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(Pic Heavy) - Survival Laser 445nm $139 1-1.3W Kit (My first Review on LPF)

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Survival Laser 1-1.3W $139 LPF Special Bundle - Review

1. Background

I became interested in lasers about 6 months ago after purchasing a few pen style from amazon.com. I had never seen laser pointers in any color other than red and hadn't realized that there were other wavelengths available! I decided to purchase a violet 405nm and green 532nm and was amazed by the brilliant and pure color and unbelievable beam visible at night with the green. From then after I was hooked and after spending a couple of months lurking on LPF and reading as much as I could I realized that I really wanted a blue laser to add to my collection that would produce a beam that was quite visible which was what I really was craving after seeing so many amazing pictures on LPF!

For a first blue laser I was hoping to get something that would have the ability to produce a lesser mW as an option as I was getting accustomed to more powerful lasers. I liked the Survival Lasers ability to use one 18650 Li-Ion battery which could give 100-300mW as a lower power mode while still being capable of 1W+ with two 16340 batteries.



2. The Order

I decided to go with Survival Laser because of what I had previously read about the quality of their laser components, the ability to use the laser at 100-300mW or 1W+, and because of the obvious prompt and very helpful and patient customer service that is available through Gary at Survival Laser. I probably wrote Gary (aka Garoq on LPF) of Survival Laser about 6 or so separate PM's before I ordered, and Gary was still just as patient and friendly taking the time to answer all of my questions by the 6th message as he had been on the first!

I purchased the Survival Laser I $139 bundle seen here: ***Survival Laser Discount Code & LPF Deals on Special Laser Bundles***


I also purchased the Eagle Pair slip-over style goggles, upgraded to the blue aluminum heatsink as well as the external focusing spring. In addition I also ordered 2 18650 Li-Ions and the charger. The kit includes two non rechargeable 3.0v CR123A as part of the package.

3. The Assembly


In 2 weeks it arrived and when I looked in the mailbox and found the Survival Laser package sticking out I became giddy like a kid on Christmas! I couldn't wait to put it together I was so excited I think I was shaking! I know it would have been more fun to document the unboxing on video but I was so eager to put it together I didn't get any pictures during the process. I had watched the assembly videos many times over so I didn't need to read the instructions and everything went smoothly in putting it together which took about 5 minutes. Here are videos of the assembly on the Survival Laser Website if you are interested: Survival Laser Video Gallery

I was careful in the assembly to properly tighten the heatsink over the diode and then hold the two in place to prevent them from rotating when adding the retaining ring to tighten everything in place. All of the parts on the host twisted together very smoothly and are all sealed tightly together with rubber o-rings. In addition the tail-cap screws on very smooth as I often had read on the forums as being a good trait! Next I made sure to screw the focusing ring onto the grooved side of 3 element glass lens. This is what you will grip to focus the laser. The external spring is then fitted around the outside of the lens and presses between the focusing ring and the diode module on the host. The spring adds tension when focusing and keeps your focus in place where you want.



I was eager for it to be night time so I could finally see the beam of my first 445nm blue laser! While I was waiting I brought out the Eagle Pair slip-over goggles and was having a great time looking at all the blue LED's disappear throughout the house on computers, the toaster, the PVR etc. It wasn't dark yet but I decided to go in an empty room of the house to get the focus of the laser in the right place so I would be ready for some beam viewing later on that night. I decided to use the 18650 Li-Ion to start off with the lower 100-300mW for getting the 3 element glass lens screwed into the right position to be in focus.





I put in the 18650 with the negative end facing the tail cap and it didn't lase. I didn't think that I needed to charge the batteries first because I had used some CR2s right out of the package before and they had worked in the 200mW 650nm Red Dilda. I ended up writing Gary and asking him as I had another question as well which was how far in was safe to screw the 3 element lens so as not to hit the diode because I had felt a bit of friction when screwing in the lens and was worried I had actually hit the diode. Gary responded in about 15 minutes and told me that the 18650 batteries ship at about 3.6volts and that it was just too low at that amount to lase.







