Spam (madbodger) wrote,

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405nm laser pointer on the cheap AKA more hackery

In my travels, I found this page describing how to buy a 405nm Blu-Ray laser diode on the cheap in the form of a Blu-Ray drive available for £40 as a PS3 repair part. I was a little skeptical, as the stated reason for the high cost and (at one time) limited availability of the PS3 was the supply of 405nm laser diodes. A little checking revealed that several people had bought these, so I decided to give it a go. I bought mine from samsam888 on eBay. Note that he lists them as coming from Dallas TX, but they really are shipped from Hong Kong. The packaging is sufficient, but not Sony original (mine came in a box marked "TFD display").

I got the thing a few weeks ago, but didn't have the time or energy to play with it. Today, I had at. I quickly dissected the drive and removed the laser diode assembly and its mounting bracket. There are actually 3 laser diodes inside, an infrared one (for CDs), a red one (for DVDs), and a blue one for Blu-Ray discs. There's also a photodiode for monitoring and controlling laser output. First, I wanted a look at the guts of the thing, so I put it under a microscope.

Looks to be a stack of little electro-optical chips sitting on a heatsink with some flying leads. Time to carefully give it some juice. I hooked the blue laser diode up to 5V via a 2200Ω current limiting resistor. This should keep the current well below the maximum, but give enough energy to at least glow, if not lase.

Sure enough, there was a tiny dot of purplish light! While there are some 473nm blue lasers out there that are a lovely shade of blue, this puppy verges on some serious purple beauty! Yum!

That was at the maximum magnification of my binocular zoom boom microscope, so I switched to a more powerful one. Here are the guts again: idle, with the red laser going, and with the violet laser going:

Okay, time to ramp up the power and collimate output into a beam. There are several lenses and various optical components in the assembly, so I played with them a bit before settling on the objective lense as a likely candidate. I had to (somewhat rudely) remove the focussing assembly to get it close enough to the laser diode, but I managed it. And, voila!

A lovely purple dot on the far wall! ( randomdreams, note the three large capacitors on the floor? Yep, those are for the tack welder. Unfortunately, the pair of Kepco 75V@1.5A power supplies behind them are both broken, so I'll have to either hack on those or just build a 24VAC driven tripler as a charging source)

Here's a view nearly into the beam:

And here's a closeup of the laser itself:

There's more information on the PS3 laser here. If you want to buy a ready-made laser pointer, you can get one for $2000 here. Leslie is also selling the ones he builds on eBay (this is a link to the auction current as of this post, the link on his page is a more general search one).

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