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Review of the Wicked Lasers Arctic G2

The_LED_Museum

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This a long page with at least 114 images on it; dial-up users please allow for plenty of load time.

S3 Spyder Arctic G2 445nm Blue Laser, retail $299.95 (www.wickedlasers.com...)

Manufactured by Wicked Lasers (www.wickedlasers.com)
Last updated 04-15-12








The 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 almost 1 watt of laser radiation at 445nm (spectrographically measured at 439.48nm {low} and 441.40nm {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).

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 up to 1 watt 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!!!

SIZE



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

To use the laser module (it has multiple operational modes thanks to its SmartSwitch™) {which is why it is the G2, not the G1}, 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™. After the first click, the first LED will be steady-on and the second one will be flashing.

3: Click the SmartSwitch™ again. The first and second LEDs will be steady-on and the third one will be flashing.

4: Click the SmartSwitch™ a third time. Both the first and second LEDs will be flashing.

5: Hold down the SmartSwitch™ briefly and the second & third LEDs will be flashing.

6: Hold down the SmartSwitch™ briefly again. All three LEDs will flash three times, then go into battery status monitoring mode.


If you are not used to using a CDRH Class IV laser (and very, very few people really are!), you'll want to start out with the training lens in place.

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

Once the laser is unlocked, the default operating mode for the laser is low power, pulse wave, constant on operation. This means the laser operates at 5% of the maximum power output, making it 20 times safer. When used in conjunction with the training lenses, output power is further reduced 5 times, making the laser only 1% as hazardous to the human eye or skin than at maximum power.
Once you are ready to experience maximum 100% power, it takes only 2 clicks to change the mode and mere seconds to replace the lens. The SmartSwitch™ is the world's most innovative and safest laser system ever created.

The following modes are available:

Low Power (10% of maximum) , Constant Wave, Constant On
Low Power (10% of maximum) , Pulse Wave (6Hz / 50%) , Constant On
Max Power , Constant Wave, Constant On
Max Power , Pulse Wave (6Hz / 50%) , Constant On
Secure Locked Mode

The laser starts off in low power, blinking.
To change to steady-on mode, click the SmartSwitch™ once.
To cycle between full power and low power, give the SmartSwitch™ a short hold.
To lock the laser, give the SmartSwitch™ a longer hold (~3 seconds).

At any time, three short clicks followed by two short holds unlocks the laser.

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 (or top) (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 allows 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.

The laser module comes with a hinge-lidded presentation case (that has a magnetically-closing lid) with a foam cutout for the module and most of the lenses (not including the one affixed to your Arctic at the moment). You may store the Arctic in this case if desired.





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.


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.


Current usage measures 384mA (minimum CW output) to 1,140mA (1.140A) (maximum CW output) on a known-fully charged 18650 cell.





This is a laser module, not a flashlight. So I won't immerse it in water, perform "The Smack Test" on it, or perform any other potentially destructive tests on it.

Therefore, this section of the laser's web page will seem a bit more bare than this section of the web page on a page about a flashlight.

This is a directly-injected laser though, who's active components are the laser diode and the collimating lens. So it should withstand accidents better than a DPSS (diode pumped solid state) laser - the type of laser assembly found in yellow (593.5nm), green (532nm) and blue (473nm) laser pointers & laser modules (handheld or laboratory). These lasers have several additional components (crystals, filters, etc.) in the optical train, and you can knock them out of alignment by doing little more than looking at them the wrong way. And if any of these components are knocked out of whack, you'll no longer get your yellow, green, or blue laser beam.


You still do not want to intentionally drop your S3 Spyder Arctic though, because it's a rather expen$ive precision optical instrument.

***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 1W 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.



VERY IMPORTANT!!!
I know I just said this, but it bears repeating: You MUST NOT shine it in your eyes, not even when the S3 Spyder Arctic's battery has pooped out and it is below lasing threshold!!!!!!!!!

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 sinks, tubs, toilets, fishtanks, pet water bowls, or other 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).






Beam photograph on the test target at 12".
The laser power meter I have is simply not capable of measuring the tremendous power output of this laser (est. ~1.0 watt!!!) at maximum power.

Measures 37.8666mW on "low" with the training lens in place.
Measures 151.2734mW on "low" WITHOUT the training lens on.
All measurements were taken with the Sper Scientific Pocket Laser Power Meter # 840011

I remeasured on 10-09-10 (or "09 Oct 2010" if you prefer:
Measures 48.555mW on "low" with the training lens.
Measures 46.755mW on "low" with the training lens *AND* the high-power lens in place, so the high power lens does cut back the output power, but only slightly.

I got a LaserBee laser power meter that can measure up to 2.50W on the afternoon of 06-13-11 (or "13 Jun 2011" if you prefer), and can now measure this laser at its maximum output.

Measures 719mW (high) and 84mW (low) on this meter.





