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First Post (Greeting) / Lazerer Range / Greenie Beam

Belch85

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Hi Guys,

I'm 27yo from Australia - currently living in Fiji. Always been interested in all-things-science-and-engineering-and-gadgets (Helicopters, Astrology, Machines, Drifting, Lasers, blah blah - the list goes on). I've always wanted to own a cool & powerful laser - so far I've only owned a small red-dot (I'm guessing <5mw) laser. Anyway - I've noticed the customs in Australia are a bit rough :mad: - on the >5mw front - so I've hatched a plan. While I'm in Fiji I'll buy a 100mw - (I've checked with customs here and they don't even regulate it) - and then hopefully when I walk back into Aus I can just take it in my bags? :yh:

So... I've been lurking on your forums for quite a while - and guys - THANKS! Clearly a dedicated community, plenty of information here - lots to learn. I know that a lot of the fun will be learning through experience; but I believe this forum has helped me gain the basic understanding to move forward. :beer: I've settled on a Lazerer product - because I have a limited budget; but I still want a quality product.

Firstly; I don't understand the difference between the range on Lazerer. For example he has the "LZBH, LZCB, LZCR, LZCS, LZGN, LZMN, LZSK & LZTN". There is a clear difference in the host for some (the LZMN is Mini, and the LZTN is a pen) - but what is the main difference between the others? Is it just the housing? Are there different "styles" of lasers that are more suited for burning / beam or otherwise? :confused:

Secondly; I think I want a 100mw laser. This is mostly because I want to get the most my budget allows. My real interest is the beam - and night sky pointing. If I was to be really honest; part of my interest is showing it to friends (isn't it cool that we can shoot a beam straight up into the sky and point at stars etc). I'm also interested in astrology and the night sky has always fascinated me anyway. At the same time; any burning ability is an added plus for fun. Anything I can experiment with (keeping in mind I don't want to treat it as a toy). I've tried to understand the "scale of power" in my mind - and I imagine the more power the laser is:
1) The stronger the beam (as it refracts of particles in the air, it's brighter, and penetrates further).
2) The further it will go.
3) The hotter the focus point (for burning etc).
4) The more dangerous it is if an accident happens.

With all of these assumptions in mind - do I really need more than 50mw? Should I get 150mw from Lazerer (as some are underspec) so I can be sure I can burn things?

Anyway, I'm scared this post is too long and people will lose interest. There are a lot of questions above. Thanks for any replies guys, really keen to move forward.

Kind Regards,
Simon
 
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Belch85

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No response yet :thinking: I'm keen to move forward before my time window runs out.

Anyone got any advice to offer?
 

Shakenawake

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All your assumptions are correct, but how far the beam goes is also largely determined by the laser's divergence rating, which is not listed on laserer's site. A low powered green should have acceptable divergence abilities for your purposes. I would research each model you are considering before you decide, as they will likely differ in quality. It's probable that most models have been reviewed here, just type in the model into the search bar, and see what comes up.

445nm and 638nm lasers have terrible divergence compared to other wavelengths, as well as rectangular beams and dots
 

ZeroLaser

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Welcome to the forums Belch! Try a single mode diode if you want to get the least divergence for your power rating.
 

Belch85

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Hey Shakenawake,

Thanks so much for the response buddy. I've been researching for quite a while - I usually look for a reliable seller, then find a reasonably priced (in my range) product - and then jump straight onto Google, LaserPointerForums, and YouTube - to look for unboxing and reviews etc.

Sadly; I'm lead to believe that camera's cannot pick up lasers properly. I found this review on LaserPointerForums that seems to be solid - and so I'm keen on the LZBH 100mw.

I've done a little bit more research now - on the NanoMetre (wavelength, colour spectrum etc) - and also on the divergence. I guess I have a stronger understanding. Am I correct in assuming that the less the divergence - the more concentrated the beam is for a longer distance? IE - If the divergence is high, then more light "spills away from the beam"?

Once again thanks Shakenawake!
 

Shakenawake

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Right. Imagine the beam as more of a really really really long cone shape. the smaller the number in front of the "mrad" rating, the more stretched this cone will be. for example, two lasers project a dot onto a surface and the dots are the same size. lets say one laser has 1.5mrad and the other 1.2mrad. since the dots are the same size, this would require the laser with 1.5mrad to be closer than the 1.2mrad one
 
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Belch85

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:thanks: Shakenawake - that makes sense. :) I'll email Max and see if he can 'shed some light' on the divergence rating. LOL!

ZeroLaser - thanks for the suggestion. I think this means "A laser with a simple on/off function (and not any other functions such as SOS, flashing, or any different caps for making pretty pictures on the wall)." Am I correct?
 
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Shakenawake

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single mode refers to the diode. it is different from multi-mode diodes. the wavelengths I told you had rectangular beams are examples of multi-mode diodes. in general, single mode diodes have much better divergence than multi-mode diodes. multi-modes are powerful however
 

Sigurthr

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Welcome!

