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What is a laser driver?


New member
Nov 10, 2007
Ok I have an old dvd burner that I know has a good laser. I have read alot of the DON'TS and it seems a big one is don't build a high powered laser without a driver....what the heck is a driver though lol. Can someone post a diagram?

I have read to get the 5mm <5mW Axisz housing....but wont this thing be higher than 5 mW

Also If I used the diode from say a 16-20X dvd burner what approximate power will I get out of it? 100mW 200mW?

Oh and what is the max operating time...anyones best guess will help. Will a heatsink extend that time?

Oh and lastly I understand these will burn paper or matches etc, will this type of laser etch/burn plastic or wood or etc coated metal etc?

I appreciate it I have gotten alot of good info so far these forums are just so big hard to find those specific answers....Oh and I want a heatsink so I can maybe get an old pen plotter and replace it with the diode for etching...I figure the longer I can run it before turning it off for cool down the more I can etch at once. I think 1 minute would be good....3 minutes great.....5 minutes amazing.

Thanks everyone. Oh and Hi I'm new ha ha




JJohn ! Welcome to the forum - to answer your questions, and a lot more - read TWO sections....first off, the safety section ! THEN read the experiments and mods section - there is a sticky in there, called, "Threads of interest" I strongly suggest you become intimate with that list....it will lead you to a wealth of knowledge, and keep you away from definitions such as this -

A LAser Driver is a little photonic entity that hopes out, straps a steering wheel to your laser diode, and takes it out for a spin....

Sorry, that was lame as hell....read the experiments section, though - a driver consists of circuitry to run the diode at, near, or over capacity, and to do all three safely !
Nov 9, 2007
A driver is something that will help regulate and control the current i would greatly suggest the deadel driver (go to expirements and mod section and click on threads of interest then go to homeade driver)

The 5mw Aixis housing is just to place the dvd diode driver in it to focus the beam, you take out the old 5mw diode in it,U can find how to put in the diode in many places on the forums.

It realy depends on the dvd drive if u realy push it hard (not recomoended) some people got 185mw,  A 20x will be a open diode which can handle more ma but will be easier to break, if its ur first time extracting one i would prob go with the 16x because its closed diode is easier to get out.

I would only run it for maybe a min without heatsink(maybe less just make sure it doesnt start getting hot) depending on how hard ur pushing it, Yes if u have a good size heatsink it can help alot just make sure its a good fit and prob should use some artic thermal greese to conduct heat.

It prob wont burn into metel but it might etch dark colored wood but it would probably need to be focused with a lense. And the plastic u can probly etch into it with out much trouble.(just make sure u dont have it on for too long)

With the heatsink u can pretty much run it for like 5min depending on the size of it,  If the heatsink starts to get pretty warm that is when u shut it off.

...Lazer.... ;D ;D ;D

I went ahead and answerd all the questions so u dont have to look to hard for em :p
Tell me if i helped u out lol :p