Archive for January 10th, 2013

5 mW Laser Module

A trio of 5 mW laser modules arrived with a bunch of other surplus gear after an end-of-year sale:

5 mW Laser Module

5 mW Laser Module

It runs on 5 V at 20 mA, determined by the 91 Ω SMD resistor soldered across the terminals at the back of the PCB. That suggests the laser diode itself runs at about 3.2 V: 5 V – 0.020 A * 91 Ω.

The brass case connects to the red (positive) wire, so you must insulate the laser module from the usual grounded metal chassis.

Two of the three lasers arrived badly defocused, but a twist of the brass barrel broke the sealing glue and a bit more twiddling found the sweet spot.

Running one of these from an Arduino would be just like the UV LED: redefine a bit in the shift register bitfield and drive the laser with a MOSFET switch.

I’d be tempted to bypass the SMD resistor and run it from an LM317-style current regulator hitched directly to the raw battery; I’m pretty sure I have some LM317 regulators in TO-92 packages. The sense resistor would be 62.5 Ω = 1.25 V / 0.02 A, dissipating 25 mW = 1.25 V * 20 mA. From a freshly charged 7.2 V Li-ion battery at 8.5 V, the regulator would dissipate something like 80 mW =(8.5 – 1.25 – 3.2 V) * 20 mA.

Or just add more series resistance and ignore the brightness variation?