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Review: Reke 500RGB (laserius projectorus-cheapus)

Guyfromhe

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Reke 500RGB Stage Show Projector
Manufactured by Shenzen Reke Laser Technology Co., Ltd

Update:
Lasersman has these units on for $210 with FREE SHIPPING! Don't forget to use coupon code christmas2011 to get this deal.

WARNING:
Dino is selling a different projector called the "RGB-500" which is not made by Reke but has slightly more power than the one in this review. This unit does not have an ILDA port despite what their website says, so if that matters to you make sure you order the one linked/reviewed below. I will not be ordering or reviewing this unit.

Also Dino has been shipping everything via EMS lately no matter what shipping option you pay for. You may want to contact them immediately after ordering to confirm they will use your selected shipping option.


It seems Dino is using an older stock unit (based on the 2009 date projected in the animation) now the units are very similar however there are some slight differences.. The main difference is that the power switch has been replaced with a key switch and the available built in patterns / animations have changed.

Several of these units have shipped with screws loose or rattling around inside the unit.. Please make sure you check that there is nothing loose inside BEFORE turning the units on.

If you want pictures of this unit look on page 7 of this thread.

Other than that they should be the same as the reviewed unit. I have added a new DMX file that matches the 2009 units which has been updated by Thlaser; Thanks Tim.

And now back to our regularly scheduled review.

Attached:
Reke DMX Guide.txt - DMX channels and descriptions
Reke 500RGB Freestyler Fixture.zip - Fixture file for Freestyler with accurate GoBos. (I spent 2 DAYS making this so someone better use it!)
Reke 500RGB 2009 Version.zip - Fixture file for Freestyler with accurate GoBos for projectors that have "2009" in the built in animations.

If you use any of these please post here or drop me a quick e-mail just so I know people are actually looking at this :)

I got this unit from Dino Direct (Product Page). It was on good sale (look or coupons!) and they were having their 2nd anniversary give away. Delivery took about a week with their prep time plus DHL shipping.

Just to clarify even though Dino usually offers free shipping this item DOES NOT QUALIFY. The box it comes in is huge and it's shipping weight is 5 kgs IIRC so expect to pay about $60 to ship this beast if you want one. Also expect to pay customs and brokerage fees of ~$15 or so.

This review is missing a few items I will be editing it over the rest of the week to complete it.

Click images for a high res pictures.




Aux In Mod:




What is it?
The Reke 500RGB is a laser projector designed to generate 2D and 3D animations, kaleidoscopic effects and patterns on your walls as well as create a dynamic beam show with the addition of a fog machine.

It's base as an aluminum shell with a hanging bracket for your lighting rack and features a 300 mW red (650nm), 50 mW green (532nm) and 200 mW blue (445nm) laser totaling 550mW (mfgr spec per the manual) which are combined and directed at two mirrors attached to true galvos (10k PPS mfgr spec).

The unit is capable of creating 7 different colors (Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Cyan, Magenta, and White) by mixing the 3 colored lasers together. The lasers are TTL (they are either on or off) so you can not get any other colors as you would with a true analog system however the 7 avalible colors are quite vibrant and in an entry level system perfectly acceptable.


The unit features 5 main modes: Sound, Auto (beam show), Auto (animation), DMX512 and ILDA

The power supply is capable of running off 120 or 240v and uses a standard PC power cable. The manual does not specify power usage.

It's dimensions are approximately 13.5" long x 9.5" deep x 4" tall. (The physical measurements of the unit reported in the manual were NOT at all accurate so that's probably true of everything the manual says)

As for controls and indicators it has a power switch and LED, DMX status LED, a bank of dip switches, a mic, a dial for setting the sound sensitivity, a dial for setting pattern size, ILDA input and DMX in & DMX out

I have peered inside the unit and got images and a write up. See the tear down section if you are interested.

How to use?
It can be hung from a lighting rack or placed on a tall shelf somewhere. It offers a metal eyelet to run a safety cable through so the unit can't possibly fall should something go wrong with your gear. It must be above the heads of spectators as the beam should not be allowed to enter the eyes of anyone observing the unit. THIS UNIT WILL BURN BLACK PLASTIC AT A FEW INCHES AWAY THIS IS NOT A TOY!

