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PL-E Pro 4W (focusable) 445nm review

Shakenawake

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After I heard of the new 9mm nichi@ diodes it was not long before I was imagining one in a PL-E Pro host, but this did not exist. Grey of Jetlasers has helped my imagined desires become a reality. I'll admit it's not a stretch to think the diodes may have ended up in them eventually, but I'd like to think I made it happen sooner. let me be clear, I only had an idea, others made it be. much gratitude to all of those people.

the Package:

there was a delay involving a holiday with getting the package out but once it was en route it was here in under 48 hours I think. Do I sound like a spoiled brat? I WANT MY LASER NOW:crackup:

there was a mistake with my address, it was sent to my old one, even though I updated it with my new one before paying the invoice, which the invoice reflects. thankfully I was able to pick it up at the distribution center after the delivery truck made it's rounds, no way was I going to wait for him to bring it to me the next day, needed my fix.

everything was packed very well. pretty much everything was in an anti static bag even though most of the parts don't really need it. every part wrapped in it's own bubble wrap A+.

The contents:

as I requested there were no batteries or safety glasses, I'm too cool for safety glasses. just kidding I already own a good pair. I'm pretty sure JL won't send batteries anyway. there was a battery charger which I said I didn't need, I think it just comes standard. there was also:

the laser.
1 Beam expander (10X) (called BE a lot in this review)
BE adapter
extra battery extension tube (well, it's required if you are going to use big batts like me)
shutter screw on cap [NOTE THE NEW GEN DUST CAPS ARE EASIER TO GRIP AND LOOK A BIT DIFFERENT]
ac adapter
small padded case
two types of microfiber cloth (the good stuff)
a small diffraction grating
warranty card
holster
sleeves for "16340s, 18350s, or 18650s"

the misc stuff (holster not pictured):


the important stuff (ruler not included:crackup:):


I initially thought this was an IR filter, which confused me, because these lasers don't emit IR, but it was a matrix Diffraction grating, which I was not expecting, thanks, JL:


Some initial thoughts:

I use this laser with 26650 batteries. this particular PL-E Pro model requires two batteries for full power, so I must use the extension tube to fit them. in this configuration, it does not fit the holster. to use the holster, one would need to use two 16340s or 18350s, which will not last long. if they are poor quality and can't handle the current draw, they might even die a very hot death. In short, I don't recommend the holster for this particular PL-E pro, or any PL-E pro that one plans to use the extension tube with. If you use this with 18350s for a shorter unit, make sure they can take the current draw, or give it, rather. I killed the crappy batteries my old rifle came with in my old PL-E mechanical in exactly this manner, I was worried they were going to explode they were so hot. needless to say they never worked again.

the BE adapter did not seem to center the BE when new. It is slightly offset from the center. I figured out it's adjustable and centered it, now it is not clipping the beam. you will need to adjust it if you get one. adjustability is always a good thing.

safety key feature on tail cap seems disabled on mine, which is ok with me. It didn't come with a plug for it anyway, though I understand a headphone plug would work. It's a non-issue with mine

the green case it came with was smaller than the one my old PL-E mechanical 532nm came in, bummer, but I will be using a different case any way, and I can store it's accessories in the small green one

the focus mechanism on both the BE and laser it'self seem to have some lag, they don't start to actually move the lens at first until it "catches". it's a little annoying compared to traditional focus adapters, but I can deal with it.

One improvement of the PL-Es would be a way to lock in the focus like the laserbtb units have.

the focus seems to move away from infinity and need adjusting sometimes, probably my biggest complaint with the laser.[THIS WAS SORT OF FIXED]

THE NEW GEN PROS KNOBS ALSO HAVE SPACED TICKS LIKE ON A RULER JUST BELOW THE FOCUS KNOB AS WELL AS ONE LINE ON THE KNOB ITSELF, NOW YOU CAN JUST REMEMBER WHICH LINE IT'S NEXT TO FOR INFINITY AND SET IT THERE QUICKLY

the three lights are red when armed, blue when you use the momentary, and orange when the constant on is used. By the way jetlasers, thanks for doing both constant and momentary, it's actually quite useful and a feature I wish all my lasers had. I realize if you use a clicky type just right you can get basically the same effect, but the PL-E Pro makes it easy

I guess JL forgot to LPM it before they sent it, so I have to go by what the site says, 4W. A LPM is on my to-get list

One last thing. when the laser is armed, by pressing the tail switch but not the momentary or constant on switch, the unit emits a faint blue light, like a LD that does not have enough current to lase, but enough to emit light, so some small amount of current is still reaching the diode before you turn it on, but after it is armed[MY NEW ONE DOES NOT DO THIS, THOUGH IT IS A 520NM DIODE AT DIFFERENT CURRENT OBVIOUSLY, SO MAYBE THE PROBLEM STILL APPLIES TO THE 4W 445NMS, IDK]

Size. 34cm without BE, 43cm with BE.


