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Looking to buy a laser for survival purposes

IceKnight366

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Hey guys,

Haven't logged on here in a while but it's good to be back. I'm not an engineer, I know very little about lasers and nothing about building them. I am looking to purchase one however. I've just started doing some medium-distance backpacking trips and began thinking some sort of emergency signaling device would come in handy. However, residing in CA means it's illegal to possess flares (of any time) and isn't a good idea anyway with all the fires. A laser seems like the next best thing!

Color: Well blue is my favorite color, but I know green is picked up better from the eye. So I haven't quite decided but probably somewhere in the 532nm-465nm

Power: I only own a 50mW 532 and it's always been difficult for me to see how bright it is from someone looking at it from the side. I feel like it should be bright enough to be seen from many miles out. But I'm not going for a pure entertainment light show so I would like to find some optimum balance between power and yet visibility from great distance.

Weight/size: both of these are concerns when backpacking so the lighter and smaller the better. I'm sure this will be limited depending on the size.

Durability: Since this is to be used in a rugged environment extra things like durable aluminum and O-rings for water-proofing are desirable.

Forgive my ignorance and stupid questions in this process!

Thanks!
 



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If you want to signal people, don't use a laser. People will think you're just being an a$$ and most likely ignore you or you could get into legal trouble if you point the beam in the wrong direction.

As steve001 said, high powered flashlight would a better bet for signaling.
 

steve001

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If you want to signal people, don't use a laser. People will think you're just being an a$$ and most likely ignore you or you could get into legal trouble if you point the beam in the wrong direction.
That's absolutely not any reason not to use a laser.
In a life or death situation you would not be an ass or in legal trouble.

From a practical aspect typical hobby lasers are not built rugged enough.
 

hakzaw1

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^^^ true that..
its written into the law--no problems using in ANY way during an emergency--give no though to that.
The ultimate protection is the JETLASERS Yamataka-- 400mW of uberbright 532 nm green- has pulse setting for major disorientation --same w/ its very bright LED-(several modes-- INCLUDING SOS) and when things get very close-up & dangerous($499.00) it has a Stungun setting. its waterproof-it has best warranty you can find-is in stock --more power? comes with 500mW or 600mW as well
and 1W 520 ($800 plus ship) the 400mW is $499-500mW $599 and $699 for the 600mW--400mw is damn bright and I see no need for more power. I have one in hand and it is the best made device of its kind.. search jetlasers.org/yamtaka. shipping is DHL CRAZY fast (3 days) and is another $38 iirc.

FYI-- for us to 'see' a twice as bright laser- for a 400mW you need to go up to 1600mW-so its a factor of 4 NOT 2..
to double brightness one must go from 500mW to 2W. etc... THUS 500 or 600 is not really 'way' brighter than the 400mW 532 green-- for its intended use 400mW is enough!! when pulsed the laser is very effective-blindly bright.. makes some people throw up even!!
a cheap version can be ordered that does NOT have stun..

I must add- I suggest anyone getting a Yama- needs to spend LOTS of time practicing -- way too many options/switch settings etc -and under stress-in the dark--in a panic.. it might be nearly useless..
the 'manual' is WAY too short- hardly a manual at all- I have been working on a MUCH BETTER owner manual.
BUT nothing will replace intensive practice-- you need to really know this laser WELL_ I got zapped twice!! kinda hurts.\
IF you memorize every step-- and can operate blindfolded-- only then would I carry one around..

& of course you can buy a cheapie stungun- a bright strobe LED and a green laser for way less.. (& less quality etc)
JL.org is where LPF goes to buy when they want the best.. (btw-high resale value 'used')
about using the stun underwater.. hmm no thanks..
 
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paul1598419

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Laser diodes are fairly fragile devices, so no matter how rugged your laser pointer was built, it won't take a hard knock or a drop to a hard surface either. There are some high power flashlights that focus the light into a fairly tight beam. This allows them to be seen at a long distance. Some are fairly expensive, but there are some that can be had for under $100 that are good enough.
 

hakzaw1

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no argument from me on that Paul.. you need to see and use one- that changed my mind about the Yama.
I think it is as shockproof as possible and way more sturdy than any laser of its type. heavy!!!
 

