CNI PGL IIIA 80mW Green Portable Laser, retail $210 ()
Manufactured by Changchun New Industries (CNI) (
Last updated 04-1513

(In reference to the box I received from FNinjaP90 of Candlepower Forums at 3:14pm PDT on 08-14-06):
{sung like the Foreigner song "Feels Like the First Time"}

This is a green DPSS (diode pumped solid state) portable laser that is advertised to output 80mW of laser radiation at 532nm in the green part of the spectrum.

It comes in a cylindrical aluminum body, and uses two AA cells. It also has all of the safety features required for a CDRH Class IIIb laser product in the USA.


Feed the portable laser two AA cells (see below), peel off and remove that blue plastic protector over the business-end, and then you'll be ready to rock.

To use the portable laser, insert the interlock dongle in the opening for it on the side of the tailcap, insert one of the interlock keys into the end of the tailcap, turn it 90 clockwise, remove it, turn the beam shutter on the front of the portable laser counterclockwise approximately 45, press the silver button on the side of the barrel, hold it down for ~3.3 seconds, and THEN you'll get your green beam. A small red LED comes on as soon as the button is pressed and held down. This is the laser emissions indicator.

Release the button to turn the portable laser back off.

All of this "rigamarole" is so that the laser complies with CDRH Class IIIb requirements.

To change the batteries in your PGL IIIA portable laser, unscrew and remove the tailcap, throw it in the {vulgar term for feces}bowl, yank that silver handle on the cistern down, and flush it away...O WAIT!!! YOU'LL NEED THAT!!! So just set it aside instead.

Tip the two used AA cells out of the barrel and into your hand, and dispose of, recycle, or recharge them as you see fit.

Insert two new AA cells into the barrel, flat-end (-) negative first. This is the opposite of how batteries are installed in most flashlights, so please pay attention to polarity here.

Screw the tailcap back on, and be done with it.
Aren't you glad you didn't flush away that tailcap now?

Current usage measures 602mA on my DMM's 4A scale.

This is a portable laser, not a flashlight. So I won't throw it against the wall, stomp on it, try to drown it in the toilet bowl, run over it, swing it against the concrete floor of a patio, or inflict upon it punishments that flashlights may have inflicted upon them. So this section of the laser's web page will seem a bit more bare than this section of the web page on a page about a flashlight.

Green diode lasers are a lot different than those common red lasers you see all the time.

In a 640nm red portable laser, there's a red-emitting diode and a lens to collimate (focus) the beam.

In a 532nm green laser (module or larger size), there's a BIG infrared laser diode that generates laser light at 808nm, this is fired into a crystal containing the rare-earth element "neodymium". This crystal takes the 808nm infrared light and lases at 1064nm (yes, deeper in the infrared!). This 1064nm laser light comes out of the NdYV04 (neodymium yttrium vanadium oxide) crystal and is then shot into a second crystal (containing potassium, titanium, & phosphorus, usually called KTP) that doubles the frequency to 532nm - the bright green color you see. This light is then collimated (focused) by a lens and emerges out the laser's "business end". Just before the lens, there's a filter that removes any stray IR (infrared) rays from the pump diode and the neodymium crystal. You don't want that stuff in your green beam, trust me. :-)

This is why green diode lasers are so much more expensive than red ones. Lots of itty bitty parts, and they all need to be aligned by hand. If the polarisation is "off", one or both crystals need to be turned. With red diode lasers, you just slap in the diode and slap a lens in front of it.

VERY IMPORTANT!!! This laser is NOT a toy, and you MUST NOT shine it into your eyes, other people's eyes, pets' eyes, for that matter, the eyes of any person or animal you encounter. Eye damage can occur faster than the blink reflex can protect them, regardless of what species' eyes you irradiate with this laser. So just don't do it.
And for heaven sakes (and for Pete sakes and for your sakes too) do not shine this laser at any vehicle, whether ground-based like a car or truck, or air-based like a helicopter, airplane, or jet. And if you shoot it at a person in the dark and he turns out to be a police officer, he may think he's being targeted, pull his gun, and hose you down with it.
This is a CDRH Class IIIb laser device. Treat it with respect, and it'll treat you with respect.

This laser is not water-resistant, so please be extra careful when using it around sinks, tubs, toilets, fishtanks, pet water bowls, or other places where water or water-like liquids might be found. And you'll probably want to cover it up or otherwise get rid of it (such as by putting it in a pocket or bag) if you need to carry it in rainy or snowy weather.

Since this is a high powered portable laser, I would recommend a duty cycle of no longer than 50%. That is, one minute on, and at least one minute off to allow the "guts" inside to cool down. This is not stated anywhere, but is my own recommendation.

With no additional optics of any type placed in front of it, this laser will light a wooden match with a red head within approximately ten seconds.

There is an interlock dongle, an interlock key, a beam shutter, an LED beam emission indicator, and a turn-on delay. These functions are the safety features needed by a CDRH Class IIIb laser in the United States, and you really should not attempt to defeat them.
If you must though, the interlock switch and security dongle can be bypassed by placing a penny (a copper-plated zinc one cent coin in the United States) in the tailcap. The beam emission indicator, beam shutter, and turn-on delay will still be in place though.
One bad thing about the penny in the tailcap is, copper and aluminum don't play well together. A galvanic reaction can take place between the two metals and can cause corrosion if left in contact for a period of time. It takes moisture for this to happen but, even in the desert, there is moisture in the air. Something to consider.

The interlock dongle is a 1/8" monaural male phone plug, with its wires shorted together.

I irradiated my finger with this laser, and felt a distinct stinging sensation within a couple of seconds. So yes, it is reasonably powerful.