After a bit of embarrassment and pulling the freshly charged 18650 off the charger sure enough I was relieved and very excited to see the whitish orange outline of a two foot wide spot that was perceivable through the Eagle pair goggles on the carpet. I inititally thought that I had screwed the lens too far into the laser and had been rubbing against the diode but after charging the battery and realizing that the laser was not yet focused it had been the spring that had caught a little bit and had created a bit of friction and the lens could actually be screwed in further to be in focus. Once I got past the part that got stuck a little bit the spring no longer was an issue and was smooth to turn in the range needed for the laser to be focused to infinity or to a large spot on the wall.






4. Survival Laser in Action (Comparing the two power modes 100-300mW and 1-1.3W .)

Several hours later it was around 10pm and just about time to see the beam outdoors for the first time! To my joyous surprise it was foggy as thick as pea soup! It hadn't been that foggy for 3 or 4 months but it was the night my laser arrived! With the 18650 battery installed I went outside on the porch and pointed the laser up towards some distant treetops and after pressing the tail button out blasted a thick glowing blue beam of energy split down the middle with a blinding white center streak that was too bright too look at almost, and as bright or brighter than a lightsaber.

It was unbelievable with the fog and nothing like I had ever seen before, looking like something out of Star Wars or a tractor beam from an alien spacecraft hovering above. It was so bright with the fog that for the first time I was actually wishing for it not to be foggy! Maybe I'm exaggerating, but I now realize that you don't need fog at all to be amazed with the beam of a 445nm laser at 1W!

These next photos were not taken on that foggy night as I unfortunately did not have my camera ready. It was a very light misty rain outside. First 2 photos are 100-300mW using one 18650 Li-Ion. I don't own a LPM but this is Gary's estimate of the output on the "lower mode" using the single 18650.



At 100-300mW with the 18650 the beam is still very clear and visible even when taking photos using the flash and with no lengthened exposure time.



At 1W the beam is even more bright and full even with the camera flash in the scene. No extended exposure here either. I guess you can tell that by the use of the flash. :p



More 1-1.3W using 2 16340 CR123A Li-Ion











5. Burning with the Laser


While I purchased the laser primarily because I enjoy the beams I decided to see how the laser did with lighting a candle and a match. To be honest I was afraid of looking at the dot at close range even with the goggles on as I have never done this before and was worried about my eyes. It is truly unbelievable how the Eagle Pair goggles reduce the laser dot to a manageable to look at white-ish orange dot. There is no blue at all that you can see and it is truly amazing to see for the first time. I actually felt shocked that I was pointing something so powerful at close range and could not even tell it was bright through the goggles.

Being new to burning with lasers I wasn't sure how exactly to focus for best burning so I don't know how well focused I was in my attempt to burn for the first time. The focusing ring does not protrude very far so I would focus the laser while it was off most of the time to avoid getting the beam on my thumb or fingers. From about 3 feet I was able to light a match almost instantly with an unknown focus! :drool:




I attempted to light a candle in the garage pointing from above with the laser. I think it is easier to have the laser on a stand or sitting sill somewhere as I had a little trouble keeping it still and focused on the wick (which instantly started smoking.) It was a white tea candle and I think a lot of the light was reflected back up towards me as I got a bit of an afterimage with the goggles in the shape of the round tea lights which I was a bit concerned about but ended up disappearing after about 15-20 seconds. I think it was mostly just the shape though because if you stare at any object too long you can see a bit of its image afterwards. In any case with your eyes closed and wearing the goggles there is not much intensity getting through as you cannot even tell the laser is on when pointing the dot 2 feet in front of you with the goggles on and your eyes closed. I would assume the light you see through the goggles is actually quite insignificant and that what you are seeing is simply the fluorescing of the goggles as people on the forum have described.

