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Dragon Lasers 150mW Spartan Green - 532nm

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Dec 31, 2012
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Hey all,

This is my first review. Felt it would be appropriate to post on this laser since the forum helped me decide on it.

As stated, this is on the Dragon Lasers Spartan in the 532nm flavor at 150mW.

Prelude
I ordered this laser to replace a Rayfoss 200mW red that had burned out. I thought 150mW would be good, since I expected the green to be a lot brighter anyway.

Placed order on 3 Dec 2012 and received on 31 Dec 2012. During the entire time, tracking only showed "origin post preparing for shipment."


Initial Impressions
Upon arrival, I found that customs had ripped open the packaging and even the bag containing the laser itself. A few small nicks were present on the host. I'm not sure if this is from manufacturing or the customs' treatment of it.

The host feels really solid - heavier than a Maglite solid. It has polygonal machining near the front to help keep it from rolling.


The aperture does come with a dust cap (not shown).


There is no adjustable focus. I didn't check this out very well prior to ordering, and kind of expected it, so I was a bit surprised when I found my burn focus was gone. Twisting the head didn't get me anywhere, at first...

I only later came across a video that showed the aperture cap being removed. My laser had the cap screwed on really tight. I needed a strap wrench and vise-grip to get it off.



Continued Use
After about a month, it's still working very well. The brightness versus the 200mW red is uncanny. Here are some obligatory beam shots:


This image (right) does not do justice to how much brighter the Spartan is than my old red, even in fog.

Long-exposure shot. Beams reflected off windows are visible to the naked eye sometimes, and the beam is fairly visible in lighted areas.

Flaws

Removing the aperture cap revealed what appeared to be excess paste that was also used to secure the collimating lens. This could be partly responsible for making the cap hard to remove. However, this makes no difference in function.



There also appears to be a small speck of dust inside the lens. Magnifying the beam actually revealed that the dust made no impact on the dot.

My laser shipped with a slightly lopsided rubber switch cap. You can see it's a little lower on the left side here:



This photo was taken after I attempted to fix it by opening the switch and cutting off some of the rubber flashing. It was originally a little worse, but it's only an aesthetic flaw at best.
Besides this, I only wish the tailcap had a hole for a lanyard.

The tailcap design does not accept flat-top 18650s. Unfortunately, I bought some stock Panasonic 18650s from Orbtronic, which have flat-tops. They did not work at first (See below). After looking about here, I see LarryDFW sells the same 18650s with button-top mods, which should work nicely.

Here's a picture of an unmodified flat-top battery in the host. It doesn't stick up enough to reach the contact.


Overall, these flaws are pretty minor and are in no way a deal breaker.

Ghetto Fixes

A thread on Candlepower forums said that I could mod flattop 18650 batteries to work with button top hosts with a screwdriver and finesse. With nothing to lose, I tried it, and it worked perfectly.
Here's what the modified top looks like:



The bends are only slight. Looking from the side of the battery, you wouldn't be able to see them. But about a millimeter difference was enough to make them work.

Still wanting to burn stuff even without adjustable focus, I went the magnifying glass route. For a "hands-free" experience, I bought a cheap set of jeweler's loupes from Harbor Freight (3.99 for 5) and held one in front of the laser...



... And it burned perfectly fine. Adding an o-ring of some sort would make this secure enough for completely hands-free burning.

Conclusion

I really like this thing. The flaws that take such a long section in my review are actually very minor and can be overcome easily. What you get is a very solidly built laser that functions beautifully.

Worst part? The wait. Shipping about a month and with no tracking updates is tough on the soul. From what I've heard, Dragon's shipping is very reliable. Gotta admit though, I chose the cheapest shipping option they had. Your mileage may vary with a different shipping service.
 





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