There were some final details of the laser yet to be figured out when I ordered, so I thought I was getting a 2mrad 4.5W fixed focus, but in the end I got a 4W focusable, which is actually fine with me. It performs much like my old 3.3W DominatoR when it was alive. It's focal point can punch a pin hole in a popsicle stick in under 1 second, it destroys the lighter wood too fast to set on fire, through the safety glasses you can see the wood disintegrate to get out of the way of the beam as fast as it can, leaving a bit of black around the edge. If it can get all it's energy to stay on a wood or paper based target long enough without punching through, it's easy to start fires in a few seconds. It can cut solder, though this isn't as exciting as the results with some cardboard. Here's a vid of it's focal point punching a hole through a wooden stick in a fraction of a second, though it is light wood: (you have to click it)



here it is burning cardboard. there were flames instantly, but it takes a few seconds for them to catch the cardboad, so you have to keep the power on a while longer. you can see the dim dot the laser emits when armed in this vid, but it does not look so bright in person:



the BE adapter:





Video, click it:



The BE:



The front:


with cap on: [REMEMER THE NEW CAPS LOOK DIFFERENT ]


with cap off:


AC input:


the lower handle:



the important part:[NEW ONES HAVE THE TICK MARKS I DESCRIBED]


the buttons and armed indicator lights:


my choice of batteries:


the tailcap:



This laser is bright. that's an understatement when you see it next to my RPL, like below. note at the time the RPL is not doing 450mW, it has since been metered @ 150mW here is a series of shots. glycerin fog was used. the shortest exposure was 1/30 of a second I think, maybe 1/20. I think longest was 1/2 second. this compares to the beam of my 532nm RPL, which is it'self very bright. not bright enough to stop the PL-E pro from washing the room in blue. when only the RPL is on, the room would be awash in green. basically all my lasers are bright enough to do this to some degree. it actually makes taking indoor beamshots harder. all the light splash brightens the room, and since it's the same color as the beam, the beam does not contrast as well and seems less bright. I realize there are ways to reduce this, like pointing at something dark, or into an area where the dot's reflections will not interfer with light from the beam, but I like that it shows how much it illuminates the room. charred my ceiling a little bit on these, ooops, I shoulda known it'd do that. outdoor beamshots to come.







same type of setup, but with the BE on






Divergence:

somewhat bad. I measured a 3.5cm "dot" at 8 meters, about 5mm at aperture, giving just under 3.75mrad, somewhat more than 2mrad. It should be noted this measurement has a potentially large margin of error, I used a rangefinder which does not do fractions of meters, so it could have been between 7.01 meters and 8.9 meters, which I realize is an undesirable margin, I will take more accurate measurements later. for now know that it is somewhere between 4.28mrad and 3mrad. If you buy a multi mode 445nm unit, especially this new nichi@ LD, expecting great divergence, you don't know much about LDs. the BE makes a huge difference, it compares to single mode at the expense of a wide initial beam

here is a zoomed out view comparing an oclaro 638 1W (with g lens) to the PL-E Pro without expander. I couldn't get the range finder to work, it was too dark or too far. I estimate 300 yards but I could be off by quite a bit:



same setup, but zoomed in to show dot size better, i think i did not quite have the PL-E set perfectly to infinity, it still shows the dot width:



this shot compares the RPL 532 to the PL-E Pro without BE, same target as above, zoomed out:



zoomed in (you can see some artifact):



finally, I pointed at a canyon wall more that twice as far away as the above shots, using the RPL and the PL-E with BE on. I may have been able to try to make the dot even smaller by adjusting the BE a bit, but I didn't think to. the camer's screen is too small to make out a difference either, even zoomed in as i have it, though I guess I could have tried taking a few with minor adjustment to the BE to look for the best one later on a larger computer screen. good enough for me. the target was so far away that doing so would require use of good binoculars or a telescope to see if the dot is getting smaller or not. you can see what a huge difference it makes. props to the RPL though too. it performs well considering no expander, but that's what I paid for.



chances are I will add more info (pics) later. this is my favorite laser as I may have said. lot's of people are bored with 445nm, but I am drawn to the power. honestly, this would be my favorite laser regardless of wavelength, as long as it was 4W and visible. what a beast. If you have any questions about this unit I'll do my best to answer. this has already happened, that was fast. I'm happy to do so.
 
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IsaacT

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Re: PL-E Pro 4.5W 445nm evolving review

I am excited to see pics, videos, and hologram projections of this laser!......

Well I'm told holograms won't be happening. Something about technology not being widely available. But pics and vids still sound good!
 

BowtieGuy

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Re: PL-E Pro 4W 445nm evolving review

Congrats, and thanks for the preliminary review, will definitely be staying tuned to this channel. Looks like another J/L success story.
I think you need two hands to hold on to that monster! ;)

Those new style threaded B.E.'s are sweet, definitely a step up from the originals; wish they were backwards compatable with pre PRO's.
 