IceKnight366

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If you want to signal people, don't use a laser. People will think you're just being an a$$ and most likely ignore you or you could get into legal trouble if you point the beam in the wrong direction.

As steve001 said, high powered flashlight would a better bet for signaling.
If I'm in a survival situation, what "people" are you referring to? There isn't going to be any "people" around. Remember, this is deep into national forest. There will almost certainly be emergency people looking to when I'm scheduled to come back home on a certain date and 1-2 days has past and I'm not back. I get the feeling you think I'm backpacking in downtown hah.
 

IceKnight366

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Thanks for the feedback guys. I guess I need to think about a flashlight instead.

Let's suppose you're in a helicopter flying over vast forest looking for someone at dusk or night. You're searching for any form or light or something that sticks out. If I shine a laser or a flashlight straight into the sky, how powerful would each need to be to be seen from say, 2 miles? 5? 10? I also get the feeling that a laser would be more visible at dusk than a flashlight. But a flashlight might be more visible at night for greater distances (given the skinny beam of a laser would progressively look thinner and thinner. Although I know lasers progressively cone out the further they go so maybe that's a moot point).
 

IceKnight366

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T_Warne

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My crazy old man of a Dad loves to go out backpacking all by his lonesome so he can get to the best fly fishing in the back country. He's in better shape than me, but at almost 70 years of age.... I worry. So I bought him a Garmin inReach Mini. It allows him to communicate with Mom (which he hates :crackup: ) as well summon emergency personnel if necessary.
 

paul1598419

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That was very thoughtful of you, Ted. My father lived to be 92 and died a few weeks before he turned 93. He had to have bypass surgery when he was 70 though. He was visiting me at the time in Vancouver, WA and I took him up to see Mt St. Helens just four years after the eruption. There was some hiking involved and it was too much for him. It was a good thing, though, because without the bypass he could have died much sooner.
 

steve001

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Thanks for the feedback guys. I guess I need to think about a flashlight instead.

Let's suppose you're in a helicopter flying over vast forest looking for someone at dusk or night. You're searching for any form or light or something that sticks out. If I shine a laser or a flashlight straight into the sky, how powerful would each need to be to be seen from say, 2 miles? 5? 10? I also get the feeling that a laser would be more visible at dusk than a flashlight. But a flashlight might be more visible at night for greater distances (given the skinny beam of a laser would progressively look thinner and thinner. Although I know lasers progressively cone out the further they go so maybe that's a moot point).
I think all further response will agree you aim the laser or flashlight at whatever is flying overhead. I'm sure you know the reflector of a flashlight can be used to start a fire using sunlight. Can't do that with a laser. In clear air perpendicular beam visibility is almost non existent unless you have hugh amounts of light. Get a high lumen led flashlight. If you're just itching to get a laser then buy that also.
 

IceKnight366

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I think all further response will agree you aim the laser or flashlight at whatever is flying overhead. I'm sure you know the reflector of a flashlight can be used to start a fire using sunlight. Can't do that with a laser. In clear air perpendicular beam visibility is almost non existent unless you have hugh amounts of light. Get a high lumen led flashlight. If you're just itching to get a laser then buy that also.
Just to reiterate. You're saying, say, a 500mW 532 on a cloudless night is virtually invisible? Must less visible from miles away? How many mW are we talking to be clearly visible on a cloudless night?
And what about this focused flashlights, how far are these able to be seen?
 

Benm

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Yeah, it would be pretty much invisible, that's how light scattering works.

Standing next to it or holding it may seem to produce a very visible beam, but from the sides it really is hardly visible. You could point a 1 watt 532 nm laser straight up, and i would not notice that even 100 meters away from you unless it's foggy or there is a lot smog or forest fire smoke in the air.

As for the helicopter scenario: that'd change things a lot since if you can see the helicopter you an point your laser directly at it, and it would be -very- visible to the people on it.

Obviously you should never shine lasers at aircraft, but if it is a specific emergency situation where you need to get attention and have no other means you could use it (better be alive and possibly fined than dead, right?).

Another survival application of something like a 1 watt laser is that you could use it to start a fire fairly easily. It lights a cigarette with little problems, so i suppose some dry tindle should not be problem either.

Just carrying a lighter would be a lot easier, but then again if the laser is waterproof and you happen to get soaked... who knows :)
 




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