Beam photograph on a wall at ~10 feet (low).



Beam photograph on a wall at ~10 feet (high).



Beam configuration of the Arctic on "low".



Beam configuration of the Arctic on "high".

Those "blobs" in the beam are artifacts caused by the lens, and may be ignored.



Beam photograph on the test target at 12"; line effect lens used.



Beam photograph on the test target at 12"; cross-effect lens used.



Beam photograph on the test target at 12"; galaxy effect (starfield generator) lens used.



Beam photograph on the test target at 12"; focusing (burning) lens used.



Beam photograph on the test target at 12"; flashlight effect lens used.



Beam photograph on the test target at 12"; floodlight effect lens used.



Photograph of a room taken using the Arctic as the only light source.
The beam was directed (aimed) at the ceiling ~4.50 feet away.
The image actually appeared significantly brighter in the viewfinder and the actual scene looked brighter too.



Photograph of the beam in the night sky.
Photograph was taken at 5:47am PDT 09-28-10 (or "28 Sep 2010" if you prefer).

***VERY IMPORTANT!!!***
I made absolutely, positively, 100% certain that no aircraft of any type were in the vicinity when this photograph and the four photographs directly below were taken!!!



Photograph of the beam directed into the top of a tree located ~150' away.
Some camera movement occurred; that's why it appears as though multiple beams exist.
Photograph was taken at 5:48am PDT 09-28-10 (or "28 Sep 2010" if you prefer).



Photograph of the beam directed into a tree located ~150' away; 4x zoom on the camera was used.
Photograph was taken at 7:03am PDT 09-29-10 (or "29 Sep 2010" if you prefer).



The Arctic's beam in fog (low).
Photograph taken at 10:11pm PST on 12-01-10 (or "01 Dec. 2010" if you prefer).



The Arctic's beam in fog (high).
Photograph taken at 10:11pm PST on 12-01-10 (or "01 Dec. 2010" if you prefer).



Arctic's beam at ~100' using 16x telephoto.



Another shot of the Arctic's beam at ~100' using 14x telephoto.



A shot of the Arctic's beam at ~110' using 14x telephoto -- this time onto snow.



Another shot of the Arctic's beam at ~110' (on snow) using 4x telephoto.



Arctic shot at the dark roof (est. albedo of 5 to 7) of a house ~130' away.
Photograph taken at 8:58am PST on 11-27-10 (or "27 Nov 2010" if you prefer).

VERY IMPORTANT!!!
Even though these are inhabited structures, in the above five photopgraphs, I was absolutely, positively, 100% certain that the beam terminus was well away from windows, doors, or other apertures where somebody might become accidentally irradiated!!!

***VERY IMPORTANT!!!***
I made absolutely, positively, 100% certain that no aircraft of any type were in the vicinity when the following three photographs were taken!!!


This is the Arctic's beam in fog.



This is the Arctic beaming skyward at night and in moderate fog.



This is the Arctic shooting into snow.
Photograph taken at ~5:09am PST on 11-22-10 (or "22 Nov. 2010" if you prefer) in Federal Way WA. USA.



This is what the Arctic did to the furnished pair of LaserShades.
I have two other pairs of laser safety goggles that are highly effective at the Arctic's wavelength; so I was easily able to sacrifice these LaserShades in the name of science without robbing myself of eye protection.



Photograph of the beam indoors; taken at 3:39pm PDT on 10-07-10 (or "07 Oct 2010" if you prefer).



A second photograph of the beam indoors; taken at 5:50pm PDT on 10-07-10 (or "07 Oct 2010" if you prefer).



A third photograph of the beam indoors; taken at 7:19pm PDT on 10-07-10 (or "07 Oct 2010" if you prefer).

Those red "splotches" on the ceiling are from a Laserpod that was operating in the vicinity at the time these photoghraphs were taken.

This is a tobacco-free home, so I'm not certain just what the particulate matter (or contaminants) in the atmosphere are that would make the beam show up in this manner (show up this well).

***VERY IMPORTANT!!!***
These three photographs were taken indoors in a location that
would absolutely forbid the accidental irradiation of people or pets!!!


The following four photographs show that something rather queer is happening to the beam:


Distance: ~12 inches.



Distance: ~7 feet.



Distance: ~12 inches.



Distance: ~7 feet.

The 50% ND (neutral density) filter from my ProMetric 8 Beam Cross-Sectional Analyser was used for the lower pair of photographs -- this is also the cause of the secondary "ghost" beam spot seen in the last photograph.

I cannot explain just how the major axis of the beam is rotating 90° when the distance is the only variable here.
For both photographs, the Arctic was placed on a stable surface and was not bumped or even touched between exposures; the camera was on a tripod and it was not turned either.



Photograph of the safety and instructional materials furnished with the Arctic.