It takes a standard IEC power cord (the same as a PC uses to plug into the wall) and flip the units power switch to on.. The fan will come on and the unit will after several seconds start projecting. I have noticed this unit is significantly quieter than other stepper motor based units I have seen and used.

Depending on the mode the unit will perform differently. (Modes are set by changing dip switch settings there is a configuration map silk screened on the top of the case)

It comes set to Auto/Animation mode out of the box and will immediately start cycling through the pre-set animations in memory (you can not change these as far as I understand) There are 29 different animations (See below for list) It will just play these in order over and over only really for "oohs and aahs" since they don't go with music and they just repeat over and over they get boring quickly. Also since these are far more complex than the "beam show" patterns they can be quite flickery due to the low scanning speed. This is understandable at this price point as a good set of galvos will set you back the entire cost of the projector.

For myself personally the flickering is quite acceptable except for on the eagle animation which is pretty horrible; Your mileage may vary.



The Auto beam show mode is the same as Sound mode except it does not listen for sounds in auto mode.

In sound mode the unit only displays patterns if it picks up sounds (laser turns off about 3 seconds after sounds stop). I have found the mic to have extremely poor sensitivity and if the sound source is either not playing directly into the mic or extremely loud in the background the unit will not be able to judge the beats properly. This can be fixed by splicing in a speaker and pointing it directly at the mic or adding your own audio in jack to the unit. (I added an Aux In which will override the mic when you plug in an audio source. It took about an hour to do and cost about $5 in parts).

The system does a really good job of matching the pattern speed to the music and changing patterns at the appropriate time as long as it can get a clear signal.

There is a knob to set the sensitivity I had it turned to max and it didn't seem to notice when I had my cell phone at full blast on top of the unit.

The unit cycles through effects in the same order and once it's used all of them it starts again from one. A little randomization would have been nice but there are so many patterns and effects it can apply it's really hard to tell unless you are looking for it specifically. You can set up your own show via DMX if this is a problem.

I need to take a moment to talk about the patterns and effect this unit has, they are stunning. It makes very good use of it's 7 colors and has some very nice line patterns, circle patterns, with various animation effects added to them. The unit also has several 3D shapes that spin around and the effect it gives will blow you away I cannot put into words how incredibly cool it is. I CAN'T STRESS THIS ENOUGH!

DMX512 mode is the most powerful mode requiring a DMX control panel or PC USB to DMX box such as the Enttec OpenDMX or other.

The unit uses 12 DMX channels allowing control of Mode, Color, Pattern, X, Y, Rolling X, Rolling Y, Rotation, Auto Zoom, Manual Zoom, Dot and Line, and Stroe.

I have spent all night working with DMX and have attached a text file that describes all the DMX channels, values and settings. I also did my best to describe the patterns in text. I have also attached a Freestyler fixture file for this unit.

I will give a brief rundown of what DMX can do here for those that don't want to read the whole document.

The system can be turned on and off, you can chose any of the 7 colors as well as choose a variety of color cycle modes and speeds to suit your needs, you can select a pattern (or animation frame) and you can apply many effects to them such as fake 3D rotate, fake 3D flip, set scan speeds, change location and size. it also has a couple automatic movement features and automatic zoom features. If anyone is really interested in DMX post in the thread and I will make a video.


The unit features over 128 patterns and animations and can apply various effects to the patterns as they are being displayed. The animations are fairly gimmicky and will not likely do any good other than for wowing your friends and stuff the first time they see it. The unit is capable of modulating the lasers to create multicolored shapes and effects.

ILDA Section:

I now have Pangolin Quickshow with the FB3. This is a great hardware and software combo if you have the extra money for it.


Try the demo, but be warned you may end up owning it!

ILDA is a whole beast of it's own. It allows you to use a computer with an ILDA adapter to directly control the galvos. What this means is you can draw a show from scratch (or download a show from the internet) on your computer and then have the laser display it. To use this mode you will need a DAC, ILDA software and a DB-25 cable. You plug the cable in and run the show on the computer and the laser will automatically switch regardless of dip switch settings.

