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Dragonlasers Spartan 1w Review -- Problems :[

SpaceCase

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I decided to make a new post to document my Spartan. I know it's not a complete review yet, but i will post one once i get to use my spartan more :]

EDIT #1: Some of the issues seemed to be fixed/have gone away. They are documented a few posts down

EDIT #2: After having this laser for about a month (and working fine) it has new problems now. For the first 30 seconds or so it "flashes" before it (warms up?) and goes into it's regular "fast flash" mode. It is also weaker and will not burn through toilet paper rolls like it used to. I noticed this low-power mode when it would be weak for about the first minute, then go into its previous working full power. Now it never outputs the working full power(barely darkens a toilet paper roll).

I'm going to send it back sometime this weekend when i have time, and I'll post when i finally receive a fully working Spartan.

I want to review this thing, but at it's current state it wouldn't be very good :\



Shipping:
So i just received my Spartan after 17 days shipping, 22 days ordering. Not bad. Frank was extremely helpful/responsive to my questions when i was ordering. USPS tracking wasn't to bad, here is what is showed to me.

Bullet Notice Left, October 16, 2010, 10:14 am, SANTA CRUZ, CA 95064
Bullet Arrival at Unit, October 16, 2010, 5:13 am, SANTA CRUZ, CA 95060
Bullet Origin Post is Preparing Shipment
Bullet Foreign International Dispatch, October 05, 2010, 11:00 am,
BEIJING, CHINA PEOPLES REP
Bullet Foreign Acceptance, September 30, 2010, 8:45 am, PORTEE


The "notice" was posted on the USPS tracking website the afternoon it arrived. I was not able to pick it up because the PO box is closed on weekends. I just picked it up today.



So here is my experience with my spartan so far:

It worked great for about 15 minutes of run time until what i assume is when the batteries started (dying)? I put in new batteries that i was sure where charged because of charging them the night before. The laser would not work, with either the semi charged first/previous batteries inserted or the other pair i have. It would not even light dimly.

I also noticed that the batteries seem to sit kind of low/loose in the chamber.


I did not want to pull on the spring inside so that the batteries would hold solid and make a connection, so instead i placed a conductive material in between the two lifepo4 batteries, and screwed on the battery cap. The laser worked for a few seconds (about 10) until i noticed it started flashing/dimming. I turned it off and took the batteries out and there was a lot of smoke in the chamber.

I also noticed that there seems to be slightly burnt/brown around one side of the coil where the battery touches.



What confuses me is that the laser worked fine for the first 15 minutes of run time, there was no connection error and the batteries held firmly inside the chamber. After the first batteries died (or even started burning inside) the coil somehow contracted and a connection was not possible anymore. When i was operating the laser i did not let it get too hot.

Another strange thing that i noticed about this laser as apposed to other people's... the head cap came off effortlessly like it had been removed before, and there are a few scratches/dings around the head where the head cap is removed.


I guess I'm going to have to return the laser. Does anybody have any experience with this? How long does it usually take to get there/get sent back? How expensive is shipping?
 
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Trevor

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What did you use as the "conductive material?" Did it short to the side of the barrel?

-Trevor
 

SpaceCase

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What did you use as the "conductive material?" Did it short to the side of the barrel?

-Trevor
I used what looked like a small sawed off nail-head and made sure it was secure/not poking outside in between the batteries to the barrel by wrapping thin paper "tube" around the batteries. (this was placed in between the batteries, and not at the end). All i did this for was to increase the length of the batteries so they would make a connection to the tail cap and the spring, as they where loose after operating the laser for about 15 minutes.

Also, the tube seems to have some kind of plastic/non conductive material inside. The connection seems to be made by the tail cap, where the screw threads are?

What does the spring look like in your Spartan? Inside mine there is some kind of metal inside the spring that looks to be burnt/dark and bent. This doesn't seem correct to me?
 

Trevor

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I actually don't have one. :p

From the sound of it, you added a spacer to the batteries, and now a bit of the spring is burnt, dark, and bent. :thinking:

What batteries did you use? CR2's I hope?

-Trevor
 

SpaceCase

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I actually don't have one. :p

From the sound of it, you added a spacer to the batteries, and now a bit of the spring is burnt, dark, and bent. :thinking:

What batteries did you use? CR2's I hope?

-Trevor

The recommended lifepo4 cr123a.



Strange. Now it does not seem to burn and dim (I'm still using the conductive material in between)

I'll mess around with it some more later and see how it is.
 

SpaceCase

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I have also noticed that the beam seems to expand from a nice line into a square after a few minutes. Is this also typical?

The smoking seems to have stopped, but there is still a faint smell of it. (Whatever material that was smoking probably burnt itself off by now..)


EDIT #1: The smoking has stopped, and i don't seem to notice the smell as much anymore... although it is still faintly there. The "Beam expansion" problem where the fine line slowly blurs/forms into a square has also seemed to somewhat stop happening as well. This could also be because i was using the laser only at night and it has been running much cooler. This is kind of strange though because i was letting the laser get only slightly warm before i turned it off and observed a duty cycle when it was being operated during the day.

I guess this is good news so far, tomorrow I'm going to get some kind of tool to gently/carefully extend the spring so the batteries can sit firmly and make a connection without any extra conductive material between the batteries.


I'll see how the laser holds up, but so far after a good 2+ hours run time it seems to be working fine :] (for now)
 
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SpaceCase

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So now my Spartan has this problem of "flashing/pulsing" for about 30 seconds before it outputs continuously, but the output is not as strong as it used to be. About one or two minutes after that it then gets brighter and outputs like when i first got it. I think i'm going to have to send it back :[

How long does the warranty cover the Spartan? I cannot find this information on the DragonLasers website.
 

X FLY

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So now my Spartan has this problem of "flashing/pulsing" for about 30 seconds before it outputs continuously, but the output is not as strong as it used to be. About one or two minutes after that it then gets brighter and outputs like when i first got it. I think i'm going to have to send it back :[

How long does the warranty cover the Spartan? I cannot find this information on the DragonLasers website.
From what I know every laser on DragonLasers has a 1 year warranty. Btw that sound like a driver problem.
 
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SpaceCase

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From what I know every laser on DragonLasers has a 1 year warranty. Btw that sound like a driver problem.
I'm going to send it back this weekend. Any idea how long it will be before i receive the replacement?
 

X FLY

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I'm going to send it back this weekend. Any idea how long it will be before i receive the replacement?
Depends from the stock. If they are able to ship your new laser almost immidiately after they receive your old laser it could take just 7 - 10 days. But if they are still filled with orders could take a month :(
 




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