This is the CDRH Class IV "laser aperture" sticker furnished with the Arctic; apparently as a spare.
The serial number of the one already affixed to my Arctic is 31545; same manufacturing date (June 2010).


LASER STABILITY CHARTS:

THESE CHARTS NOW HAVE THEIR OWN WEB PAGE!!!




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




Same as above; spectrometer's response narrowed to a range between 430nm and 460nm to pinpoint wavelength.




Same as above; spectrometer's response narrowed again to a range between 430nm and 445nm to more accurately pinpoint wavelength, which appears to be 439.48nm.




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




Same as above; spectrometer's response narrowed to a range between 430nm and 460nm to pinpoint wavelength.




Same as above; spectrometer's response narrowed again to a range between 430nm and 445nm to more accurately pinpoint wavelength, which appears to be 441.40nm.




Spectrographic analysis of this laser on low, different angle of irradiance.




Spectrographic analysis of this laser on low, different angle of irradiance.
Spectrometer's response narrowed to a range between 420nm and 460nm to pinpoint wavelength; which appears to be 439.60nm.



Spectrographic analysis of this laser on high, different angle of irradiance.



Spectrographic analysis of this laser on high, different angle of irradiance.
Spectrometer's response narrowed to a range between 420nm and 460nm to pinpoint wavelength; which appears to be 441.30nm.



Low; spectrometer's response narrowed to a range between 438nm and 442nm to (yet) more accurately pinpoint wavelength, which appears to be 439.855nm.



High; spectrometer's response narrowed to a range between 439nm and 443nm to (yet) more accurately pinpoint wavelength, which appears to be 441.980nm.



Spectrographic analysis of the S3 Spyder Arctic (on low); spectrometer's response broadened to its maximum range of 175nm to 874nm to show the total lack of any emissions whatsoever beyond the laser line itself.



Spectrographic analysis of the S3 Spyder Arctic (on high); spectrometer's response broadened to its maximum range of 175nm to 874nm to show the total lack of any emissions whatsoever beyond the laser line itself.




Spectrographic analysis of the S3 Spyder Arctic (on low); newer spectrometer software settings used.






Same as above; spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 440nm and 450nm to more accurately pinpoint wavelength, which appears to be 438.492nm.






Spectrographic analysis of the S3 Spyder Arctic (on high); newer spectrometer software settings used






Same as above (high mode); newer spectrometer software settings used. Spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 440nm and 450nm to more accurately pinpoint wavelength, which appears to be 442.720nm.

ALL NONLASER SPECTROGRAPHIC ANALYSES NOW HAVE THEIR OWN THREAD ON THIS BBS!!!

USB2000 Spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.




Beam cross-sectional analysis (X-axis; low power).




Beam cross-sectional analysis (Y-axis; low power).




Beam cross-sectional analysis (X-axis; high power).




Beam cross-sectional analysis (Y-axis; high power).

In the two "high power" analyses, those circular "blotches" in the beam really do exist; I believe they are due to motes of dust on the laser diode's output window or collimating lens.

Images made using the ProMetric System by Radiant Imaging.




Operational modes.
The flashing is *MUCH MORE* even and consistent in reality; digital cameras have a rough time accurately capturing flashing light sources because of how the shutter works.
This clip is approximately 4.611324759059 megabytes (4,761,456 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than twenty three minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.



Video of this laser destroying a radiometer.
Video on YourTube showing this laser irradiating & burning the vanes of a Crooke's radiometer.
This radiometer no longer functions properly because it suffered internal damage from this laser!
I guess you could call this laser a “radiometer destructor” now!!!


Medical P/C Argon Laser Safety Goggles were used in front of the camera's lens to allow you to see the vanes of the radiometer incandescing (burning) while being irradiated. Those are the bright yellow flashes you see; the laser's blue radiation is almost completely attenuated by them!!!
This clip is approximately 9.900045345618 megabytes (10,095,846 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than forty nine minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.




This is the radiometer showing laser damage to the black portion of its vanes -- all four vanes are damaged in this fashion.

There doesn't appear to be sufficient damage to the vanes themselves to destroy the radiometer...best guess here is that when the black material incandesced (burned), it outgassed, queering the near-vacuum and/or the gas fill of the "bulb". If the pressure inside the "bulb" increased, that would indeed cause the radiometer to malfunction in the manner described on its web page.




Electrical tape whirling down the toliet
Video on YourTube showing this laser irradiating & melting some black electrical tape. Note the large amount of rather noxious smoke issuing from the tape as it is burning.

Medical P/C Argon Laser Safety Goggles were used in front of the camera's lens to allow you to see the tape going down the tube.

This clip is approximately 4.207342653247 megabytes (4,399,880 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than twenty one minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.



Video on YourTube showing the Arctic irradiating and subsequently destroying the Arctic 445nm LaserShades that were furnished with it.

This video is approximately 20.335662378675 megabytes (20,582,520 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than one hundred two minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.