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Shakenawake

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Re: PL-E Pro 4W 445nm evolving review

yes, it's a TH, not a OH for sure. added burning vid. it sucks compared to styropyro's. maybe when I borrow my brother's camera it will be better, mine is a P.O.S.

It was after all, cheaper than all of my lasers
 

gismo

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Re: PL-E Pro 4W 445nm evolving review

You got yourself a nice treat there, sir:). Heavy, long, powerful. A blue 4W monstrous goodness from jetlasers. I've got used to size and greatness of my 800mW with the BE attached after a while (though 1x26650 only!), must be one level more with 2 batts inside.

Eagerly awaiting some juicy pics, any video footage would be a nice bonus:beer:
 

Shakenawake

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Re: PL-E Pro 4W 445nm evolving review

@gismo

I was looking at your thread:

http://laserpointerforums.com/f45/jetlasers-pl-e-pro-beam-expander-gallery-update-85916-3.html

the adapter I recieved is different. it's adjustable. yours looks like it might be adjustable, but necessitate loosening the three screws. mine is, well, I'll just add pics to the OP

I know the threads are deeper so the BE is in there more sturdy. with that and the initial tailcap problems these really are more like PL-E Pro 2.0s I get to reap the rewards of design improvement

got a 14MP camera with adjustable shutter speed, lets see what this self taught photographer can manage

more pics added to OP, more to come...
 
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IWIRE

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Re: PL-E Pro 4W 445nm evolving review

That's cool ! Great review ! Congratulations ! I want mine even worse now :(
Did I miss what it lpm's at ? I hope I get a good one :) I told Gray "no pressure but I got 5.6w out of stuff that was available to me to build with" :) But that was with a G2. With a 3 element it's 4.5w. The beam with a G2 sucks in my opinion.
You got me all excited now ! I've never had a BE before. They look really cool.
When I first saw the laser I thought of Theodore Roosevelt. "Speak softly and carry a big stick" :)
REP +1 :beer:
 
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ScottW

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Re: PL-E Pro 4W 445nm evolving review

Great info and beam shots! Man that thing is MASSIVE with the tube extension and BE. And we all know "Size Matters". :cool:

Thanks for all the detailed BE photos, both alone and the beam comparisons. I have a 800mW 532nm PL-E on order, but did not get the beam expander - looks like I may have to place another order!
 
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Shakenawake

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Re: PL-E Pro 4W 445nm evolving review

did not get the beam expander
you made a huge mistake, luckily it can be corrected. check out some of gismos threads for A+ pics of a 800mW 532 with BE, he also took dot size measurements, something I plan to add to this thread.
 

ScottW

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Re: PL-E Pro 4W 445nm evolving review

you made a huge mistake, luckily it can be corrected. check out some of gismos threads for A+ pics of a 800mW 532 with BE, he also took dot size measurements, something I plan to add to this thread.
Thanks -- I found Gismo's "gallery" thread (outstanding photos, BTW) and the dot measurements he did at 30m. Wow - HUGE difference.

Now I wish I had tacked a BE onto my order. Of course ordering the BE now means paying another $40 shipping charge, which is kind of crazy for just the BE alone. I guess the ONLY appropriate solution to that is adding another PL-E to the order. :D
 

Cel

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Re: PL-E Pro 4W 445nm evolving review

This is a trophy laser! :)

Big, ***y, powerful. The only con is divergence.


More pics please!
 
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Re: PL-E Pro 4W 445nm evolving review

Seems to be too powerfull for my taste, but it's a great review!
 

will manners

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Re: PL-E Pro 4W 445nm evolving review

Awesome laser, that thing sure looks incredibly massive, a real man's toy :eg:

I noticed that almost every photo has blue speckles around the center. Perhaps your camera does not like
being exposed to something this powerful and now it has permanent blue speckles within every photo :thinking:
 

Shakenawake

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Re: PL-E Pro 4W 445nm evolving review

Perhaps your camera does not like
being exposed to something this powerful and now it has permanent blue speckles within every photo
I'm not sure what's going on there, been wondering about that. some of the shots were with my camera having pre existing damage to the lens but the beam shots were with a different camera, so IDK. the BE shots were also with the new camera and there's no specks there. I know you can fry the sensor if you point the laser right at it but I havent done that
 
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Re: PL-E Pro 4W 445nm evolving review

That's a cool laser and all .. but ... :thinking:

There's no way that that puny 4W laser can burn electrical tape, or even something a minor as light a match ... It's cool, but I doubt you could do anything cool with it :p

All joking aside, cool laser bud :) I may have to try out a beam expander sometime. The wide beam can look pretty cool and unique, for the same reasons a thin beam can as well.
 

Munk

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Re: PL-E Pro 4W 445nm evolving review

Still new to BE's, I know the math and reason for having one, but can you focus the beam into a dot at long range? I'm looking to buy a BE along with a 4.5W focusable from Jetlasers, just curious about the functionality!
 




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