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New to building Lasers, but not to electronics.

Njord

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I thought I should introduce my self since I think this is going to be a new hobby of mine.

About my self; I'm from Canada, BC and I'm currently on year 3 of my electronic engineering degree. I stumbled onto this forum when I was trying to find out some information on my ebay laser pointer, and how to increase its output. Making it do that wasn't a problem for me, but what I was looking for was some information on how much this diode could take. Turns out it is probably already at its max and is higher then its rating of 5mW (Total current draw of the regulator+laser diode was ~260mA. Being that its probably better then <5% efficiency I concluded that the output power was greater then 5mW)

Anyways, now I want to build one, so watch out for the dumb questions on assembling, optics, your terminology (You guys call heat sinks 'pills' here?), and I'm sure other things as I read into this.
 

Wolfman29

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Hey, welcome to the forums! It's always good to have electronics people here.

Regarding terminology - heat sinks are just heat sinks here, however "pills" are what we put our drivers in: our constant current sources/sinks. They are generally just little capsules that screw into the body of a flashlight (called a "host" around here) or are just dropped in. Basically, it makes for ease of reproducing. Any other questions, PM me or just reply here ^_^

Once again, welcome and be safe!
 

Hemlock_Mike

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In days of old!!! I found that 280 mA was the MAX for modding 5 mW pointers.
Some will die at that current -- good thing you stopped.
HMike
 

Njord

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Regarding terminology - heat sinks are just heat sinks here, however "pills" are what we put our drivers in: our constant current sources/sinks. They are generally just little capsules that screw into the body of a flashlight (called a "host" around here) or are just dropped in. Basically, it makes for ease of reproducing. Any other questions, PM me or just reply here ^_^
I thought I saw a few people using the pill as a heat sink for the driver.

After looking at some build logs; it seems the difficult part is getting a pill to fit in a given host, as well as the heatsink for the laser diode to also fit and secure it to the host.
I dont think the pills and diode heatsinks are general fit for most hosts. Which limits me to ones that I can purchase for a matching host.
Where do most purchase these? I found a kit here which I was thinking would be good since the diode heatsink looks large enough(it has an adjustable focus too). My goal is a 0.8-1W. Which leads me to my next question.

The green laser pointers are actually red diodes with something in front of them to change the colour? Does this add much complexity to the build, or are they sold as an all in one unit? Otherwise I was thinking of the 405nm 445nm (blue/violet) diodes.
Where are some good places to buy diodes, optics, and all the other stuff?
I know Dealextreme has drivers,hosts, and batteries for cheap.

Thanks for the help.
 
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Sigurthr

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Welcome to the forum!

1) get apropriate wavelength, quality goggles for anything over 5mW!
2) get ready to read, read, read!

Good to see another electronics guy around! I'm currently self-studying basics of EE. I'd love to go back to school for it but I need to pay off my old student loans before I can qualify for new ones.

The green 532nm lasers are actually an IR diode (infrared - "beyond red") of high power which then stimulates a special laser crystal (NdYAG or NdYVO4) to lase at 1064nm (completely invisible IR) which is then sent to a "nonlinear" crystal which doubles the frequency of the light, changing it to green 1064/2 = 532. Alignment and phase matching is critical and makes the process very complex. There also needs to be specially matched mirrors formed out of coatings on the crystals to allow lasing. This process is called DPSS and is the basis for a major category of lasers.

You'll find all this info and much more on the forums, which is why I put #2 up at the top.
 

lasersbee

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