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Just saying hi and some of my experiences with WL Evo, dreaming about laser lab etc.


Aug 17, 2016
Hello laser enthusiasts,

I'm here for many years reader of LPF, but registed now to contribute to LPF finally and to become more active community member. This forum helped me a lot in terms of acquiring practical information earlier and definitely before I got my first high powered portable laser from laserbtb or skylasers, if you like, (about 1 W 532 nm DPSS - however rated at 800 mW) some three

years ago. I got a lot of information here from all areas related to lasers. I appreciate this forum and its solid community.

I do not consider myself a totally noob to lasers as since my childhood I was fascinated by them. As soon as I got my first red laser pointer (exchanged for some collector's cards, I guess), I remember it was one of the best "toys" I ever had (along with robotic kit, electrical kit, airguns, mechanical brain teasers, lego, camera and some other science "toys").

I'm interested in science in general since being child, so I see lasers not only as cool "flashlights" to burn some stuff with. What I like them for are special characteristics of laser radiation as the most advanced light source in real existence (I like to say, lasers are ***y). In deed I was firstly attracted to them based on one chapter of holography principle of the univers related to problem of event horizont of black holes in one of many of my books (Stephen Hawking's Universe from D. Filkin), I was reading in my childhood. Laser light was used as demonstration of holography in a lab setup for capturing 3D objects as wavefront with complete information of intensity and phase of light, not only intensity as usual in common photography. From this time I took lasers more like tools for experiments and doing interference with CD surface reflections, measuring of hair width etc. were the main uses of my laser pointer. Also I loved some difraction grattings that came with the pointer and I was fascinated that it produced many copies of the images. Years later, when I was high school student, I had an opportunity to visit real optics lab at university as part of optional physics seminary (in addition to common physics subject). I was amazed, as there was holographic setup with 532 nm laser set to reconstruction along with setup of tweezer where they trapped some unicellular organisms and small particles of and moved them into desired structures by spatialy modulated laser beam. I studied carefully the setup and I was thinkong about building both of them one day. :D These were one of the coolest thing I saw on my own eyes these days. Well now, after I got to work in business (I switched from mathematics and physics and foccused on banking and insurance at my university and later for international business), science is my hobby and lasers with it. I realized to finally get more into practical use and step into it, as I have a lot of theory for now and I take it serious.

Currently I'm studying, training and enjoying higher powered lasers and trying to find out what will be my next laser based on it and taking a lot of inspiration from this forum.

To contribute a little bit in exchange to the community here I would like to share some experience with my new laser.


Just to mention - I'm not focussing on review, which is already there and which I liked a lot:


After years of considering, I recently purchased Wicked Lasers Evo as a daily use laser (this was important for my selection of this particular laser) - not shy to admit that. :-D According to references here and around the internet I should avoid WL, but as they announced final stock of EVO, therefore I took a risk. Yes, I was taking it a bit as gamble than purchase, but I got it in about 15 days from the order date (I'm EU based). It was not smooth completely, but its another story - to conclude this it was a much better customer experience (together with customer support) than I expected (based on reviews and even considering the fact that people are likely to write when they are unhappy than happy).

I was looking for some 3B class - with low-mid power to keep it safe with comfortable NOHD. Basically to be sure I clearly see there is nobody at eye injury risk within the NOHD in case of outdoor use even in more complicated terrain like forest is (of course I take care also about further distances, not to hit vehicles, airplanes or even annoy people, animals...). Another factor for EVO selection was that I like the host and the open-source philosophy of microchip, size and that it is powered by AA. Also for my intended purposes easy adjustable power is great and the operation modes in basic firmware are what I appreciate. I somehow like DPSS lasers, so I prefer it before direct diode, knowing the differences and cons and pros of both technologies. Therefore there is a risk WL is going to replace the EVO with 520 nm diode in next version if any.

Further I sent the following text (between lines) as part of my feedback to WL, so I just adjusted it a little bit to fit LPF and not give too much information (PM me if there is something unclear you really need to know).


