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WL Arctic Review G2

MarioMaster

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Yes, another one. I'm sure everyone and their grandmother knows what the Arctic looks like so I'm not gonna bomb this thread with a ton of pictures.

Click Image to Enlarge

Now let's get started -

Performance:
Wicked Lasers states that the laser will output a minimum of 500mW up to the advertised 1W of output power with a 5mm beam diameter and 1.5mRad divergence.

Power tests:
Low Pulsed - 98mW
Low CW - 190mW
High Pulsed - 385mW
High CW - 772mW

Divergence tests:
Beam diameter at aperture - 5.1mm
Beam diamter at 11.5 feet : 8.5mm
Calculated Divergence: 0.97mRad

It seems Wicked's beam measurements are accurate, a full 5 points for the beam specs and a 4 out of 5 on the power since you're not really getting a 1W laser. I would also like to state that with the multimode 445 diode, you do not get a TEM00 spot as stated in the specifications on wicked's site. So overall a 9 of 10.


Functionality:
Being a G2 arctic, this one has the smart switch which requires a combination of short and long button presses to get the laser to turn on. This is good as it prevents accidental operation but doesn't offer the ability to switch the laser on quickly. I also like the high and low output power modes. You can set the laser up in low power, then when you're ready switch to the high power.

I'm not a big fan of the pulsed modes, the pulse frequency is only a few Hz and doesn't really have any uses. The LED battery meter is a nice feature especially since the arctic can't fit most protected batteries. However the LEDs tend to flicker when the battery is less than full, being a person who programs microcontrollers I imagine this is an issue with the way the microcontroller was coded or there was insufficient filtering to the ADC it uses to determine the battery voltage.

Overall the functionality gets an 8 from me here.

Value:
The Arctic comes with a nice storage case, a pair of Lasershades, a lenspen, 7 additional screw-on caps that provide line, cross, starburst, burning, flashlight, floodlight, and power reducing functions as well as an 18650 battery and a single 18650 charger. The laser now sells for $300.

I thought I'd include this here: it had been shown a while ago that the original lasershades included with the Arctic were crap, but I got mine a while after this so I should have the new ones.

Goggle testing at 445nm:
Power in: 772mW
Power out: 16mW
Calculated OD: 1.7

These goggles are NOT SUFFICIENT to protect you from an arctic or really any 445 lasers for that matter. I recommend tossing them as they really offer no safety for reflections or accidental exposure.


Honestly I think that's a pretty good deal although the lasershades are crap. I'll give this a 7 out of 10.


Aesthetics:

I like the design of the Arctic. It looks like it should be a laser, not a flashlight with an aixiz lens sticking out the front. The fins on the head while mostly decorative do serve to add extra heat dissipation. Even running the laser for several minutes the body only gets slightly warm.

All the machining is good, the host's finish is nice and the threads all operate smoothly.

10 out of 10 here.


Overall, it's a good laser. I'd recommend buying one if you don't mind the wait ordering from wicked.
Overall score: 8.5


Now a few obligatory pictures:

Exciting the phosphor in a white LED
Click Image to Enlarge

DIY Beam Expander
Click Image to Enlarge Image Hosting
 
Last edited:

ElektroFreak

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^nice review! There are WAYY too many of them though..

Too bad about the goggles.. it seems that even the new ones still don't do a good enough job. Given the cost of a proper pair of really effective goggles I suppose it should be no surprise that "freebees" would be only partially effective.
 

ZapU

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Nice review. +1 when I can rep you again.

Hey, if you are tossing the goggles, I'll pay shipping to get them. :)
 

The_LED_Museum

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The goggles I got with my second Arctic are very effective indeed!!!
I measured transmission values of 15.60µW on low, and 42.90µW on high.

I believe that all of the power (yes, ALL of it!) is from fluorecence of the lenses themselves!!! No blue glow whatsoever is visible even when the Arctic is blasted at a white wall directly in front of you.
 

MarioMaster

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The goggles I got with my second Arctic are very effective indeed!!!
I measured transmission values of 15.60µW on low, and 42.90µW on high.

I believe that all of the power (yes, ALL of it!) is from fluorecence of the lenses themselves!!! No blue glow whatsoever is visible even when the Arctic is blasted at a white wall directly in front of you.

Mine must be from the original batch then. So be careful with your arctic goggles. If the new goggles indeed work as well as you state then it should be obvious if you have the good ones or not. Mine still let significant amounts of the light through.
 

aryntha

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Heh. Wow. I'm guessing a bunch of people got review units? If so I can understand 'holding up your part of the bargain' on doing a review even if there have been many.

Just wonder how to get on that list. :beer:
 

Cyparagon

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Are you sure you're measuring the same axis at both points? Sounds like you measured the slow at the aperture and the fast at 11 feet. The fast at the aperture is ~2mm. I bet if you measured at 20 feet or more you'd get a higher (and more accurate) divergence.
 

MarioMaster

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Are you sure you're measuring the same axis at both points? Sounds like you measured the slow at the aperture and the fast at 11 feet. The fast at the aperture is ~2mm. I bet if you measured at 20 feet or more you'd get a higher (and more accurate) divergence.

Yes I'm measuring the fast axis at both the aperture and at the wall. My tape measure is only 15 feet.
 

ZapU

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Divergence tests:
Beam diameter at aperture - 5.1mm
Beam diamter at 11.5 feet : 8.5mm
Calculated Divergence: 0.97mRad
No, the fast axis is the narrow part of the beam at the aperture. It's ~1mm.
The mRad is closer to 2.1

 




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