This video shows this laser in "use".
Note the laser safety goggles I have on (which should ***ALWAYS*** be used when handling any CDRH Class IIIb or Class IV laser!); these aren't the LaserShades that are furnished with the Arctic because I ended up destroying them with this very laser.


***VERY IMPORTANT!!!***
This video was shot in the confines of my own home, not outdoors or in any other location where somebody else might become accidentally irradiated!!!

This clip is approximately 17.588453457413 megabytes (17,777,724 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than eighty eight minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.

I cannot provide any of these videos in other formats, so please do not ask.



Video showing the Arctic being waved around a bit at night in moderate fog.

This clip is approximately 4.767745356292 megabytes (4,840,866 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than twenty three minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.




A video of this laser attempting to nock the Syma S107G R/C Coaxial Helicopter out of the air.
You can guess who wins...if you guessed "the laser" then WRONG SOONG! WRONG SOONG!!...er...uh...I mean, "You guessed incorrectly!"
Even with over 700mW of laser radiation at ~440nm in the royal blue part of the spectrum falling directly onto the heli's sensor, nothing at all untoward happened to it!
In the first part of the video, the "burning" (positive) lens was used on the laser to widen its beam; the lens was not used in the second part after nothing exciting happened. And even without the lens, nothing exciting happened. :-/

That music you might hear is the song "The Call of Ktulu" by Metallica. This heli is not sound-sensitive; the audio may safely be ignored or even muted if it pisses you off.

This video is approximately 7.53804535516 megabytes (7,717,915 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than thirty eight minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.




A video of this laser attempting to nock the Havok Heli out of the air.
You can guess who wins...if you guessed "the laser" then WRONG SOONG! WRONG SOONG!!! {from the Star Trek: TNG episode "Brothers}...er...uh...I mean, "You guessed incorrectly!"
Even with over 700mW of laser radiation at ~440nm in the royal blue part of the spectrum falling directly onto the heli's sensor, nothing at all untoward happened to it!
In the first part of the video, the "burning" (positive) lens was used on the laser to widen its beam; the lens was not used in the second part after nothing exciting happened. And even without the lens, nothing exciting happened. :-/

This video is approximately 3.31176342378 megabytes (3,470,471 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than seventeen minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.




Video of this laser vs. three balloons.

Guess who wins...




...if you guessed "the balloons" then ¡¡¡HUSOOS CRISTO EN UNA MULETA!!!
The laser wins this one...well, mostly.
The purple balloon remains unpopped because the colorant (dye) used to make the purple reflects enough of the blue laser radiation (versus absorbing it and subsequently converting much of it to heat) to avoid balloon destruction.

The only sound you should hear is the explosive decompression of two balloons.

This video is approximately 1.74312347817 megabytes (1,904,689 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than eight minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.




TEST NOTES:
Test unit was sent by Steve of Wicked Lasers on 07-15-10 (or "15 Jul 2010" if you prefer), and was received at 12:51pm PDT on 09-27-10 (or "27 Sep 2010").
The long lead time was rather expected; Wicked Lasers got a huge influx of orders and they simply were not able to build Arctic lasers fast enough!!!





***EXTREMELY 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!!!

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: 10-01-10
¡HUSOOS CRISTO!
I have some anecdotal evidence that some variants of the 18650 cell supplied with the Arctic may fail rather catastrophically while in the charger.
*** VERY IMPORTANT!!!***
THIS (AS FAR AS I KNOW ANYWAY) APPLIES ONLY TO THE 18650 CELL IN THE GREEN OUTER COVERING, NOT THE ORANGE ONE!!!
From a posting on the Laser Pointer Forums (and used with explicit written consent; not just implied oral consent) comes the following {no changes to spelling, syntax or grammar were made}:


Hello everyone as you may know I've had my Arctics for a little while now.

I originally charged-up one of WL green 1300mAh 18650 batteries and while it didn't last long, all was fine.

Last night I needed to recharge that same WL 18650 battery. I used the same charger that I charged with last time around, and I've been using that same charger (one of several I have) for about 2 years now.

About an hour into charging I heard an explosion & large flash and awful burning smell from the room the charger & batteries where. Both my Fire Alarm & Burglar Alarm went off at the same time.

The WL 18650 battery had EXPLODED all over the place, and burn the wall, table top it was sitting on, scorched 3 other chargers that were sitting near it not plugged in and not being used at the time. It also scorched the side of the TV it was near. Pieces of the exploded battery flew across the room and light fire to my bedding linens.

Needless to say I had my hands full taking care of all this, in the end I'm left with ruined bed linens. Scorched table top, wall, side of 40" HDTV, 3 other scorched chargers from being near it and a ruined charger and an AW IMR battery sitting near it; not to mention all the pieces of the WL battery and fire/soot smell.

Spent must of the night and early this morning cleaning-up the best I could and got a Commercial Ionizer this morning to cleanup the air in the house to rid the house of that nasty fire smell.

