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Review: KD 150mW Baton Style Green Laser

knimrod

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KD 150mW Baton Style Green Laser

I received this laser 28 days after ordering. It arrived in a nice vinyl covered cardboard presentation/storage case. The battery cap and safety interlock plug/lanyard were included but not assembled onto the laser. It also came with a 18650, 3.7V rechargeable battery. As delivered, the battery had a 3.8V charge. No instructions were included. The assembled laser will not fit in the storage case.

The fit and finish of all the pieces are excellent. The overall appearance is excellent. The laser has the nice heavy feel of a quality product. The threaded part of the battery cap and mating threads in the body are not anodized. The only criticism I can give is the coarse feel of un-lubricated, un-anodized threads when assembling. The mating surfaces seem adequately clean but there isn't any lubrication present whatsoever. A tiny amount of WD40 on the threads made it feel much better. The unit is a little larger than I expected but pleasantly so. It's a perfect fit for my hand. There is no obvious way to disassemble this laser beyond removing the battery cap. I'll continue to look for a way but in the meantime, I'll enjoy it fully assembled.

The battery installs with the positive end towards the end cap of the laser. The interlock plug/lanyard installs in the end cap with a satisfying "click" and a positive lock. It will support the weight of the laser no problem. Additionally, this laser will accept two 3.0V, CR-123A rechargeable batteries in place of the 18650 battery. Current draw from the included battery was measured at 620mA.

The laser powered up with no problem and the momentary on button switch has a very nice tactile feel. There is a blue LED indicator just above the on button that is just a little too bright for my taste.

Initial power testing testing with the battery as provided yielded about 172mW at power on with the aperture right up to the power meter. With the laser aperture back about 4 feet from the power meter, the power measured at 166mW. I think this indicates that some IR leakage is present but minimal. The beam quality is excellent and the mode was textbook TEM00. I didn't measure divergence as it's fully adjustable. Removal of the interlock plug does indeed prevent the laser from turning on.

There are two adjustable rings on the laser. The top most ring is a safety shutter. Turning the ring approximately 45 degrees in a clockwise direction (looking from the top), blocks the laser output with a mechanical shutter. The second ring is a focus ring. Turning this ring fully counter-clockwise appears to adjust the focus to infinity while turning the ring clockwise brings the focus closer and closer to the aperture. With the spot focussed to about 12-24 inches, the laser will burn just about anything it comes in contact with. Black electrical tape, matches and dark balloons are no match for this laser.

I ran a 2 minute power test at a distance of about ~48 inches with my DIY power meter (calibration verified against a Coherent 210 power meter) and the logged the result with the DIY PC interface software. I expanded the beam with the built in focus to cover about 30% of the sensor's surface area. The results are spectacular as far as I'm concerned. The power averaged above the 160mW mark for the entire test.

All in all, I'm very pleased. This has to be the most satisfying laser purchase I've made to date. Only time will reveal the longevity of this laser but I suspect this will unit will live a long life. I certainly hope so. For the cost of $135.99, it's a bargain at 1.18mW per dollar with little (if any) sacrifice in quality.

I'll continue testing and report back here. I'll also take some pictures and post them but the unit I received appears identical to the unit depicted on the KD web site.

2 Minute Laser Power Test
 

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Razako

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Re: Review: KD 150mW Baton Style Laser

That's strange. Milos bought one of these and he was complaining that you can't focus them for burning. Maybe he just got a defective one :-/
 

knimrod

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Re: Review: KD 150mW Baton Style Laser

Razako said:
That's strange. Milos bought one of these and he was complaining that you can't focus them for burning. Maybe he just got a defective one :-/
This one absolutely, positively focuses for burning. Observing the spot from a distance, it appears to diverge as the focus ring is adjusted but its actually converging to a point and then diverging. At the focal point, it will burn just about anything dark (including the case of my laptop which now has a nice scar on it) with smoke appearing almost instantly.
 
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Nice review knimrod! [smiley=thumbsup.gif]

So it looks like DX might have a winner on their hands.

