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Laser Pointer Store - Thor H2 - Review

diachi

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Finally getting around to writing this up!

For anyone not up to speed, this was a unit sent to me by Laser Pointer Store (https://laserpointerstore.com) for a review - I only had to cover shipping ($30 to Canada, DHL, arrived quickly).

Now to the review.

Shipping/Packaging

Shipping was quick, taking about a week to arrive from China after the tracking kicked in. Paying for the DHL shipping was certainly worth it, no 3 month wait like I experienced with the Laserlands unit.

Packaging left something to be desired, although the laser did arrive undamaged and fully functional. The box it came in looked like it had been thrown around on the way here, pretty bashed up. The laser itself came wrapped in bubble wrap, which seemed to have provided ample protection.





Instructions

The laser didn't come packaged with any instructions, although I was given them before hand by LPS. The batteries were already inserted so that wasn't an issue, and they did confirm the polarity by PM before I received the laser.

Initial Impressions

Man, this thing is pretty big!

The unit came with 2x 26650 batteries installed, unlabeled, just a plain wrap on them. Appeared to be fully charged at arrival. The large batteries are great, less charging needed, really adds some weigh to the already rather beefy laser too. The weight is nice though, feels good to hold.

The host feels solid, the finish is reasonable, there were a few small spots where the anodizing had been "chipped" off, but nothing major. Threading all feels smooth.

The power button is nice and solid, feels like it's decent quality. It's bolted directly onto the host, so no flex or anything there.

Features

Safety: The tailcap has a sort of "battery disconnected" on it, in the form of a screw in connector that connects/disconnects the battery. I'm not sure if I prefer this or a key lock, but this is certainly better than no safety features at all.

Operation modes: There are three modes with this laser, all easy to activate - really there's no fuss at all. I know some people have had issues changing modes on some other lasers with similar features.

The first mode is a "low" power mode, which is still Class IV in my case (see power tests). This mode appears to be a simple PWM mode, not yet confirmed but I suspect the diode current is the same with only the PWM reducing the average power/perceived brightness. Activating this mode requires only a single push of the power button. I'm waiting for my oscilloscope to show up so that I can grab some more information about this mode. The pulses are visible when moving the beam around rapidly.



Mode two is high power mode, this mode runs the diode in CW (no PWM), bringing up the output to full power. Again, easy to activate. Press the power button once to activate low power mode and then double press the button again to go into full power mode.

The third mode is a strobe mode, I have no use for it but someone might find it useful for signalling or something? I believe LPS referred to it as "SOS" mode, although it doesn't blink out SOS in morse or anything. This mode is activated by turning the laser on to low power mode and then holding the power button for several seconds.


Battery indicator: This unit also has a battery indicator on the underside of the host, opposite the switch, which consists of three blue LEDs. The indicator turns on once the battery disconnect is engaged. So far I haven't managed to get it to go down, I'll need to use it a bunch more, these 26650s are hard to drain!



Emission indicator:

The power button has a built in LED ring that illuminates when the laser is powered on.



Battery disconnect:

Nice simple battery disconnect on the tailcap, a key switch would be more secure, but this is far better than nothing at all. Very simple, it's really just a screw with a little tab that allows you to engage the connection by hand. One benefit of such a simple design is that it'll be difficult for it to break or wear out over time. A quarter turn is enough to engage/disengage this, although it can be completely removed too.

Disconnect inserted.


Removed completely.


Screw when removed.


Focus Adjustment:

Didn't notice right away but the cap on the output end also acts as a focus adjustment, perfect if you like to burn things! Adjustment feels smooth. The lens is recessed into the end cap so you can't get the focal point super close/short.



Size/Appearance

Appearance wise this laser is rather generic, looking much like many other high power blue handhelds, I do like this style though. This host is rather beefy, but it feels good in the hand. The large size allows for a longer duty cycle as well as larger batteries. The finish is rather decent, it's not super high end but this would be more of a "budget" laser anyway, so for the price range this is perfectly acceptable.

There are some minor scratches/chips in the finish, nothing major.







Driver/Diode Access

Access to the driver is easy - the top/front end of the laser containing the diode screws off from the rest of the body which contains the driver/batteries etc. Mine came apart with little force, although Paul apparently had a little bit of a harder time detaching his. The diode is connected to the driver with some fairly long wires so twisting shouldn't be an issues.

Should be an easy laser to repair or modify.

Driver quality looks fairly reasonable, going by the large inductor near the output I'm going to guess it's a switcher. This should reduce waste heat/increase efficiency.









