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Review of the 2+ watt S3 Spyder Arctic G2 445nm Blue Laser w/SmartSwitch™

The_LED_Museum

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This is a long page with at least 35 images on it; dial-up users please allow for plenty of load time.

2 Watt S3 Spyder Arctic G2 445nm Blue Laser w/SmartSwitch™, retail $599.95 (www.wickedlasers.com...)
Manufactured by Wicked Lasers (www.wickedlasers.com)
Last updated 12-19-13


The 2 Watt S3 Spyder Arctic G2 445nm directly-injected diode laser (hereinafter, probably just referred to as the "Arctic") is an extremely powerful self-contained, handheld laser.

It is rated to produce more than 2 watts of laser radiation at 445nm (spectrographically measured at 443nm {low} and 449nm {high}) in the royal blue part of the spectrum.
This amazing laser was in the Guiness Book of World Records as “The most powerful handheld laser in the world”!!!


It comes in a very sturdy aluminum body that has been hard-anodized, and feeds from a single 18650 Li:ION rechargeable cell (which is included along with the charger).

In addition, the laser's bezel has a phosphorescent (glow in the dark) ring on its inner surface that glows a light blue when the laser is off.

It also comes with LaserShades laser safety glasses -- which must be used every time you fire up this studly little laser...you don't want to end up like this guy: --->

This may look funny, but I assure you folks, this is no joke!!!

***EXTREME DANGER!!!***
This laser can produce more than 2 watts of laser radiation at 445nm (royal blue), and can cause instant and permanent eye damage from an accidental reflection or accidental direct exposure!!! You need to know what you're doing and have the appropriate safety precautions for a CDRH Class IV laser device in place before you energize this laser!!!

Destruction of the eye isn't the only ocular (eye) hazard here:
Exposure to high levels of blue & violet radiation can also wreak havok!!!





To use your new Arctic, feed it the included 18650 Li:ION cell first (see directly below), and ***THEN*** you can go irradiate something or set something on fire

To use the portable laser (it has more modes than the original Spyder III Arctic thanks to its SmartSwitch™), follow these instructions:

1: Press the rubberised tailcap button until it clicks, and then release it.
The first LED on the barrel (a group of three arranged in a line on the opposite side as the SmartSwitch™ button) will begin flashing.

2: Click the SmartSwitch™ three times in rapid succession; then click it two more times significantly more slowly (hold the button in for approx 250ms {¼ second} with those last two presses).

This arms the laser and turns it on in steady-on mode at minimum power.

The SmartSwitch™ prevents accidental and unauthorized activation of the laser by requiring a short sequence of clicks and click-holds to unlock the laser.

o Low, Medium, High power mode - Pressing and holding the SmartSwitch will cycle through the power modes. 1 LED light indicates low power mode, 2 LEDs for medium power and 3 LEDs for high-power.

o Tactical Standby Mode - 1 quick click will set the laser to standby mode and another quick click will turn it back on.

o Strobe Mode - Double clicking the SmartSwitch button will set the laser to strobe mode. To exit, just double click on the button again.

o Full-power / Momentary Mode - Hold the SmartSwitch and press the button on the tailcap then proceed with unlocking the laser. The laser will only operate while the SmartSwitch button is pressed. The laser must be turned off to exit this mode.


Before firing up this studly little laser, you *MUST* be certain that you have the furnished laser safety glasses on!!!



The ones on the left (Argon Laser Safety Goggles) are not the ones you'll receive, but they do have an OD (Optical Density) of 5.00 at wavelengths of 515nm and shorter -- so they'll work quite well if I happen to accidentally sit on or step on and subsequently cause the furnished LaserShades to become busted.

The Arctic has a safety interlock dongle built into the tailcap -- this helps it to comply with FDA/CDRH requirements for a Class IV laser product.
This dongle (or "safety pin" as some have called it) can be removed by pulling it straight out. Doing so will completely disable the laser -- that is, the Arctic cannot be made to function even if a fully charged battery is left in place.

