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The Improved and the Greatly Improved Arctic Mod

daguin

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I love the Arctic host, but hate the poor QC and components of the laser. I have repaired a few of them, but decided to move beyond repair to make the Arctic all that it could be. To that end, here is how I decided to improve the laser. I ended up with two basic builds. However, both of them will follow mostly the same steps. Only the components will change

These are built with the G1 version of the Arctic. I have not disassembled a G2 yet. With this mod you will loose the battery indicator light functionality. I think it is worth it ;)

**EDIT**
-- I have now done this mod to a G2 version.
The internal measurements are the same.
The heat sink does not need to be altered.


There is a "blob" of epoxy holding the "smart switch" in place that must be removed (mechanically). Once that is out of the way, the heat sink I designed will work with the G2 as well.


When you remove the lens of the Arctic, you will be confronted with something like this

Remove the central black portion by unscrewing it. Yours may look a bit different. I have found a couple of different "versions" of this part and sometimes more than one part come loose when you unscrew it.

You need to get it down to where you only have wires coming out of the front. As I said, your may come out in one piece or multiple pieces.


Cut the wire to remove the diode and lens assembly. Your wires and/or pins may have broken when you unscrewed the assembly

Notice my "custom" Arctic driver removal tool ;) You want the center of the tool to be hollow like this to avoid crushing the spring

Place the tool into the rear of the host and smack it with a hammer




When you knock the driver out, it will break a "lip" off of the rear portion of the rubber ring/contact spring assembly AND cut the wires going to the battery indicator light board. The board and wiring will stay inside the recess in the body. That "lip" is what holds the driver in place. We do not care about it. We not only won't be using it, we will actually be moving it forward a bit. One of the biggest problems with the Arctic is that the battery space is too short to accommodate a protected 18650 cell. This mod will not only allow you to use a protected 18650 cell, it will also allow yo to use two 16340 batteries :)

Now clean out as much of that obnoxious thermal paste as you can. I do not understand the physics of it, but isn't there a point of diminishing returns with such a thick layer of paste?

Now beak off the rubber ring/contact spring assembly from the driver and toss the driver into the trash


Now comes the best part. I hated the small assembly that the Arctic had for the diode. Plus, now with the stock driver gone, there was soooooo much room in there, I decided to design a good heat sink.

This is what I came up with. As I said earlier,this is based on the internal dimensions of the G1. I do not know if the internal dimensions of the G2 are the same


The cavity in the front is the same size a a full AixiZ module. The front part of the module will be held in place by a set screw


The rear of the heat sink also has a recess to accommodate the base of the contact spring assembly and any excess wire length. I had Jayrob make the heat sink for me. He has the dimension. Contact Jayrob if you want to do this mod.
http://laserpointerforums.com/members/jayrob/
This heat sink is massive. As you can see, it weighs in at over 2 ounces! You can also see the rear recess in this pic


I made three of them at this sitting. That is how many functional bodies from failed Arctics I had on hand ;) One I made with a Microboost driver. I made two using Jib77's little 1.3A linear driver.
http://laserpointerforums.com/f39/fs-lm1117-based-linear-driver-1-3a-fixed-60213.html
The assembly is pretty much the same at this point with either of the drivers.

The heat sinking is different. I forgot to get a picture of the MicroBoost :yabbem: With the Jib77 driver I used 1/2 of the little memory heat sinks available from DX. To make it fit, first you only use 1/2 of the length of one. Second, you must sand down the two outer fins to make it fit into the pocket. Sorry. The next couple of pictures are out of focus.


Here you can see the driver with the 1/2 heat sink and the wires installed. I am using the host as the negative path, so the negative driver input wire will be attached to the case pin of the diode


The heat sink is placed on the side with the resistors on the Jib77 driver. With the driver and heat sink assembled this way, the LM1117 is touching the side and the resistors' heat sink is touching the other side of the heat sink. I recommend that you sand the heat sink down until it fits nicely. We would like to transfer some of the heat from the driver to the sink.