I can't recommend anything per your query about AUS laws and imports, but I do know it is a crime to possess lasers above 1mW even if you did not know they were >1mW. I remember last year one fellow wound up in court because a neighbor reported him and the cops found a 1.3mW red pointer.

As for star pointing, I can say that on a clear night with good atmospherics and decently night adapted eyes, you don't need more than 45mW of green to star point very easily for a small group. If you're going to show more than maybe 10 people, it might take another 40mW so that people farther off axis can see the beam clearly. Anything over 100mW isn't very good for true star pointing as it ruins the dark adaptation.

200+mW of 658nm can also be used very successfully for star pointing as the 658nm does not affect the dark adaptation of the eyes, even an up close (but non hazardous- i.e. indirect nonspecular) flash won't ruin your night vision.
 

Belch85

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Well,

I've gotta say there is so much to learn; and a lot of confusing things running around in my mind.

Firstly; thanks for the explanation on the single-mode/multi-mode diodes. It makes sense actually - sadly I guess many sellers are not going to display full information so it makes it a bit of a hunt - email one guy, wait for response, blah blah blah...

Secondly; thanks for the welcome and the info Sigurthr. I'll be looking up information regarding laws & custom regulations. Surely there must be some way to purchase a licence for the responsible folk who want to use these machines outside of a lab? Anyway...

I understand what you're saying about the "brighter the beam, the more our eyes adjust - ruining the dark adaptation". At least I think I do. That being said however, I suspect that this 200mw 650nm Red Laser would be much LESS visible in the night sky than this 100mw 532nm Green Laser. Am I wrong? Did I miss something? I think you're suggesting if it ruins dark adaptation more then I have to switch it on - point to the star, then switch it off so that my peoples can then see the star again?

I know you said 658nm - but did you mean 650 or 638? Are differences this small going to make much impact on dark adaptation?

Thanks again and sorry for the 20Q's - I am learning a lot and enjoying your responses. :) BTW - NICE SIG! I'm gonna check out some of your Lasers and see if any are in my price range... Really I'm trying to keep it under $100AUD - between $50-$100 is best for my wallet. I've found the SkyLaser site here and it seems to have plenty of stats on the laser - including divergence etc. I'll contact one of the sales guys and see the pricing I guess for a 532nm?
 
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Sigurthr

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You are right about the 658 being much dimmer than the greens. In fact, mW to mW 658 is dimmer than all other popular visible wavelengths except 405nm.

As for the discrepancy between 658 and 650. Most, if not all "650"'s are actually centered around 658. Just like 450 and 445 are pretty much interchangeable. Laser manufacturers label their lasers in outputs of 5nm for most semiconductor lasers, as there is actually a range of output wavelengths based on temperature and current. 405's can range between 402 and 407 in most cases. 443-453, 648-665, etc.

If you want a spot on 100% accurate wavelength you either look for a gas laser or a DPSS unit.
 

Belch85

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Sigurthr,

Thanks for the explanation. You're very knowledgeable. I guess then I'll be sticking to a greenie - and I guess 100mw is a good number - to much higher and I'll ruin dark adaptation and softer - not as bright...

So now I suppose I'll look for the laser with the lowest divergence rating, best battery life; best host etc - at the best price. This is the hard part - I've found so many different lasers - so many sellers, with such a vast range of prices. I just want to know my product is quality; and if I look after it properly - will last a long time. I think Lazerer looks reasonable for its price.

You guys got direct links to other good sellers?
 

Belch85

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Hey Shakenawake,

Thanks for the links! Still browsing... They all seem pretty good quality so far; most out of my price range - unless I sacrifice and head back down to 50mw... Wondering if I should get a high quality 50mw or a Lazerer 100mw BigHead.
 

Belch85

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I really like the O-Like Hosts; they look slick! Are O-Like normally overspec or underspec? I don't have any testing equipment...

Also - would this WIDE BEAM be a good choice? Is it a multi-mode diode? It mentions a beam diameter of 8-10mm; but the other pointers (50 & 100 greenies) don't specific a beam diameter.
 

Shakenawake

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Hmmm. had not seen this wide beam model before. very interesting. it is not a multi-mode diode, but rather a DPSS laser, meaning the diode is infrared, and a crystal is placed in front of its beam to produce 532nm light. this model seems to have almost a sort of built in beam expander, a device allowing one to widen the beam, yet improve divergence overall. Notice the 1mrad? very good if it is true. 8-10mm is a huge width for a beam, most 532nm are no more than 2mm, often less. beam expanders widen narrow beams to wide ones, which is what makes me say this laser seems to have one built in. with such a wide beam, this laser will be useless for burning, but ideal for long distance pointing

I have never ordered from o-like, and have read that they are hit or miss. I might be tempted to order this, just because it is so unique. beam expanders are expensive as attachments, so this laser could be a very good deal. If you get it, be sure and do a review if you get a chance. well, a non-LPM review
 
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