Restoring operation is as simple as pushing the dongle back into the opening in the tailcap for it; pushing in on it until it no longer moves.



To charge the battery in your Wicked Lasers S3 Spyder Arctic, unscrew and remove the tailcap, and set it aside.

Tip the used 18650 cell out of the barrel and into your hand, and pop it into the included charger.

Insert a freshly-charged 18650 cell into the barrel, flat-end (-) negative first. This is the opposite of how batteries are installed in most flashlights, so please pay attention to polarity here.

Screw the tailcap back on, and be done with it.

Current usage measures 40.90mA (quiescent), 510mA (minimum CW output) and 4.58A (maximum CW output) on a known-fully charged 18650 cell.


To charge the 18650 cell, place it in the charging cradle, orienting it so its button-end (+) positive is on the same end of the chamber in the charger that has a (+) embossed on its upper surface (in this case, the end of the charger that the power cord goes in).

Plug the charger into any standard (in the United States) two- or three-slot 110 volts to 130 volts AC 60Hz receptacle.

A red light on the charging cradle should now come on; this indicates charging is in progress. When the 18650 cell has reached full charge, the light on the charging cradle will turn from red to green.

At this point, unplug the charger, remove the charged cell from the charging cradle, and install it in the laser as directed above.





***EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!!!***

This laser is a CDRH Class IV instrument, and the photons generated by it are much higher in energy than the photons generated by a red laser of equivalent power (not that you'd want to shoot your eye out with a 2W red laser anyway!!!); so you definitely do not want to shine it into your eyes, other people's eyes, pets' eyes, for that matter, the eyes of any person or animal you encounter.
Eye damage can occur faster than the blink reflex can protect them, regardless of what species' eyes you irradiate with this laser. So just don't do it.

And for Christ sakes (and for heaven sakes and for Pete sakes and your sakes too) do not shine the S3 Spyder Arctic (or any other laser for that matter!) at any vehicle, whether ground-based like a motorcycle, car, or truck, or air-based like a helicopter, airplane, or jet. And if you shoot it at a person in the dark and he turns out to be a police officer, he may think he's being targeted, unholster (pull out) his gun, and hose you down with it.


This is a CDRH Class IV laser device. Treat it with respect, and it'll treat you with respect.

This laser is water-resistant but not submersible, so please be careful around places where water or water-like liquids might be found. However, you need not worry about using it outdoors when it's raining or snowing.

The case is made from 6061-T6 Aircraft-Grade Aluminum, and is treated with a black HA-III (hard anodized) finish.

The beam has a divergence of less than 1.5mRad (milliradians), and has a diameter of 1.50mm when it exits the product.
According to the web page on the S3 Spyder Arctic, it produces a TEM00 (transverse electromagnetic mode 00) beam - that is, it produces a beam with a Gaussian power distribution; circular with a central hotspot and dimmer corona. This is a typical laser mode, and is how many lasers (well, most lasers for consumer use anyway) are designed to operate.

The beam from the Arctic is not perfecly circular; it is oval (somewhat egg-shaped) like beams from all directly-injected diode lasers that do not have special beam shape corrective optics.

The high-power lens ("window" actually) is AR (antireflective) coated on both sides; this helps greatly with minimising loss of intensity due to reflective losses in the window.

Operating temperature range is between 32°F (0°C) and 100°F (38°C).
Using the Arctic beyond this temperature range is a rather severe no-no!!!



From somebody who knows their stuff about lasers, comes the following information about this laser:

A spot on a perfectly white wall, assuming the wall does not char:

At 7 inches, should your pupil fully dilate, the spot hits the border
between effectively Class II and effectively Class IIIa. Maximum safe
time to stare at it from that distance, should your eye focus the spot
that close, is 1 second. Probably less due to the blue factor.

At 29 feet, the spot is at the border between effectively Class I and
effectively Class II. At this distance, the spot is safe to stare at for
2,500 seconds, even with a fully dilated pupil. At greater distances than
that, it is safe to stare at indefinitely. This is according to 21 CFR
1040.10.

