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New review: LZGN-808nm 500mW Focusable Infrared Laser from LAZERER.com

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LZGN-808-500 808nm 500mW Focusable Infrared Laser, retail $89.99 (http://lazerer.com...)
Manufactured by: Lazerer (http://lazerer.com)
Last updated 03-11-12




The LZGN-808-500 808nm 500mW Focusable Infrared Laser (hereinafter, probably just called a "NIR portable laser" or even simply a "laser") is a NIR (Near-Infrared), directly-injected diode laser. That is, it produces NIR laser radiation directly, without the need for messy, fragile nonlinear crystals like those green laser pointers and the amberish-yellow and slightly greenish-blue ones as well.

It uses a single 16340 Li:ION (lithium ion) rechargeable cell -- you just charge it back up when it peters out...never have to run to the store for batteries.

It is advertised to output 500mW of laser radiation at 808nm.

This is the reason I call it a "portable laser" on this website instead of a "pointer". Lasers designated as "pointers" must -- by US law anyway -- have a power output that does not exceed 5mW.

You must have the appropriate laser safety eyewear and *USE IT* every time you fire up this studly little laser...you don't want to end up like this guy: --->

This may look funny, but I assure you folks, this is no joke!!!
You can't just bop on down to your local Seven-Eleven, Quick-E-Mart, AM/PM, or other similar convenience store for some "Eyeballs-In-a-Can" when you ruin the ones you have. In a few hundred years perhaps, but not now (2011).

It comes in a handsome aluminum body with a matte black finish.


SIZE



To get the laser to turn on, first be certain that the furnished 16340 Li:ION cell is charged and installed. If it isn't, then charge and install it (see directly below), and THEN you can use it.

Aim the laser well-away from your face first.
Take one of the two furnished interlock keys and push it into the keyway on the laser's tailcap. Turn it approx. ¼ turn clockwise (as though tightening it), then you can either leave it in place or remove it by pulling it straight out.

On the wide part of the barrel, you'll see a "sheath" with a circular opening in it -- this is the second (mechanical) interlock. Rotate this sheath until the switch button is visible.
Press & hold this switch down for as long as you require the NIR laser radiation; release it to neutralise the laser (e.g. "turn it off").

When you are finished using this laser, turn the sheath so that the button is covered, turn the interlock key approx. ¼ turn counterclockwise (as though loosening it) and then remove the key -- this prevents unauthorised activation by those who might just find the laser "lying around" and subsequently protects the person (and his or her eyes of course).

The focus is easily adjustable from just a few millimeters from the exit aperture to infinity by simply rotating the bezel (head). Unlike some other focusable lasers, doing this does not leave the head feeling "wobbly" or loose.





To change/charge the battery in your NIR laser, unscrew and remove the tailcap, and set it aside.

Tip the used cell out of the barrel and into your hand, and recharge it.

Insert a newly-charged RCR123 rechargable Li:ION cell or a CR123A lithium primary (disposable) cell into the barrel, orienting it so that its flat-end (-) negative goes in first. This is the opposite of how batteries are installed in most flashlights, so please pay attention to polarity here.

Screw the tailcap back on, and be done with it.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To charge the RCR123 cell, place it in the charger, orienting it so that its nipple-end (+) positive faces the top of the charger.

Plug the charger into any standard (in the United States) two- or three-slot 110 volts to 130 volts AC 60Hz receptacle.

A red light on the charger should now come on; this indicates charging is in progress. When the RCR2 cells have reached full charge, the light on the charger will turn from red to green.

At this point, unplug the charger, remove the charged cell from the charging cradle, and install it in the laser as directed above.

Current usage measures 681mA (rechargeable 16340 cell) and 677mA (disposable CR123A cell) on my DMM's 4A scale.


***EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!!!***
This laser has a very large amount of {vulgar slang term for male nads} to it (measured at up to 620mW!!!) and the beam is nearly invisible to the unaided eye, so you ***DEFINITELY*** do not want to shine it into your eyes, other people's eyes, pets' eyes, for that matter, the eyes of any person or animal you encounter.
Eye damage can occur faster than the blink reflex can protect them, regardless of what species' eyes you irradiate with this laser. So just don't do it.

And para los motivos de Cristo (and for heaven sakes and for Pete sakes and for your sakes too) do not shine this laser at any vehicle, whether ground-based like a motorcycle, car, or truck, or air-based like a helicopter, airplane, or jet.

The suggested duty cycle is ~33% -- 1 minute on and 2 minutes off for cooling.

The biggest downside to this laser is the fact that while this is clearly a CDRH Class IV laser (making it quite dangerous!!!), there are only limited safety features (it has a keyed safety interlock on the tailcap and a mechanical switch cover); however there is no "emissions" indicator, no startup delay, and no mechanical beam shutter.