First day I took the Evo outside to test it in the forest and fields I use for biking. It was a great experience. It is clearly visible even in daylight and during sunset (not dark yet) the dot is visible for kilometers (!) far away. (Of course I take care of laser safety and not annoying people as well.) In the night it is a pleasure to see the beam, which is comfortable in terms of max. power. (Compared to my about 1W 532 nm, but this one is too dangerous for daily use even outdoor in my area.) I like how Evo looks in terms of design and the feel of using it.

Also the grip is very comfortable. As it is powered by standard AA batteries, this is great in terms of no need to recharge it. I'm also surprised how long they can supply the power on standard AA, but now I got lithium cells with much more capacity and more stabile voltage/current.

Even the Smartswitch is really smart. It... (some text omitted) :) This is great, but I'm not sure its childproof. I'm sure if I had access to this laser when I was child, I would unlock it based only on this after a while. :-D But there is still possible to remove tailcap or interlock plug to secure it when the laser is being left unattended. In terms of Smartswitch communication - you can indicate laser mode by how Smartswitch behaves.

I like how laser works - continuous mode low power, increase/decrease of power by click and hold - precisely setup of convenient power by one hold increase, if too much, second hold decreases the power even before reaching maximum output and vice versa. This is a great feature and there is seen some inteligent thinking behind Smartswitch/firmware design. Strobe is also useful for catching attention for example on long distance pointing and/or in daylight.

I just wonder how to unlock a Woz mode - I tried already some sequences including morse code and figuring out if for example smartswitch will... (also here something omitted), but it does not seem correct. :) Afterthat I've noticed in firmware developer documentation, that WOZ can be activated after taking low of one pin in connector used for Smartport and firmware programmer. I did not try it, but it seems that if I use the jumper in the connector not as shown in manual - to connect GND and GP0 pins to make laser working as standalone device, but if I connect GND and GP1 pins with the jumper, this should activate WOZ mode (in my opinion).

Did anybody tried it yet? I would like to try the WOZ, but I'm affraid of damaging my Evo.

Seeing the laser output characteristics - at minimum power there is significant mode hopping, but after increasing the power it returns to (near) TEM00. Some mode hopping also appears when the unit is cold or batteries are weak. Anyway I did not measured the beam specs (power, IR radiation part, divergence, beam diameter at aperture etc.) yet, but it looks quite nice at first glance. The dot seems to be a nice circle - o-like (if the modes are not hopping). Even the divergence seems to be good.

The only thing I'm worried about is quality in the inside electronics, its mechanical parts etc. As I'm going to use it daily and I'll be taking it everywhere. I used 5 mW 532 nm pointer earlier for this purpose, but now it will be used only for presentations in my job and for fun experiments in near (with respecting laser safety), for other purposes at longer distance there is the Evo to replace it as versatile daily use laser.

I like the expanded lens kit as it is possible to combine effects and create more patterns.

The carrying case is well designed, but I miss better lens protection from dust. I appreciate quality, how firm it holds laser and a belt stripe. Also side pocket is great as 2 AA batteries fit there perfectly.
I'm just considering to adjust carrying case to protect lens more and obtaining one extra protection lens.

One of improvements what I would suggest to WL portable lasers is to get some protection cap (shutter) on aperture to prevent it from dust when laser is not in use - or at least to adjust carrying case.

Regarding the Lasershades - I like their design and material. Even the wavelength is specified, what I missed is at least optical density (OD) parameter printed on them.

So, my first experiences with Evo are I like it too much to return it. :) Secondly, it was a gift from my girlfriend as she was the one who clicked the pay button, when I was ordering it and I was not decided finally to go for it or not. It was during a great music festival happening in our city, so I have a nice memory to this moment when I became WL customer.

