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Newbie asking for opinion on first purchase

DreamBeam

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Nov 11, 2020
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Hey everyone.

So, I'm 24yo guy from Balkan, I had multiple "phases" where I was really into lasers but I never pulled the trigger on any of them.

Recently I figured out that if I'm working and studying at the same time and not spending on a thing - why not?
Plus, owning such laser was my dream ever since childhood.

So I ordered 200mW 650nm Red Sanwu laser, charger and batteries and glasses.

I ordered these:
Blue Eagle Pair 190nm-380nm & 600nm-760nm
OD LEVEL: 4

I'm still very scared of burning my eyeballs out, and I don't know if I'll be into lasers that much so I didn't want to invest more money and buy something more powerful than this.

My first plan was to get classic 532nm 303 Laser.
But, I wouldn't know it's power, plus it has part of it's spectrum in IR so getting goggles for it would be tricky.

What do you think of purchase I made instead?
Is it a good starter pack?
 



Benjamax

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Aug 16, 2020
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Welcome to the forum and to the hobby.
Good idea to get glasses as 200mW is way too powerful to start with, IMHO.
I'm in love with that bright glowing 650nm red color and it was of the first laser DIY projects I built because its diodes are relatively cheap for their rated power, compared to some other colors. This wavelength diffuses pretty nicely in our skin and body. If you shine it through the palm of your hand, the effect is like seeing through your flesh, like a sort of x-ray vision.
For the beginner hobbyist, I think nothing beats the ebay 303 green in terms of bang for buck. I've seen many videos of them measured and they often range 50mw to 100mw. Yes, the IR they output is quite dangerous. Even if you think you're aiming it far enough or at things that reflect the visible light in a safe angle, the IR reflects and behaves differently.
The red you bought may not produce IR, however, since the 650nm is roughly 20% as visually bright as a 532nm green, the intensity of the light may not seem alarming, but it's still as dangerous as any other color of that same power, so keep that in mind.

edit
oh, a tip for beginners when dealing with lasers that use a button that stays permanently ON or OFF rather than those buttons you have to hold, is that unless there's an indication on the button whether it's pressed or not, you should always treat it as ON when you insert a battery and screw back the host.
 
Last edited:

DreamBeam

New member
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
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Welcome to the forum and to the hobby.
Good idea to get glasses as 200mW is way too powerful to start with, IMHO.
I'm in love with that bright glowing 650nm red color and it was of the first laser DIY projects I built because its diodes are relatively cheap for their rated power, compared to some other colors. This wavelength diffuses pretty nicely in our skin and body. If you shine it through the palm of your hand, the effect is like seeing through your flesh, like a sort of x-ray vision.
For the beginner hobbyist, I think nothing beats the ebay 303 green in terms of bang for buck. I've seen many videos of them measured and they often range 50mw to 100mw. Yes, the IR they output is quite dangerous. Even if you think you're aiming it far enough or at things that reflect the visible light in a safe angle, the IR reflects and behaves differently.
The red you bought may not produce IR, however, since the 650nm is roughly 20% as visually bright as a 532nm green, the intensity of the light may not seem alarming, but it's still as dangerous as any other color of that same power, so keep that in mind.

edit
oh, a tip for beginners when dealing with lasers that use a button that stays permanently ON or OFF rather than those buttons you have to hold, is that unless there's an indication on the button whether it's pressed or not, you should always treat it as ON when you insert a battery and screw back the host.
Thanks for the reply!

And yeah, I agree that 200mW is a lot. And I chose red because it was best bang for my buck mainly :D

As far as goggles go, I'll be using them each time I use the laser. I'll literally put on the goggles before I even put the battery in.
Yes, I'm that paranoid... but I only got one set of eyes.
 

Alaskan

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My two cents: Any laser you can buy, if a good price, is a good laser, unless it is unreliable or breaks, then bad, bad, laser.
 

KayEm

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Oct 1, 2019
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I can relate to your situation, because I also always wanted a laser and only started buying them a year ago. What's interesting is that "Sanwu red" was supposed to be my first laser as well - if you mean the 304 one for 20$, that is. However, that laser never came to me. It got withheld by customs and I asked them to just send it back to Sanwu, who subsequently issued a refund.

I think that 200 mw red is not a bad one to start with. Shortly after the customs incident I ordered one from elsewhere and bought protective glasses in addition - although I have to admit I don't use the glasses with that laser anymore. However, I am careful to avoid any reflections. By far the best thing about that laser is how far it goes across the sky. I can still see the dot on buildings that are ~5 kms away.

However, I do not think that buying that laser from Sawnu is the best idea. It is the same cheap ebay/aliexpress red. Sure, Sanwu test the laser and its output but I do not think the cost with shipping expenses justifies what you get. Just talking from my personal experience. (I have a number of cheap lasers and they all work just fine.)

Lastly, I agree with one of the posters above that you should totally get a cheap ~100 mw green laser as well. I have a few and I can guarantee that you will be impressed by it, especially at night. Also, not all of them leak IR, just the DPSS ones, but even they emit very little of it.
 

DreamBeam

New member
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
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Points
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I can relate to your situation, because I also always wanted a laser and only started buying them a year ago. What's interesting is that "Sanwu red" was supposed to be my first laser as well - if you mean the 304 one for 20$, that is. However, that laser never came to me. It got withheld by customs and I asked them to just send it back to Sanwu, who subsequently issued a refund.

I think that 200 mw red is not a bad one to start with. Shortly after the customs incident I ordered one from elsewhere and bought protective glasses in addition - although I have to admit I don't use the glasses with that laser anymore. However, I am careful to avoid any reflections. By far the best thing about that laser is how far it goes across the sky. I can still see the dot on buildings that are ~5 kms away.

However, I do not think that buying that laser from Sawnu is the best idea. It is the same cheap ebay/aliexpress red. Sure, Sanwu test the laser and its output but I do not think the cost with shipping expenses justifies what you get. Just talking from my personal experience. (I have a number of cheap lasers and they all work just fine.)

Lastly, I agree with one of the posters above that you should totally get a cheap ~100 mw green laser as well. I have a few and I can guarantee that you will be impressed by it, especially at night. Also, not all of them leak IR, just the DPSS ones, but even they emit very little of it.
Yeah, I ordered that same laser :D

I hope that mine won't get witheld by customs.

And I know that it's similar with other e-bay lasers but there are some differences:
1. Sanwu has better cooling
2. Power output is what label says it is
3. If it says 650nm then it is 650nm
...Sanwu also probably has glass lens... not 100% on that tho.

And I got goggles from that same page too.
I'll get batteries and charger in electronics store here tho.

I'm new to this, so to me it makes sense to pay some extra to know what I'm getting, I'm not saying cheap lasers are not good, I'm just saying it is probably safer for me to pay some extra to know exactly what I'm getting.

That being said I'm tempted to get more goggles and both, 303 green laser and 1.6W blue Thor MKII laser haha. But that will wait for now.
 




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