I am very lucky that one it didn't burn my house down, and two I wasn't hurt because just 10 minutes before the Explosion I went in that room to checked on those batteries; thankfully it didn't explode in my face at that moment.

Someone once asked if the WL 18650 is a protected battery, I can tell you now for certain NO it's not.



I have heard of similar incidents more than just once, which kind of rules out a horribly unfortunate fluke.
I have seen Tenergy 18650 cells being mentioned rather frequently as a direct replacement for the 18650 cell included with the Arctic; if you have the 18650 cell with the green covering, it may very well behoove you to consider getting one or more Tenergy cells.

Since this is an issue with the battery and not the laser itself, I will not be decreasing the 5-star rating I furnished the Arctic.

***EXTREMELY, CRITICALLY IMPORTANT!!!***
This is a third party report of which I have no way of verifying the accuracy of --
this data is INFORMATIONAL ONLY and should be used solely for this purpose!!!


UPDATE: 10-11-10
This is the glass lens and metal lens cover for high-power lens; note how the glass lens ("window" actually, because it does not focus or modify the light in any way) fell off.



The other lenses in the set have a metal collet inside (that holds the glass element in place) that is unscrewed with the use of a spanner wrench; no such collar was found in this unit.
Was this by design or is this simply a fluke?



UPDATE: 10-15-10

This is played just like the "Name That Sound" game on AFV (America's Funniest Home Videos).







This video allows you to hear (and later shows) how the laser's "high power lens" (well, "window" actually, because it does not focus or modify the light in any manner) fell out of the lens holder.

Please turn your speakers or earphones on, because the point of this video is the SOUND. :)

This clip is approximately 104.099987458381 megabytes (104,274,058 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than five hundred twenty minutes (!!!) to load at 48.0Kbps.




UPDATE: 10-16-10
The following video is very similar to the one I published yesterday, but I reshot the first and third segments -- the third with better lighting courtesy of the iKAN iLED 100 Video Light.


Name That Sound (2)

This is played just like the "Name That Sound" game on AFV (America's Funniest Home Videos).







This video allows you to hear (and later shows) how the laser's "high power lens" (well, "window" actually, because it does not focus or modify the light in any manner) fell out of the lens holder.

Please turn your speakers or earphones on, because the point of this video is the SOUND. :)

This clip is approximately 109.425746783445 megabytes (111,440,758 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than five hundred forty seven minutes (!!!) to load at 48.0Kbps.



UPDATE: 10-16-10
No, you're not seeing things.
Yes, a same-day update.
My sister vacuumed my room yesterday morning, completely unaware that the high-power lens was still on the floor. As a result, I no longer have it because it very likely went up the vacuum cleaner.
Although the chances of finding it are remote, the probability of this occurring is not mathematically zero -- especially if the vacuum cleaner she used is P-whipped.



UPDATE:10-17-10
I have heard back from my contacts (yes, "contactS" in the plural) regarding the now-MIA lens, and a new one is being sent out.
So that new (but still fairly dreadful) "
" icon won't be here forever.



UPDATE:10-17-10
No, you're not seeing things.
Yes, a same-day update.


This is played just like the "Name That Sound" game on AFV (America's Funniest Home Videos).
THIS WILL BE THE LAST VIDEO OF THIS TYPE!!!

This video allows you to hear (and later shows) how the Wicked Lasers Spyder 3 Arctic G2 Blue Diode Laser's "high power lens" (well, "window" actually, because it does not focus or modify the light in any manner) fell out of the lens holder.

Please turn your speakers or earphones on, because the point of this video is the SOUND. :)

This is similar to the other "Name That Sound" video I put on YouTube on 10-15-10 (or "15 Oct 2010" if you prefer), but the lens fell onto the floor and subsequently got sucked up the vacuum cleaner while I was in another part of the house doing something and my sister took it upon herself to vacuum without telling anybody. :-(

This clip is approximately 121.623457221178 megabytes (122,075,214 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than six hundred eight minutes (!!!) to load at 48.0Kbps.



UPDATE: 10-18-10


I know that many of you like to see lasers burn and destroy...so without further adoo:
This video shows the Wicked Lasers Spyder 3 Arctic 445nm 1W Blue Diode Laser burning the red window of a Trixar™ (a red-filtered piece of plastic in a paper & plastic frame, found in a box of Triks...er...uh...TRIX
cereal a number of years ago).

This video is approximately 8.588562344110 megabytes (8,708,908 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than forty two minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.




UPDATE: 10-19-10
I tested the Arctic for the presence of quasi-CW operation, and found none -- that is, it operates in true CW mode, both at minimum and maximum intensities.
Here, let's let this photograph of an oscilloscope screen do the talking here:



See the completely flat line?
If this laser operated in quasi-CW mode, you'd see a "jagged" line instead.



