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BudgetGadgets 200mW Focusable Red Laser - Detailed Review

styropyro

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BudgetGadgets 200mW Focusable Red Laser

The Basics
This laser is basically BudgetGadget's version of the new style dilda. It is a great improvement over the original dilda and the cost is almost the same. This is a great pocket burner that you couldn't DIY for the same price.

Shipping/Packaging
Shipping took about ten days from China, but they ship their stuff for free so I couldn't really expect any faster. This company does ship to the US unlike DX/KD, which makes this laser a great alternative to those sites. It came in a small padded envelope in a black padded box:


The case is padded with black foam which is oh so tempting to scorch with the laser. ;) The box has a cutout for the laser and two CR2 batteries. It came with two different primary CR2s, one rated at 600mAh and the other at 1000mAh, which worked fine in the laser. For the review I used rechargeables because of the power boost we get with the rechargeables over the primaries. I'm not sure how good the batteries that came with the laser are, but they are free and anybody who buys a laser like this would also buy rechargeables.


Overall Appearance/Feel
The overall appearance of this laser looks good, it actually looks like a high powered laser unlike the dilda. :)


The focusing mechanism on this laser is solid because the whole head turns, not just the lens ring. To focus it just rotate the knurled part of the laser and the whole head will turn. A big pro about this laser is that the lens will not get knocked out of focus very easily, so when doing long distance burning tricks a small bump to the laser won't ruin the trick being preformed. Here is a close-up of the focusing head:


Innards
This laser is not as easy to completely disassemble as the first version of this laser, but some parts are still easy to get to.

This laser's lens looks to be an acrylic lens coated for 650nm. I couldn't get a good picture of the whole lens nut but you can still see the coating in this picture:


When the lens cap is removed the diode inside is easily visible. It is the LCC that you see in a lot of lasers like this.


Visibility/Output
Visibility is what you would expect for a 200mW, almost painfully bright without goggles. Goggles are necessary for doing burning tricks or for just looking at the dot from somewhat up close, your seeing balls will appreciate it if you wear goggles.

Here is an aperture shot of the laser while running:


One negative of this laser is that it emits a halo of red light, this is only noticeable when the laser is close to the object it is pointing at. My guess is that this has something to do with an internal reflection from inside the lens cap. Here is a pic of the halo from up close, sorry for the bad picture:


The beam on a dry night is definitely visible, but it isn't very bright. A little bit of humidity can really bring out the beam though. Here are some shots I took of the laser on a humid evening with higher exposure times to get good beam shots:






Burning
The whole reason why 99% of people buy this laser is for burning, and this laser is perfect for that. Being 200mW this laser can do any of the classic burning tricks, plus a little more. It can light matches and pop balloons with ease, the max I have tried so far is 10ft for matches and 25ft for balloons, I'm sure I could get even further with patience and careful focusing. Dark plastics are just asking to be engraved with my name on it. Very fine steel wool is also possible to ignite with a little bit of time and luck. To see the burning capabilities of this laser watch the video that I made of this laser (it will be posted in a couple of days).

Compared to the DX Dilda
I know I have been comparing this laser to the DX dilda throughout the whole review, but I still figured I needed a section for comparisons.

Here is a picture of this laser next to the DX dilda, sorry for the bad picture:


The key differences in construction are that this laser is a little shorter than the dilda, the tailcap is a little shorter on this laser, and the focusing head is way different on this laser. Most people would agree that this design is better than the old style, this laser is a huge improvement over the old style. The extra couple of bucks is easily worth it for the better focusing mechanism.

Overall: Good Laser at good price. Definitely recommended.

Video:
 
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LarryDFW

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styropyro;

Nice review and photos.

Does the lens assembly interchange with the Aixiz lens assembly ??

Is it threaded into the lens adjustment cap ??

Thanks;

LarryDFW
 

Switch

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Judging from the photos I'd say it isn't interchangeable.The thread diameter looks way bigger that that of the aixiz module.
 
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I have a question, why is something like this, which you can get around 250mw with new batteries, so much cheaper than something like the Orion from laserglow. I know LG would have a longer duty cycle but still? Why aren't there more powerful reds
 

ixfd64

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Wow, this product looks quite promising.

