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Review of the 5-Function 445nm Blue Laser Pen.

The_LED_Museum

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This is a long post with at least 48 images in it; dial-up users please allow for plenty of load time.

5-Function 445nm Blue Laser Pen, retail $135
Manufactured by: (Homemade by yobresal on Laser Pointer Forums)
Last updated 05-29-12



The 5-Function 445nm Blue Laser Pen (hereinafter, probably just called a "blue portable laser" or even just a "blue laser") is a royal blue-emitting, directly-injected diode laser. That is, it produces deep blue laser radiation directly, without the need for messy, fragile nonlinear crystals like those green laser pointers and the amberish-yellow and slightly greenish-blue ones as well. It uses a 14500 rechargeable Li:ION (lithium ion) cell -- you just charge it back up when it poops out...never have to run to the store for batteries.

It has five distinct operational modes; not just one ("on").
Those modes are:

High power constant-on
Medium-power constant-on
Low power constant on
Fast blink
S.O.S. (the international Morse code distress signal)

It is handcrafted using a Trustfire flashlight host; but looks like a high-end laser from a well-known laser manufacturer -- that is, you can't even tell that it was homemade!!!

It is advertised to output 0.5W (500mW) of laser radiation at 445nm; this was actually measured at 701mW at (spectrographically measured) 436.350nm -- yes, closer to the violet region of the spectrum -- which is a nice thing.

This is the reason I call it a "portable laser" on my website (and on this BBS) instead of a "pointer". Lasers designated as "pointers" must -- by US law anyway -- have a power output that does not exceed 5mW.

***EXTREME DANGER!!!***
This laser can produce up to 701mW of laser radiation at 436.350nm (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!!!

You must also have the appropriate laser safety eyewear and *USE IT* 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!!!
You can't just bop on down to your local Seven-Eleven, Quick-E-Mart, AM/PM, or other similar convenience store for some "Eyeballs-In-a-Can" when you ruin the ones you have. In a few hundred years perhaps, but not now (2011).

It comes in a handsome aluminum body with a shiny, chrome-like finish and is equipped with GITD (Glow In The Dark) O-rings along its body and it has a GITD tailcap switch button.

SIZE



To get the laser to turn on, first be certain that the furnished 14500 cell is installed. If there isn't, then install it (see directly below), and THEN you can use it.

Aim the laser well-away from your face first.
Press & release the tailcap button to turn the laser on HIGH mode; do the same thing to deactivate it. Press & release it again to actuate it in MEDIUM mode; do the same thing to deactivate it. Press & release it again to actuate it in LOW mode; do the same thing to deactivate it. Press & release it again to actuate it in FLASH mode; do the same thing to deactivate it. Finally, press & release it again to actuate it in SOS mode (where the laser produces a series of flashes: 3 long, pause, 3 short, pause, 3 long, pause for a significantly longer period -- sequence then repeats); do the same thing to deactivate it.

The sequence then repeats: the next press of the tailcap button turns the laser on in "HIGH" mode.

The focus is easily adjustable from just a few millimeters from the exit aperture to infinity by simply rotating the very front part (the smaller ring of the) bezel (head). Unlike some other focusable lasers, doing this does not leave the head feeling "wobbly" or loose.




To change/charge the battery in your blue laser, unscrew and remove the tailcap, and set it aside.

Tip the used cell out of the barrel and into your hand, and recharge it.

Insert a newly-charged 14500 rechargable Li:ION cell into the barrel, nipple-end (+) positive first. This is the opposite of how batteries are installed in most other portable lasers, so please pay attention to polarity here. Although no instructional materials were furnished telling you the correct battery polarity, the spring in the tailcap was my cue that the cell needed to go in nipple-end (+) positive first.

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



To charge the 14500 cell, place it in the charger, orienting it so its button-end (+) positive is on the bottom (flat-end) of the charger.

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

A red light on the charger should now come on; this indicates charging is in progress. When the 14500 cell has reached full charge, the light on the charger 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.