The goggles obviously work very well for pointing the laser at things close range for burning and my eyes felt fine and with no strain or afterimages after taking them off for the evening. One thing I should mention though is that I probably had my face about 2 feet sometimes from what I had been burning with the laser (cardboard boxes, candle etc.) and I could feel quite a distinct warm sensation on my face from the reflected light. It did concern me a little at how much my face was actually exposed to very high amounts of very bright light reflecting off of the very light colored backdrop and that I had this warm or hot sensation on my skin up to about day or two later. Since there is some concern with blue light and it even mentions skin with the photochemical hazards I think that I personally would try and protect my face if I was to be burning things at close range on a regular basis by maybe wearing a balaclava or something similar. :tinfoil:

6. Survival Laser Upgrades

I am definitely going to order the extended length focusing ring with my next order which gives you more room to grip the ring for focusing. With the standard ring you have to be very careful not to get your fingers in the path of the beam while trying to adjust focus because the focusing ring doesn't extend far past the lens itself. With the longer length focusing ring it would be much easier to focus the laser while beam gazing without goggles for instance without worrying about accidentally looking at the dot at close range because the beam is hitting the tips of your fingers or thumb. You can definitely still focus without hitting your fingers on the beam but you do have to pay more attention to be aware where your fingers are then if you had the extended length ring in my experience.

In addition there is a copper heatsink upgrade available which will give longer running times, as well as an extended length battery tube attachment that allows the use of 2 18650's for the full 1-1.3W output and the benefit of the larger battery capacity of the 18650.

7. Summary and Conclusion

I am extremely happy with my purchase and couldn't agree more with what people have said about Survival Lasers quality and Gary (The Owner's) devotion to helping his customers with any and all questions both before and after their purchases. There is no question I will order from them again because I know that I can reach Gary any time if I ever have any questions or issues as he is active on the forums everyday and responds very quickly if you ever need any help. I also liked the fact that I was able to order from someone more local who has a personal love for the hobby and is a very knowledgeable person because he is passionate about lasers himself and has the skill and knowledge to produce a quality product as if he were producing it at top quality for his own use. As many of you know Gary is also a "rocket scientist" and has a lot of technical knowledge about pyrotechnics and many things science related.

PROS:


  • Very High quality components

  • Ease of Assembly

  • 3 Element Anti-Reflective Coated Glass lens (not plastic)

  • 16340 Li-Ions used can be 3.0V or 3.6V

  • Dual Mode 100-300mW with 1 18650 or 1-1.3W with 2 16340

  • Add-on extended battery tube availiable for 2 18650 @ 1-1.3W for longer battery life

  • Beautiful Beam and wide focusing range

  • Outstanding Customer service and Very Nice Owner (Garoq/Gary)

CONS:


  • I couldn't be happier with the laser but I would recommend getting the extended length focusing if you want to be able to focus "on the fly" while the laser is on.

    The smaller included focusing ring seems to be very common and is in many very nice builds but does not extend very far so it is hard to grip without getting your fingers near the beam.

:thanks: for reading! :wave:

http://laserpointerforums.com/f64/survival-laser-discount-code-lpf-deals-special-laser-bundles-65414.html

Here, I got up around 3am to take pictures while everyone was asleep in the neighborhood. So please ignore the messy hair! :p:eek:
 
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LesPaul

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Excellent review, I really want to get one of these. What was the shipping/processing times?
 
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Thanks! :)

I received the kit in the mail in 2 weeks after sending the paypal payment. I sent the paypal at 9pm in the evening and it was shipped out the next day. If you live in the U.S. it would probably arrive a lot quicker I think people on here have said it took 3 or 4 days, can't quite remember.

I am still a noob and I probably need to do some more reading and learn to set up a way for measuring divergence and get an LPM before I can get into a more "quantitave" analysis.

Having exact measurements of the laser are not all that important at the moment as I'm so happy with it and I don't think I can forsee wanting anything in 445nm any brighter unless I lived out in the country as it pretty much takes the cake for me in regards to providing an unbelievable bright blue beam. :bowdown:

Although it would be still be interesting to know the actual mW so in the future I could maybe estimate the mW of a 445nm by the brightness remembered related to the mW reading.