I have just received and got working my AudioLase from 300Evil on PL. These units run from $80 for an un-assembled kit (requiring the purchase of a USB sound card) to $150 for a tuned and tested ready to go unit.

To use the AL with this projector you will need a modified DB-25 cable. You will need to connect pins 4 and 17 (Interlock A and B) together before the AL within the cable (these two pins do not go into the AL at all) Connecting them on the AL board did not work for me.

As soon as you plug in this modified cable the laser will turn off and the DMX led will turn off. This indicates the system is disconnected from the internal processor and running in ILDA control mode. If this does not happen there is a problem with your interlock connection.

You can then open your favorite sound card DAC supporting software (LFI, Lasershow Xpress, Laserboy, HE Laserscan) and play a show.

I used to recommend buying a Spaghetti license from Gary, however he seems to have flipped out and stopped selling and supporting it so even if you want it you can't get it... LSX looks like a much better product for only a little more anyway.

The images are somewhat flickery (better than the built in animations however) You can overdrive the galvos and get a more stable picture at the cost of detail. They seem to run at about 7500 KPPS on the ILDA test pattern so again they aren't that fast... I may replace them with some PT-30's in the future. For now I have found 15k to be the best flicker to image distortion ratio to fit my needs. If you can put up with a lot of flicker you can get some very detailed crisp animations.

I had a lot of trouble with software and hardware getting my DAC working so you _WILL_ need to be patient if you go the Audio DAC route and expect to spend at least a few days playing with it and even more time reading up on it. In my case the Microsoft standard sound card drivers worked where the CMedia drivers did not. Your mileage may vary. (You can contact me if you need help and I will do my best to assist)

I could not make LFI display the colors properly and have given up on it completely and I don't care to learn how to use laser boy.

End ILDA Section.

It's projections can easily cover 30' long by 10' high. I have not tested the maximum size yet but I can say it's a little smaller than CTL-CM. The unit offers a "Pattern Size" knob which controls how large the image will be (maybe adjusts the scan angle? I don't know) It will definitely cover most rooms without a problem and if you turn it down all the way you end up with a tiny static white dot which can easily put a hole in a CD case.

The duty cycle listed in the manual is 2 hours on with 15 minutes off.

The laser aperture is covered by a glass lens to keep dust off the mirrors and fingers out of the galvos. The glass should be wiped down occasionally.

The scanning system is although not the quickest in the world and does use actual galvos at 10 KPPS and is quite capable of doing it's job. The geometric patterns it comes programmed with very well suit the scanner and flicker is almost non existent for most scans and barely noticeable on larger ones.
The animations (did I mention they were gimmicky) are decent but not amazing on this low speed scanner but again you can't expect blood from a stone and for the price it's pretty darn good.

The colors are quite well balanced with no color really overtaking any other color even in the mixes.

As with most cheap Chinese systems the dicros are not perfectly lined up. They did do a decent job but you can notice a little divergence of the colors. This in no way interferes with the mixing of colors and it does an excellent job even producing white. You may notice a little bit of fringing of colors around the beam but it's definitely within acceptable limits.

Again the unit should not be directed at people's eyes and people should be kept at least a few feet away as it is quite high powered and as I said before can burn things if provoked. Also keep anything flammable at least a few feet away from the unit as it could heat it up and cause a fire.

The unit is most likely under spec as are most things from China. I used the "Black Electric Tape OF SCIENCE" and confirmed the green laser will not penetrate the tape even after a full minute however the blue and red lasers made easy work of it in under 5 seconds or so when set to a tiny pattern size.

I don't have any "real" testing equipment so I can't give you actual power readings or wavelengths of lasers but I can say it gets a 1000 Watts of cool rating from me. :)

Our friend The_LED_Museum has kindly ran a spectrometer test and an average power test for us (375mW max on a not so perfect "better than nuffin" test) and you can see the full results on his review.



If you want to get into laser projectors for less than $300 or want something for a party or a small venue this would be a great choice IMHO. If you aren't looking to spend that much the Casa CTL-CM is a great choice for a first unit and can be had for around $160.

