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Review of the PGL RB Portable Laser

The_LED_Museum

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This is a long page with at least 43 images on it; dial-up users please allow for plenty of load time.

PGL RB Portable Laser, retail $TBA (www.cnilaser.com/PDF/PGL-RB-640.pdf)*
Manufactured by Changchun New Industries {CNI} (www.cnilaser.com)
Last updated 10-24-12



The PGL RB Portable Laser is quite unusual as far as portable lasers go.

Not only can it produce a blue beam, it can produce a red beam and even a pink beam (by having both the red & blue lasers on simultaneously)!

It comes in a rather beefy aluminum body with what I believe is a baked enamel finish (colored black), and feeds its two laser diodes with a pair of CR123A lithium "camera" cells (or, "batteries" if you prefer to be incorrect).

I cannot verify the finish, as the testing method I use could (well, probably ***WILL***) damage the finish, and this laser does not belong to me.


* This is a .PDF file; you'll need Adobe Acrobat or other .PDF reader in order to view this.

SIZE



To use your PGL RB Portable Laser, please be certain that the CR123A cells are installed (see directly below), and you can use it.

Before your first use, remove that blue plastic disc from the laser aperture (beam opening); that is there to protect the optics from dirt, dust rabbits, or whatever other unwanted material might find its way in there during shipment.

Press the tailcap button firmly until it clicks, and then release it.

To energise the blue beam, gently press & release that blue button on the barrel.
To energise the red beam, do the same thing again.
To turn both lasers on at once (which will result in a pinkish-blue beam terminus spot), do the same thing a third time.
To turn the beams off, do the same thing a fourth time.

Just like it reads on the backs of many shampoo bottles, "lather, rinse, repeat." In other words, pressing the blue button a fifth time starts the sequence all over again, beginning with the blue laser.

To neutralise the laser (disabling the blue pushbutton), simply press the tailcap button firmly until it clicks, and then release it.



To change the batteries in your PGL RB Portable Laser, unscrew and remove the tailcap, and set it aside.

Tip the used CR123A cells out of the barrel and into your hand, and dispose of or recycle them as you see fit.

Insert two new CR123A cells into the barrel, flat-end (-) negatives 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:
Quiescent: 3.268mA
Blue: 389.20mA
Red: 333.50mA
Pink: 1,670mA

New (08-17-12) measurements:
Quiescent: 4.04mA
Blue: 1,329mA
Red: 404mA
Blue + Red: 1,669mA

One thing that really pisses me off about this laser is that it has a totally asinine duty cycle recommendation -- the "ON" time is just 45 seconds to 1 minute max!!!
This is just preposterous for a portable laser in such a heavy aluminum body -- even more so that neither of the lasers are DPSS; they're both directly-injected diodes.




Beam photograph (blue only) on the test target at 12".
White and purple colors do not exist, and those blue "splotches" are camera artifacts which do not exist in the actual beam.


Beam photograph (red only) on the test target at 12".


Beam photograph (red + blue simultaneously) on the test target at 12".
White and purple colors do not exist, and those blue "splotches" are camera artifacts which do not exist in the actual beam.


Beam photograph (blue only) on a wall at ~8 feet.
White and purple colors do not exist, and those blue lines are camera artifacts and do not exist in the actual beam.


Beam photograph (red only) on a wall at ~8 feet.
That horizontal "spike" you see going through the beam really does exist; it is not a camera artifact this time folks!!!


Beam photograph (red + blue simultaneously) on a wall at ~8 feet.
Again, that horizontal "spike" you see going through the beam really does exist.
White and purple colors do not exist however, and those blue "splotches" are camera artifacts and do not exist in the actual beam.



Blue laser only. Tops out at 150mW.



Red laser only. Tops out at 132mW.



Blue & red lasers on simultaneously. Tops out at 196mW.


Remeasured with different batteries:


Blue laser only. Tops out at 232mW.



Red laser only. Tops out at 144mW.



Blue & red lasers on simultaneously. Tops out at 346mW.



Short-term (600 seconds {10 minutes}) stability analysis (both blue & red beams energised simultaneously).
Laser temperature was 116°F (46.7°C) at the conclusion of this test.


