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Pimping out the PriceAngels "300mw" MiniRed!

rhd

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Today I received my "300mW Mini Flashlight Style Red Laser
300mw Mini Flashlight Style Adjust Focus Red Laser Pointer(1*CR123A Included) $30.54 Free Shipping
For $30, I'm happy with it. But it's surely not really 300mW.....so I thought, let's make it 300mW!

The Plan:
1) Swap the diode for an LPC-815, run it at 400mA
2) Swap the lens for Aixis glass (same threading, easy to swap!)
3) Driver...probably ok as-is! (except that I destroyed it... wups, had to order a new one!)

The Process:

Step one was to get my hands on an LPC-815. Check!


Diode in host, check.
A new driver was necessary as a result of damage incurred during removal of the original. I found that the original diode and driver where attached SO closely (literally no gap between the driver's board edge and the diode's metal case) that it would have been difficult to remove either without causing damage to the driver. Luckily, the following driver was cheap, and super-easy to configure as a boost driver supplying 400mA of current from a CR123. Ignore the fact that this is marketed as a "405nm" driver.
Variable Current Step-up (Boost) 405nm Laser Driver Board - Detailed item view - OdicForce Lasers Online Shop



Next I decided to swap in an Aixiz glass lens. This was remarkably easy because the threading was the same. Acrylic out, glass in!



I also needed to add an elastic / rubber washer. Without it, the focusing ring jiggled, which actually meant quite a bit of random focusing in and out. At 15 feet distance, the dot size would jump from perfectly focussed, to ~2 inches, just from focus ring jiggle. *NOTE* This was a factory issue - not the result of modding. But I decided to fix it :)



All said and done, it worked! I don't have an LPM, but qualitatively I have no difficultly spotting the difference. For a red laser, when beams aren't super bright in appearance to begin with, this was a great upgrade!

Side-by-side beamshots would have been cool, but I only have one of these. So instead, you get this eye candy :)

 

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See how well your removal press lines up with the diode and pocket. If that looks like a fit just press the whole shebang out using a piece of wood or similar. just make sure you have it setting on something to allow everything to slide right out.

Are You absolutely sure it's not a 300mw diode???? If you have any doubt don't remove it yet.
 

rhd

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Not 100%. And even for $30, it's possible that it could be.

But subjectively, it doesn't seem nearly as bright as I remember the LPC815 getting. Before I conduct surgery on this, I'll hook an LPC815 up to a quick LM317 circuit @ 400mA to compare them side by side.
 

532 with Envy

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The diode almost looks like one of these....
http://odicforce.com/shop/article_OFL159/3-Pack:Rohm-High-Power-Red-Laser-Diode-max.-240mW-pulsed.html?shop_param=cid%3D13%26aid%3DOFL159%26

I just picked up three of these for a project build I am doing for someone. Got mine hooked up to an Axiz driver and it isn't bad..its running around 115mW. Perhaps not as bright as the LPC but I do like the closed can(had to have it for my project).
Thats a pretty cool looking host and good luck with your mod!
 

rhd

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I took it out on the streets tonight, and with even a bit of ambient street light, I really could barely see the beam, if at all, even when looking almost directly down the beam (from behind the pointer obviously)

So subjectively speaking, I really doubt this is 300mW.

I also don't think it's a driver tweak needed. I tweaked the pot, and it didn't change the brightness at all, so I think the diode is already at the peak of its capabilities.

I'll begin this project tomorrow, and update this thread with my results.

Elementary electronics question - Is it possible to measure current without breaking the circuit to get your meter in series with the diode?
 
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rhd it does sound like it's not the common LCC which I know puts out ~300mw at max current. Instead of swapping it for a LOC look into using a LCC, because I just LOVE these closed can 650nm..
 

rhd

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Hmmm - I have the LOC diodes (3 of them) on hand, whereas I don't have anything else right now, so I'd have to delay this project to wait and order a different diode.

Can't LOC be pushed pretty close to 300mW?
 
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With a jayrob lens at max current you would be right around 300mw. Of course use what's on hand with 3 strikes I'm sure one of them will be pretty efficient.
 

rhd

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Ok, so I have an update!

I wired up an LPC-815 at 420mA, and did a visual side by side comparison. There is no doubt that the LPC-815 will be an improvement! I also had relatively little difficulty getting the old diode out, though there was no easy way to avoid destroying it in the process. No big deal - with lots of LPC-815s laying around (worth $7 each?), I wasn't going to save the factory diode for anything else.

Here's the problem. Due to poor de-soldering, I damaged the existing driver. So now I'm on the hunt for a new one. I checked out the spring-equiped drivers I had on hand, and frustratingly they are all meant for case-positive diodes. I even considered moving the springs around, but these drivers aren't continuous in their (-) connections, so it's an impossible task.

I need some help locating an appropriate driver that can power a 650nm LPC-815 at 400mA from a single lithium (CR123) 3.6v cell.

Thoughts?

I'm considering the following two drivers, and currently favour the one meant for 405nm diodes. Notwithstanding the fact that it isn't marketed for REDs, my feeling is that it is more likely to be able to supply 400mA, while I'm unsure about the driver meant for "high power reds"
Variable Current Step-up (Boost) 405nmLaser Driver Board - Detailed item view - OdicForce Lasers Online Shop
High Power Red Laser Driver Board - Hand-held Lasers - Detailed item view - OdicForce Lasers Online Shop
 

rhd

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rhd

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Original post updated with the mod details!

I hope someone gets something positive out of my first "semi" project walkthrough :)
 

JaiNobeZ

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That was awsome! Haha... does it make me a bad person if i'm glad that the original came underpowered because it meant i got to read details of this project?
 




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