Here the driver and heat sink are installed. Notice the positive driver input wire is sticking out of the rear of the heat sink


The diode is pressed into the front portion of an AixiZ module. Solder the diode to the wires in the front and the contact spring assembly to the wire in the rear.

Here is the finished module next to the Arctic host to give you some perspective on the size of this thing


There is a small lip inside the host that must be scraped clean of anodizing. This is where we will get our negative path. I also add a little bit of foil here to ensure a good electrical contact.

The length of the heat sink, combined with the length of the contact spring, allow the use of a protected 18650 battery OR the use of two 16340 batteries. This way you can choose what kind of driver and battery combination you want to use

Once it is in place, it should look like this


I decided that it actually looks better without the stock focus ring. Now screw the aperture cap back into place. The aperture cap will squeeze the module against the lip inside the body and hold it all in place and stable. I designed the heat sink so that the aperture cap would NOT screw down quite all the way. This ensures that there will be pressure against the heat sink


I like the smaller apertured "low power" lens cap with the lens removed. However, these are from used units. I only had one of the small apertured caps :( It would look better with the front of the sink blacked out and/or a smaller aperture ring placed inside the cap. With whichever, cap you use, I recommend that you remove the glass. Using reflective glass at the aperture is one of the worst ideas I can think of

This mod allows you to not only focus the laser if needed, but it is also modular in nature. The module can easily be removed to repair or replace failed parts. You just remove the aperture cap and push the module out the front using a rod through the battery space.

Now to the really good stuff. This is the one with the Microboost driver, the single 18650 battery, and an AixiZ lens

This does about 1.2W with the 405-G-1 lens


This is one of the ones with the Jib77 driver, two 16340 batteries, and an AixiZ lens

This one does about 1.6W with the 405-G-1 lens


This one also has the Jib77 driver and two 16340 batteries, but this picture was taken with the 405-G-1 lens.
This one obviously has a very efficient diode :) It may just be my new personal 445nm laser ;)

This one does about 1.6W with the AixiZ lens

So we have an improved Arctic and a greatly improved Arctic. I have run all three of these up to 3 minutes without any appreciable heat. I don't even test longer than that. When I need "constant on" light, I use a lab-style laser

Peace,
dave

**EDIT**
I was working with how to make the aperture of the laser look better than having exposed bare aluminum, when I came across a really neat solution.

In the stock Arctic, there is a black aluminum aperture that is screwed onto the diode/lens assembly. You can see it in the first two pictures above. I discovered that this front piece has an ID that is just a smidgen smaller than the OD of a stock AixiZ focus ring. I simply pressed the AixiZ focus ring into the stock aperture cover. It now looks just like the stock Arctic does.

I have removed the reflective glass that WL installed. This final mod not only gives the laser a stock, finished look, you can still focus the laser (using a paper clip) without removing the front cap :)


 
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JLSE

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Nice work :D Finally an arctic that doesnt just look good :beer:
 

lasersbee

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Nice build/mod tutorial Dave...
I was wondering how difficult it was to take apart...
Now I know.... thanks..

Jerry
 

daguin

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Nice build/mod tutorial Dave...
I was wondering how difficult it was to take apart...
Now I know.... thanks..

Jerry
The front of the laser actually presses onto/over the rear part of the laser. That is how they get the battery indicator board and lighting into place. Unfortunately, trying to separate the laser that way greatly increases the risks of damaging the finish. All you would (maybe) save would be the battery indicator lights anyway. As far as I am concerned, they are not worth the added risk and this is much easier

Peace,
dave
 

jakeGT

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haha I like the part, "and smack it with a hammer"
very very precise mechanical work going into that step hahaha
but in all serious ness, awesome dave, awesome awesome awesome
That last one, the way the arctic Should be for $300 !
 

ZapU

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Great job Dave. Looks like I will be modding my G1 :D
Any plans for a dual driver and making it a 2W Arctic?
 

daguin

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Great job Dave. Looks like I will be modding my G1 :D
Any plans for a dual driver and making it a 2W Arctic?
What! 1.85W not enough for you ;)

You could probably fit two flexdrives into the pocket, back-to-back, with the judicious use of some kapton tape. However, the pocket is only 12mm in diameter. In order to get more room than that, the heat sink would need to be redesigned.