Output Power/Duty Cycle

Now for the most important part, output power! My results in high power mode are almost exactly the same as Paul's, with a 2mW variation in peak output (disregarding differences in meter calibration). I did see quite a difference in low power mode, with my unit doing at least 200-300mW more than Paul's.

Low Power Mode:

We see a peak of 748mW. The power was actually still slowly climbing when I ended the test at 175 seconds. Host was slightly warm after this run.



High Power Mode:

Here we see a peak of 1646mW at around 50 seconds. It may be peaked earlier, but the slow rise time of my meter wouldn't be able to catch it. Power started slowly falling at the 75 second mark, reaching around 1620mW at the end of the 2 minute test. The host was warmer than on the low power test, but not so hot as to be concerning. I'd feel comfortable running it for 2 minutes on high power mode.



Beam Diameter/Divergence/Lens

Beam diameter and divergence aren't anything to write home about, rather typical for a 445nm at this power.

I ran some more tests today, and noticed that the far field beam diameter actually increases fairly significantly as the laser heats up, the modes really spread out. It goes from a nice thin stripe to more of a fat rectangle. I'll do some more testing to verify these numbers (I don't think these measurements are as accurate as I'd like) but the initial numbers are as follows:

Beam diameter at aperture: 2.1mmx5.8mm

Beam diameter at 13ft #1 (cold): 13.5mmx2.3mm = 2.85mRad by 0.875mRad.

Beam diameter at 13ft #2 (hot): 18.7mmx10mm = 4.15mRad by 1.05mRad.

Fat rectangle:



I'll try and grab a picture of the thin stripe later too.

How does yours compare here Paul? Does your unit show the same change in far field beam diameter as it gets hot?

Output could possibly be increased by replacing the stock output lens with a shorter FL/wider aperture lens - at the expensive of divergence. It looks to me like the stock lens is clipping the beam a little. It looks as though the lens barrel has been melted a little bit by the diode's output. (Paul, can you verify if yours has the same mark?)




Beamshots

Couple quick beamshots to finish up! No smoke used here, room fairly well lit.





Final thoughts

This seems so far to be a decent handheld, at this point I'd recommend it to someone looking for a ~1.5W 445nm on a budget, assuming the price is similar to the Thor H series currently listed on the LaserPointerStore website.

Pros:

  • Output power is as specified at 1.6W - at least going by what's listed on the website.
  • Built quality is good.
  • Features are good.
  • Battery life is good.
  • Duty cycle is good.
Cons:


  • Will need to do more testing, but the output lens could possibly do with some improvement. If the lens barrel is in fact being melted it should be switched over to a metal barrel. I will communicate with LaserPointerStore to get some more details here.

Hope everyone enjoyed the review. Let me know if you have any questions! :)

Hopefully didn't missing anything...
 

paul1598419

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A great review, diachi. Mine doesn't have the issues you have with the lens. In fact, yours looks like it is set farther in than mine and at 13 feet, the divergence of mine seems better as it is a rectangle 1.5mm by 3mm. I guess there are some QC problems that need to be addressed. I'll get back to you on the driver's PWM frequency and pulse width. I enjoyed your review and see that there are some differences in the two lasers. + rep.
 

BowtieGuy

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Nice comprehensive review Diachi! :beer:
I agree with you, it looks like this would be a real good choice for anyone looking for a good quality, budget 445nm laser.

I wonder why only one side of your lens barrel would show damage from beam clipping, does the beam exit straight from the host, I wonder if the lens itself is tightened square to the lens barrel?

That one week DHL shipping is pretty impressive, especially for you guys in Canada! :)
:gj:
 

ElectricPlasma

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Nice, very thorough review! Never seen anything like that disconnect before, that's pretty nifty. Angel eye LED switches are always a nice luxury too :cool:

Packaging left something to be desired, although the laser did arrive undamaged and fully functional. The box it came in looked like it had been thrown around on the way here, pretty bashed up. The laser itself came wrapped in bubble wrap, which seemed to have provided ample protection.
That one week DHL shipping is pretty impressive, especially for you guys in Canada! :)
That's for sure, I've had things ordered via DHL from China that have got here in under a week. Pretty impressive, and like Diachi said, beats having to wait months by a landslide. Only thing is it's pricey, not only the shipping expense but the duties and taxes can catch you off guard depending on what you've got coming.