Current usage measures 977mA (high), 425mA (med), and 107mA (low) on my DMM's 4A scale.
I cannot measure current usage (peak or average) in flash or SOS modes with the instruments at my disposal.

***EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!!!***
This laser has a very large amount of {vulgar slang term for male nads} to it (measured at 701mW!!!), 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 para los motivos de Cristo (and for heaven sakes and for Pete sakes and for your sakes too) do not shine this laser 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 (whip out) his gun, and hose you down with it.

Due in large part to the size of the host body being so small, there *IS* a duty cycle recommendatuon for this laser. It is 1:30 on, and 1:00 off to allow for cooling.

The biggest downside to this laser is the fact that while this is clearly a CDRH Class IV laser (making it extremely dangerous!!!), there are no safety features at all that are normally required in Class IV lasers; e.g., there is no "emissions" indicator, no startup delay, no interlock of ANY type, and no mechanical beam shutter. This laser behaves like a Class IIIa laser pointer in this regard, which I believe is a rather severe no-no!!!

HOWEVER, SINCE THIS IS NOT A COMMERCIALLY-PRODUCED PRODUCT, I DO NOT COUNT THIS AS A HUGE NO-NO!!!

What I love about it though isn't necessarily that beautiful royal blue light (although that is definitely a huge plus!) or the fact that it is focusable (this also gets another big "YES" vote from me!), it's that the laser was built into a stunning chrome colored body, it has a very small size, plus the GITD (Glow In The Dark) accent O-rings and tailcap button just serve to add that finishing touch, as it were.







Beam terminus photograph of this unique (well, "not-so-unique" now) laser on the target at 12".
Beam image bloomed ***SIGNIFICANTLY*** even though it was daylight when the photograph was taken. That white color does not actually exist.
"Not no way, not no how" as they say.



Beam terminus photograph of this laser on the target at 12"; collimating lens removed.



Beam terminus photograph on a wall at ~10'.
Again, that white color does not really exist, and beam image bloomed a bit.



Beam photograph with laser itself positioned approx. 9 feet downrange.



Photograph of this laser's beam in snowfall.
Photograph was taken at 5:59am PST on 01-18-12 in Federal Way WA. USA.


Long-term stability analysis at minimum quasi-CW output.
Case temperature was 78°F (25.6°C) at an ambient temperature of 69.60°F (20.9°C) at 143 minutes (8,580 seconds) into this test.
The laser runs for approx. 17,000 seconds (283 minutes; 4.72 hours) in this mode.



Short-term stability analysis at maximum CW output.
Case temperature was 93°F (33.9°C) after 11 minutes (660 seconds) on.



Long-term stability analysis at medium quasi-CW output.
Case temperature was 87°F (25.6°C) at an ambient temperature of 72.0°F (20.9°C) at 54 minutes (3,245 seconds) into this test.
The laser runs for approx. 4,255 seconds (70.9 minutes; 1 hour 11 minutes) in this mode.



Power output in "HIGH" mode: 627mW.



Power output in "HIGH" mode after several hours of intermittent use: 625mW.



With collimating lens removed: power output in "HIGH" mode reads 701mW.



Power output in "MEDIUM" mode: 283mW.



Power output in "LOW" mode: 66mW.

All measurements were performed on a LaserBee 2.5W USB Laser Power Meter w/Thermopile.





Spectrographic analysis of the laser diode in this product.
Wavelength appears to be ~440nm, which is ***WELL*** within specification for the type of laser diode used in this laser.



Same as above; but spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 430nm and 440nm. This shows that the wavelength is in fact 436.350nm and the spectral line halfwidth is ~1.80nm.



Spectrographic analysis of the laser diode in this product in order to check for wavelength drift after some use.



Spectrographic analysis of the laser diode in this product in order to check for wavelength drift after some use; but spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 430nm and 440nm. This shows that the wavelength is in fact 437.680nm and the spectral line halfwidth is ~2.450nm. So some upward (longer wavelength) drift has indeed occurred.



