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Underspec Dragon Lasers Spartan 589nm "50mW" - buyer beware!

Atomicrox

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As promised here's the full story of my underspec Spartan 589nm. I didn't post this before because I had hopes of convincing Adam to replace it or issue me a partial refund. I did, however, warn Jmillerdoc because he was planning a second GB at the time. He eventually gave up on the GB due to this and personal reasons.

This is going to be a very long post, so here's the TL;DR:
I was sold an underspec and mode-hopping laser and Adam refused to replace it under the argument that *all* of his 589nm lasers are underspec and unstable.


Note: I replaced my real name and location on the quotes below, everything else was copy-pasted from e-mails exchanged with Adam. I also underlined the most important parts.

After brucemir posted his review of this laser I decided to order one. That was before the first GB, so I had to order individually. Before ordering I contacted Adam to make sure the laser would be on spec. Here's what I asked him and his answer (we had already exchanged a few e-mails about shipping):

Atomicrox said:
Hi Adam,

I don't mind waiting for regular mail (most stuff takes 1-2 months to get here from China anyways), as long as it's well packed and arrives here undamaged.

Before I place my order I just want to make sure of a couple things:
-You do guarantee that it does 50mW during 1min, right?
-Does it have the FDA 5 second turn on delay? I pefer if it doesn't.
-Is the beam profile TEM00?

Best regards,

Atomicrox
Adam said:
Hi Atomicrox,

There is no problem of shipping your order by post mail.
The average power is over 50mW for 1 minutes continuous operation
there is not 5 seconds turn on delay
the beam profile is TEM00 when the operating temperature is normal.

Regards

Adam

Dragon Lasers Support
I placed the order on May 13 but only received my laser on August 3, after the first GB participants had received theirs - that's mostly not Adam's fault, international shipments take a long time to arrive here. His only fault was that he could have told me the laser was out of stock *before* making the sale, but he did it afterwards:

Adam said:
Hi Atomicrox,

Thank you for your order. Your order will be shipped by next weekend.

I am sorry the product is temporary out of stock. You will receive another email with shipping info.

Regards

Adam

Dragon Lasers Support
Unfortunately I was in for a huge disappointment. My laser was underspec and mode hopping wildly. Here's the message I sent to Adam:

Atomicrox said:
Hi Adam,

This sunday I received the laser but unfortunately it's metering below the specification.

The test was performed with a fully charged (4.17V) unprotected Panasonic 18650, ambient temperature was 22.5ºC (slightly cold by local standards).

On a 1 minute run it had a minimum of 29.9mW and a peak of 58.4mW, but most of the time it floated around 37mW. It stayed above 50mW during maybe 10s of the whole run.

It's also mode hopping like crazy, though it's only noticeable with an external lens to amplify the dot.

Since almost every member of LPF that got one received an overspec unit I think there's something wrong with mine. I haven't posted my review there yet, thought I should contact you first.

Best regards,

Atomicrox
And, to my surprise, here's what he answered - without even asking for a video or LPM pictures:

Dear Atomicrox,

I respect your testing result. I believe that it is correct.
These Spartan yellow lasers are just performing like this. It can hardly stable above 50mW especially when it is warm.
Actually every lasers was tested properly before shipping.

Each laser is different with the others. For example if a laser keep at over 50mW for 20-30 seconds then probably it dims to be around 5mW.
Your laser average at 37mW and peaking over 50mW. that is already very good compare to other yellow lasers.

The substance of making the yellow lasers are just very unstable. Mode hopping is common.
For example our 55mW viper laser can keep over 65mW for whole one minute run.
However all of our 50mW Spartan yellow laser are not over 50mW for whole one minute.

You are correct the performance is below the specifics on the site page. And I can tell you yours is not the only one. I think all of our 50mW yellow laser pointers are not over 50mW for whole one minute.

I wish you can keep your good laser and handle it with care all the time.
However if you want to send it back for a refund then please let me know and I will send you return instrucitons.
Replacement is not possible because I can hardly find another which is obviously better than yours.

Sincerely Yours.


Adam

Dragon Lasers Support
Initially I had thought the poor performance might be attributable to temperature, but the weather got colder a few days later (about 17-18°C) and the laser was still mode-hopping and outputting around the same power.