By the way, could you please elaborate more on the build of the laser? In other words, is it made of plastic or metal? How sturdy does the laser feel?
 
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My friend has one. It feels very sturdy and is metal. Dropped it and it still worked, at least its durable enough for that
 

styropyro

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I'm not at my house right now and I don't have time to edit posts because this computer is slow, but I have posted the video on my Youtube channel, if you can't wait to see it it is my most recent video on my channel. ;)

Larry- Yes the lens nut inside the laser looks to be the same as any other aixiz lens nut, it is threaded into the top cap of the laser.

I'll elaborate on the other questions and details later, I got to go.
 

styropyro

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styropyro;

Nice review and photos.

Does the lens assembly interchange with the Aixiz lens assembly ??

Is it threaded into the lens adjustment cap ??

Thanks;

LarryDFW
Thanks! This lens can interchange with an Aixiz lens assembly. It is threaded into the top lens cap.

Judging from the photos I'd say it isn't interchangeable.The thread diameter looks way bigger that that of the aixiz module.
The threads you are seeing are for the lens cap, the lens threads into the actual cap.

I have a question, why is something like this, which you can get around 250mw with new batteries, so much cheaper than something like the Orion from laserglow. I know LG would have a longer duty cycle but still? Why aren't there more powerful reds
Here's my take on this, I could be wrong: The Orion is made by CNI, so they can charge higher for their products because their quality is known by all. The Orion also has the safety features that make it FDA approved, and those mechanisms cost money. Too bad the output of the Orion is a square because it is multimode.

The reason why we don't see more powerful reds in handhelds is because there really is no need for a single mode red laser diode of over 200mW. DVD burners are fast enough so there is no need to develop bigger diodes. These diodes get put in our lasers so you don't see anything over the overdriven 300mW reds (I guess with heruur selling the c-mounts we'll see some higher powered reds, but the beam specs will be kinda bad, at least not near as good as our current DIY reds.

Wow, this product looks quite promising.

By the way, could you please elaborate more on the build of the laser? In other words, is it made of plastic or metal? How sturdy does the laser feel?
I'll elaborate on the build tomorrow, but the laser is made of metal and feels sturdy. It does feel light compared to most other lasers that I've handled, but that is because this is made from aluminum and there is no need for bulky brass parts like in DPSS greens.
 
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Thanks can you elaborate on bad? I'm getting a 9mm Red Diode I believe from Darkarmyofone, you have me worried.

And hmmm I wonder if CNI sells stronger diodes though, Are C mounts going to be the future you think?
 

LarryDFW

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Thanks! This lens can interchange with an Aixiz lens assembly. It is threaded into the top lens cap.

The threads you are seeing are for the lens cap, the lens threads into the actual cap.
That is good news.

That means the higher-efficiency brass lens assemblies can increase the power level significantly (~20%).

LarryDFW
 
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styropyro

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Thanks can you elaborate on bad? I'm getting a 9mm Red Diode I believe from Darkarmyofone, you have me worried.

And hmmm I wonder if CNI sells stronger diodes though, Are C mounts going to be the future you think?
With most red laser diodes under 200mW there is only one small emitter, because of this all of the light is coming from a very tiny area so it focuses into a nice tight beam. With the high powered diodes, there are multiple emitters lined up next to each other so the light is coming from over a much larger area. This makes it pretty much impossible to make a nice beam out it. If all you really care about is burning then this really doesn't matter, it shouldn't affect up close focusing much. If you want a nice beam then that really isn't going to happen, from what I have read here you won't be able to get the divergence under at least a few mRad, and the beam shape will be like a square or rectangle.


That is good news.

That means the higher-efficiency brass lens assemblies can increase the power level significantly.

LarryDFW
Definitely, this laser with 3.6v CR2s and a higher efficiency lens could probably push somewhat near 300mW.
 
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styropyro

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Damn, In that Case I might rather get a nice opto, I wonder if Dark will return my funds, thanks Styropyro.
Before you cancel you order ask a few other people about this, I myself have never messed with visible multimode diodes. I think I remember a post from Schrecken_Licht about her Orion's beam specs (The Orion is multimode and would have similar specs to the laser you are getting). You might want to ask her about what the beam was like.
 




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