50W 808nm LASER

50W 808nm Laser Diode Module, retail $~225.00
Manufactured by (Unknown)
Last updated 10-05-09

The USS Lantree is a quarantined vessel by order of Starfleet Command.
Do not board.

...o wait, wrong warning!!!

This laser can produce up to 100 watts of laser radiation that is very nearly invisible, and can cause instant and permanent eye damage from an accidental reflection or accidental direct exposure!!! You need to know what you're doing and have the appropriate safety precautions for a CDRH Class IV laser device in place before you energize this laser!!!

(This laser can destroy more than just your eye)

This is a laser module that is rated to produce no less than 50 watts CW at 808nm in the NIR (near-infrared) region of the spectrum. It uses a laser diode bar, rather than just a single laser diode. There are lenses inside to collimate (focus) the beam, and it comes in a very heavy copper case,

I don't know what you would actually *USE* it for, but it was sent to me as a freebie when I purchased another laser, so on this website it goes.


The first thing you'll want to do is turn the unit upside-down, and unscrew & remove the two standard head screws that protect the laser diode bar from static discharge. Store these screws where they will not become lost; screw them firmly in whenever this laser is stored or transported.

For a quick & easy power supply, the seller of these says to use three NiCd C cells in series, with a piece of nichrome wire scavenged from an old space heater (resistance of 0.05 to 0.10 ohms) as a ballast resistor. The ESR (effective series resistance) of the batteries themselves will help additionally in limiting current; that's why the resistance of the ballast resistor is so low.

Connect the positive (+) to the laser's case, and connect the negative (-) to either of the two large studs you see on the back of the unit. When powered in this fashion (3 NiCd cells and nichrome ballast resistance), the seller reported a current usage of 26 amps. Yes, that's AMPS.

And watch where you point that thing when applying power - the laser radiation is plenty high enough to set flammable things like paper, plastic, and wood on fire!!!

For extended use (beyond just testing), it is recommended that this laser be water-cooled, using flowing COLD water with a pressure of 45PSI. See those two silvery things sticking out the back of the laser housing? Those are where you connect the water inlet and outlet. For extended use, soft water is recommended; there is no need to use distilled or deionized water, just soft water. Water-cooling the unit is very important especially if you're pumping 60 amps through the laser diode.

{From the person who sells these, who appears to know his {vulgar term for feces} about lasers}:

It should NEVER be powered without at least water filling the tubes, the diode does not have very much metal to conduct heat away, it would likely go critical in about a second or so. I have one that appears to have suffered a "lack of coolant" accident on the machine, and the diode turned into melted slag :-(

This product is not designed to have batteries changed in it. Therefore, I do not have to tell you what kind of batteries it needs or which part to kick into the garden with all those hungry, hungry praying mantids.

Here is what a praying mantis looks like.
I found this guy on the morning of 09-08-06 clinging to the basket of my scooter.

This is a laser, not a flashlight. So I won't whack it against a steel rod or against the concrete floor of an outdoor patio, run over it with a 450lb electric wheelchair, try to drown it in the toilet bowl or the cistern, throw it, let my housemate's kitties go #1 on it, stomp on it, or subject it to other abuses that a flashlight might have to endure.

{Begin theft mode - seller's own words here}
THERE ARE NO "OOPS THAT WAS BRIGHT" SECOND CHANCES WITH THIS LASER! A single careless glance into the beam or its reflection WILL PERMANENTLY BLIND YOU FOREVER! To the eye the scattered output looks as bright as a red laser pointer, but that same "weak looking" beam will light a piece of anti-static foam on fire in about 1/4 of a second!

The energy is sufficient that this laser will damage and render useless sensitive items like photodetectors, most non-thermal laser power meters, and security cameras from direct exposure to the beam.

The energy is sufficient that the beam will cause a severe burn if you get zapped by it, and is of sufficient power that a fire hazard could exist. DO NOT use near flammable materials!
{End theft mode}

{From somebody who knows their {vulgar term for feces} about lasers}:

If you shine it at a white surface (that survives the heat), the spot will be dangerous to look at.

Assuming that the white surface is an ideal "lambertian" reflector and you are looking perpendicularly into the surface and assuming a 7 mm pupil diameter (which 21 CFR 1040.10 requires for calculations dependent on pupil diameter), a 50 watt spot does this:

Looking at the spot from 1 foot away, your eye receives 17 milliwatts. Should the spot be a tiny little dot and your pupils actually that large, that could possibly toast a small spot of your retina within a few tenths of a second - like staring into a 17 mW beam!

If you fire the beam at a piece of charcoal, the few percent reflected could exceed 1 milliwatt into a dilated pupil at 1 foot. In addition, the charcoal will incandesce and radiate probably several watts in the visible and IRA spectral region, and that can throw a few more miliwatts at your eye from 1 foot away (assuming a 7 mm dialeted pupil). If the spot is small, you can still toast a spot of your retina in a fraction of a second.

Through a 7 mm pupil, your eye can receive up to a milliwatt at 4.12 feet.

Your eye can receive up to .01 milliwatt at 41.2 feet. At that distance, the spot should have a small enough angular size to treat as a point under 21 CFR 1040.10. .01 milliwatt is safe to stare into for up to 100 seconds. That is, up to 100 seconds per 2500 second period - do not look at the spot from 41.2 feet away for 99 seconds, rest your eyes only a few minutes, then look at the spot for another 99 seconds.