===============================================================

Aim that laser into a white high power LED, and maybe about half a watt
of yellow light will come out. That is about 200 lumens. The LED will
not be safe to stare into. With such an LED of the usual lambertian
radiation pattern, I figure around 60 candela or 60,000 MCD. You may get
somewhat more.

This laser will fluoresce most magenta, pink, red, orange, yellow, and
green fluorescent objects. Some green-glowing yellow objects could
produce 300-400 lumens of light, with an intensity of 80-125 candela
(80,000-125,000 MCD).

For comparison, if you look broadside at the filament of a clear 75 watt
120V light bulb rated to produce 1190 or so lumens and to last 750 hours,
that is about 120 candela. The ratio of candlepower to lumens is less
with the light bulb because it distributes light more widely and evenly
than a "lambertian" source does (such as a fluorescing or
beam-illuminated spot on a diffusing surface like a piece of paper).

With a light bulb having a visually straight linear filament, ratio of
lumens to candela is close to and ideally the square of pi, which is 9.87.
With a lambertian radiator such as a beam-illuminated or fluorescing
spot on a diffusing flat surface, the ratio of lumens to candela is
ideally pi (3.14).








Measures 245mW (minimum) and no less than 2,500mW (2.5 watts) (maximum) on a LaserBee 2.5W USB Laser Power Meter w/Thermopile.
I say, "no less than" here because my LPM (Laser Power Meter) only registers as high as 2,500mW.


Short-term stability analysis of the Arctic, low-power CW mode, 10 minutes.


Short-term stability analysis of the Arctic, high-power CW mode, 10 minutes.
At 460 seconds in, the laser temperature was measured at 113°F (45°C) on a CEM DT-8810 Noncontact IR Thermometer.


Beam terminus photograph on the test target at 12".
Photoflash was used to help mitigate image blooming.


Beam terminus photograph on a wall at ~15 feet (minimum power).
Again, photoflash was used to help mitigate image blooming.


"Beam" photograph outdoors at night with no (or extremely light) fog.


Photograph of a fairly large room illuminated only by the Arctic (at maximum).


"Beam" photograph outdoors at night (to use as a control for the photo directly below).


"Beam" photograph outdoors at night using the Wicked Lasers Beam Expander.


"Beam terminus" photograph outdoors at night to allow you to see the beam terminus spot projected onto low clouds (minimum power).


"Beam terminus" photograph outdoors at night to allow you to see the beam terminus spot projected onto low clouds (maximum power).

In all eight photographs, that white & purple color does not actually exist; my camera interprets royal blue as a purplish color.


"Beam" photograph outdoors during the daytime (overcast with mid-level clouds at ~5,000 feet {~1,524 meters}) that allows you to see the beam itself during daylight (~11:00am PST on 12-17-13) with the laser at maximum power.



Spectrographic analysis of the S3 Spyder Arctic (on low).



Same as above; spectrometer's response narrowed to a range between 438nm and 448nm to pinpoint wavelength, which is 443nm.

The raw spectrometer data (tab-delimited that can be loaded into Excel) is at http://ledmuseum.candlepower.us/44/arc4lo.txt



Spectrographic analysis of the S3 Spyder Arctic (on high).



Same as above; spectrometer's response narrowed to a range between 442nm and 452nm to pinpoint wavelength, which is 449nm.

The raw spectrometer data (tab-delimited that can be loaded into Excel) is at http://ledmuseum.candlepower.us/44/arc4hi.txt

USB2000 Spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.

A beam cross-sectional analysis would normally appear here, but the computer that hosted the ProMetric 8 Beam Cross-Sectional Analyser was destroyed by a lightning strike in July 2013 (the monitor had this big-ass hole blown right through its viewscreen); although a replacement computer is already en route, there's a fairly significant chance that the beam cross-sectional analyser itself was also wiped out because both the computer & test instrument shared the AC power at the same outlet on the same power strip.