This laser is ***EXTREMELY*** visible with the EyeClops Night-Vision Goggles; it actually overloads the imager even when the laser's collimating ass'y is removed and the uncollimated laser beam is directed at a surface ~15 feet away.




Beam terminus photograph of this unique laser (collimating lens ass'y in place) on the target at 12".



Beam terminus photograph of this unique laser (collimating lens ass'y removed) on the target.
Laser was held just a couple of inches from the target so that the camera could resolve ("see") the NIR laser radiation.



Beam terminus photograph on a ceiling at ~5'.



Beam terminus photograph on a wall at ~10'.



Beam terminus photograph (collimating lens in place) on the reactive part of a Pocket View-It® IR Detector Card



Beam terminus photograph (collimating lens removed) on the reactive part of a Pocket View-It® IR Detector Card




Power output with collimating lens in place (16340 secondary {rechargeable} cell): 557mW.



Power output with collimating lens removed (16340 secondary {rechargeable} cell): 620mW.



The power output certificate that was furnished with this laser.
You can order one with your laser for a modest cost ($2.00) if you wish.



Power output with collimating lens in place (CR123A primary {disposable} cell): 531mW.



Power output with collimating lens removed (CR123A primary {disposable} cell): 594mW.



Power output after intentional ignorance of the duty cycle recommendation to check for power loss: 602mW.



531mW.

All measurements were made using my new LaserBee 2.5W USB Laser Power Meter w/Thermopile.



Operated until the 16340 cell pooped out.
Laser temperature was measured at 91°F (32.8°C) at 970 seconds into test.
Total runtime (to 50% power output): 1090 seconds (18.17 minutes).



I ran another analysis to be certain that the state of battery charge was 100%.
Operated until the freshly-charged 16340 cell pooped out.
Total runtime (to 50% power output): 777 seconds (12.95 minutes).
I'll have to procure another 16340 (RCR123) cell and re-run this test.



This analysis was run using a primary (disposable) CR123A cell.
Laser temperature was measured at 89°F (31.7°C) at 2,000 and again at 3,000 seconds into the test.
Total runtime (to 50% power output): 6,240 seconds (104 minutes).




Power output stability analysis, 180 seconds (3 minutes).
(This exceeds the recommended 1 minute max. "ON" time, but this chart was made *BEFORE* I had the recommended duty cycle information at my disposal!)

Image made using the LaserBee 2.5W USB Laser Power Meter w/Thermopile's logging software.
I strongly suspect that a measurable degree of wavelength shift has occurred due to this laser's "ON" period for this analysis being 3x the recommended "ON" time; I'll check that spectrographically today.




Power output stability analysis.
This analysis was run using a disposable CR123A cell.
Laser temperature was measured at 89°F (31.7°C) at 2,000 and again at 3,000 seconds into the test.
Total runtime (to 50% power output): 6,240 seconds (104 minutes).



This analysis was run using a rechargeable 16340 (aka. a RCR123) cell that was provided with my Arc6 Flashlight and charged using the furnished charger.
Total runtime (to 50% power output): 2,945 seconds (~49 minutes).



Post-test spectroscopy to check for wavelength following the "testicles to the hard vertical surface" ("balls to the wall") test -- which was indeed found -- but it drifted longer this time.
Spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 800nm and 820nm to pinpoint wavelength, which is 809.022nm and the spectral line halfwidth appears to be exactly 2.00nm.

Case temperature (laser temperature) was measured with a CEM DT-8810 Noncontact IR Thermometer.



Spectrographic analysis of the laser diode in this product.
Wavelength appears to be ~808nm, which is ***WELL*** within specification for the type of laser diode used in this laser.



Same as above; but spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 800nm and 820nm.
This shows that the wavelength is in fact 807.95nm and the spectral line halfwidth is ~3.80nm.



Spectrographic analysis of this laser after inadvertant ignorance of the duty cycle recommendation to check for wavelength drift -- which was indeed found.
Spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 800nm and 820nm.

This shows that the wavelength has lengthened to 810.30nm and the spectral line halfwidth is ~3.60nm (whereas these values were 807.95nm and ~3.80nm when new).



Spectrographic analysis of this laser after intentional ignorance of the duty cycle recommendation to check for wavelength drift -- which was indeed found -- but it drifted shorter this time.
Spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 800nm and 820nm.



Same as above; spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 806nm and 812nm.

This now shows that the wavelength has shortened to 808.480nm and the spectral line halfwidth is ~2.960nm (whereas these values were 810.30nm and the spectral line halfwidth was ~3.60nm when last measured).



Spectrographic analysis of this laser just above lasing threshold.
Spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 806nm and 812nm.



Spectrographic analysis of this laser well below lasing threshold.
Spectrometer's response restricted to a band between 760nm and 840nm.

USB2000 Spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.




Beam cross-sectional analysis with beam widened (collimating lens removed; fast {X} axis).