I got very pissed after his reply. He was either lying before (he promised that the laser would be TEM00 and on-spec) or he was lying afterwards (when he told me that all his lasers are underspec). And if he tested the laser and knew it was underspec why did he ship it? Not a good way to do business.

Anyways after a few more e-mails he declined to replace the laser or give me a partial refund (which would avoid the risk of having to ship the laser back to China). He told me I could either keep it or send it back to China for a full refund.

I wanted to warn you guys that any future lasers from him are probably going to be crappy, but I didn't want to post this in the open because if I decided to return the laser he'd most likely take revenge and not give me my money back. I did tell Jmillerdoc in PVT because he was thinking about doing a second GB.

At first I didn't know what to do. Adam is obviously not trustworthy. He has ripped RHD with a "full refund" scam in the past on a very similar issue: http://laserpointerforums.com/f41/d...ery-displeased-so-far-lpm-7mw-24mw-64890.html

Jmillerdoc tried to talk to Adam and see if he could replace the laser but Adam didn't change his mind. He didn't tell Jmillerdoc that all his lasers are underspec, but he refused to guarantee >50mW power output for a second GB. BTW: Jmillerdoc, thanks for taking your time!

In the end I decided to keep the laser. Couldn't take the chance of sending the laser back to China and not receiving a full refund. TBH even if I was 100% sure he'd issue the refund I still don't want to have that WL gap on my collection forever in case the recent news that CNI is stopping production of handhelds as of 2015 turns out to be real.

Buyer beware: if you buy one of these there's a reasonable chance you'll end up with an underspec and mode-hopping laser.



Edit: Update - DL sent me an automated e-mail a few days ago with a link for me to write a review of the laser on their site. I wrote the review, gave it 1 star (no zero available).

It's been a couple days and the review hasn't showed up there. They're filtering the negative reviews. So now we know why they only have 3-star reviews on their page.

Not even DX does this. For crying out loud.
 
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WizardG

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What do we want?

YELLOW DIODES!

When do we want them?

NOW!
 

Hap

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Wait....

Why did Adam tell you the 589nm was "out-of-stock"?, and then shipped you another one. I thought they would sell their remaining stock & then remove 589nm from their website..... :wtf:

-Alex
 
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Atomicrox

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I have always thought that whole "going out of yellow business" thing was a marketing stunt. Which worked.

And for the record he told the same thing to another member, I think it was IsaacT.
 

Hap

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I have always thought that whole "going out of yellow business" thing was a marketing stunt. Which worked.

And for the record he told the same thing to another member, I think it was IsaacT.
Wow....that's really messed up. So basically DL is now also lying about their products in stock to make sales? I was thinking of buying a 405nm from them but forget it after what I have read here :D

-Alex
 
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Atomicrox

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In their defense I'm not sure who started that rumor. Might also have been a language barrier issue.
 

Hap

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In their defense I'm not sure who started that rumor. Might also have been a language barrier issue.
Very possible it might of been a language barrier. But I think DL was aware of what they were doing. There was a story awhile back where DL used CNI and took advantage of their power readings or something(I think thats the story).

Let's see what happens!

-Alex
 

crazyspaz

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What do we want?

YELLOW DIODES!

When do we want them?

NOW!
^^^Same, when I can afford one. Even $200➕ is a bit much for me right now.
They don't exist. And there are reasons why they don't (and possibly never will). Not "theres no need for them," but "there's no way to make them." I will link you to the articles I have found if I can find them.

Wow. Pretty craptastic. I was holding out on the thought that maybe sometime when i gathered the money I oculd buy one direct from DL (as opposed to a GB), but it seems that is not a good idea. Its a shame; i thought DL was on more positive side when it comes to laser vendors.
 

IsaacT

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Typically they have been good people to deal with. This situation is very unfortunate and irritates me as I spoke highly of them from my personal experience. To vouch for someone, be it a company or otherwise, and then have something like this happen angers me.

As for the question of them not getting any more in or not I remember asking Adam about the 593.5nm wavelength lasers and the 589nm pointers disappearing from their store in a matter of a week or less and was given the answer that they will no longer be stocking yellow lasers. My guess(now that it appears that they are not dropping the 50mW Spartan line) is that he meant those models they had dropped specifically. I believe a few other people came to the same/similar conclusion and then the story got bigger from there which is unfortunate.