And finally it saved me already from possibly serious injury. I was biking after work at my forest. I took a rest on one of stumps for a while and I was practising momentary mode of laser (full power on Smartswitch hold only). I was just aiming trees to hit them with beam to be sure I point exactly what I want at first time and in case some animal is attacking me for example (I did not even think this will ever happen). After I finished I put the laser back into case and preparing to leave for a ride. And a deer - roebuck exactly, appeared. I'm used to be in forest since my childhood and I have experience with wild animals. I like to watch them. Usually they are calm, even if they are too close, or they run away when they notice me. Even hogs with babies are not dangerous if you behave in way not to let them feel in danger (as they can act to protect their babies). But this time it was different. The deer (a big one, very big - usually they are much smaller) was coming closer and closer. He was even making warning noises to me and for sure trying to protect his territory. I was a bit affraid as my usual techiques, how to deter animal, which is too interested in me, did not work. So, I pulled the Evo out and slowly activated it in momentary mode - just for case as he was more and more agressive. When he got to about 15-20 meters from me and was just about to run against me, continiously making loud noises, and the most likely to hit me with its (very big - it would be a nice trophy for hunters) antlers in a few seconds. I took an action, there was other option nor time to waste. I blinked near him (not directly on him, to prevent his eye injury). This was very effective as he turned 180 degrees and run away scared and yelling. I followed him with the dot about three hundred meeters far, where there were too many dense bushes and trees to even see him. But he was there as he was still making noises towards me. That was a scary experience and it was first time I was directly attacked by wild animal. Luckily I had Evo with me. This experience learned me that this is very usefull tool even for this cases and I appreciated how momentary mode works. So, thanks to Wicked Lasers for such a great product, which saved my butt. Even it was during a full daylight, it worked well.


And as compulsory part of my experience with Evo and to have it complete - some burning. I was amazed by Evo's power. As it is rated 100 mW (whatever it means, as in manual 100 mW is as max. power on web as min. power), I did not expect much burning. Of course it pops (red) baloons instantly (tried, after my girlfriend's birthday party), stings skin pretty fast (NOT recommended to try!!!), even light a match all unfocussed. What I was surprised is that it lighted cigarette easily! Unfocussed! By unfocussed I mean without focussing lens from Expanded lens kit, just with protection cap supplied with Evo - or if you like, collimated beam. Well, special conditions are needed - not too much humidity in the air as cigarette gets wet a bit and it is hard to make it even smoke. Also I use Energizer lithium AA cells, which are the best I have easily available. And of course the temperature must be around 20 degrees Celsius (or when Evo is warmed up to reach it), as based on my experience, my Evo likes operating around this temperature. When it is 25 or above, the cigarette is not possible to light up. But within these conditions, the cigarette starts smoking instantly up to about 1 meter from the aperture and after a minute or so it is completely lit to smoke it comfortably (just turning of cigarette is needed to light the top of it equally). Anyway as every DPSS laser is unique and maybe I'm just lucky to get better unit than average and I think the lithium AA will have some contribution as well. But the answer of minimum confirmed mW for lighting a cigarette is somewhere around 100 mW at 532 nm. For closer beam specs please see the review linked above - I assume it is more less the same. :-D

Finaly powerful 532 nm is always eyecatching beam and with Expanded lens kits everybody wish to see some "laser show". :-D Further I'm just about to use it for photography as a lightsource for some laser art. By the way for proper home laser show I'm considering WL's Laserdock as a gift from me to me for my birthday, but still I doubt about it. Anyway I like the idea of this project under developement.

There are even much more uses for which EVO can be used, but this post is just long enough already... :)

My new goggles

Just to mention, I'm somehow obsessed with laser safety (see some stories here on LPF to get this obsession if you do not have it already) and I got recently Univet's laser safety googles covering even sides of vision field by its frame very well (no space is left). With multiple wavelenghts protection - by the way with OD 6 for 532 nm. Well, this is a lot even for my 1 W laser, but I feel comfortable being safe when observing beam or dot from near. Definitely much better then cheaper one. VLT is stated as 12 %, but based on my other laser goggles I have, this is comparable (the others do not cover such a huge part of visible spectrum and I gues even not (near) IR part of spectrum, what was my initial condition for filters selection). So this is my first investment for what I mention in following paragraph.