You could have Jayrob bore the pocket out deeper (it's 30mm now) and place the two flexdrives end-to-end. You would loose some mass, but that would work.

Peace,
dave
 

LaZeRz

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Nice Dave!, now theres an artic that actually lives up to its expectations :p
 

LORDJET

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Dave, I am totally blown away!:drool: That host rocks all around the clock now!! And that heat sink, I imagine it should be able to run for a long long time. I mean the stock Arctic has a very long run time, but that takes it over the top! It's good to know how to safely take it apart, without damaging the exterior. When I get the funds, I can truly see myself doing this mod. You are the man Dave!!:bowdown:
 

532 with Envy

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Thats a great tutorial there Dave, nice to see that even you still play around, mod, and build!

I'v always loved the look of the host and as well ALWAYS refused to order from that company. I do have an order in with the GB for two of the new host being CNC'd right now though.

+1(even though not really needed):rolleyes:
 

jakeGT

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kinda feels weird giving you + rep dave, i feel the thing will just pop up and say, yeah asshole we get it, he's good


edit, I can't give you any anyways, not that you need it!
 

Gryphon

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Now thats the type of heatsinking that the artic needs, raw aluminum, not gobs of paste
 

jayrob

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It's not an Arctic any longer!

It's a good quality custom daguin build... :gj:

Nice tutorial!
 

danefex

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Awesome mod Dave.... I've been interesting in the idea of upgrading my Arctic for awhile, but hesitant because there's nothing functionably wrong with it and because it's a G2 (extra internal components I'm unsure of)

If you ever get comfortable with this procedure OR are interested in dissambling a G2, I'd love to ship my G2 & a Jibdrive out your way to see if the same steps apply to both models... Of course and for whatever fee you might ask for a procedure like this too :)
 

daguin

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I was working with how to make the aperture of the laser look better than having exposed bare aluminum, when I came across a really neat solution.

In the stock Arctic, there is a black aluminum aperture that is screwed onto the diode/lens assembly. I discovered that this front piece has an ID that is just a smidgen smaller than the OD of a stock AixiZ focus ring. I simply pressed the AixiZ focus ring into the stock aperture cover. It now look s just like the stock Arctic does.

I have removed the reflective glass that WL installed. This final mod not only gives the laser a stock, finished look, you can still focus the laser (using a paper clip) without removing the front cap :)





Awesome mod Dave.... I've been interesting in the idea of upgrading my Arctic for awhile, but hesitant because there's nothing functionably wrong with it and because it's a G2 (extra internal components I'm unsure of)

If you ever get comfortable with this procedure OR are interested in dissambling a G2, I'd love to ship my G2 & a Jibdrive out your way to see if the same steps apply to both models... Of course and for whatever fee you might ask for a procedure like this too :)
The internal dimensions of the G2 are unknown to me at this time. It might require re-designing the heat sink. That is certainly "doable." However, I cannot say until I tear one apart.

Also, I would imagine that BOTH the battery indicator AND the safety/mode button would be non-functional after the mod. The battery indicator lights have their own driver board, that sits in a cavity in the body. That is installed before the front piece is pressed onto the rear piece of the body. There is no way to get to it without taking a big chance on marring/damaging the anodized surfaces. I imagine that the safety/mode button is wired in a similar fashion.

After the mod, your improved Arctic would operate, from the tail switch, like a "normal" laser ;)

Peace,
dave
 

danefex

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Well if you want to take one apart & have a looky inside, I would love to send mine along to you for experimentation and/or your modification detailed above. I would be interested, but I can't assume you'd just offer your expertise on a whim following the OP.

I can't imagine it being too different with the exception of the smart-switch board that's attached somewhere in there, but then again only after opening & gutting one will we know for sure. No worries on losing the battery indicator lights either.

Overall I'm not strongly attached to my S3 or it's long term 'factory' preservation. In fact I'd have probably offered the thing up for sale by now if I wasn't so damn attached to just the host AND the idea of a rebuld :beer:
 




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