Blue laser only (repaired unit). Tops out at 229mW.


Red laser only (repaired unit). Tops out at 112mW.


Blue & red lasers on simultaneously (repaired unit). Tops out at 301mW.

All power output and stability analyses were performed on a LaserBee 2.5W USB Laser Power Meter w/Thermopile.


Spectrographic analysis of the blue laser in this product.



Spectrographic analysis of the blue laser in this product; spectrometer's response narrowed to a range between 440nm and 450nm to pinpoint peak wavelength, which is 445.188nm.



Spectrographic analysis of the red laser in this product.




Spectrographic analysis of the red laser in this product; spectrometer's response narrowed to a range between 650nm and 670nm to pinpoint peak wavelength, which is 662.306nm.


Spectrographic analysis of the blue laser in this product -- repaired unit.



Spectrographic analysis of the blue laser in this product -- repaired unit; spectrometer's response narrowed to a range between 440nm and 450nm to pinpoint peak wavelength, which is 447.280nm.



Spectrographic analysis of the red laser in this product -- repaired unit.



Spectrographic analysis of the red laser in this product -- repaired unit; spectrometer's response narrowed to a range between 658nm and 668nm to pinpoint peak wavelength, which is 660.997nm.

USB2000 Spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.



Beam cross-sectional analysis (blue, x-axis {fast axis}).



Beam cross-sectional analysis (blue, y-axis {slow axis}).



Beam cross-sectional analysis (red, x-axis {fast axis}).



Beam cross-sectional analysis (red, y-axis {slow axis}).

Images made using the ProMetric 8 Beam Cross-Sectional Analyser by Radiant Imaging.


TEST NOTES:
Test unit was loaned to me (shipped to me directly from CNI) by M.H. on 08-13-12.
Since it is a "loaner", the "
" icon will be appended to its listings on my website at once, denoting the fact that I no longer have custody of it for additional comparisons or analyses.


UPDATE: 08-17-12
Power regulation is very poor to nonexistant.

I connected it to my variable voltage PSU, set it for ~6 volts, energised both beams, and started turning the voltage down...it hadn't quite yet decreased to 5 volts before the blue laser pretty much extinguised; leaving the red laser blazing away and the blue laser below lasing threshold...guess it's "gonna" be losing some stars off its rating.



UPDATE: 08-17-12
This laser failed almost immediately after the short-term stability analysis.
As a result, the dreadful "
" icon will be appended to its listings on my website.


UPDATE: 08-23-12
This laser has a totally asinine duty cycle recommendation -- the "ON" time is just 45 seconds to 1 minute max!!!
This is just preposterous for a portable laser in such a heavy aluminum body -- even more so that neither of the lasers are DPSS; they're both directly-injected diodes.

As a result, the laser will be derated ***SIGNICANTLY*** and wind up floating in, "The Toylet Bowl" section of my website, denoting products which are particularly crappy.


PROS:
Very unique as far as portable lasers go
Colors are radiant and unusual for a portable laser
Batteries it uses are rather readily available; though not cheap unless you procure them online


CONS:
Some chromatic abberation is present
Poor (or no) power regulation -- this nocks off at least one star
Some safety features mandated for a CDRH Class IIIb laser are missing (this is what lopped off that last ½ star)
Totally bogus duty cycle -- that's what nocked off the rest of the stars!



MANUFACTURER: Changchun New Industries
PRODUCT TYPE: Multicolor portable laser
LAMP TYPE: Blue and red directly-injected diode lasers
No. OF LAMPS: 2
BEAM TYPE: Extremely narrow spot
SWITCH TYPE: Pushbutton momentary on/mode change/off
CASE MATERIAL: Metal
BEZEL: Metal; laser aperture is recessed into a hosel for it
BATTERY: 2x CR123A lithium cells
CURRENT CONSUMPTION: 4.04mA to 1,669mA
WATER-RESISTANT: Very light splatter-resistance max.
SUBMERSIBLE: No
ACCESSORIES: None that I'm aware of
SIZE: 40mm D x 204mm L
WEIGHT: 425.50g with battery
COUNTRY OF MANUFACTURE: China
WARRANTY: 6 months

PRODUCT RATING:




Update 08-17-12: Re-performed current measurement & derated it for lack of power regulation.

