As a moderator on here, I do lots of things [smiley=engel017.gif]- but one of the things I really try my best to do is help people out. Part of helping people out is - I get some emails and PM's from time to time, and try to answer some questions - I recently received this email, and I am stumped - so I need everyone's help to figure out how I can help this forum member out, please !
Here is the email he sent to BFG lasers, shortly after receiving his new BFG :
I ordered my laser on June 5. It is really amazing at night. I was a little shocked that it didn't pop baloons as good as 150mW should. I didn't get it to light matches good either. Anyway, I got a power meter today and measured my homemade red which reads 201mW. I fell really confident about it. My BFG is only showing 100mW on startup with NEW lithium batteries. It is averaging 80-90mW. Is there anything I should try, or do I maybe just have a problem, like I see so many others have been having?
Now - after reading that, I assumed he would be offered an RMA - instead (and in addition to an RMA) he received this :
There are several things I should explain, in case you are not familiar with it.
1. The lasers are tuned to an output of 140-150mW maximum. Due to FDA regulations, the labelling must show the maximum (not the average) output. I know Wicked Laser uses the average, but that's because they are based in China and not subject to US regulations for laser labelling. In fact, you may be aware that because of this, and other factors, WL items sometimes gets confiscated at the border.
Okay - I am confused -What border ? The company is in Canada, and FDA rules apply to him, how ? Why even mention Wicked ? I don't get that...He ordered from a Canadian company, not Wicked. Every laser shipped into the US has the risk of being confiscated at customs.
2. IR filters will remove the IR light, but it will also filter about 10-15% of all other light, including the green. Assuming the laser was exactly 140-150mW. it would remove around 15mW, making the maximum measurable output as 125-130mW.
I beg to differ - I own an inexpensive IR filter, and the loss ratio is only approx 5% MAX for 532nm light, and I am sorry - it is LABELED at 150mw, right ? Then it should put out 150mw !! Or at least pretty damned close to that.
3. Green lasers contain crystals to create the beam. Although the construction of the laser itself is done by my people, the parts themselves are manufactured independently from other companies. The crystal quality is often inconsistent, no matter the supplier. This is also the same problem all other laser companies have, even WL (you've prob heard stories of WL RMA's as well). The crystal quality inconsistencies are universal in the laser industry.
Please notice the words above : inconsistencies are universal
Based on that, the output itself you are experiencing is not out of the ordinary, although it is a little on the low side. Other times, people get extremely high quality crystals Wait - WHAT ?? I htought they were universally inconsistent ? and the laser manages to exceed it's labelled output. But this is fairly rare, just as a low rating is also fairly rare. Keep in mind also the laser specs. Assuming your meter is accurate, a 100mW or 150mW does not necessarily mean it can light matches In who's world ?? YES IT DOES !!!. There are other related factors such as beam diameter and beam divergence that play a role. The measurement that determines whether it can light a match or not is the beam density. You'll notice the listed beam diameter and beam divergence is <1.5mm and <1.5mRad respectively. In comparison to WL, the specs are a little bit higher, meaning a higher output is required (or a lens to focus the beam) to light matches. But I don't claim it can light matches, although some people have found that their's do.
At the rated specifications, if it cannot light matches, it is not performing at the expected, and advertised output levels. I own several 50mw greens that light matches instantly, and the beam specs are a far sight worse than the BFG's are
Anyway, based on that info, I would be happy to resolve the situation. I would keep in mind, that although the laser is a little weaker than you expected, I'm guessing that if you were not using it to light matches, you would be satisfied by the brightness and overall quality of the laser. For it's cost, it's still a bargain at it's current output. I have found overall, the average tends to sit around 110-130mW. Which is normal with the IR filter in place and given the crystal quality variations. But even at that, the beam typically does not light matches even if it hits 130mwWRONG !. If we were to RMA your laser and get you one at the normal specs, it would not do what you wanted it to without a magnifying lensIf this is true, then they are advertised wrong, and the demo I was sent was a freak, and was not indicative of the quality of the laser - which to me is falsly representing the laser.
So it would be a waste of money to send it back to replace with another and pay for the shipping back and forth. I can offer to reimburse you $20 to keep the laser as is. The profit margin is quite thin on the lasers, as my intent was to supply laser enthusiasts like yourself with safe and affordable lasers, rather than for personal profit, which is why the price is competitively low. Otherwise, I can refund your money minus the shipping costs if you decide you do not want the laser anymore, provided you send the laser back.
Now, I will switch back to normal colors. If the above comments seemed like a personal attack - fine. I am pretty pissed off - I was asked to review a product, and was sent what I thought was a representative sampling of this company's laser - evidently I was wrong. I cannot believe some of the stuff that was tossed out in that note. I am extremely upset at BFG lasers for treating people like that. True, he DID offer a refund - but he essentially said that the BFG lasers were worthless, and will not do what they are supposed to do. Granted, I knew, and reported that the BFG was performing at under it's reported 150mw - but STILL. Sorry to be a bearer of bad news like this - but if this note is indicative of the way he is going to treat people ? well, then I wholeheartedly remove my endorsement of his products, and his company. I will cross post this note to all my review threads - so others can be forewarned about it. If people then still feel comfortable about buying a laser that is essentially a green flashlight, with no other uses ? Go for it !