[EDIT: D'oh! You got this from KD? (That explains the 28 days shipping) I've been looking at the similar models on DX and given your review I think I'll get the 200mW version. I'll review it upon arrival, (unless someone else beats me to it. :)! ]

CC
 

mikeeey

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i want it!
it seems the ones comming from KD are good, and no one knows what the DX ones are like, for all we know they suck... i guess ill get it, im glad to know the beam is nice and it burns well.

but is your graph true? after about 2 minutes it will reach about 0mW??
how long of a dutty cycle do you need to give it?
 

knimrod

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mikeeey said:
i want it!
it seems the ones comming from KD are good, and no one knows what the DX ones are like, for all we know they suck... i guess ill get it, im glad to know the beam is nice and it burns well.

but is your graph true? after about 2 minutes it will reach about 0mW??
how long of a dutty cycle do you need to give it?

The graph shows me powering on the laser just after the log starts and then powering off the laser just before the log ends. The laser was not significantly warmer after the test. I don't think my battery is fully charged and I find myself without a 18650 capable charger otherwise I'd run a longer test. But 2 minutes is still a long time.
 

mikeeey

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knimrod said:
[quote author=mikeeey link=1210024232/0#5 date=1210032442]i want it!
it seems the ones comming from KD are good, and no one knows what the DX ones are like, for all we know they suck... i guess ill get it, im glad to know the beam is nice and it burns well.

but is your graph true? after about 2 minutes it will reach about 0mW??
how long of a dutty cycle do you need to give it?

The graph shows me powering on the laser just after the log starts and then powering off the laser just before the log ends. The laser was not significantly warmer after the test.  I don't think my battery is fully charged and I find myself without a 18650 capable charger otherwise I'd run a longer test.  But 2 minutes is still a long time.   [/quote]
then those results seem perfectly fine to me :)
I agree, 2 minutes is a while to keep a laser on, i think i will get this, what i was hearing about heating up was starting to worry me but now i understand!
have you used anything to hold down the button and just use the key as an on/off switch?
 

knimrod

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mikeeey said:
then those results seem perfectly fine to me :)
I agree, 2 minutes is a while to keep a laser on, i think i will get this, what i was hearing about heating up was starting to worry me but now i understand!
have you used anything to hold down the button and just use the key as an on/off switch?
For the test, I put the laser in a PanaVise and used a tie-wrap to keep the button pushed down. Since the interlock plug is just a plug with the terminals shorted together internally, you could very easily wire a switch to the plug but it would be a little impractical to insert and remove the plug for use as the switch.
 

IgorT

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Very informative review Knimrod, thanks! Looks like a good laser finally. I just hope they are consistent.
The current consumption is REALLY low for this kind of power. Looks like it's a 0.5W diode, like in the CNI pens. That's a surprising amount of green coming out. No wonder it doesn't get too hot.. This is actually impressive.

Can you please also give an estimate of the beam diameter, when focused to the lowest possible divergence?


P.S. Miloš also realized it does focus down. He just didn't notice it at first. But he noticed dropping power after 3 minutes. I hope it was just his battery dropping too low for regulation.
 

Benm

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This is a very pleasant surprise, seems to be a really good laser looking at your readings. It would be interesting to see a longer run (say 15 minutes) if you are comfortable keeping it running that long. As these lasers are bigger than the typical pen style units, any thermal problem would take longer to manifest itself. But from the nearly flat 2 minute curve it's probably all okay.

As for the non-anodized, unlubricated threads: I guess that's a good thing for any thread that needs to conduct electricity, and as long as they fit well it's not a problem.

I wonder if the units from DX perform the same - they seem to be nearly identical but there are some very slight differences - so that all remains to be seen.
 

IgorT

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Miloš did an 8 minutes run, and said it remained above 100mW the entire time. Knimrod's laser might be more stable, as Miloš's would drop to 100 at three minutes. Of course the temperature stability of these crystals varies a lot even in CNI lasers...

I really hope it was only his battery.


What differences did you notice in the DX lasers?
 

Benm

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The tailcap seems a bit diferent, and so does the power button (see pics). Its not much of a difference, but it does indicated different manufacturers or at least components.
 

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Well I ordered one of the DX 200mW baton style units. It's back ordered 3 days, bbut I'll give it a good review when it gets here.

Cheers, CC
 

IgorT

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Curiously_Coherent said:
Well I ordered one of the DX 200mW baton style units. It's back ordered 3 days, bbut I'll give it a good review when it gets here.
Can't wait to hear how it turns out! I hope you get a good one.

I'm thinking of returning one of my replaced DX200s, because it's mode hopping AGAIN, and i could ask for store credit and just pay the difference... Why do you have to tempt me so much? Do i really need another laser?


I mean, other than the 400mW i am getting? But that one is not focusable.. :'(
 




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