Update 08-18-12: Performed additional power output & short-term stability analyses, upon which the laser failed.

Update 08-23-12: This laser has a totally asinine duty cycle recommendation -- the "ON" time is just 45 seconds to 1 minute max! This caused the laser to be derated ***SIGNIFICANTLY!!!***

Update 09-02-12: Weighed laser with my brand new scale

Update 10-24-12: Performed spectrographic & power output analyses of the repaired unit.
 
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Are you kidding me?
Mentioning Dial-up, really?


The dot look very round on the pictures❌.
I would Like to see the Pink beam
 
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jander6442

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Nice review as always... niche lasers like this one is all about the price. If I were to buy it I would have to rip it apart to see how dey do dat:evil:
 

Cyparagon

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How is the regulation? As in: how does the current change with a change in input voltage?
 

The_LED_Museum

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How is the regulation? As in: how does the current change with a change in input voltage?
Regulation is poor to nonexistant. :(

I just connected it to my variable voltage PSU, set it for ~6 volts, energised both beams, and started turning the voltage down...it hadn't quite yet decreased to 5 volts before the blue laser pretty much extinguised; leaving the red laser blazing away and the blue laser below lasing threshold...guess it's "gonna" be losing some stars off its rating in tomorrow morning's update.
:cryyy: :knight: :cryyy:
 
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BShanahan14rulz

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That just tells me that if it is regulated, it is only a buck driver, hopefully not linear, though.
 

rhd

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Does anyone know of a source to order these from, other than CNI? I've got, and love, the RG. I really want an RB.

However, I think I'm done with ordering directly from CNI for a while. Still a bit soured at their customer service, not to mention the 561nm that they passed off as a 556.

Nobody seems to stock these RB, RG, etc builds though. Anyone have a source with straight-forward Paypal or CC ordering?
 

benmwv

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Blue: 389.20mA 150mw
Red: 333.50mA 132mw
Pink: 1,670mA 196mw

Something doesn't quite add up here. I would expect 500-600ma for the combined mode. Is it supposed to be just 670ma (not 1,670)?
 

The_LED_Museum

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Blue: 389.20mA 150mw
Red: 333.50mA 132mw
Pink: 1,670mA 196mw

Something doesn't quite add up here. I would expect 500-600ma for the combined mode. Is it supposed to be just 670ma (not 1,670)?
Let me meter it again and see what happens...BBS...hmmm now I get 742mA; but that could be because the batteries are pooping out. Let me see if I have some fresher ones and meter it again...BBS...ok, I found two cells that metered 80% and 100% on a load battery tester; I got 937mA this time.

I'll remeasure later on when I have a pair of cells that test at 100% on the load battery meter.
 

InfinitusEquitas

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I have two in there already; the camera doesn't "see" the red & blue mixing the same way the human eye does...but I'll give it the good old college try.
Huh, re-reading I see... sucks that they don't come though.

Maybe some fog would help though, to bring out color in the beam, and not so much the dot.
 

The_LED_Museum

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I'll remeasure later on when I have a pair of cells that test at 100% on the load battery meter.
OK, here are those measurements that I said I'd take:

Quiescent: 4.04mA
Blue: 1,329mA
Red: 404mA
Blue + Red: 1,669mA

Looks like it's time for another trip through the LaserBee as well! :)
 

The_LED_Museum

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Ok, through the LPM it went again, and I have some more promising values:

Blue: 232mW
Red: 144mW
Both:346mW

Bad news here is that the unit failed almost immediately after a short-term (600 seconds) stability analysis. :(
 

DJNY

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Ok, through the LPM it went again, and I have some more promising values:

Blue: 232mW
Red: 144mW
Both:346mW

Bad news here is that the unit failed almost immediately after a short-term (600 seconds) stability analysis. :(
Very similar to the measurements to these I got with the RB Laser.

So you´re saying your unit is broken now? :(


Anyway for the people who want to see more of this laser, here is a vid I took back in 2010 after a Li_ion battery explosion:
 




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