Included animations (see video below):
"Welcome",(9),(8),(7),(6),(5),(4),(3),(2),(1),(0),"Good Luck",Side to side 2011,2012,2013,Girl Dancing, Eagle Flying, "I Love You", Elephant Walking, Man Walking, Snowman Dancing, Dropping 2011,2012,2013,"Merry Christmas",Dinosaur Running, Pac-Man, Dancing People, Walking Cat

Teardown:

The unit is made up of 4 metal panels which slide into each other and a front and back plate which are screwed down. There are 4 screws holding the top plate on and 4 screws holding the back and front plates on to the side plates. There is also a friction fit between the top plate and the side plates which will keep it in place. To take this unit apart you must remove the 4 screws on the top plate, then remove the 4 corner screws and one middle lower screw on the front panel (the top middle screw holds the bracket that the top plate screws in to). The whole front piece will come off. Then you must loosen one side of the rear to allow some play in the side panel. Once this is done the top plate should slide all the way out via the front of the unit.

The unit seems very well put together inside. Everything is secure and sturdy and glue has been added pretty much everywhere to keep anything from every coming loose. It may be hard to take apart or replace parts due to this. It is very neat inside with no cables hanging or loose. Ventilation is adequate and the G and B lasers both have a large heat sink and a dedicated fan to keep them cool. The red modules seem to be in small cans and there seems to be two of them. Other than the glue it looks like the dichros could potentially be adjustable by loosing a few screws.

I noticed a brick style transformer inside (black plastic case and all) wired directly to the power switch. It seemed to be free floating (not that there was really any room for it to move and it's cables were zip tied tight) I couldn't get it out to look at it because of all the boards and wiring in the way but that is how the line current is converted to DC that the unit runs on.

Look in from the front of the unit:


Main controller board:


Blue Laser:


Green Laser:



Chip:

Datasheet

ILDA Card:


Laser Driver (or galvo driver?):


Optics Tray:


Top View:



Videos:
Keep in mind the default settings on my camera adds about twice the flicker of real life..
I may at some point screw with the settings and try to get a proper video but these will give you
an idea of what you get with this unit.

On it's own in auto animation:


On it's own in sound mode:


With other effects:


This is not my video but it shows the beam show from the business end:


DMX manual control better camera settings:


My beam show video - Not a very good angle however:


ILDA Videos:
These were created with 300Evil's sound card DAC and Spaghetti by Gary from Hinged Newt.
You WILL need extra hardware and software to get your projector to do this!

Nyan Cat (by MaserPJ):


Random ILDA files from PL:


A long detailed 3D show from PL: (This is beyond this units capability but it's still cool to look at)


Mr. Vain Spaghetti show (Best pre-made show I have seen):
UPDATE: This show was created in Mamba Black by whiteg from PL. Thank you so much for this show :)


Comparison video and review of the Reke 500RGB and the Ruby RGB-500 by Doctorbass:


PROS:
Metal case very well put together
Creates 7 unique colors very well
True blue laser (not violet like many other budget units)
Has very powerful DMX control
Has ILDA support
Bright enough to work outside even in dusk
Lots of patterns to choose from
Pattern size is adjustable with a knob
Inexpensive for the feature set

CONS:
Can get flickery when projecting complex animations
Some fringing on colors
Mic sucks for sound sensitive mode - (Consider aux in mod)

Product Manual:
Page 1
Page 2
Page 3

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MANUFACTURER: Shenzen Reke Laser Technology Co., Ltd
PRODUCT TYPE: Sound-activated / DMX / ILDA laser show projector
LAMP TYPE: Laser
No. OF LAMPS: 4 (2 red, 1 green, 1 blue)
CASE MATERIAL: Aluminum
WATER RESISTANT: No
SUBMERSIBLE: No
ACCESSORIES: AC cord, Manual
COUNTRY OF MANUFACTURE: China





PRODUCT RATING:
* * * * . (4.5 Stars) Can't beat it for this price.
 

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Guyfromhe

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Re: Reke 500RGB

I unit pics are up.. Honestly videos don't do any laser show justice but I am uploading a video to YT right now and it should be up soon.
 