Spectrographic analysis of the laser diode in this product at minimum output power.



Spectrographic analysis of the laser diode in this product at minimum output power; but spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 430nm and 440nm. This shows that there are two spectral peaks: one at 436.650nm and the other at 437.810nm -- the spectral line halfwidth is ~3.670nm.



Spectrographic analysis of the laser diode in this product at minimum output power after the "balls to the wall" stability test that I conducted several days earlier; this spectrographic analysis was performed in order to check for wavelength drift after that test.
Spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 435nm and 445nm. This shows that the peak wavelength is 437.499nm and the spectral line halfwidth is 2.565nm.



Spectrographic analysis of the laser diode in this product at maximum output power after the "balls to the wall" stability test that I conducted several days earlier; this spectrographic analysis was performed in order to check for wavelength drift after that test.
Spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 435nm and 445nm. This shows that the peak wavelength is 438.492nm (slightly longer than before) and the spectral line halfwidth is exactly 3.00nm (slightly narrower than before)



Spectrographic analysis of the laser diode in this product at minimum output power (newest spectrometer software settings used).



Spectrographic analysis of the laser diode in this product at minimum output power (newest spectrometer software settings used); but spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 436.50nm and 439.50nm. This shows that the wavelength is 437.744nm.



Spectrographic analysis of the laser diode in this product at maximum output power (newest spectrometer software settings used).



Spectrographic analysis of the laser diode in this product at maximum output power (newest spectrometer software settings used)

Spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 436.5nm and 439.5nm. This shows that the peak wavelength is 438.488nm (slightly shorter than before) and the spectral line halfwidth is 1.890nm (definitely narrower than before).



Spectrographic analysis of the fluorescence of the 2009 NIA Commemorative Insulator in uranated glass when irradiated with this laser.



Spectrographic analysis of a uranated glass marble when irradiated with this laser.



Spectrographic analysis of the fluorescence of a green tritium X2 Glow Ring when irradiated with this laser.



Spectrographic analysis of the phosphorescence of the 405nm Violet Laser Phosphor Target when irradiated with this laser.



Spectrographic analysis of the fluorescence of the transparent green plastic body of a disposable cigarrette lighter when irradiated with this laser.

USB2000 Spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.



Beam cross-sectional analysis with beam widened (collimating lens removed; fast {X} axis).
That "dip" to left of center that queered the test
is a defect in the ProMetric's sensor that cannot be compensated for.



Beam cross-sectional analysis with beam widened (collimating lens removed; slow {Y} axis).

Images made using the ProMetric System by Radiant Imaging.



Video showing the five modes available on this laser. The "Flash" mode appears to be irregular; however this is due to the way the camera works -- the flashes are perfectly spaced and of identical duration to the human eye.

This video is approximately 5.70056734535 megabytes (5,897,158 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than twenty eight minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.




Video on YourTube showing the PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) that this laser has in "medium" and "minimum" power modes. The pulses at "medium" and "minimum" may look a bit irregular; however this is due to the way the camera works -- the pulses are perfectly spaced and of identical duration to the human eye. And the "maximum" power mode does show some "gaps" that do not exist in reality; this is again due to the way the camera works.

This video is approximately 5.13384569643 megabytes (5,320,620 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than twenty five minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.


TEST NOTES:
Test unit was purchased from yobresal on Laser Pointer Forums on 09-21-11 (or "21 Sep 2011" if you prefer) and was received at 10:22am PDT on 09-29-11 (or "29 Sep 2011").



UPDATE: 10-03-11
The focus adjustment does indeed appear to have developed a bit of a "looser" feeling to it; almost as though an unseen spring shot out unnoticed when I went to perform those beam cross-sectional analyses of it yesterday. It isn't super loose, but you can hear the focus ring rattle when the laser is shaken fairly lightly.



UPDATE: 10-04-11
There was indeed a spring which shot out unnoticed; I found it on the floor yesterday morning and put it back where it belongs.