I've noticed that almost every box I get from DHL is always screwed up one way or another, dented like crazy. But hey, at least they're consistent :eek:
 

paul1598419

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I noticed like the two parcels i received recently from DHL yours was banged up pretty well also. They are quick, but could use some better practices in handling. :D

Edit: I posted in my review so I thought I would post it here too. I spent 5 minutes checking the frequency and duty cycle of my laser in the low power setting with my digital counter. It was stable at 500 HJz and 50% duty cycle during that entire period. My scope is on a metal scope cart in my storage room and I'll need to get it out to do further testing, but so far, can't find a reason for the continuing power increases of your laser on this setting.
 
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diachi

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A great review, diachi. Mine doesn't have the issues you have with the lens. In fact, yours looks like it is set farther in than mine and at 13 feet, the divergence of mine seems better as it is a rectangle 1.5mm by 3mm. I guess there are some QC problems that need to be addressed. I'll get back to you on the driver's PWM frequency and pulse width. I enjoyed your review and see that there are some differences in the two lasers. + rep.
Thanks Paul!

I'm going to see if adjusting the focus adapter outwards just a little helps with the divergence. Does sound like QC problems, but at least it's nothing too major. I'll report back once I test that out.



Nice comprehensive review Diachi! :beer:
I agree with you, it looks like this would be a real good choice for anyone looking for a good quality, budget 445nm laser.

I wonder why only one side of your lens barrel would show damage from beam clipping, does the beam exit straight from the host, I wonder if the lens itself is tightened square to the lens barrel?

That one week DHL shipping is pretty impressive, especially for you guys in Canada! :)
:gj:
Thanks Bowtie!

As far as I can see the beam is exiting straight, I'll need to do some more investigating on that though, perhaps it's just a defect on the lens barrel?

Definitely worth paying for the shipping! :D

Nice, very thorough review! Never seen anything like that disconnect before, that's pretty nifty. Angel eye LED switches are always a nice luxury too :cool:

That's for sure, I've had things ordered via DHL from China that have got here in under a week. Pretty impressive, and like Diachi said, beats having to wait months by a landslide. Only thing is it's pricey, not only the shipping expense but the duties and taxes can catch you off guard depending on what you've got coming.

I've noticed that almost every box I get from DHL is always screwed up one way or another, dented like crazy. But hey, at least they're consistent :eek:
Thanks EP!

I hadn't seen a disconnect like that before either, I like it! Should be reliable at least. I'm a fan of the switch, much nicer feel than some of the real cheap switches out there.

I think taxes and such are the big killer with things like this and DHL shipping, that's if the sender actually declares the correct value. $30 isn't too bad to get something in a week from China, especially up this far north.

Consistency is good, right? :p

I noticed like the two parcels i received recently from DHL yours was banged up pretty well also. They are quick, but could use some better practices in handling. :D

Edit: I posted in my review so I thought I would post it here too. I spent 5 minutes checking the frequency and duty cycle of my laser in the low power setting with my digital counter. It was stable at 500 HJz and 50% duty cycle during that entire period. My scope is on a metal scope cart in my storage room and I'll need to get it out to do further testing, but so far, can't find a reason for the continuing power increases of your laser on this setting.
For sure, I don't see how things are getting bashed up so frequently. Nothing damaged thankfully!

Interesting result - be interested in seeing current/voltage readings once you can get those! :)

It's not a massive increase in power, but it's noticeable on an LPM. My probes arrived the other day, now just for the scope to go with them... :p
 

GSS

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Diachi, Paul, fantastic reviews from both of you:beer::beer:
Maby there's been better or closer one's in the past but iv'e yet to see one:)
Tommy sure picked the right member's as you two feed of each other perfect..
Have a couple more :beer::beer:

Question on this, he's showing on his sight the Thor Ultra and it being the only one capable of 2 26650's at a
minimum of 3W at $199. Is he planning a less output one like this?
 
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diachi

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Diachi, Paul, fantastic reviews from both of you:beer::beer:
Maby there's been better or closer one's in the past but iv'e yet to see one:)
Tommy sure picked the right member's as you two feed of each other perfect..
Have a couple more :beer::beer:

Question on this, he's showing on his sight the Thor Ultra and it being the only one capable of 2 26650's at a
minimum of 3W at $199. Is he planning a less output one like this?

Thanks GSS! :) Seems like they did pick a good match for collaboration! :beer:

As far as I've seen the model reviewed here isn't yet listed on the site, there appears to be an earlier model (>>link<<) though. This appears to be a sort of updated version of the model linked above.

I had asked Tommy to comment here when I sent the link to my review, just to clarify a few things for us. Hopefully he'll drop in.
 