From a user of this laser, comes the following (no corrections to spelling or grammar were made):
"Wow I just had a very scarry experience with my laser.

I was taking some pictures of the beam out on my back patio. I set the laser down on a ladder while I was adjusting the camera tripod and a few minutes later spaced it about the laser being on top of the ladder. I turned around and moved the ladder and remembered about the laser resting on top at the moment I heard the sickening sound of a heavy metal object hitting concrete. It fell about 5 feet and landed on the corner of the bezel. I tried to turn it on and got no beautiful green light The red indicator light came on but no laser output. I was very disturbed with myself.

After taking the tale cap off a couple of times it suddenly started working again. It had one of those magical electronics moments when when the broken device healed it's self all on it's own. The beam still appears to have the same collimation and it appears to to just as bright. It did leave a small dent in the corner of the bezel."

Power output measurement
Power output peaks at 29mW.

This analysis was performed on a LaserBee 2.5W USB Laser Power Meter.

Beam photograph at ~12".
I was not able to obtain a power reading because it exceeds 60mW.
I felt a stinging sensation on my finger after just a couple
of seconds, so its power output probably exceeds 100mW.

Beam is not white like this photograph makes it appear.

Beam is also a lot smaller than it appears; the
beam image bloomed significantly when photographed.

Beam photograph at ~15'.
Beam is not white like this photograph makes it appear.

Beam is significantly smaller than it appears;
the beam image also bloomed when photographed.

Those rectangular graphic things near the top are marquees from:
Midway ''Omega Race''
Sega ''Star Trek''
Williams ''Joust''
Venture Line ''Looping''
Universal ''Mr. Do!'s Castle''
Jaleco ''Exerion''
Gremlin/Sega ''Astro Blaster''
Atari ''Tempest''

upright coin-op arcade video games from the 1980s.

And that red star thing on the marquees is from an American DJ Laser Widow.

Comparing its beam with a 5mW green laser.
I blacked my eyes out because they look queer (pun intended) after my (crash course in) brain surgery in late-2002.

Beam spot on a structure ~200 feet away in full daylight (1:39pm PST 11-29-06).
Telephotograph (9x) was used; beam image bloomed a bit because it was the brightest
thing in the frame when compared with other structures & objects in this photograph.

Beam photograph of the laser spot on a door at ~30'.

Photograph of the beam in moderately heavy fog.
Photograph taken in Federal Way WA. on 01-20-09 at 6:05am PST.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of this laser.

Spectrographic analysis
Same as above; newer spectrometer software & settings used.

Spectrographic analysis
Same as above; spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 780nm and 874nm to show NIR laser line from the pump diode - or LACK thereof; this shows that the laser is extremely well-filtered for NIR!

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of this laser; newest (01-13-13) spectrometer software & settings used.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of this laser; spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 528nm and 536nm to pinpoint wavelength, which is 531.660nm.

The raw spectrometer data (comma-delimited that can be loaded into Excel) is at

USB2000 Spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.

I do not have an outdoor laser testing facility at my new location,
so I will not be able to provide any distance photographs.

Quicktime movie (.mov extension) showing the laser burning up a pair of laser safety goggles.
It is approximately 1.1 megabytes (1,155,860 bytes); dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than five minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.

In this clip, the laser was being fired through argon wavelength safety goggles; the laser and goggles were held together and the beam was being directed at a ceiling ~5 feet away.

Quicktime movie (.mov extension) showing the laser popping a ballon at ~4 feet.
It is approximately 2.2 megabytes (2,436,436 bytes); dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than ten minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.

Windows Media Player (.avi extension) showing the laser spinning the vanes of a radiometer.
It is approximately 5.4 megabytes (5,617,956 bytes); dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than twenty five minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.
I cannot provide them in other formats, so please do not ask.

Test unit was purchased in a group buy on and was received on 08-14-06

Product was made in China. A product's country of origin really does matter to some people, which is why I published it on this web page.

UPDATE 08-19-06:
This laser can be purchased at Laserglow and is named the Pyxis.

UPDATE 12-05-06:
A dime (a US 10 coin) can be used in place of a penny in the tailcap for purposes of bypassing the interlock dongle, or in case you misplace or lose the dongle. So if you wish to bypass the interlock dongle and can't find a penny, a dime will do the job here.

UPDATE 12-16-06:
Current usage measures 605mA on Energizer E2 lithium cells.

UPDATE 12-19-06:
Current usage measures 5mA while the emissions interlock (delay) is engaged; it then rises to the ~605mA operating current when the unit begins to lase.

UPDATE 10-19-09:
The laser power dropped rather suddenly and artifacts appeared outside the main beam (indicative of a problem with the MCA), but gently striking the "business-end" in my hand restored proper operation.

Has proper safety features as required by a Class IIIb laser
Properly labelled for class & power output
Powerful enough to burn, destroy, and leave wrinkles everywh...o wait!!! wrong infomercial!!!
Batteries it uses are common and relatively inexpensive

None that I have found thus far

    PRODUCT TYPE: Large pen-style portable laser
    LAMP TYPE: DPSS diode laser/NdYVO4/KTP crystals
    No. OF LAMPS: 1
    BEAM TYPE: Very narrow; it's a laser, remember? ;-)
    SWITCH TYPE: Pushbutton momentary on/off on barrel
    BEZEL: Metal; has aperture (hole) for laser beam to emerge
    BATTERY: 2x AA cells
    SIZE: 7.6"L, 0.9"D
    ACCESSORIES: Dongle, 2x interlock keys
    WARRANTY: Unknown/TBA


    Star Rating

CNI PGL IIIA 80mW Green Portable Laser *

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