In leiu of a beam cross-sectional analysis, I give you the above photograph that shows its distinctive "laser diode" beam profile.


TEST NOTES:
Test unit was sent by Steve of Wicked Lasers on 10-20-13 (or "2013 20 Oct." if you prefer), and was received on 11-06-13 (or "2013 06 Nov." if you prefer).




***EXTREMELY, CRITICALLY IMPORTANT!!!***
This is a Class IV laser product!!!
Eye exposure will cause INSTANT (and permanent!) damage
, and it is a hazard (with regard to burn injury and fire) to skin, clothing, and any other flammable materials as well!!!
You don't want an unwanted fire!!!

To put it as briefly as possible, you must use this laser with ***EXTREME CAUTION***, and use the protective eyewear furnished with the laser ***EVERY TIME*** you fire it up!!!

The very high output power isn't the only eye injury hazard here...you also need to be aware (or made aware) of potential photochemical damage to the eyes and skin from exposure to very intense radiation at wavelengths ranging from 500nm (blue-green) to 400nm (violet) -- and shorter wavelengths of course:

(CLICK ON THE GRAPHIC TO READ MORE!!!)


UPDATE: 00-00-00



PROS:
EXTREMELY POWERFUL output for such a small, self-contained unit
Overspec (yes, this is a good thing for a laser already labelled as Class IV)
Powerful enough to burn, destroy, and leave wrinkles everywh...o wait!!! wrong infomercial!!!

Color (royal blue @ ~446nm) is exceptionally vibrant and unusual for a handheld laser
Battery it uses is rechargeable; never have to find disposables for it


NEUTRAL:


CONS:
Timing for using the SmartSwitch™ is somewhat critical; if your timing sucks, you can't get this laser to fire off
(This is a crucial safety feature, and can rather easily be overlooked!)
Price is a bit steep





MANUFACTURER: Wicked Lasers
PRODUCT TYPE: Portable directly-injected royal blue-emitting (
=442.700nm {low} and 448.710nm {high}) diode portable laser

LAMP TYPE: Casio blue-emitting laser diode
No. OF LAMPS: 1
BEAM TYPE: Very narrow spot; it's a laser, remember?

SWITCH TYPE: Arm/disarm button & interlock dongle on tailcap; pushbutton on/mode change/off on barrel
CASE MATERIAL: Hard-anodized aluminum
BEZEL: Metal; has aperture (hole) for laser beam to emerge
BATTERY: 1x 185650 rechargeable cell; I believe 1,400mAh capacity
CURRENT CONSUMPTION: 40.90mA (quiescent), 510mA (minimum CW output) and 4.58A (maximum CW output)
WATER- AND DIET BERRIES & CREAM MOUNTAIN DEW-RESISTANT: Yes
SUBMERSIBLE: ¡¡¡LA GRAN CALABAZA CEPILLÁNDOSE LOS DIENTES CON UN CEPILLO DE DIENTES QUE CAYERON EN EL HIGIÉNICO, NO!!!

ACCESSORIES: Belt holster, protective "LaserShades" laser eyewear, soft-sided pouch for them, "Class IV LASER" sticker, 18650 cell, charger
SIZE: 257mm L x 33.50mm Dia.
WEIGHT: 429g (15.130 oz.) incl. battery & dustproof window
COUNTRY OF MANUFACTURE: China
WARRANTY: 1 year

PRODUCT RATING:



Update 11-08-13: Added a photograph of the laser's beam outdoors at night.

Update 11-12-13: Added a trio of photographs

Update 12-18-13: Added a pair of photographs that show the Arctic illuminating low clouds at night

Update 11-19-13: Added a photograph that shows the beam itself outdoors in daylight
 
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Raiden Gekkou

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A very detailed and throrough review, but i've been wondering a stupid question about the blue light hazard: "1-2 min of 408 nm and 25 minutes of 430 nm are sufficient to cause irreversible death of photoreceptors and lesions of the retinal pigment epithelium."