UPDATE: 10-19-10
No, you aren't seeing things.
Yes, a same-day update.
There have been scattered reports of the laser diode failing in the Arctic with the "training lens" in place; some users came to the conclusion that this lens may be reflecting too much laser radiation back into the diode itself, causing subsequent failure.
So I measured the reflected radiation at just 8.240mW (with the Arctic at full power and directing its beam at the inner surface of this lens as it would be during actual use) -- clearly, this is quite insufficient optical power "feedback" to cause diode failure. So you need not be concerned WHATSOEVER at using the training lens for its intended purpose as it poses no threat at all ("not no way, not no how" as they say) whatsoever to the Arctic's laser diode.



UPDATE: 10-20-10



This video shows the Wicked Lasers Spyder 3 Arctic 445nm 1W Blue Diode Laser with the "Galaxy Effect" lens (actually, a holographic optic; not a "lens" in the truest sense of the word).

This video is approximately 8.377779834659 megabytes (8,597,648 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than forty one minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.



UPDATE: 10-20-10
No, you aren't seeing things.
Yes, a same-day update.
Some vignetting of the Arctic's beam appears to be occuring along the major axis (the wider of the two axes; shown here oriented horizontally), as the following photograph demonstrates:



See how the edges at the extreme left and right are rounded?
That's because the edges of the beam along that axis are being vignetted ("cut off") by the edges of the aperture (the hole that the laser beam escapes from). It is not kown just how much power is being lost in this fashion, but I would not expect it to be any more than a few tens of milliwatts at full power -- certainly nothing to be concerned about with a laser of this power.



UPDATE: 11-05-10

Note how the paint is coming off the Power button.
Since this is mainly a cosmetic issue that in no way affects functionality; no points will come off the Arctic's rating because of this.



UPDATE: 11-10-10
I have performed spectroscopy of the fluorescence of two different objects when irradiated with this laser; please see the link farther up this post.



UPDATE: 11-12-10
I have performed spectroscopy of the fluorescence of the orange tailcap of the Zelco J-Light when irradiated with this laser; please see the link farther up this post.



UPDATE: 11-13-10
I have performed spectroscopy of the fluorescence of two different objects when irradiated with this laser; please see the link farther up this post.



UPDATE: 11-20-10
I have performed spectroscopy of the fluorescence of three different objects when irradiated with this laser; please see the link farther up this web page.
I also added operational temperature restrictions to the larger body of text farther up this evaluation.




UPDATE: 11-26-10
From somebody who knows their {vulgar term for caca; rhymes with "pit"} about lasers & optics (Don Klipstein), comes this -- regarding the apparent twisting of the beam that I photographically demonstrated yesterday:


Dear Craig Johnson,

I saw your stuff on the Arctic having major axis in one direction at 12 inches and 90 degrees from that at 7 feet.

Look for someplace in between where the beam is round.

The reason for this is usually astigmatism - where the beam has divergence from one axis corresponding to one "waist location", and divergence from the other corresponding to a different "waist location". Laser diodes often do this, while in general other lasers do not.

The "waist" is where the beam is narrowest. The beam converges approaching the "waist", and diverges after passing through the "waist".

Sometimes the waist does not exist in reality, but only as a mathematical projection of its existence rearward of where the beam starts. In that case, the beam diverges every inch of the way from where it actually starts.

A cylindrical lens can be used to move either the "parallel to E-field waist" or the "perpendicular to e-field" waist. If the two coincide into a single waist, then the beam has the same shape at all points far from the waist. (In the waist, the 90 degree difference happens again if the beam is oblong - lower divergence and wider waist width go hand-in-hand.)





UPDATE: 11-28-10
From somebody who knows their {slang term for poo-poo; rhymes with "wrap"} about lasers (Don Klipstein), comes this, regarding the spectra of the laser diode in the Arctic that I loaned him:

Dear Craig Johnson,

I have some findings here, mostly spectral!

1: Central wavelength of this one looks to me close to 441 nm. I will be doing a redermination.

2: I have achieved fine detail spectra. These are attached.

3: The spectral lines are "repeated-for-each-wavelength" reflections of the beam. At that point, the path length is about 35 feet. Each of these (as well as undiffracted beam which is far to the left) is highly oblong, 90 degrees from the way the beam is highly oblong when it exits the laser. The initially narrower dimension diverges more, as predicted. The initially-wider dimension may have a waist at some distance from the device for that matter - I have yet to get that far. The initially-narrower dimension appears to me to have its waist fairly close to where the beam exits the device.


Here are the three spectra he furnished:


Minimum power.



Maximum power.



Referenced to a neon glow lamp.
He writes:

This time, I had the laser shining onto a neon lamp. I had the camera looking at the laser-illuminated glow lamp through a diffraction grating.

In the previous ones, I had the laser reflect from a diffraction grating onto a wall.


