OPTOTRONICS RPL-260
GREEN LASER



Optotronics RPL-260 Green Laser, retail $1,199.00 (www.optotronics.com...)
Manufactured by (Unknown) for Optotronics (www.optotronics.com)
Last updated 08-21-06





(In reference to the box I received via Federal Express from Jack at Optotronics at 2:27pm PDT on 08-18-06):
{sung like the Foreigner song "Feels Like the First Time"}
LOAD "FEELSLIKEAFLASHLIGHT",8,8

SEARCHING FOR FEELSLIKEAFLASHLIGHT
LOADING
READY.

O wait...as soon as I saw the Federal Express guy standing on the porch, I *knew* it wasn't a flashlight...

LOAD "FEELSLIKEALASER",8,8

SEARCHING FOR FEELSLIKEALASER
LOADING
READY.
SYS12288

Feels like a laaaaaa-sssser...feels like a LAAAAA-aaaaa-ssser!!!
Feels like a laaaaaa-sssser...feels like a LAAAAA-aaaaa-ssser!!!
READY.


This is a green DPSS (diode pumped solid state) laser that is advertised to output 260mW to 280mW of laser radiation at 532nm in the green part of the spectrum.

It comes in a cylindrical aluminum body, and uses one 18650 rechargable lithium-ion cell for power. It also has all of the safety features required for a CDRH Class IIIb laser product in the USA, except for the turn-on delay and security dongle. But it has a "system armed" indicator, something not seen on any other small laser that I've used or seen.


 SIZE



Feed the laser a freshly-charged 18650 rechargable lithium-ion cell (see below), and then you'll be ready to rock.

To use the laser, insert the interlock key into the end of the tailcap, turn it 90 clockwise and then remove it, slide the beam shutter on the front of the laser toward the center, press & release the red button on the side of the barrel, and THEN you'll get your green beam. A small red LED comes on as soon as the button is pressed and then released. This is the laser emissions indicator.

Release the button to turn the laser back off.

Intermittent (momentary) operation is also available by pressing the button more lightly (before it clicks) and holding it that way for as long as you need the laser beam energized. Releasing the button turns the laser off.

When you are done using the laser, insert the interlock key and turn it 90 counterclockwise and then remove it.

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

When the interlock key is in the "on" position but the button is not pressed, the LED in front of the switch glows green; this serves as the "system armed" indicator. This is a feature I've never found on any small laser I've used or seen.


Here is the key interlock on the laser's tailcap. See that arrow? The little projection or tit on the outside of the key's barrel should be oriented so it fits into the notch the arrow is pointing to. In this photograph, the laser is turned completely off.

*** VERY IMPORTANT!!! ***
You must turn the keyswitch to the "off" position when you are finished using the laser!!! If you don't, a small but constant drain on the battery will occur, opening up the possibility that you will have a dead battery when you go to use the laser next.



To change the battery in your RPL-260 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 used cell out of the barrel and into your hand, and recharge it.

Insert a newly-charged 18650 rechargable Li:ION cell 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, insert the interlock key in the tailcap, and be done with it.
Aren't you glad you didn't flush away that tailcap now?

I was advised to not measure current usage when the laser is activated because the shunt resistance in my DMM would queer the results.

Current usage was measured by J.O. at Optotronics using more complex instruments than I have at my disposal at 2,000mA (2.0 amps).

Current in standby mode measures 2.147mA on my DMM's 4mA scale.

To charge the 18650 cell, place it in the charging cradle, orienting it so its button-end (+) positive is on the same end of the chamber in the charger that has a (+) embossed in its bottom.

Plug the small plug on the end of the wall-wart's cord into the receptacle for it on one end of the charger. Plug the wall-wart itself into any standard (in the United States) two- or three-slot 110 volts to 130 volts AC 60Hz receptacle.

A red light on the charging cradle should now come on; this indicates charging is in progress. When the 18650 cell has reached full charge, the light on the charging cradle will turn from red to green.

At this point, unplug the wall-wart, remove the charged cell from the charging cradle, and install it in the laser as directed above.



This is a 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 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 laser, I would recommend a duty cycle of no longer than 37.5%. That is, 30 seconds 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 two seconds.

There is an interlock key, a beam shutter, and an LED beam emission indicator. 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.

