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Dragon Lasers Spartan 589nm pre-review


Nov 18, 2010
Hello everyone!

I just recently got the jones for lasers again after about 10 years of hiatus. When I started, I was a poor college student that couldn't really afford many toys. After graduating and becoming an engineer, naturally my tastes got more expensive and got into building my Subaru. After 4 years of that, I've decided to stop that for a while and get back into "cheaper" hobbies. This is just my first impulse buy, particularly because of the technology in this 589nm unit, but I plan on making my own builds soon.

The Unit
I recently ordered a DL 589 nm 50mW Spartan, after jonesing hard for that exotic yellow beam. The reason I call this a pre-review, is that it is incomplete, but will add more to it within the next few days. I am currently waiting on my Eaglepair safety goggles for the yellow wavelength before I can do more technical measurements.

First, I want to say that the delivery speed was surprisingly fast. I ordered on 5/27, and received it on 6/03. What a treat.

I was slightly disappointed that the laser came with no paperwork, no instructions, no nothing from the maker, other than the anti-static plastic envelope it came with. It also didn't really come very well packed, and only had 2 foam cubes in the box. For $400.00, I would expect at least a padded box similar to what JetLasers ships theirs with. But alas, I rather the money go into the actual equipment than into packaging. There were some small knicks on the host where the pain had already chipped a bit. Not a deal breaker, but definitely says something about how this was handled.

Host up close detail sm.jpg

Host up close detail sm 2.jpg

I popped in a 18650 cell in and tried it out. I was amazed by the beautiful warm color of this wavelength. It is so exotic!

Performance - First Glance
Since I don't yet have the safety goggles, I've limited myself to shining it into dark areas and trying to avoid any reflections, and also went outside and tested the beam outdoors from my balcony. This is where I noticed the divergence...
I expected a DPSS laser like this to have a very tight beam and thus a small round dot. However, I could tell the dot was several inches wide on the street from my second story apartment. then I tried it indoors in a large room (at work) and saw that the dot on the wall was at least a couple of inches wide, and looked semi rectangular, or at least a wide oval.
As you can see in one of my beam photos in my room (pointing into the closet), if you look closely, you can tell there is definitely a focus point a couple of feet from the aperture, and the beam noticeably gets wider as it gets towards the black surface where the dot is.

589nm laser beam 1 sm.jpg

589nm laser beam 3.jpg

589nm laser beam 2 sm.jpg

So then I get curious, remove the battery, and examine the aperture. As the photo shows, the collimating lens was POORLY glued onto the metal piece that holds it. Like, WTF? $400.00 and they sent it out like this?

lens from above with cap 1 sm.jpg

lens from above without cap sm.jpg

Once I receive my safety goggles, I plan on doing some measurements of the dot at two distances and do the math to estimate divergence to see how it compares to the specs shown on the DL site. I will add more photos of the beam that reveal its size with multiple measurements to get the average size down, since I expect it to vary through out its "on" cycle.

I wish I could say I'm thrilled with this purchase, but I feel like I got a sloppy mess for the amount of money this cost, despite the laser actually working and emitting a beautiful color. Unfortunately, I am not finding any other reputable sellers that carry this wavelength in a portable unit, that is willing to ship to the USA.

I don't have much to say about the output or stability, since i don't yet have a laser meter, but I hope to order one in the near future.

I saw that other LPF members like Pouie also received units with improper focus, who was able to sort of fix it by breaking the glue that holds the metal piece that holds the lens. I'm not happy with the way the lens was glued onto the metal piece. I also am not thrilled about the idea of having to pay another $60.00 for returning it and getting another unit shipped all the way from China, not to mention waiting another month.

What would you all do? Eat the shipping and return to DL? Or break the glue, adjust the pill, and try to forget about the poor workmanship? I know its my call, but I wanted to see if adjusting the lens is easy and safe enough to do, provided I don't damage the lens.