RedCowboy

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LOL, I get packages like this all the time, it's like they play kick-stomp with the things, I have counted 8 of 8 smashed corners many times.

If not for foam encasements and bubble wrap many things would not survive.

 

tommy

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thank you for your review diachi. what a great and thorough review. i'm sorry for my late reply, just come back from japan, had little time to check emails.

well i'm speechless about the package when you get it. we can offer aluminum box for official version. but many people don't like the box because it maybe have risk to clear customs. the 2 lasers we send to you are not official ones, so they didn't come with manual, charger and other accessories. and we haven't publish on the site yet.

i noticed you mention the melt problem. i think yours is resin lens? it supposed to be a optical lens with metal edge, as the thor m 2 has.

Thank diachi and paul's reviews, and other members suggestions, we will make some changes accord to your suggestions.:beer:
 

diachi

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Scope showed up today, here are the findings.

As far as I can see (and assuming I'm not doing anything wrong EDIT: I WAS...) I'm seeing a PWM frequency of 500Hz and a duty cycle of 50%. Voltage across the LD appears to be ~4.8V in both cases, although there's a little overshoot and oscillation on each pulse in low power mode. Pulse width is 1ms.

Low power mode:

See post #12 for accurate frequency measurements.

Close up:



Full power:



0V at center line. 2V/Div again.

Will see if the PWM duty cycle or frequency drifts at all next.

Paul, did you have a chance to hook yours up?
 
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paul1598419

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Not yet, but I will definitely do it tomorrow. From what I see you are getting a frequency of ~1.724 kHx. and you have a bit of ringing on the leading edge of the pulse. This is of course assuming your scope is calibrated. I did take a count with my digital frequency counter and got 500 Hz at 50% for a period of 5 minutes. Does your scope have a calibration function on the front? You can at least calibrate the vertical axis. My plan was to also hook the driver up to a dummy load and scope across the resistor, too. This will give me a current reading in the low power mode.

Edit: Went back and looked at the full period more closely and found it to be ~1.724 kHz.
 
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diachi

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Not yet, but I will definitely do it tomorrow. From what I see you are getting a frequency of ~1.724 kHx. and you have a bit of ringing on the leading edge of the pulse. This is of course assuming your scope is calibrated. I did take a count with my digital frequency counter and got 500 Hz at 50% for a period of 5 minutes. Does your scope have a calibration function on the front? You can at least calibrate the vertical axis. My plan was to also hook the driver up to a dummy load and scope across the resistor, too. This will give me a current reading in the low power mode.

Edit: Went back and looked at the full period more closely and found it to be ~1.724 kHz.
Yeah ... just noticed I had one of my settings incorrect. Remeasuring with the correct settings I get just about exactly 1ms/pulse or 500Hz. Will update that original post in a second...

.2ms/div, correct settings elsewhere. Still have the ringing ... I don't think that's down to the scope, the calibration signal looks just fine.



Calibration signal, same horizontal setting.

 
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paul1598419

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Ah, that's more like it. It was wondering how these two could be so far off from each other. Looks like your calibration pulse on your scope looks fine. Don't even need to set the scope probe. I bought four new ones for mine when I first got it and had to adjust all of them. I have a home health care nurse coming tomorrow and after she leaves, I'll get the scope out and go through the whole driver.
 

diachi

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Ah, that's more like it. It was wondering how these two could be so far off from each other. Looks like your calibration pulse on your scope looks fine. Don't even need to set the scope probe. I bought four new ones for mine when I first got it and had to adjust all of them. I have a home health care nurse coming tomorrow and after she leaves, I'll get the scope out and go through the whole driver.
Haha, yeah, that was my bad, had the variable pot set incorrect for the horizontal.

Already adjusted that scope probe, first thing I did actually, wanted to make sure everything was working after unboxing. :p

Looking forward to your update! :)
 

paul1598419

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I got my scope out and set up and took some screen shots. I see the same ringing that diacdi has in his scope reading. I believe it is caused by the conduction of the laser diode and are nothing to worry about. I got a reading of 500 Hz exactly on my scope and in low power a reading of 3.64 V p-p. On full power it reads 4.83 VDC.





I apologize for the poor quality of these screen shots as it has been a long time since the last time I tried this. I will try to get some better ones later today. For some reason I couldn't get a really good photo of the screen to show the small ringing and the complete p-p.

Edit: Are you sure about the p-p volts in low power? What is the volts/division on the first photo in post #13? Check that your pot isn't in the uncalibrated position for the channel you are using.
 
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