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Hello from California!

Jayge91

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Hello LPF,
I goofed up and made a build thread, not thinking to say hello first, so allow me to properly introduce myself.
My name's Jonathon, and I'm from Illinois. Since I was a little kid, I've always been fascinated with taking things apart and learning how they work. I'm currently working on radar systems for the navy in California, and couldn't think of a cooler job to have.

Over the last few years, lasers have really caught my attention. I've been stalking the forums for a couple of months now, and LPF has proven to be an invaluable source of knowledge and information. I'm so glad I stumbled upon it. I'll be honest, at first I fell into the black hole of overrated garbage pointer websites, to include WL as well as others. "Most powerful laser....." Yeah right. As I started to cross reference them and find that there were gigantic inconsistencies between the companies, I came across this forum. Huge props to Sta (don't know if you'll see this) for shedding light on the subject in this thread. Before long, I realized that getting a powerful pointer in the US is basically impossible so I decided to take it into my own hands and build my own.

I figured I didn't want to put too much money in at first, and started with a questionable A140 diode from eBay for $20. I got my host and other parts from SL, knowing that I could at least recoup something by getting their flashlight conversion kit if things didn't work out. I couldn't be more pleased. Thanks to DTR and his testing threads, I was able to make a very conservative guess on a safe operating current and it's solid. Once I have a LPM, I'll feel more comfortable cranking things up to push performance a little bit. This just makes me want to build more lol. I'm definitely a sucker for big performance in small packages, so that might be the theme for one of my next projects, but a CNC engraver is definitely high on my list of interests so far. As easy as it would be to grab a nice looking setup from banggood, I'll probably end up building one from scratch, as that would be way more fun.

So far, the only thing I've found difficult on this site is the search functions. I'm sure I'm just not using it right, and came up on a post about that just a few minutes ago, so I'll dig in there and see what I can find. I've mainly just resorted to using a google search with laserpointerforums.com in the search box before what I'm looking for. Mostly out of laziness lol. The one thing I haven't been able to find yet is a driver circuit that has different brightness settings, similar to most CREE flashlights. That would be awesome, having a couple different current settings to cycle through. Who knows? Maybe I'll have to make my own and share my findings ;)
 



BowtieGuy

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Welcome to LPF, Jayge91! :)

Very nice welcome thread; have fun, stay safe, and enjoy your stay!
 

Immo1282

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If that's not a near perfect introduction thread I don't know what is!

Welcome - Seems like you'll fit in like a house on fire here :)
 

CurtisOliver

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I welcomed you on your build thread, but there is no harm in me welcoming you again on this one.
Welcome aboard Jonathon. :)
It looks like you'll fit in here just fine. (y)
 

GSS

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One of the best intro's yet:)
Welcome and be ready to spend some money as this is one addictive hobby.
Searching on ebay though like you have though will help;)
 

paul1598419

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Welcome to the LPF, Johnathan. You will find that there are already laser drivers for pointers that have a place to put a 10 K pot to adjust the power from the set point down to no output. The Black Buck 8M comes to mind. It can be set for currents up to 8 amps, but can also be set for currents as low as 1 amp too. Happy to have you as a member here.
 

Jayge91

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Thanks everyone! I'm definitely glad to be here, and I hope I can contribute something once I've learned the ropes!

Seems like you'll fit in like a house on fire here :)
I actually laughed out loud :LOL: I hope that's good? Haha!

The Black Buck 8M comes to mind.
I did look at that one, but I'm thinking something more like the multi-mode flashlights, where you can click through the brightness settings with half presses on the power button. I haven't come across anything even similar, except for on WL and SANWU's sites so far, but they don't show much about how they implemented it. I might just have to really hit the books and see if there's a reasonable way to implement it.
I think it'd be a nice safety feature, having it start in a dim mode, a level that's safe without protective eye goggles. I'm thinking possibly an AVR solution? I'll have to do some tinkering.

be ready to spend some money as this is one addictive hobby.
I'm already hooked! Haven't had the first build for 2 weeks and I've almost got everything I need for my 465 build :whistle:
 

paul1598419

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Don't make the mistake of thinking a flashlight driver will work as a laser diode driver. They tend to be far too noisy for laser diodes, but LEDs don't mind that.
 

Jayge91

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Don't make the mistake of thinking a flashlight driver will work as a laser diode driver. They tend to be far too noisy for laser diodes, but LEDs don't mind that.
That's what I was thinking. I would like to build a Laser driver with this feature. If I can find something small enough, maybe I can fit 2 driver circuits on a board, with some sort of latch circuit to switch between them. We'll see what I can come up with once I have a proper workbench and materials.
 

paul1598419

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Remember, you have been warned. Flashlight drivers make poor laser diode drivers.
 

Immo1282

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I actually laughed out loud :LOL: I hope that's good? Haha!
Yep, that's good :p

That's what I was thinking. I would like to build a Laser driver with this feature. If I can find something small enough, maybe I can fit 2 driver circuits on a board, with some sort of latch circuit to switch between them.
There are some drivers with TTL inputs though this doesn't work from a safety standpoint (as the laser would still be operating at full power, just pulsed...). There might be a driver out there with this kind of input that translates that modulation into a current reference, but I'm not aware of that feature by default.

Your idea seems to me a bit of an over-engineered idea with its own problems to boot, but the problem is one I'm keen on the idea of.
. Current regulated drivers can not usually tolerate having no load and you should not put a switch on the laser diode itself as they're not tolerant of transients usually. I'd have thought that a switch bouncing could easily kill an LD.

An alternative would be hacking your switch in to change the reference? Most drivers are either set with fixed resistors or a potentiometer, and you could set it up so that you change the value of these, or the voltages that these resistor chains are generating for the control ICs on Buck/Boost or the reference voltages on a linear driver.
 

Jayge91

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Immo, I thought about possibly doing a resistor/divider circuit on the reference line, and doing maybe a digital pot with a controller to drive it
 

Pelagius

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Welcome! I've not yet made one myself. Went a little crazy with buying legit premade from SanWu. Taking a spending break. I have done a little with soldering and swapping out LED's and drivers-just not-yet lasers. Yet!
 

Immo1282

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Immo, I thought about possibly doing a resistor/divider circuit on the reference line, and doing maybe a digital pot with a controller to drive it
That's a possibility - but you'd need to be careful to make sure your adjustment range is within limits - i.e. so you don't overdrive a LD.

At some point I will get around to designing a driver with a uController on board. I'm thinking a laser which has a small OLED screen and adjustment buttons like the TS100 soldering iron roughly calibrated would be pretty cool...
 

lasersbee

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Welcome to the Forum Jonathon..
I enjoyed your detailed introduction.

Enjoy the Forum and stay Laser Safe..

Jerry
 

hakzaw1

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WELCOME from Texas...so happy you were willing to make an intro after already posting..
We do not always get new members to admit the mistake and do a proper intro almost 10 years ago I joined w/ show respect--but posted my 'intro' and glad I did. IIRC my title had "Houston''
in it and that was the very best way-

-I got 'special' greets from others in Texas--
even that forum (we just switched to this 'new' one) had our locations (if in our profile) beneath our usernames EVERY time we posted--soon we knew the locations of most active members having seen it so many times...At our new forum our location can only be be seen by going to the members profile AND sadly many failed to add that and they could have a 'most excellent' member next door!!
 




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