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Discussion Starter #1
looking at buying a laser vortex for this years halloween bash but have a strange question that i could do with some help understanding

2 different sellers are claiming different ways are better at powering the laser module

seller number 1 states
Unlike other sellers, my version does not have that annoying break in the vortex funnel that you see spinning around and around, mine is super small and compact, it is super light, it is whisper quiet & I paint it black to be concealed in the dark. I purchased some of the other sellers vortex's & they are big, bulky, loud, have colored lights on the fan which takes away from the haunt, they are not painted & have a faulty design that causes that annoying spinning break in the vortex funnel. Also we stopped soldering the laser to an a/c adapter plug for the wall because the lasers kept burning out after several uses (we tried all different amps/volts as well). So BEWARE of other sellers who do this and mark up the prices, because these lasers are not meant to be wired to a wall plug; for they WILL burn out on you FAST!!! I pride myself on the time & quality I spend on the parts & build of my vortex... Home made quality!!!

seller no 2 states

Others are trying to sell you similar units that run off batteries..... I've spent countless hours with different configurations, both battery operated and AC powered. Who wants to fool with batteries? Especially AAA batteries?? The AAA batteries last about 30mins, and in colder climates (which usually is the case during that time of year) they are even shorter lived!

Don't try and save a few dollars by buying the cheapest, in the long run, you're going to spend more on batteries!

AC power is a problem some say.... Anyone that knows anything about electricity, knows that 3volts DC is 3volts DC! Whether the source is coming from a battery, or an AC powered converter, the voltage is the same regardless!


so who is right mains powered lasers or battery laser

shipping is expensive to the uk so i want to make sure i get the better unit

any thoughts are much appreciated
 

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I built my own laser vortex with an inexpensive battery-op laser pointer. It worked just fine all night, though I think something with a plug would be best for running multiple nights.

That said, the problem I had with ours was that the motor spinning the mirror (essential to the round projection) would wobble, vibrate, and do its best to move around. So I said screw that, and built myself a shadow projector instead. Wooden box, flood light inside, front covered with a green lighting gel and black cardstock to black out all but a ring for projecting through. Kind of bulky, but it has no moving parts and no laser to potentially blind somebody.

Also: a computer projector can do the same thing. I played with this idea before deciding to build the static shadow projector.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Only p!an on running for one night with the odd hour here and there for testing so I may well go down the battery route but you flood box sounds intriguing
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I built my own laser vortex with an inexpensive battery-op laser pointer. It worked just fine all night, though I think something with a plug would be best for running multiple nights.

That said, the problem I had with ours was that the motor spinning the mirror (essential to the round projection) would wobble, vibrate, and do its best to move around. So I said screw that, and built myself a shadow projector instead. Wooden box, flood light inside, front covered with a green lighting gel and black cardstock to black out all but a ring for projecting through. Kind of bulky, but it has no moving parts and no laser to potentially blind somebody.

Also: a computer projector can do the same thing. I played with this idea before deciding to build the static shadow projector.
i dont suppose you have any pictures of it and any pictures in action ???
 

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I tried it with batteries and never had any luck. They didn't last any time at all.

Never had any problems with the AC powered ones.

They aren't that difficult to build. You can probably pick up a laser locally (although probably more expensive). You can run it on batteries for simplicity, or look for a 3-volt power supply if you want to go that way.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Only problem I have is I live the wrong side of the Atlantic
We are not allowed to purchase laser brighter than 1mw officially
If I order a premade vortex from America then as long as the seller marks it as Halloween novelty lighting I should be OK
 

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Discussion Starter #8
nice setup
ive been in contact with a ebay seller from North carolina (also a member on here ) should hopefully have a mains powered laser vortex enroute to the uk

although i am thinking of going down the static lens route as per your setup
 

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I've built and run both AC and battery powered Laser Vortex(s)? This year I am converting the battery vortex over to AC. Just as was listed here before, running AAA batteries gives you about 25 minutes of good vortexing, the beam then gets noticeably weaker, and finally quits altogether 35-40 minutes in. I've been running a picoboo controlled vortex over my electric chair and 2 "laser beams" converted over to AC for 3 seasons now, and they are still running fine
 

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You are going to want AC for the whole thing. I used a CPU fan and a pen laser to get mine going. The keys are:
1. Cut off the fins on the CPU fan to make it whisper quiet and do make sure it does not have any light of it's own
2. I used a lock washer between the mirror (bought from Michaels) and the CPU fan. This is really the hardest part since it determines the width of the vortex
3. Used a single 5V supply to power the fan and then a basic voltage converter to adjust the voltage for the laser pen. Be sure the voltage is just enough to turn on the laser and maybe a few mV more but is should be between 2.5 and 3V, closer to 2.5 is better otherwise the laser pen will burn out.