Is this 1-2 minutes and 25 minutes of constant exposure, or is it cumulative?
 

The_LED_Museum

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Thank you for your compliments re: my review -- most appreciated!!! :D

Re: the blue light hazard...I believe that the effects are cumulative; however I'm not an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) and I don't play one on TV or on the internet, so you'll want to take my recommendations with plenty of crystalline sodium chloride (grains of salt).
 

Benur

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You should add price in cons.
Nice review btw, very detailed. :beer:
 

lunasigma

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Your review and my own seem to correlate with one another. Kudos on going more in depth with the safety protocols than in mine. 5/5 review. I hope you're enjoying your Arctic 2+ Watt, I have one too and it's my favourite thing, at least until I build my 520nm diode laser :D

A very detailed and throrough review, but i've been wondering a stupid question about the blue light hazard: "1-2 min of 408 nm and 25 minutes of 430 nm are sufficient to cause irreversible death of photoreceptors and lesions of the retinal pigment epithelium."

Is this 1-2 minutes and 25 minutes of constant exposure, or is it cumulative?
If you have 1-2 minutes of diffuse exposure, and you give your photoreceptors time to depolarize, the damage won't be cumulative. If you keep damaging them before they've recovered from the exposure to the blue light, it will be.
 
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SerpantSlayer

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Wow very nice review. Impressive 2.5W that laser is putting out, I guess WL is getting their shit together. Can't say the price justifies it though I mean its double the price of the already expensive laser.
 

The_LED_Museum

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Remember though that the Wicked Laers Sonar cost almost $2,000.00 when it first came out in mid-2007; now you can get lasers of the same wavelength with 50X (or more of) the output power for 99¢!
:lasergun:
 

SerpantSlayer

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Remember though that the Wicked Laers Sonar cost almost $2,000.00 when it first came out in mid-2007; now you can get lasers of the same wavelength with 50X (or more of) the output power for 99¢!
:lasergun:
I realise that blue lasers of this wavelength have been out for the last three years, but not at these power levels.
I guess were all spoiled by the inexpensive high powered blue diodes now :D
 

hwang21

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Well then again, TEM00 purple lasers were rarities in 2007... 2009 was when stable mass production of those diodes came into existence. Prior to that it was extremely difficult to get stable lasers operating in the blue or purple range... despite the actual invention of the bluray laser diode in 2000.

Excellent review :beer: glad to see that WL is getting their act back together. Perhaps a pic of that new GITD ring? :drool:
 
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Hap

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Very nice review :)

Please do keep up the good work.
 

SerpantSlayer

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Now how did the Certified power graph Wicked Lasers offers
hold up to your LPM graph?
 

The_LED_Museum

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Actually, quite well!
My LPM tops out at 2,500mW; the graph that was furnished indicates that my Arctic tops out at 2,581mW.
 

Firelord777

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Oye guey, las palabras que has escrito son muy chistosos! De dónde eres? Si eres de Miami, pues entiendo jaja!

Awesome review dude,

-Alain
 

Konad

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Thank you for the incredibly thorough review.
I don't think people realize this company's products aren't the same as they were a couple years ago. They earned their reputation at that time but now over spec is the new norm.

To add a now third impression, I couldn't be happier with mine.

LPM'd at 2631

Yes there are more powerful lasers at half the price. But that's a hell of a lot more than the 2W I payed for and was expecting.
 
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Livinloud

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Have fun in 3 months with a dead laser. They are OVER driving these M140s now. People complain about under spec, heck we will just bump the driver up and shorten the life expectancy. Not underspec anymore but hey it'll only last 3 months and then opps, dead.

M140s over driven, any diode over driven, dont do well for long. 638nm diodes pushed over 1W = cool, wait half a year and then you'll have a cool paper weight, same thing with the new WLs.
 

Tmack

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What!! Those 2w are m140!!!! I had no idea. I'm so sorry lol

What are they running current wise? 2a? More?
 
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