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Review: Firedragon 532nm 300mW (DinoDirect)

rhd

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Notes:
I'm writing this review specifically for the purpose of giving my thoughts on a laser that DinoDirect will be running a groupbuy for. We talked about doing an organized DD groupbuy here. I wanted the review in its own thread, since it might still be a useful resource after the groupbuy is over some time in the future.

The actual current groupbuy thread for this laser is located here:
http://laserpointerforums.com/f55/gb-firedragon-300mw-532nm-149-a-65565.html#post941642

Ethics / Disclosure:
- I paid for this laser, it was NOT a "freebie" or review unit. I ordered it through their site like normal.
- The link to the laser below does NOT contain any referral or affiliate code.
- DinoDirect DID give me a discount on the purchase, and it was essentially equal to the discount that all group-buy participants will get (in other words, they gave me the groupbuy rate early).
- DinoDirect DID know that I was purchasing this unit to review it, in fact, that was part of the groupbuy terms that I gave DD when they asked if I would help. I wanted to review the laser first. The natural question then becomes "did they cherry pick the laser they sent for review?". Frankly, there's no way to know. However, I don't believe they did, because this unit reviews almost exactly the same way as my previous 300mW 532 from DD's "certified power" line would have. Same actual power specs, divergence, quality, etc.

The Laser:
DinoDirect.com - Firedragon-III 532nm 300mW Green Laser (Certified Power Guaranteed)

My Summary:
  • Power is stable and above spec (400mW peak)
  • The unit is obviously IR filtered, with very little leakage (17mW)
  • The unit is well made, comes with a battery and charger, and shipped fast.
  • The divergence is not very good (the beam is thick).
Unboxing and Contents:





Powering it Up:





With a decent 18650, the unit LPMs to a peak of just over 400mW. The curve is steady, stable, and doesn't show any "pain" along the way. During the divergence testing (later in this review) I left the laser running for almost 10 minutes at one poitn. There was no hint of any difficulties, even at the 10 minute mark. The unit was warm, but nowhere near "hot". In other words, this laser passes the "300mW" spec with flying colours, and I have no concerns over stability.



The next concern is always IR leakage, and specifically, the amount of a given power reading that should be attributed to IR. I tested this using 532nm blocking glasses. While blocking 532nm light, the glasses let IR through (I verified this with an infrared laser). The LPM peaked at 17mW. It is worth noting that of that 17mW, some of it was actually 532nm light that leaked through the glasses (I could see some green on the sensor). So the amount of IR leakage is less than 17mW.



The divergence is not good. The dot is about 4mm when measured ~50 cm from the laser. The dot is closer to 15mm at roughly ~8 meters (25 or 30 feet). This was the same experience I had with my previous 300mW DD laser from this "certified power" line, and I think it is what should generally be expected. Others who've purchased these lasers report the same. This doesn't bother me, since at 25 or 30 feet, I can't actually tell how big the dot is. IE, I can't tell the different between a bright 4mm dot and a bright 15mm dot, from a distance of 25 or 30 feet. The dot is so bright that it just overwhelms my vision. To take those photos, I had to turn the exposure on my camera way down. However, some people really care about getting great divergence specs, and a thin beam. You'll be disappointed by this laser if that's the case.



That's my review. At under $150, this is an absolute steal. It's nice that mine measured over spec at 400mW, but it would have been a steal at its rated 300mW. With DD guaranteeing at least the advertised 300mW, I think this is a great purchase. Again, the group buy is going to take place in this thread for those who are interested:

http://laserpointerforums.com/f55/gb-firedragon-300mw-532nm-149-a-65565.html#post941642

Enjoy!
 

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jcranmer

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Nice! I'm in no way an expert but that divergence doesn't seem that bad for that high a power in a handheld. DD has been doing very well with the power certified line. That is a great price for that unit.
 

LtKernelPanic

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Looks like a nice laser. As someone who was in the "burn them at the stake" camp over their Christmas "deals" I'm glad to see they're actively working with the community to improve their image.
 

rhd

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Looks like a nice laser. As someone who was in the "burn them at the stake" camp over their Christmas "deals" I'm glad to see they're actively working with the community to improve their image.
I was too.... my god, I was too.
 

Wolfman29

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That's pretty darn impressive. My guess is that they *did* cherry-pick one for you that was significantly overspec, but nonetheless, I bet all of them will be at or above 300mW. Congratz! Wish I had the funding to join.
 

edwinpang

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The beam is thick doesn't mean that the divergence is not very good
 

rustlerdude987

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i know this thread is a little old but i have to ask what goggles did you use in this review?
 




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