UPDATE: 10-22-11
You need not actually press the button so that clicks in order to change operating modes; a partial press is sufficient here.


UPDATE: 11-21-11
The laser "remembers" the last setting it was in if the unit is allowed to remain "off" for ~1,000ms (1 second) before reactivating it.


PROS:
Color is very radiant & unusual for a handheld laser
The price is right!
Uses a rechargeable power source; never have to purchase disposable batteries for it



CONS:
None I've yet to discover for a homemade unit anyway




MANUFACTURER: Handmade by yobresal on Laser Pointer Forums
PRODUCT TYPE: Blue-emitting laser
LAMP TYPE: Unknown-type high-power blue (445nm) laser diode
No. OF LAMPS: 1
BEAM TYPE: Adjustable from very narrow spot to medium flood
SWITCH TYPE: Click on/mode change/off button on tailcap
CASE MATERIAL: Aluminum
BEZEL: Metal; laser & lens recessed into its end
BATTERY: 1x 14500 Li:ION rechargeable cell; 3.70V 900mAh
CURRENT CONSUMPTION: 977mA (high), 425mA (med), 107mA (low)
WATER-RESISTANT: Yes
SUBMERSIBLE: No
ACCESSORIES: Battery, charger, three 14500 cells, wrist lanyard
SIZE: 103mm L x 21mm D
WEIGHT: Unknown/not equipped to weigh
COUNTRY OF MANUFACTURE: China
WARRANTY: Unknown/not stated


PRODUCT RATING:

Laser is homemade, and will not be rated like a commercial product.



Update 10-02-11: Performed two beam cross-sectional analyses and one spectrographic analysis.

Update 10-03-11: Performed spectroscopy of fluorescence of a uranated glass marble and added an update re: the focusing ring.

Update 10-04-11: The spring that shot out has been found and placed back where it belongs.

Update 10-12-11: Remeasured power output after several hours of intermittent use.

Update 10-22-11: Added a minor update re: the power switch/mode change button.

Update 10-24-11: Performed additional spectroscopy to check for wavelength drift after somewhat extended use.

Update 10-26-11: Performed spectroscopy of the laser at minimum power output.

Update 10-29-11: Performed a spectrographic analysis of the fluorescence of a green tritium X2 Glow Ring when irradiated with this laser.

Update 11-21-11: The laser "remembers" its last setting if the unit is left "off" for more than 1 second.

Update 12-06-11: Added a beam photograph with the laser positioned ~9 feet downrange.

Update 12-20-11: Added a video showing that PWM is used on the two lower power levels.

Update 01-11-12: Performed spectroscopy of the phosphorescence of the 405nm Violet Laser Phosphor Target when irradiated with this laser.

Update 01-23-12: Added a photograph of its beam in moderate snowfall.

Update 02-23-12: Performed a short-term stability analysis.

Update 02-25-12: Added the duty cycle recommendation as per the builder of this fantastic little laser.

Update 02-27-12: Performed multiple spectrographic analyses to check for wavelength drift following the short-term stability analysis.

Update 03-07-12: Performed a long-term stability analysis at minimum quasi-CW output.

Update 03-14-12: Performed a long-term stability analysis at medium quasi-CW output.

Update 05-29-12: Performed multiple spectrographic analyses using the newest spectrometer software settings available.
 
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ped

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+1 again on your review. Thorough isnt the word.
 