Laser Lab

My further steps lead to what I'm dreaming about since childhood my own lab. I'm looking for some lab laser (higher power, stabile 532 nm with nice beam specs and definitely with long coherence length - 50+ meters) and some equipment (optics, holders, bench etc.). I'm going to start with holography and some other experiments with wave behaviour of electromagnetic radiation. Also I'm looking for further lasers of different wavelength to acquire. I dream about ruby, He-Ne, CO2 and some diode and DPSS lasers (405 nm, 445 nm, 473 nm, 637 nm, 808 nm, 1064 nm...). Also I dream about nice yellow laser (probably DPSS - portable). But this is my future hopefully. As soon as I have the lab with all the laser safety features and of course its own strict protocol to follow (not only for me, but for others interested in my hobby experiments), I'll get something from these. I even have some room pre-reserved for these purposes already.

I will be more than happy if you can share your experience especially with hobby laser lab (please post link to LPF thread, if you created it already or if you know about some - maybe I saw it during my research of LPF, but I could not find here much).

And one more question - can you recommend some great lens cleaning solution? (I went through some threads already recommending some window cleaners, camera lens cleaning pen, but I'm unsure about that, maybe you can just link some thread/link comparing more professional laser lens cleaning solutions?)

Finally I would like to THANK the community of LPF as being my information source, quiet teacher and place where I like to return.



P.S.: As soon as I have some time and being in right mood, I'll update my profile, avatar etc.
Last edited:

Apr 24, 2013
Welcome to LPF, very good intro and it's good to see you're putting safety first.
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Dec 12, 2012
Welcome officially to LPF Radim.

That is a very impressively long intro.
It looks like you're on the right track with remembering safety. +1 :)

Getting a HeNe lasers and the diode wavelengths are easy and fairly cheap, CO2 is a bit more expensive and ruby is even more expensive and difficult.
One of these days I plan on getting a ruby laser, but until then I'll enjoy what I have.

For lens cleaning, First Contact is the best "professional" one that is still not too expensive for us hobbyists AFAIK.


Aug 17, 2016
Thank you guys for a very warm welcome and all the tips. I really appreciate them. It took me some time to answer - lot of work and just little free time for everything else.

Anyway I got some more lasers to my growing collection - WL Spyders (405 nm, 445 nm - 3.5 W, 520 nm and 635 nm) and RGB projector for having fun - as there was a good offer for all of them. I really started loving laser painting photography for which purposes are these lasers great in terms of power, its variability and comfortable hosts with safety features. I did some test pictures and I plan bigger projects as soon as I have more time. Further I'm awaiting 589 nm 50 mW from Dragon Lasers coming soon as something really unique what I was dreaming about (except own laser lab, but I have a very little time for such a project).

Laser safety is necessary - I consider using LaserShades that come with Inferno (blue filters) - however there are not a wavelength and OD values of protection stated (on the LaserShades for blue/green lasers - the orange filters - there is at least wavelength). Do you know if WL LaserShades with blue filter cover 589 nm as well? I guess it could, as if I combine them with my Univet goggles, which are are almost transparent for the 589 nm (according to wavelength - OD chart), no visible light comes through (trying with various bright light sources). I know this is not really scientific approach, so that would be great if there is any test for the blue filter WL LaserShades (wavelength - OD chart possibly)? As soon as the laser arrives, I'll try how comfortable it is to view a dot through them, but I'm not very confident with that approach, so I'm considering getting some shades for yellow wavelengths.

Further for laser painting - I'm often going to my favourite forest in the night and I'm afraid of low temperatures and their effect on lasers. I'm trying to keep them warm and I consider some kind of neopren sleeves or something like that. Any suggestions of solutions how to use lasers in winter temperatures?
Btw I of course examine carefully the whole scene with powerful flashlight for wildlife and people before the exposure. And if there is any possibility of hitting the sky - I look for aircrafts.

Maybe I post these questions in separate thread if it is not noticed here. Anyway again thank you all for tips and the welcome.