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Thread: 50mW tunable 532nm + power supply = 65$

  1. #1
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    Default 50mW tunable 532nm + power supply = 65$

    Hello everyone,

    I just found this laser on Ebay. Company from Texas liquidating some overstock...

    http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?...m=360051574581

    I contacted them about divergence and was told to expect around 1.6mrad or better. I'm looking for a laser for a 20kpps scanner. 1.6mrad is kind of high in that case, isn't it? Though it has TTL blanking which is nice.

    But for the price, will I be able to find anything better for my application?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default

    Hello bulldog, welcome to PL. Regarding the laser, what controller are you going to use for your projector? If your controller (DAC) doesn't support analog blanking, then this is probably a great "starter" laser if your building your first projector. If, however, you controller (DAC) supports analog blanking, then you really don't want this laser. You would want to get a laser that supports analog blanking so you will have full on, full off and everything else in between.

  3. #3
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    Default ILDA controller

    Hi DZ, thanks for the friendly greeting.

    I already spent money I didn't have by buying an x-y scanner, so I'm still debating what to do about the controller. As you correctly guessed, this is my first foray into the world of lasers. As such, I'm trying to keep it simple.

    For right now I see my options as:

    1) Find a controller that's really inexpensive
    I read about Norm's DAC and that seems like a great solution. He doesn't have any for sale right now on Ebay, but I contacted him to inquire.

    2) Use free software and sound card outputs
    I read about the Laserboy program which seems very interesting. But I only have a stereo output on my laptop, so blanking would be out of the question.

    3) Build and program my own simple controller
    I'm an electrical engineer with a penchant for embedded systems. It would take time though, and the result probably wouldn't look as good as if I just bought it.

    I'm new to all of this, but I'm enjoying reading up on everything.

    And thanks for your advice. I'll hold off on purchasing that laser until I have a clearer idea of how I'm going to control it.

  4. #4
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    Default

    I have one of those lasers. I use it with a die4drive instead of the ttl board it comes with, though. It has a very nice beam.

  5. #5
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    Smile

    Welcome to PhotonLexicon, Bulldog_99_00! So, you've just been bitten by the laser bug, and already you've spend money you didn't have, eh? Good show! You'll fit right in around here then!

    With regard to your options, I should point out that Laserboy is designed to use a dedicated sound card that has been modified to support DC output, rather than your laptop's audio port. (The filtering caps on the sound card output have to be shorted.) This is a very easy mod to do yourself; James has info on how to do it on the Laserboy site.

    Also, there is a commercial sound card available for less than $50 that will give you 8 channels to play with instead of just two. That way you'll have full color blanking, not just monochrome. (This assumes that you'll be adding red and blue to your projector at some point.) Again, see the Laserboy website for details.

    Given that the Axis laser you found is so cheap, if you're itching to get started right away you might want to snag that laser. If you're building a single-color projector, analog blanking doesn't really mean all that much.

    However, if you plan to build a full-color RGB rig, then you definitely want analog blanking. Still, by the time you're ready to build your first RGB rig you'll probably want more than 50 mw of green anyway. Buying this laser now and building a projector around it will give you valuable experience that will come in handy later on when you're ready to take the next step.

    So, if you've already got the scanners, that laser will get you up and running pretty quick. As far as a controller, you could go the Laserboy route, or Norm's Lasershow Dac, or even the Pangolin FB3. (Granted, that's a bit more pricey, at $500 for the controller and software, but it is something you can grow with for several years and not feel the need to upgrade right away.) Don't forget that you'll also need a cheap fog machine. (Figure $40 at Walmart.)

    And, again, welcome to the group. If you've got more questions, fire away...

    Adam

  6. #6
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    Default you said fire away?

    carmangary: How's the beam divergence? Do you use lenses to correct it?

    buffo : Thanks for all the info, Adam. Although LaserBoy seems interesting, I don't have much leeway in my budget for trial and error, so I think it'll be simpler to go with Norm's DAC and software (for now). I imagine I'll grow out of it, but hopefully at that point in time, I'll have more cash to play around with. And yes, a smoke machine. I had completely forgotten. Anyone just tried saltpeter + sugar + baking soda?

  7. #7
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    I didn't do anything to make the beam better. It's fine like it is for me. I don't project very far, though. But how far would you want to project with only 50mw anyway?

  8. #8
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    As far as possible? No no, my aspirations are quite humble. Lacking experience, I'm not sure what exactly I'll be able to get out of a 50mW laser, but I don't expect to be drawing my name in the clouds.

    I was just wondering about correcting the divergence because I read that playing with the divergence is quite a common thing; either to tighten (and brighten) the beam, or to wash it out for safety reasons.

    I was just curious. Thanks for the reply.

    Simon

  9. #9
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    Cool

    Simon;

    I wouldn't worry about the divergence. DPSS lasers have fairly decent beam characteristics. Considering that you're only talking about a 50 mw unit, you'll probably be using it in your living room. And at those distances, divergence isn't an issue.

    As for expanding the beam to make it eye-safe; that's an advanced technique that can be used to improve safety if you plan to perform audience-scanning. However, given that you're just getting started, I suggest you hold off on that until you've gotten more experience. Keep the beams over your head for now.

    Adam

  10. #10
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    I just picked up one of these. I have one of those 15K scanners sets with the DMX board laying around and this laser will work nicely with it. I'm going to modify my Spaghetti software to be able to control it via my EasyLase DMX port so that I can control my 30K RGB scanner off the main ILDA port and the 15K scanner from the DMX port. I think that will be pretty cool!

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