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Dead SKY LP650-80 - post mortem time!

trencheel303

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Hi all,

As some of you may remember, when I bought my PL445-1600 from laserbtb, as an extra present to myself I decided to chuck in a cheap red, the 80mW 650nm pen, which barely added anything to the bill and was a chance to get another wavelength.

Unfortunately, on arrival the red had a small fault with the power switch, making it difficult to keep the laser on. I found a way around it, and at the same time sanded all the paint down to bare brass. I didn't think it was worth sending back an almost free extra to my package, so I persevered on the basis that it still worked (for the time being) which was a bonus.

Well, after almost four months of relatively trouble free limping along, the damned thing finally called it a day tonight when the hose clip came loose and no amount of fiddling would reinstate a solid connection. Realistically it was doomed from the beginning and I never expected it to last more than a month, so this didn't come as much of a surprise.

So, in the name of science I decided that it was time to dissect the laser and see what makes it tick. As these are glued together tighter than a nun's fanny, it was time to call my friend Mr Hammer, and we promptly got to work...




This is the front cap. Made out of soft metal it took me loads of attempts to pry it out, to which it eventually pinged up suddenly and with great force.





With the front cap off, I was able to see down into the business end of the laser, the diode in its module and quite a lot of glue.





This is what the back looks like, where the batteries make contact with the driver. This showed evidence of glue as well as a roughly cut piece of metal in front of the driver spring.

Unfortunately the only way to really progress from here was to stab at it through where the batteries go with a screwdriver. Several minutes of hammering later I had clearly broke through into the cavity and was able to use the screwdriver as a catch to drag the driver out. I was pretty amazed to have got the PCB in (almost) one piece:





There appeared to some sort of fuse or tiny resistor on the corner of the circuit:





With the driver out of there and more glue cleared out from the cavity I had a rest and some dinner and then decided to try and remove the module. I did this knowing I might damage it but at this point there was no going back. Amazingly, it didn't take much more hammering and the module came out:



Unsurprisingly, it was in the company of yet more glue; there weren't many parts of the module except the lens that weren't covered in it. Even the back end was covered in it, and amazingly the diode pins appear to have survived:



Glue, glue everywhere!

With the module out, the tube was now completely empty:



And here's the leftover result of its innards spewed all over the place:



The only evidence of wiring I found was the tiny copper piece a centimetre or so long at the bottom of the image. Mostly everything was just connected by solder and then pressed in with glue. I'd quite like to know what trickery was required to get the module IN, considering I had trouble getting it out due to the power button catching on the case.

And that concludes the post mortem ladies and gents. My conclusion on the SKY LP host? It's my least favourite and is quite poorly built (certainly on face value) compared to the PL and HL hosts. The batteries rattle around inside on the two I have/had and the overall feel, while solid and made of metal, isn't that of a "really well built" product. There's also excessive amounts of glue and little room for heatsinking. I personally think it's worth stepping up to their better hosts, or buying a CNI pen (either direct or from one of their resellers, i.e., Dragon, LG) as the build is far far superior to Skylasers LP.

Thanks for reading! I'm down one wavelength but I far prefer my 635 (brighter, better divergence) so I'm not too fussed at this loss. I wish it hadn't died quite so soon as I had plans to bulk out my review with divergence figures, unfortunately now I don't have the chance to do that very easily.
 
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