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Do laser diodes lose their power over time?

mbanzai1

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I have a couple of laser units which are about 1.5 watts each. They used to burn wood and stuff pretty good and now after about several months of use, they don't seem to pack the same punch any more. It's not a battery issue as I have tried using them with fresh batteries installed and they still don't quite burn as well as they used to. Is it normal for these sorts of diodes to lose their strength with continued use?
 

Ghostchrome

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Yeah, laser diodes have a limited lifespan, especially when they are being pushed hard. That's why it's important to stick to the recommended duty cycle for the laser. :yabbem:
 

RA_pierce

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It could be caused by dirty optics.
If you look at the "dot" and there is a lot of light "splattered" around it, then your lenses are dirty and you could be losing some power because of it.

Another possibility is that there is an electrical problem causing the diode to receive less current than it used to (could be a bad solder joint, a loose connection, or a bad switch).

The other possibility is that the diode is dying.

You will have to give us more information about the laser if you want a more specific answer.
 

Benm

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Lasers wear in the same way that LEDs do - after a long time they start producing less light for a given amount of current. You could compensate by increasing the current since the limiting factor in many laser diodes is the optical power density, not the thermal dissipation. This worsens the wear though, so once you have to take measures like these its time for a replacement diode.
 

jost4318

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yes laser diodes eventually die most will last >5000 hours if driven with the right amount of current and are given respectable duty cycles many people around the forum sell new A-140 diodes for around 45-50 dollars a piece
 
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