Laser Pointer Annoyances

Laser pointer battery contact

Laser pointer battery contact

Maybe it’s just me, but all of the laser pointers I’ve bought, even the relatively spendy ones, have crappy switches and unstable battery contacts.

For example, this is the business end of a $12 (!) pen-style pointer. The battery contact was off-center and poorly secured; I pried the white plastic retainer out, bashed the spring into submission, and replaced the retainer with a length of heat-shrink tubing. It wasn’t pretty.

This pointer has an actual mechanical switch module inside, with a clicky mechanism actuated by the external button. Cheaper pointers seem to rely on bare PCB contacts bridged by the button’s base. Ugh.

Laser pointer battery orientation: positive DOWN

Laser pointer battery orientation: positive DOWN

Memo to Self: The AAA cells fit into the housing with the positive terminal away from the laser head. The white plastic plug has a molded cross that could be mistaken for a + symbol, but it’s not.

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  1. #1 by Darrell Smith on 2012-11-12 - 14:56

    I’ve been looking for a decent one myself since one of my dogs can’t get enough of chasing the dot around. I spend more time screwing around with the things trying to keep them working than he actually gets play time…I was looking at one similar to the one you have pictured and was about to buy it but read some user reviews and a couple of them said theirs had gotten too hot to hold on to–looking at the spring you show it wouldn’t be too hard to imagine it shorting out to the case. I’m not looking for one that “Can be Seen from Outer Space” as some sites advertise. I mean if you can buy a good flashlight for less than 10 bucks you would think someone could market one of these with the same quality of hardware for a reasonable amount.

    • #2 by Ed on 2012-11-12 - 15:44

      with the same quality of hardware

      I’d be sorely tempted to pick up some laser dot modules from the usual eBay supplier and build one around a CR123A cell: the laser module may be mediocre, but at least everything else would be good. Buy half a dozen lasers and you’re set for the life of the dog.

      We have, for whatever it’s worth, established that turkeys and deer don’t notice laser spots. Now, if only there weren’t this pesky restriction about hunting within 500 feet of a dwelling…