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PGL-III-M Review

Trevor

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CNI PGL-III-M - Spartan - Review

Background

I purchased this laser through the eighth CNI group buy with Glenn. I'm very please with how smoothly everything went, and I recommend his GB's to everyone.

Specifications from CNI

Model: PGL-III-M-532
Wavelength (nm): 532±1
Output power (mW): 150
Transverse mode: TEM00
Operating mode: CW
Beam divergence, full angle (mrad): <1. 5
Beam diameter at the aperture (mm): ~1. 5
Switch: Push button in the end cap
Surface color: Black
Range in darkness (m): 2000~5000
Power supply: 1דNo. 18650” Li batteries
Operating lifetime (hours): 5000~10000
Warranty
: 6 months
Remark
: LED indicator, remote connector and key switch are available.

Host



Let me first say that I am absolutely in love wit this host. It's the perfect compromise between the highly portable pen-size host and the chunky larger portable laser hosts' excellent heat management. It is very solid and feels great in your hand. It's slightly larger than a mini Maglite.



Even after metering its output for for three minutes the host barely felt warm - but it was fairly uniformly warm. This, to me, indicates that the case is effective at moving heat away from the module. Here's another shot of the host.





The specs state that the laser will come with a tail switch. However, it has a side momentary switch, and a key switch on the tail cap. More on that later.

Output

On a partially-discharged 18650, I measured the output at ~200mW stable over three minutes. When I get a graph with a fully charged battery, I'll post it.

Divergence

Measured at around 0.94mRad.

Safety Features

I actually wasn't expecting these. I thought I was going to end up with a unit like
aryntha's. The datasheet on CNI's website says that the FDA-compliant features are available on request. I'm not sure if Glenn requested these or if CNI added them by default because they were shipping to the US (but shipped aryntha's without?). Instead of a button on the tailcap it has a key switch.



The action on the key switch is quite good, and the key can be removed in the on position - so I just leave it on. Unfortunately, the switch on the side of the unit is not a clicky - it is momentary. Coupled with the other safety features, it takes a lot of functionality out of the laser. It's also going to make taking beamshots much more annoying. Also visible in the photo is the "remote connector", which I assume is to add an extra switch interface to the laser. However, it really only ends up being bothersome when using the laser. The unit also has an LED indicator, which I honestly kind of like. However, the last two safety features are very, very annoying. The first is a five-second delay before the laser lights. This is annoying because of the momentary switch. If you let the laser turn off, you must then press the button and repeat the wait-five-seconds process. This makes pointing it around in the night sky much less fun. The second and most annoying feature is the aperture shutter. I like the ability to close of the aperture (and the mechanism is great); it makes the laser safer and lets me put it in my pocket. However, one of the two main reasons I chose this model was because it could have a beam expander mounted directly to the front of it. The aperture shutter is in lieu of being able to unscrew the cover on the front of the laser - which means that I can't mount the adapter I bought from Dragonlasers to it allow me to mount the Dragonlasers beam expander that I bought.



Conclusions

Overall, I'm pretty neutral really. The host is great, the divergence seems good, and the output is well over spec. However, the safety features that ended up coming on it took a lot of the fun out of owning the laser, and prettymuch defeated the purpose of why I purchased it - for epic night beamage with a beam expander. I may end up selling it and getting back in one of Glenn's GB's for one without the safety features. The solution remains to be seen. If you can get one of these without the delay, shutter (or at least a shutter that could be completely unscrewed), and interlock, it would be the perfect portable laser.

-Trevor
 
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Hmm when I ordered this I didn't expect the safety features either. I'll have to message Glenn and let him know i don't want them before he orders, but this still looks awesome! Does it take protected, or unprotected 18650s???
 

Trevor

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It takes unprotected batteries very comfortably and protected ones rather snugly.

-Trevor
 
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Alright thanks, I dont have any 18650s yet, and was tryin to figure out which ones to get. What did yours max out at on bad batteries? Oh and can we expect some burning videos tonight :D
 

Pontiacg5

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Would it be possible to remove the 5 second delay? Surely there is a IC or something that could be shorted on the driver
 
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Pontiac, would you risk a 260$ laser just to short out the five second delay which would also void the warranty?
 

Trevor

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Short of sending it back to CNI, probably not.

@kevinmassey - I got ~200mW steady on the non-fully charged battery. I'll see what I get on fully charged batteries later.

In other news, I just measured the divergence at ~0.94mRad.

-Trevor
 

cmak

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Great pics, great review! I'm still quite curious as to why you got the side momentary switch rather than a tailcap clicky (or a side-clicky) by default, and what the "remote connector" thing is in the back; it seems rather useless and makes the tailcap unnecessarily bulky.

:gj: +1


EDIT: "CNI PGL-M-III (Spartan) 150mW [Coming soon!]" aren't we forgetting something? :whistle:

peace & thanks
-cmak
 
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That's about what I'd expect for divergence. How's the burning capabilities? I'm hoping mine will be as overspec as yours!!! I asked Glenn to tell CNI that I wanted the model without the safety features, and the tail clicky so we'll see what happens.
 

Trevor

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EDIT: "CNI PGL-M-III (Spartan) 150mW [Coming soon!]" aren't we forgetting something? :whistle:

peace & thanks
-cmak
Why yes, thank you sir.

That's about what I'd expect for divergence. How's the burning capabilities? I'm hoping mine will be as overspec as yours!!! I asked Glenn to tell CNI that I wanted the model without the safety features, and the tail clicky so we'll see what happens.
Burning is what you'd expect at 1.5mm @ 200mW. Good, but not the reason I bought it.

-Trevor
 
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Burning is what you'd expect at 1.5mm @ 200mW. Good, but not the reason I bought it.
I wouldn't really know what to expect from that. I've searched youtube for about two weeks trying to find a "200mw spartan", and I can't seem to find any vids of that power :/ and sorry about your beam expander not workin' with it. The assembly with the apperature shutter wont come off at all?
 

Trevor

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I wouldn't really know what to expect from that. I've searched youtube for about two weeks trying to find a "200mw spartan", and I can't seem to find any vids of that power :/ and sorry about your beam expander not workin' with it. The assembly with the apperature shutter wont come off at all?
Erm. It makes dark things smoke, though you won't be lighting fires. I haven't tried matches though (and it will light them) because it gets junk on the optics. It stings... :)

-Trevor
 
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Well thats good :p, and yeah I really hope Glenn can get them to make mine without the safety features. I want that tail clicky!
 
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Wait till the 6 month warrenty is up then disable the 5 second warm-up ;) you can get a pin that will replace the trigger pin and not stick out so far so it dosn't get in the way, the other choice is to buy a new tail cap from CNI that only has a clicky in it ;)
 
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