he has better prices than listed on his site.
 

enigmahack

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Check out Jetlasers.net (i think it's net) Send Jetlasers a PM and he has better prices than listed on his site.

Thanks udanis;
I'm looking it up right now, and I'll send a PM describing exactly what I'm looking for, and see what kinds of prices they can offer comparatively :)
 

enigmahack

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Thanks for the suggestion Snoutke, however the prices listed there are a LOT higher than what I was hoping to pay.

Ideally I figure it should be roughly 1$/mw *typically* and I'm hoping to pay up to 500$ or so for something in the 300-400mw range... So I have a little money for eyeprotection, and maybe a charger or decent battery.

But Dragon lasers has their Hulk Ultra series for 899.00$ for 350mw.

Just a touch out of my price range ;-)
 
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enigmahack

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Beautiful David - Those are perfect for what I'm looking for in terms of accessories, and the glasses are excellent in that they protect blue as well (I want to get into that eventually)

Appreciate your input :)
 

david1235102

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Beautiful David - Those are perfect for what I'm looking for in terms of accessories, and the glasses are excellent in that they protect blue as well (I want to get into that eventually)

Appreciate your input :)

your welcome :)
if you will be looking at blue lasers at some point, definitely check this thread out.
http://laserpointerforums.com/f39/1-1-2-watt-445nm-lasers-cheap-180-out-stock-54005.html
I know it says out of stock but yobresal said he should have more about now. (he said around a week on 12/8).
 
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enigmahack

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Ohhhh yeah. I will definitely be picking up one of those eventually, but want to get used to having a pretty powerful laser with the proper gear before getting something that... Crazy :)
 

randomlugia

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I think you should definitely consider a blue laser. You could get a 1W laser for $200, and an optical filter to go with it for less than a green! But if you're sure... the O-like and Rayfoss larger portable laser units are a good bang for your buck, and the next step up is a huge one (LaserGlow, Dragon). You should be happy with the 02 that you posted. I'm not totally sure, but I think Rayfoss will add a filter if you ask.

When looking at battery types, try to find a host that can use an 18650 battery. Try to find one that WAS DESIGNED to run off of an 18650, or CAN ONLY USE that type of battery. A lot of the time, there will be a laser that runs off of both CR123A and 18650's, and the laser was built for 8.4V (voltage of the 123's), and will only have half the power when using an 18650. You can see that I love this battery, lol. Rechargeable and basically the most capacity available in that size. I would recommend one of two different batteries: the AW protected cells, and the Trustfire "Flame" cells. The AW cells are just barely superior, but they are triple the price and IMO they definitely aren't worth it. If you have the money to spend and you want premium, however, go for it.

DealExtreme: $9.57 TrustFire Protected 18650 3.7V True 2400mAh Rechargeable Lithium Batteries (2-Pack)

AW 18650 Protected 2600 mAh Rechargeable Lithium Battery

I've got this charger, no problems: DealExtreme: $5.95 Single 18650/17670 Lithium Battery Charger (1A Charging Current)

IR filter: Infra-red Filter - Optics - Novalasers Inc.

For goggles, I agree with David. DL has nice, certified, inexpensive goggles.

Laser Glasses - UV to Green Lasers Protection 190-548nm :: Laser Safety :: Dragon Lasers
 

reginak

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Check out Jetlasers.net (i think it's net) Send Jetlasers a PM and he has better prices than listed on his site.

I will second this, I think Jetlasers offers very good quality for a good price. Look my >850mW 532nm review in my sig.

Cheers
 

enigmahack

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wow Randomlugia - Lots of great advice there, and all in once place. I definitely appreciate your help!

It gives me a lot to think about because I definitely like Green, but the more I see 445nm... The more it makes sense for me to get that instead... Though there's something about green that just... I dunno.

I wouldn't be getting either for at least a month anyway, so there's a lot to think about however other things like the goggles and charger/batteries I can definitely get sooner rather than later. No sense waiting for those.

The only question I have is - do you know of any chargers that are safer than the one mentioned? The ONLY reason I ask is because I've heard of the possibility that some batteries will get over charged and catch fire. Definitely not something I'd want to happen. I'd rather pay a little extra for a charger that will turn itself off after charging the battery fully.

(And in the interest in protecting my house and my laser and batter and rooms and etc... I'd rather pay the little extra money to make sure everything is as safe as possible as well as efficient as possible)

Unless the one mentioned does that already however I get the impression it's the same charger in question that is advised you keep an eye on while charging your batteries.

Otherwise you've definitely given me a lot to think about and I appreciate it!
 

enigmahack

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I will second this, I think Jetlasers offers very good quality for a good price. Look my >850mW 532nm review in my sig.

Cheers

Thanks Reginak - I'm looking at the review right now. I've emailed jetlasers already, and I'm waiting for a response. I have a month at least before purchasing my laser and making a final decision, but I would rather have all of my options available and feedback is definitely welcome :)

Thanks for that!
 

randomlugia

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The only question I have is - do you know of any chargers that are safer than the one mentioned? The ONLY reason I ask is because I've heard of the possibility that some batteries will get over charged and catch fire. Definitely not something I'd want to happen. I'd rather pay a little extra for a charger that will turn itself off after charging the battery fully.

You know that the charger I posted turns itself off, right?

Being a member of CPF, I'm surprised you haven't used LiIon yet! The thing about LiIon is that no matter what you do, it is in no way "safe". That is, safe enough that you can leave it alone. Even if you used the most expensive, protected setup money can buy, you shouldn't take your eye off of it for more than 5 minutes. If the voltage gets too high, there's a possibility of an explosion at the next discharge. Same thing if the voltage gets too low.

I'm not trying to scare you away, just making sure you understand all of the precautions. I think LiIon is the battery of the future! It's actually not hard to take care of, just make sure you're in the room and check every once and a while, making sure to remove the battery as soon as it's done. Back to the point... you really can have a cheaper charger with protected batteries; adding charger protection will make pretty much no difference. But here it is anyway: Pila IBC Charger for 14500 / 17500 / 18500 / 18650 3.7 volt Lithium Battery Charger

Battery Junction is a good store, but they usually have insane shipping charges, so it's not worth it to get small orders there.
 

david1235102

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It gives me a lot to think about because I definitely like Green, but the more I see 445nm... The more it makes sense for me to get that instead... Though there's something about green that just... I dunno.

Really it comes down to personal preference. The green would blow your mind with how bright it is every time you turn it on, while the blue would be more dangerous and much better for burning. But if you are looking for the best $/mW, then the blue (or a red) would be the one to get. If you are really into lasers, then you will probably end up with both colors eventually anyway.
 

david1235102

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Battery Junction is a good store, but they usually have insane shipping charges, so it's not worth it to get small orders there.

well for U.S. customers it isn't that bad. I can get First Class USPS mail for about $4.
 
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