I think my whole thing cost $30 to make with the bulk of the money for the adjustable voltage regulator which I bought as a kit. Everything else was bought at a computer surplus store and ebay for the laser pen.
 

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You can definitely run a laser vortex off of either battery or AC adapter, you just have to be careful of matching the voltage and current requirements and limits. I think you made the right choice buying the mains-operated one - that's how I make mine, and it's much more convenient. tvromero's tips are definitely good ideas. The dimming problem ElGuapoGuano mentioned is generally due to the laser diode overheating, as the cheap pens these are usually made from aren't designed to run continuously. If you clamp a nice big piece of metal to the pointer, right around the button area, to act as a heat sink, you can usually mitigate the dimming problem, unless you happen to have gotten a poor-quality laser.

I can't let this slide, though:
seller no 2 states
AC power is a problem some say.... Anyone that knows anything about electricity, knows that 3volts DC is 3volts DC! Whether the source is coming from a battery, or an AC powered converter, the voltage is the same regardless!
Sure, anyone knows that... and anyone that knows a little more about electricity knows that's horribly misleading. Yes, three volts is three volts (though cheap AC converters are often substantially off of spec, so they should be checked with a multimeter), but three volts from, say, a coin cell battery will happily light a bare LED, while three volts from an AC converter will burn that poor little thing out. You have to know both the voltage and the current of your source*, especially when dealing with delicate things like LEDs and laser diodes. The laser pointers we're talking about here have some regulation built in, so you can get away with using a variety of different supplies, but if you take that simplistic understanding and apply it elsewhere, you'll wind up with a house full of magic smoke and a pile of broken electronics.

*Note: this doesn't mean you can't use a power supply rated for a higher current than your electronic device calls for on the back - normal electronic devices will only use as much current as they need - but it does mean you can't use one rated for a lower current.
 

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Malcolm uk,

My two cents:
I have made \ sold laser vortex units though this forum. http://www.halloweenforum.com/for-sale-by-merchants/125687-laser-vortex-prop.html I use a 3.3 VDC power supply to power the laser and have had no issues. I then use another power supply (7.5VDC - 12VDC) to power the fan that spins the mirror. Using batteries can get expensive as they don't last very long. The "annoying break in the vortex funnel" that the one seller referred to is caused by not supplying enough voltage to the laser. I tried using a 3VDC power supply originally and saw the "annoying break". These are not too hard to build if you can get the parts. If you would like to try to build one, I would be happy to answer any questions. I'm not sure if I will be selling any this year on the forum as I see that a member that originally bought one of mine has now started selling his design on the forum.

Good luck and Happy Haunting!!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Malcolm uk,

My two cents:
I have made \ sold laser vortex units though this forum. http://www.halloweenforum.com/for-sale-by-merchants/125687-laser-vortex-prop.html I use a 3.3 VDC power supply to power the laser and have had no issues. I then use another power supply (7.5VDC - 12VDC) to power the fan that spins the mirror. Using batteries can get expensive as they don't last very long. The "annoying break in the vortex funnel" that the one seller referred to is caused by not supplying enough voltage to the laser. I tried using a 3VDC power supply originally and saw the "annoying break". These are not too hard to build if you can get the parts. If you would like to try to build one, I would be happy to answer any questions. I'm not sure if I will be selling any this year on the forum as I see that a member that originally bought one of mine has now started selling his design on the forum.

Good luck and Happy Haunting!!
Thanks for the offer u was going to contact you via the thread link you posted but after reading the entire thread and you said you have had a few personal issues (hope your all sorted now )

i didnt want to hassle you by asking for one i did managed to pick one up one ebay US and managed to get one shipped to the UK with no issues at customs (we have very strict laser laws here)

cant thank you enough for the offer of assisting me

Happy haunting
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Malcolm uk,

I'm not sure if I will be selling any this year on the forum as I see that a member that originally bought one of mine has now started selling his design on the forum.

Good luck and Happy Haunting!!
Sorry that happened kind of pisses me off when people do that
 
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