Beam cross-sectional analysis with beam widened (collimating lens removed; slow {Y} axis).

Images made using the ProMetric System by Radiant Imaging.



Video on YourTube showing this laser burning through some black electrical tape.

That music you hear is the song "Crash" by Anthrax.
This laser is not sound-sensitive; the audio may be ignored or even muted if it pisses you off.

This video is approximately 2.57114763487 megabytes (2,763,301 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than twelve minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.






Video on YouTube of this laser destroying a balloon.

The only sound you should hear is the explosive decompression of a balloon.

This video is approximately 1.23637923451 megabytes (1,429,951 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than six minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.






TEST NOTES:
Test unit was sent by LAZERER.com on 07-06-11 (or "06 Jul 2011" if you prefer) and was received at 1:43pm PDT on 07-16-11 (or "16 Jul 2011" if you prefer).

It actually came at 3:37pm PDT on July 15th, but I was not home to sign for the parcel so a "We Re-Deliver" notice was left in my incoming mail receptacle.


UPDATE: 00-00-00




PROS:
Powerful enough to burn, destroy, and wreck things
Beam spot is *SLIGHTLY* visible, and will register rather strongly on many digital cameras
Labelled (very close to) properly for both wavelength and approx. power output; however this laser is just into CDRH Class IV territory while it is labelled for the upper range of CDRH Class IIIb.



CONS:
Limited safety features (some, but not all) required on a CDRH Class IV laser in the United States (this is what nocked that last star off its rating!)







MANUFACTURER: LAZERER
PRODUCT TYPE: NIR (Near-Infrared)-emitting diode laser
LAMP TYPE: Unknown-type high-power NIR (808nm) laser diode
No. OF LAMPS: 1
BEAM TYPE: Adjustable from very narrow spot to medium flood
SWITCH TYPE: Momentary pushbutton on/off on barrel
CASE MATERIAL: Aluminum
BEZEL: Metal; laser & lens recessed into its end
BATTERY: 1x 16340 Li:ION rechargeable cell or 1x CR123A lithium disposable cell
CURRENT CONSUMPTION: 681mA / 677mA
WATER-RESISTANT: Very light splatter-resistance at maximum
SUBMERSIBLE: ¡¡¡PARA NO DE LOS MOTIVOS DE CRISTO!!!

ACCESSORIES: 2x interlock keys, hard-sided storage case, small lanyard
SIZE: 124mm L x 21.50mm D
WEIGHT: Unknown/not equipped to weigh
COUNTRY OF MANUFACTURE: China
WARRANTY: 30 days

PRODUCT RATING:



Update 07-19-11: Added a short-term stability analysis.

Update 07-21-11: Added the warranty period; also performed a "post-abuse" spectrographic analysis.

Update 09-16-11: Performed additional "post-abuse" spectrographic analyses.

Update 09-18-11: Performed spectrographic analyses right at and just below lasing threshold.

Update 10-18-11: Performed a power output analysis with a known-freshly-charged battery.

Update 03-05-12: Performed two long-term stability analyses.

Update 03-10-12: Performed another long-term stability analysis.

Update 03-11-12: Performed another long-term stability analysis and post-test spectroscopy to chk. for wavelength drift.
 
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3zuli

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Ash

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Nice review. +Rep
Looks like it's multi-mode.
I assume there is no emission indicater (LED) or 3-sec delay on it, right?

BTW: A high powered handheld is usually called a "portable laser". A "laser module" is usually just the lasers "guts" (driver, diode & lens) without the host or battery. :D
 
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Re: New review: LZGN-808nm 500mW Focusable Infrared Laser

Nice review. Looks like it's multi-mode.
I assume there is no emission indicater (LED) or 3-sec delay on it, right?
You're correct -- there is no emissions indicator of any type and no startup delay of any length either...this is what nocked off the last star of its rating -- it is otherwise a fantastic litlle laser!!! :D


BTW: A high powered handheld is usually called a "portable laser". A "laser module" is usually just the lasers "guts" (driver, diode & lens) without the host or battery. :D
Point well taken -- and corrections made to that effect. Thank you!!! :thanks:
 

snoutke

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Nice review, thanks!

I dunno, these high power IR lasers frighten me.

I've got the O-like 220mw 808nm, I use it with extreme precautions and still am not sure if I shouldn't have bought it in the first place. Very frightening and very dangerous.

The danger in these lasers is that since it appears as a dim red, you can get tempted to watch it without goggles (for aiming, or something like that) while you are exposed to a high power radiation. Therefore, you should NEVER remove your goggles while messing with such lasers. But then you can't see anything...
:undecided:
 
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I know it's and old thread but would such a laser be anytime to illuminate a crappy gen1 nightvision add on.
I'm currently using two odicforce 200mw IR lasers with reasonable results but two untie is too awkward
 




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