He emailed me on 11-29-10 (or "29 Nov. 2010" if you prefer) to say that he may have miscalculated the bandwidth (wider) in the first two spectra -- the ones without the neon lamp.



UPDATE: 11-29-10
From Don Klipstein again, comes this spectrum of the Arctic on "high" mode; the neon lamp was again used as a reference:





UPDATE: 12-02-10
From Don Klipstein again, comes this beam terminus photo montage:


This shows the beam spot at five different distances, from 2 inches to 20 feet.



UPDATE: 12-04-10
The replacement "standard" (high-power) "lens" (actually, a window) has arrived, so that somewhat dreadful "
icon can now be removed.
This lens is AR (antireflective) coated on both sides.



UPDATE: 12-16-10
Being a CDRH Class 4 device, in the United States the Arctic must have (in addition to the existing safety features) but does not have:

1: Mechanical beam shutter
2: LED (or other light source) emissions indicator (The Arctic does have LEDs, but they do not actually indicate whether or not laser radiation is being generated)

Therefore, at least ½ a star has to come off its rating.



UPDATE: 12-21-10
Performed spectroscopy of fluorescence of two more objects when irradiated with this laser.




UPDATE: 01-06-11
Removed the "unboxing" video because I was receiving an excessive amount of negative commentary about it -- like how I was such a careless ass and even worse.




UPDATE: 04-22-11
I found the following brief piece about the Arctic in the "Manufacturer's Showcase" section in this month's issue of Laser Focus World magazine:





UPDATE: 06-14-11
I got a LaserBee 2.5W USB Laser Power Meter yesterday, and wasted no time in measuring this laser with it.
Measures 719mW (high) and 84mW (low) on this meter.



UPDATE: 06-26-11
Here are a couple of videos that the manufacturer requested:



Here's how to get "high power" mode to function properly in the Wicked Lasers Spyder S3 445nm Arctic blue diode laser.

This video is approximately 3.20152768111 megabytes (3,394,679 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than sixteen minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.





If your S3 Arctic Spyder laser is not going into high power or staying in high power, or if your S3 Arctic Spyder is acting strange, try this.

Take a small piece of aluminum foil about one half by one and a half inches. Fold it in half so it is now one quarter by one and a half inches long.

Take off the end cap, lay the foil across the positive tip of the battery and make sure the foil is touching the threads on the inside of the laser as you put the end cap back on.

Be sure to not get the foil in between the threads of the cap and laser as you screw on the cap as it can jam up the threads and ruin the laser.

The Smart Switch™ should be lit now. Click the end power switch on and off several times. The Smart Switch™ should always stay on now with the aluminum foil in place.

Now use the laser, if it works okay now, the problem is with the end cap.

Remember to take the aluminum foil out of the laser when you are done using it, otherwise it will slowly drain the battery over a period of time. Be sure to tilt the laser's back end downward as you take the end cap off so there is no chance of the aluminum foil getting up inside the laser past the battery.

This video is approximately 12.64045232337 megabytes (12,830,393 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than sixty three minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Please be advised that my voice sucks in these videos because I had some rather serious brain surgery in late-2002.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



UPDATE: 11-11-11
Here are the charts produced by the LaserBee:


Low: 85mW.



High: 715mW.




PROS:
EXTREMELY POWERFUL output for such a small, self-contained unit
Color (royal blue @ 445nm) is exceptionally vibrant and unusual for a handheld laser
Battery it uses is rechargeable; never have to find disposables for it


CONS:
Timing for using the SmartSwitch™ is somewhat critical; if your timing sucks, you can't get this laser to fire off very easily
(This is a crucial safety feature, and can rather easily be overlooked!)
High-power "lens" was very easily broken -- that's what nocked that last 0.05 star off its rating...however, if I find that it was manufactured incorrectly, I'll consider it a fluke and restore that last 0.05 star.










MANUFACTURER: Wicked Lasers
PRODUCT TYPE: Portable directly-injected royal blue-emitting (
=~439.48nm {low} and ~441.40nm {high}) diode laser module

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: Aluminum
BEZEL: Metal; has aperture (hole) for laser beam to emerge
BATTERY: 1x 185650 rechargeable cell; I believe 1,400mAh capacity
CURRENT CONSUMPTION: 384mA (minimum CW output) to 1,140mA (1.140A) (maximum CW output)
WATER- AND URANATION-RESISTANT: Yes
SUBMERSIBLE: FOR CHRIST SAKES NOOOOO!!!

ACCESSORIES: Protective "LaserShades" laser eyewear, training lens, 7 other specialty lenses, lens cleaning pen, "Class IV LASER" sticker, 18650 cell, charger, presentation case
SIZE: 35.80mm D by 228mm L
WEIGHT: 378 grams
COUNTRY OF MANUFACTURE: China
WARRANTY: 90 days



PRODUCT RATING:



04-18-11: Added a video of the laser unsuccessfully attempting to nock an indoor (infrared) R/C helicopter out of the sky.