The distance from a spot on a white wall required to reduce potential exposure to .4 microwatt is 2,060 feet! .4 microwatt or more entering the eye and being focused into a point on the retina for continuous exposure is the threshold of exceeding Class I laser radiation exposure. Class I is presumably safe according to 21 CFR 1040.10.

A lesser thing to worry about: How quickly the laser diodes will heat up without that water flow! I'm afraid that will be just a few seconds!

Also - whatever the limit for current flowing through the laser diode bank is, it is probably fairly strict, and exceeding it or exceeding it by much could blow laser diodes instantly! There is a damage mode in laser diodes known as "catastrophic optical damage", and that can happen in a fraction of a microsecond!

{From the person who sells these, who also appears to know his {vulgar term for feces} about lasers}:

The amount of current required to COD this diode with correct polarity is so much that it would stop lasing and melt down long before the optical energy reached sufficient power to fry the facets. The chip inside is about 10mm long and 2mm wide by about 0.1mm thick in contrast, your typical 3W chip is 0.5mm long, 0.25 wide, and 0.1mm thick

I do not yet have a source of power capable of driving this laser at its proper output level (very possibly not even to lasing threshold!), so I do not yet have additional information for this web page.
Because of this, a star rating will not be furnished until I can operate the device above lasing threshold. In addition, I'll probably want to procure a pair of laser safety goggles that attenuate 808nm radiation before energizing it at full power.

A word about safety filters now, again, from somebody who knows their {vulgar term for feces} about lasers:

In general, colored filters, a majority of colored glass, and a large majority of colored plastic does little attenuation of 808 nm or for that matter other IR wavelengths in the general range of 750-1500 nm or so. The same is true of many "neutral density" filters, as in most based on dyes which includes "neutral density" filter gels of the construction that is usual for stage lighting filter gels. This means that such items will also not protect from any unfiltered IR in DPSS lasers.

Blue glass tinted with cobalt passes IR. So does "Woods glass" used for blacklights. Glass with a slight greenish tint only attenuates 808 nm and other IR in the 750-1500 nm range by a small amount. Water is transparent to IR out to approx. 1400 nm.

Welding glass will attenuate IR, but likely only to an extent that allows working with this laser for mere seconds. I am concerned that even this might be optimistic, especially with the lighter versions of welding glass used in goggles for acetylene welding.

Green glass, blue glass tinted with copper, blue or green solutions of copper compounds, green solutions of iron compounds, IR blocking filters in Sony nightshot cameras, and "hot mirrors" will block a lot of IR but not to an extent adequate to make this laser safe to work with.

808 nm is slightly visible to most people. Some people may believe that the low brightness of this visible radiation indicates reasonably low power until notified that what they are seeing is 808 nm. Some people will believe that what they are seeing is not 808 nm but spurious spectral content at shorter wavelengths. This could lead a few to get false hopes that a supposed IR-blocking filter is blocking the IR and passing spurious red wavelengths while the truth is that they are seeing 808 nm getting through (before their eyeballs get "well-done").

I do recommend increasing the emphasis of the need for actual laser goggles specifically rated to protect from this wavelength.

Another thing to keep in mind - a direct hit of a 50 watt beam onto goggles that absorb this wavelength could burn through in mere seconds. Also, the goggles may still let through enough of a direct hit to be inadequate protection - avoid having the beam hit your eyes even if you have goggles, although a beam strike on goggles *may not* instantly doom one to having permanent eye damage.

Filters made for directly viewing the sun may permit brief viewing of a spot on a non-specular surface. However, I consider such sun filters to be useless as protection against this laser because they will not allow anything else to be seen. Adequate protection from this laser requires blocking the IR from hitting your eyes from any angle as well as allowing you to see things other than the beam impact point. In addition, some sun filters are based on thin films of filter material that could be burned through in milliseconds if a direct hit by the beam occurs. Also to be noted is that a 50 watt point on diffusely reflecting surface could be worse to look at from within a few feet than the sun is! This is especially true when the wavelength has visibility low enough for your pupils to not shrink to a really small size in response to exposure!

One recommendation besides the (mandatory) use of proper goggles: Work in an area as brightly lit as possible. That will make your pupils smaller, which will slightly reduce the dangers. Even actual reasonably proper goggles may be not quite 100% protection from all possible accidents and incidents when working with a laser that is 2 orders of magnitude into Class IV!

Beam photograph on a white wall at ~12".
The laser may not have even been at threshold when this photograph was taken!

Power is WAY too high to measure with the instruments at my disposal.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of this laser, not yet at lasing threshold.
This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is below lasing thershold.

Spectrographic analysis
Same as above; newer spectrometer software & settings used.
USB2000 spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.

Unit was provided as a freebie when I purchased a pulsed YAG laser on Ebay.

UPDATE: 00-00-00



    PRODUCT TYPE: Diode laser module
    LAMP TYPE: 808nm laser diode bar
    No. OF LAMPS: 1
    BEAM TYPE: Very short & wide
    BEZEL: Metal; laser diode bar & lenses protected by glass window
    WEIGHT: ~3 pounds
    WARRANTY: Not stated


    Star Rating

50W 808nm Laser Diode Module *

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