Excellent review, I really want to get one of these. What was the shipping/processing times?
 

LesPaul

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That's pretty quick I guess.

If you were to take the laser outside on a sunny day, would the beam be visible if you pointed it in the sky or in the shade?

I want to get one of these, however I need to get a few pairs of goggles for the family too!

Thanks! :)

I received the kit in the mail in 2 weeks after sending the paypal payment. I sent the paypal at 9pm in the evening and it was shipped out the next day. If you live in the U.S. it would probably arrive a lot quicker I think people on here have said it took 3 or 4 days, can't quite remember.

I am still a noob and I probably need to do some more reading and learn to set up a way for measuring divergence and get an LPM before I can get into a more "quantitave" analysis.

Having exact measurements of the laser are not all that important at the moment as I'm so happy with it and I don't think I can forsee wanting anything in 445nm any brighter unless I lived out in the country as it pretty much takes the cake for me in regards to providing an unbelievable bright blue beam. :bowdown:

Although it would be still be interesting to know the actual mW so in the future I could maybe estimate the mW of a 445nm by the brightness remembered related to the mW reading.
 

BCGanja

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Thanks for the great review!
I'm getting one of these kits soon too, a way better deal then the "rifle" from Lazerer I was going to get.
Add some daytime shots , I'm curious how visible this thing is in the sun.
 
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If you were to take the laser outside on a sunny day, would the beam be visible if you pointed it in the sky or in the shade?

I want to get one of these, however I need to get a few pairs of goggles for the family too!
I think I have seen some pics on LPF of the ~1W beam visible during the day. I'll try and find a way soon to get some daytime pics but I usually bring it outdoors only late at night so that I can be a little more stealthy. I don't want everyone in the neighborhood to know me as the guy with the "crazy lasers" :p

I also live where there is plane traffic overhead so I usually wait until its at least after 1pm and also first check the local airports website to make sure all of the arrivals / departures are done for the night so there are no planes in the air.

That would be cool, I would love to see a pic with the whole family wearing laser goggles!


Thanks for the great review!
I'm getting one of these kits soon too, a way better deal then the "rifle" from Lazerer I was going to get.
Add some daytime shots , I'm curious how visible this thing is in the sun.
Thanks very much for the nice words! I think the rifle is nice too and I definitely think I would order a 532nm from Lazerer unless Survival came out with something in 532nm.


nice review
-1 for not combing your hair
:kewlpics:
Hahah Thanks! I'll make sure to wear a paper bag next time I take pics. :eg:
 
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Great pictures, and I had no idea about the low-power mode!! I'm going to purchase a Survival Laser today hopefully!
:kewlpics:
 

danefex

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Outstanding review EMF!! Your pictures are great & you provided a ton of information, I enjoyed reading your story. Fantastic job man! +:beer:
 

lowell389

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Good review man.
At least you have hair, to be a bit messy!
Lol. Us older guys envy a good head of hair, messy or not.
Enjoy your new toy!
 
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Great pictures, and I had no idea about the low-power mode!! I'm going to purchase a Survival Laser today hopefully!
:kewlpics:
Yeah, the low power mode (18650) is great for me because I can shine it within my smaller backyard without it being too bright whereas the full power mode is a but too much for the space. ;)

Outstanding review EMF!! Your pictures are great & you provided a ton of information, I enjoyed reading your story. Fantastic job man! +:beer:
Thanks very much Danefex, that means a lot :)

I'm glad you were able to check it out and thanks for taking the time to read it! :p



Good review man.
At least you have hair, to be a bit messy!
Lol. Us older guys envy a good head of hair, messy or not.
Enjoy your new toy!
Haha, thanks Lowell! :D It is so amazing to me that these blue diodes only a few years ago were unavailable!
 
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