One thing to note, is that if the separate rumors of CNI halting handheld production is true, DL will likely HAVE to remove their offerings due to lack of supplier. So we will have to wait and see. The bright side of all of this is that a lot of people now have a pivotal wavelength in their collection that may or may not be easy to obtain in the future due to diminishing supply from the manufacturer OR the retailer.

I am going to add an addendum to my review with a link to this thread so that people who read my review and consider them will have both sides of the story.

Thank you for sharing this with us Atomicrox. It sucks that the storm broke with you :(
 

Shakenawake

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this sucks, I am glad mine is on spec. it averages around 70mw, peaks seldomly at 90mW, and I have not seen it dip below 50mW for the first minute, though after 1 min it can. you presented this very well, it's good to get it out in the open. accountability is part of integrity, sad to see dragonlasers lacking in that department.
 

mortuus

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To me they lied to you nothing else, if they said it will reach 50mW for a minute when it clearly doesnt then its a faulty laser to me , and them as a company its not ok say as excuse that all lasers are like that, they should stop making yellow lasers then if they are so damn sensitive even they can get em stable enough..
 

trencheel303

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Thank you for posting this.

I am beginning to think the times previously (3 or more?) when I was about ready to buy one of these and backed out at the last second (entering shipping info) was actually a blessing in disguise.

Cyparagon bought one recently, so we'll see what his ends up like.
 

SilverFire

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They don't exist. And there are reasons why they don't (and possibly never will). Not "theres no need for them," but "there's no way to make them." I will link you to the articles I have found if I can find them.
Thanks for the info!
 
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Jmillerdoc

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Just curious what mode it is hopping to? I hear that the output increases at the higher modes and was wondering if that seems to be the case with yours.

These things can be finicky for sure. Both of mine are very battery sensitive. Be sure you are using a good high discharge rate Panny or similar. I basically quit using anything besides LarryDFW's HO 18650's.

I often wonder if there is a bit of a language barrier that is misinterpretation being equated to outright lying, or if some retailers in China use this to purposefully veil their true intent. I thought these people were the smartest people in the world. I wouldn't be shocked at all if one of them specifically worded a response in a vague way with messed up grammer just so they could say "no, no, that's not what I was saying". I am not suggesting Adam did this, I am just saying in general.

To be fair, the main reason I did not go through with the GB was personal reasons. You can read them on the thread. It wasn't Atonicrox's experience specifically that deterred me. It was his experience that got me to realize how lucky I was to get 11 Spartan 589's all doing within about 20 or so mW from each other when average power was compared. It may have ultimately because I would have made specific, indisputable criterea that had to be met prior to any money being sent. This would have included using my Discover card to pay. Had he agreed in an email (writing) to my criterea and I paid with my Discover, I would have felt perfectly safe because my Discover card account has bery strict buyer protection. I have used it in the past with Chinese retailers and ended up with a Free 500mW 532. Some of you may even recall that posting. My business Discover will immediately credit my account back the money and start an investigation. The investigation requires the retailer provide adaquate evidence that all terms of the sale were met and they must provide it in a set period of time. If they don't do either then the credit back to my account becomes permanent. Thats what happened on the last episode with the 500mw 532, they never adaquately responded to Discover and I never had the credit to my account reversed and charged to me. I told the retailer if they wanted their laser back to have a UPS or similar mailing label prepaid emailed to me that I could print out and label the box with, and to arrange a pick up at my residence. They said they would get back to me on this and never did. Laser is sitting in the box to this day and its probably been over a year. I think it is safe to say they decided to let me have it. I never use it because I have IsaacT's old custom 800mw one (900+ actually). Maybe it is time to auction it off and donate the funds to LPF? It is a noce laser but the end cap is semi stripped and it is extremely unstable, varying widely from 350-600 IIRC. But I diverge.....

Anyways, since I decided it really wasn't worth my time and I felt I had "paid my dues" to LPF with two successful GBs, I aborted before I could lay down my conditions with Adam. Best to be remebered for a successful GB rather than a potential nightmare of ticked off participants because their 50mW 589 wasn't doing 90mW like everyone got in the last batch.

I will wait a while before I do another. If DL conitinues to have participants post discouraging news then I am done. If somehow they convince me they are trustworthy for another GB I will think about it. Who knows.....
 




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