GBD

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Excellent review. The spectrometer data you include is definatly handy, While A-130 projectors are out of production IIRC, I wonder if he used an A-130 diode. From what I heard those operate at lower wavelenth then the A-140s. (maybe explains that low wavelenth? I guess only yob will know though seeing he built it)
 
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?: Is there a duty cycle recommendation on this laser when used at its maximum output setting?
I'd really hate to fry such a nice instrument because of a silly f**k-up. :-/
 
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BTTT: Performed a short-term stability analysis.
This is a rather important test; hence I think it is an acceptable reason for a little "Bump!" here. :)
 

yobresal

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?: Is there a duty cycle recommendation on this laser when used at its maximum output setting?
I'd really hate to fry such a nice instrument because of a silly f**k-up. :-/
Sorry I missed this post a while back. The duty cycle for this build given the diode used, current setting and heatsinking would be 1.5 minute on with a minute off cool down.
Just noticed you gave it a balls to the wall duration test! Nicely done. Glad to know see it can survive a 10 minute constant on run. If this were one of my Ehgemus builds or even one of my copper heatsinked C6 builds I would expect the power to be more stable at the max output but with the minimal heatsinking provided in this tiny host The drop in power over 10 minutes is expected. I would not be surprised if the unit felt hot to the touch after this run. I am curious though if the current from the driver sagged during this run or if the diode sagged from overheating. In all likely hood it was some combination of both of those . Thanks for updating your review. i will be offering 4 more of these in a couple weeks with diode pocket copper heatsinks at 1W. Also 5-mode. Keep an eye out.
 
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Sorry I missed this post a while back. The duty cycle for this build given the diode used, current setting and heatsinking would be 1.5 minute on with a minute off cool down.
Just noticed you gave it a balls to the wall duration test! Nicely done. Glad to know see it can survive a 10 minute constant on run. If this were one of my Ehgemus builds or even one of my copper heatsinked C6 builds I would expect the power to be more stable at the max output but with the minimal heatsinking provided in this tiny host The drop in power over 10 minutes is expected. I would not be surprised if the unit felt hot to the touch after this run. I am curious though if the current from the driver sagged during this run or if the diode sagged from overheating. In all likely hood it was some combination of both of those . Thanks for updating your review. i will be offering 4 more of these in a couple weeks with diode pocket copper heatsinks at 1W. Also 5-mode. Keep an eye out.

Good morning yobresal,

Case temperature was 93°F (33.9°C) after 11 minutes (660 seconds) on, so it did get warm to the touch, but not overly so. And I used a cell hot off the charger to ensure that full power was available for the duration of this test.

I'll be updating my eval. of this laser approx. this time tomorrow with the duty cycle recommendation (along with the one on my website, the one on FNF, and the one on my own BBS), thank you ever so much for furnishing this info.!!! :) :D :)
 

The_LED_Museum

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Good morning yobresal,

My unit won't focus to infinity anymore -- beam waisting (the focal point) appears to be just a number of feet from the laser aperture; when directed at a distant target and the bezel is tightened as hand-tight as I can make it (tried both with and without the spring), the beam terminus is quite large compared with how it used to be.

Ideas?
Suggestions?
Anything?


(Edit later the same morning:) Never mind...I think...I tried two other blue (~445nm directly-injected diode) lasers and both of them have unusually large beam terminus spots upon the same target -- a windowless unoccupied structure approx. 300' {~91.440 meters} away from here.
I may have just been "seeing things" when I reported that the spot used to be smaller in diameter.
 
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yobresal

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So when you adjust the focus of the laser to create the smallest spot possible on a distant structure you should be adjusting the focus ring and watching the spot. You shouldn't just screw the focus in all the way and expect to have the beam focused to infinite. I am sure you already know this but just throwing it out there because the only other reason that you would not be able to attain a focused beam is a damaged focusing lens which I hope is not the case. If it is I can send you a new lens.
 

The_LED_Museum

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So when you adjust the focus of the laser to create the smallest spot possible on a distant structure you should be adjusting the focus ring and watching the spot. You shouldn't just screw the focus in all the way and expect to have the beam focused to infinite. I am sure you already know this but just throwing it out there because the only other reason that you would not be able to attain a focused beam is a damaged focusing lens which I hope is not the case. If it is I can send you a new lens.
I adjust the focus whilst watching the beam terminus spot; it goes from huge to smaller to smaller, but at that point the bezel won't turn any more. :confused:
 

yobresal

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I would like to take a look at this so that I can identify what has occurred and also fix this. Is that okay?
 




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