04-25-11: Added a video of the laser unsuccessfully attempting to nock a second indoor (infrared) R/C helicopter out of the sky.

06-12-11: Performed two more spectrographic analyses to pinpoint the wavelength with even more accuracy.

06-14-11: Finally got power measurements completed since acquiring a LaserBee meter yesterday.

06-26-11: Added two videos that the laser's manufacturer had requested.

07-17-11: Added a video of this laser destroying some balloons.

11-11-11: Added two charts produced by a LaserBee LPM.

12-02-11: Added two broadband spectra to verify that there is no emission beyond intended laser line.

04-15-12: Performed multiple spectrographic analyses using new spectrometer software settings.
 
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I must say, this is one of if not THE most comprehensive review I have ever read. I am still quivering from the overwhelming amount of data.

+Rep for you sir.
 

rpaloalto

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Good Lord! as much as I hate the arctic That was a one hell of a enjoyable review. Nice one LED Museum.
 

ryckee

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5 stars???it's one of the worst laser build!!i mean inside, check all review about it.
 

Pilgor

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Really nice review on a not so nice laser. I hope to see more of your reviews because they are so well done and not just thrown together. +1
 
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Damn, a little loooong winded, no? And a good shave would help with credibility.

It is a great review. I just dont want to spend a half hour reading it.
 

The_LED_Museum

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5 stars???it's one of the worst laser build!!i mean inside, check all review about it.

My Arctic has performed absolutely flawlessly thus far; if issues crop up in the future (and these problems are not to be expected), then it will lose stars off its rating.



Damn, a little loooong winded, no? And a good shave would help with credibility.

It is a great review. I just dont want to spend a half hour reading it.
I'm sorry that you feel it's a bit long-winded; however, this is the type of review that you would see on my website -- and I've reviewed thousands of flashlights, lasers, and other light-emitting products over the last decade plus.

I'm also sorry that my shave job isn't up to snuff with you; I do the best I can with what I have at my disposal...a blade shave is absolutely out of the question because the skin has rather uneven physical structure, and I don't want blood all over the mirror & sink. :/
 
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I'm sorry that you feel it's a bit long-winded; however, this is the type of review that you would see on my website -- and I've reviewed thousands of flashlights, lasers, and other light-emitting products over the last decade plus.
I think if you trimmed the 'fluff' and stuck with just the facts, it would be a better review.

Was this actually necessary?



Or this...

***EXTREME CAUTION!!!***
The USS Lantree is a quarantined vessel by order of Starfleet Command.
Do not board.


This stuff is just filler, and not needed in such a huge post. Its not cute, sorry.

Your review is so big, you cant even quote it. How am I suppose to ask a question on any single, or multiple texts if it takes me 20 minutes to edit the quote?

Also I dont care if you have been reviewing for 50 years, no one is perfect, and there is always room for improvement. You have a great review, I've said this, but the filler is garbage, and it pollutes the science of your review.
 

The_LED_Museum

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I think if you trimmed the 'fluff' and stuck with just the facts, it would be a better review.

Was this actually necessary?



...Also I dont care if you have been reviewing for 50 years, no one is perfect, and there is always room for improvement. You have a great review, I've said this, but the filler is garbage, and it pollutes the science of your review.
As you requested, I have removed the "filler" as you so eloquently call it; and will be updating my original post (containing the review) tomorrow morning (10-09-10 {or "09 Oct 2010" if you prefer}) with the slightly "abbreviated" version.
 

Valid

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I must say, that was one great review, personally I don't mind the filler stuff, it's quite amusing to read.
 

DJNY

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Great job dude, doubtless!

You really like to analyze every raisin in the cake :D


How much did you pay for the spectrometer?
 

The_LED_Museum

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Great job dude, doubtless!

You really like to analyze every raisin in the cake :D


How much did you pay for the spectrometer?
You're quite correct there -- I do tend to analyse everything I can get my hands on!!! :D

The spectrometer was donated to my website; though it sells for just a hair over $3,200.00 new. :eek:
I do have an evaluation of it right here if you're interested.
 

The_LED_Museum

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Merged three consecutive posts

Last video 0;18-0;23 there is a dot on shades ;o good shades
Those are actually reflections of the beam on the far wall; no laser radiation actually impinged upon the goggles...but as the old saying goes, "better safe than sorry!!!" :D

BTTT: Added three more spectrographic analyses, two photographs, and additional power output measurements.

BTTT: Added two more spectrographic analyses, and an update (incl. photograph) re: partial lens failure.
 
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ped

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@ The_LED_Museum

Absolutely superb review, every technical crumb anyone would want to know.

As you may have gatherd the Arctic isnt much liked around these parts. But that takes nothing away from your review. A1 job.

+1 rep.
 




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