This laser has an automatic thermal protection circuit; if the laser is operated continuously for ~50 seconds, the beam power output will drop sharply; to perhaps 5mW. When this happens, turn the laser off and leave it off for at least one minute to allow it to cool, then you can turn it back on.
When timed with a clock with a second hand on it, this thermal cutout engages in exactly 67 seconds. The ambient temperature for this test was 81F (27.2C).

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

The beam diameter when it exits the laser is approximately 1.5mm; this is slightly larger than the beam diameter of a standard 532nm DPSS laser pointer.

Despite the larger beam diameter at the beam aperture, this laser produces enough 532nm radiation to ignite tobacco.

You can unscrew & remove the end cap containing the beam shutter to facilitate cleaning of the lens. However, ***DO NOT*** under any circumstances attempt to remove the laser itself from the housing!!! Doing so will void the warranty, and opens the possibility that you may irradiate yourself with 260mW+ of green laser radiation at 532nm, at least several hundred milliwatts of IR laser radiation at 1,064nm, and 2,000mW (2W) of NIR laser radiation at 808nm.



Beam photo 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 second,
so its power output *DEFINITELY* exceeds 200mW.

Beam is not white like this photograph makes it appear.
Photoflash was used, so blooming would be less of an issue.

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



Beam photo at ~10'.
Beam is not white like this photograph makes it appear.

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



Photograph of a wall at ~10', using only the light from the laser to illuminate the scene. 5:39am PDT; even the computer monitor was off & the shades were closed.

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.



Beam photo on the outdoor patio in full daylight.
Smoke was used to allow the beam to be visible.




Beam photo (bezel removed) on a ceiling at ~5'.
Beam is not white like this photograph makes it appear.
Photoflash was used, even though it does not look like it.
And the exposure value was set to -2.0 for this photograph.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of this laser.
Ocean Optics USB2000 Spectrometer on loan from TWO-CUBED.

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


Now for the $64,000.00 question: Can this laser pop a balloon? Let's find out...
Quicktime movie (.mov extension) showing the laser popping a ballon at ~4 feet.
Well of course it can.
It is approximately 1.1 megabytes (1,222,444 bytes); dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than five minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.


Quicktime movie (.mov extension) showing the laser lighting a match.
It is approximately 1.2 megabytes (1,323,736 bytes); dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than six minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.
I cannot provide them in other formats, so please do not ask.



TEST NOTES:
Test unit was loaned to me by J.O. of www.optotronics.com and was received on 08-18-06. I won't have it for too long - the evening of 08-21-06 at the absolute latest.

Product was *VERY LIKELY* 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.

The "wall wart" AC charger has a secondary measuring 5.5 volts DC at 450mA.


UPDATE 08-20-06:
I have decided to rate this product 5 full stars and place it in "The Trophy Case" on my website, denoting it as among the best products money can buy!!!


UPDATE 08-20-06:
No, you aren't seeing things.
Yes, a same-day update.
I have now packaged up this laser for its return trip to J.O. at Optotronics, so I no longer have it at my disposal for additional analyses or comparisons. Therefore, that dreadful "" icon will appear next to its listings on this website.


UPDATE 08-21-06:
Federal Express picked up the "Big Scary Laser" (my sister, whom I share this home with, doesn't like it because she thinks it's "too powerful") at 2:04pm PDT for its return to Longmont CO. USA, so this will very likely be the last update to this web page.





PROS:
Durable, hefty casing
Natural, flashlight-like feel in the hand
Beam is "clean", with no visible speckling or artifacts around it
Powerful enough to burn stuff - but you knew that going in!
Three safety features built in that don't impede normal operation
Also has a "system armed" indicator
LED emission indicator so you know if it's on even if the beam shutter is closed
Continuous operation available via the pushbutton switch
Comes with padded, hard-sided storage case
Battery it uses is rechargeable


CONS:
Fragile interior construction - like all DPSS lasers. Will not figure into my rating
Not water-resistant - but most other DPSS lasers aren't either. Will not figure into my rating



    MANUFACTURER: Unknown
    PRODUCT TYPE: Large handheld 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: 1x18650 Li:ION rechargeable cell
    CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Was asked not to measure
    WATER RESISTANT: No
    SUBMERSIBLE: No
    ACCESSORIES: Interlock keys, 18650 cell, charger, hard-sided storage case
    WARRANTY: 90 days

    PRODUCT RATING:

    Star Rating




Optotronics RPL-260 Green Laser * www.optotronics.com...







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