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LaserBTB 500mW PL-532

kestrel452

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Being my first higher powered laser, this review will probably be rudimentary at best, but bear with me...

I received the laser in a timely fashion. LaserBTB took 4 days to get the laser ready for shipping after the purchase date, not including Saturday/Sunday. I was emailed by Laserbtb on the 1st of December saying it was being shipped by DHL, and got it 3 days later, today, on Dec 4th.

It came well packed enough, and the components inside were all bubble wrapped or in a heavy duty plastic bag/sleeve. What REALLY took me off guard is that the laser activated without me ever turning the key (it was shipped with the key switch in the ON position), or swapping out the dummy (or what I assume was the dummy) plug for the actual plug in the tail cap. Luckily, the beam didn't shine back at me, so lesson learned! The tail plug safety isn't completely bypassed, however, as the laser won't activate without either of the plugs inserted.

The laser doesn't feel cheaply made at all. It's solid in the hand, and none of the components wobble. Aperture shutter works well, although it doesn't have a "click", notch, or anything in the fully closed position to keep it in place.

http://i.imgur.com/DPlrMgR.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/AJls8Rq.jpg

The beam is much more visible than my Optotronics 40mW pen at night, and when I attempted to get beam brightness comparisons between my 66mW Optotronics pen and the PL532 it was a no contest. The PL532's beam beat the Opto pen's to death, and then some. But that isn't really a fair fight now is it? :p

http://i.imgur.com/iiidLfH.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/xSQo5iU.jpg

Now, I had this laser on a lab support stand mounted in a claw grip, shown at a white wall around 45 feet away. The bright spot (not the entire splash) measured around 2cm in diameter. No idea how good that is, but here are a couple pictures. I took them with my iPhone 6 with the camera lens behind my second pair of Eagle Pair safety goggles.

http://i.imgur.com/kcelJ3Q.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/Tbk9oKj.jpg

I also took a few short videos of the laser. Two of my first ever attempts at burning, which was lighting some red tipped matches. And the last video is of the beam spot. It seemed to switch modes on me at first, between a bar and what you see in the pictures/video.

Beam spot:

Lighting matches (I don't think i'm hitting the epicenter of the beam as well in the first video):


I do have a couple complaints, some minor, some more serious. First, LaserBTB did *not* have the option to have an IR filter installed when I purchased. Albeit, my safety goggles will block IR, however a filter would've been nice to have. Secondly, the laser LED goes to green when it is armed and ready, but it is barely visible. It's too dim to see unless you bring it right up to your eyes. Same thing goes for the red LED that activates when the beam is. It's also pretty irresponsible to either ship the laser with a key already inserted into the tail cap, or fail to ascertain that the dummy key will arm the laser. I'm not even sure if it's supposed to be a dummy key or an actual key but flush fitting unlike the stereo plug with the wire loop attached.

Those complaints aside, I suppose I'm happy with it. I don't have any sort of reference point to compare it to, but it seems bright enough. I'll be interested in hearing what you guys have to say :) :beer:

UPDATE: A fellow member has informed me that the second tail cap plug is in fact an actual flush-sitting plug, not a dummy. Still wasn't a good idea on LaserBTB's part to ship with the plug inserted and key switch safety off.
 
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Mattronium

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Nice review,
Is the laser focusable?

Also, could you resize your images to a smaller size? For me they're way to big to see. :)
 
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kestrel452

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Nice review,
Is the laser focusable?

Also, could you resize your images to a smaller size? For me they're way to big to see. :)
Yes it has a focus, although it still ignites matches darn well without focusing the beam.

I wish I knew how to format the pictures so they showed up smaller. I might end up editing the review so that the pictures are hyperlinks instead of being embedded if no one knows how to fix it.
 

mortuus

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Congrats on a nice laser, it sure looks powerful and dont forget safety first since laserbtb 532 are very overspec i wouldnt be suprised if it peaks 650mW or something close to that. I can agree that on my PL the LED light its also alot dimmer then on my HL hosts, i dont know why exactly it should have been the same a minor detail but still.
 
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Shakenawake

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the keys:

while they should maybe have sent the tail cap with both removed from it to make it more obvious, the reason for it's existence is this:

redundant safety. if you want to have to open the shutter, turn it on with the key, AND insert the mic-like plug, then use that one. if you only want to do the first two steps, use the flush plug and leave it there.

actually, TBH I've never checked to see if mine will power with no tail key

I agree the option of adding IR filters would be good, and that the LED is dim.

still, these hosts are one of the only company made ones that has all these things:

good shutter (as opposed to say a slightly more PITA screw off cap)
focusable, with lockable focus
key arming
tailcap safety key

the changing dot shape is due to the phenomenon of mode hopping, and All DPSS lasers will do it to SOME degree. severe mode hopping is sort of a defect, but a small amount is normal as the temperature affects the lasing medium, in this case a solid one. as it heats and cools there will be slight differences in output, as well as traverse mode and even divergence. that's why DPSS laser tend to be so unstable compared to diode lasers. sorry if you knew that already
 
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mortuus

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Wow nice, the beam goes all the way to space haha!
 

Pman

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Congrats and a fair assessment on your new purchase. +REP
 

Sta

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Regarding the IR filters, I am willing to bet that one is already installed. There is no option because it is installed by default.
 

kilter

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Regarding the IR filters, I am willing to bet that one is already installed. There is no option because it is installed by default.
I think you're right on that one.
 

mortuus

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no laserbtb does not install IR filters by default, an option is there where u see prices on all lasers to add one.
 




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