Pontiacg5

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Re: Reke 500RGB

Is there any way you could scan the manual and get a nice clean picture of the DIP switch settings for me? I think I may have the "brains" of that projector minus all of the lasers.

Interested in pictures of the inside too!
 

Guyfromhe

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Re: Reke 500RGB

The manual is on a single sheet of paper.
I will take a picture of it and put it up once the videos finish uploading.
The dip settings are as follows:
All OFF - Sound mode
#1 ON - Auto mode Beam Show
#1 & #2 ON - Auto mode Animation Mode
#1 & #10 ON - DMX mode (set address on 2-9)

I won't attempt to take it apart unless I have time to make sure I can put it back together in the same sitting and I don't have that time right now hopefully on the weekend I will have a few minutes to myself.

So far my sister and her boyfriend were super impressed with the unit.

The video I made is pretty horrible compared to the actual laser in person but it does give you an idea of what it offers. I didn't even have a chance to make it through all the patterns it can create but there are so many of them and they are SO amazing!
 

Guyfromhe

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Re: Reke 500RGB

I disagree, but nonethericher look forward to your vids showing off this projector :beer:
I was not saying you CAN'T make a good video of a laser show (though I really don't have time to set around screwing with camera settings till I get a perfect shot) but if you could capture all the awe of a real laser show in a video why would anyone buy a laser projector or go see a live show.. It's not the same.


Anyway my videos were shot at default settings and their not amazing but they get the point across.

Also I plan on shooting a fog video, probably tomorrow.
 

danefex

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Re: Reke 500RGB

I was not saying you CAN'T make a good video of a laser show (though I really don't have time to set around screwing with camera settings till I get a perfect shot) but if you could capture all the awe of a real laser show in a video why would anyone buy a laser projector or go see a live show.. It's not the same.
Didn't mean to sound like I was cornering you by disagreeing, but I do agree with you on how capturing lasers on video is never quite the same as experiencing them. 3HD iMax could be an exception though :beer:
 
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Guyfromhe

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Didn't mean to sound like I was cornering you by disagreeing, but I do agree with you on how capturing lasers on video is never quite the same as experiencing them. 3HD iMax could be an exception though :beer:
I was just clarifying what I meant :p

My stupid SD card reader stopped reading so I have to start the upload again..
Just copying to my HDD right now... Their all 1080p so their a bit large... I will have them up tonight.


I will grab some stills in a few mins.. I can't really run tonight but should be able to get a beam show tomorrow.
 

Pontiacg5

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Re: Reke 500RGB

I took a pic of the manual with my cell phone... The first page turned out bad but there's nothing useful on it.

Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Thank you for taking a picture of those for me! I think what I have may be a little different than your projector.


The Chinglish is pretty good on that last page, be sure you don't punch your laser lighting or look at it with a telescope!

Someone could make a killing translating Chinglish manuals if they could convince the Chinese it would help sales...
 

Guyfromhe

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Re: Reke 500RGB

Thank you for taking a picture of those for me! I think what I have may be a little different than your projector.


The Chinglish is pretty good on that last page, be sure you don't punch your laser lighting or look at it with a telescope!

Someone could make a killing translating Chinglish manuals if they could convince the Chinese it would help sales...
My Casa unit uses the first 8 dips for DMX channel...
9 & 10 on = Auto mode
10 on only = Sound active mode
and 10 off = DMX mode or slave mode

If that is any help?
 

Guyfromhe

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I added a block of still pictures to the OP. I used a 1/6th of a second shutter to make sure I caught whole scans and I even caught some of the animations. Click the pic to see the larger version... I scaled them back to 640 because I don't think anyone wants the 18 MP originals.
 

Guyfromhe

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Re: Reke 500RGB

For those following I just uploaded 2 videos, they are in the OP.
 

MarkMad

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Re: Reke 500RGB

Thanks for the review, I just ordered one last night from the same site. NObody has reviewed this thing, it seemed like such a steal. It does need some upgrades, but a great starting point.(Im going off specs) It was also my first time using that site, so it comforts me to know you received yours and in only a week. thanks buddy :) I do lights in clubs so Ill have some sweet pics and video soon, Ill post them on here
 




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