Inexpensive laser pointers are widely available at drugstores and supermarkets because the laser diode they use has been crippled. You can modify (or “mod”) the circuitry controlling the laser diode to produce a more powerful beam of laser light. You will need a few hardware tools and about 10 minutes of your time. Adult supervision also is required if the person modifying the laser pointer is underage as a soldering iron will be used. The increased intensity of the laser pointer could be an issue if used around a law enforcement official, so its use should be restricted to inside your home.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Portable drill
- 1/4-inch drill bit
- Soldering iron
- Flat-edged jeweller's screwdriver
- Duct tape
Put a sheet of newspaper on a table. Unscrew the battery cap from the back end of the laser pointer. Remove the batteries from inside of the battery compartment. Put the batteries and the battery cap on the newspaper.
Put the laser pointer horizontally on its side on the newspaper with the power button facing up and the back end facing to the left.
Hold down the back end of the laser pointer on the newspaper with your left hand.
Pick up the portable drill in your right hand. Carefully drill a hole in the laser pointer casing just to the right of the power button with the portable drill.
Drill a second hole right next to the first one on its right side with the portable drill. Put the portable drill away.
Insert the flat-edged jeweller’s screwdriver into the screw that can now be seen in the first hole that was drilled in the laser pointer.
Turn the screw a quarter turn clockwise to increase the intensity of the laser diode. Remove the flat-edged jeweller’s screwdriver.
Heat up the soldering iron for five minutes. Apply the tip of the soldering iron to the computer chip that is inside of the second hole in the laser pointer.
Remove the tip of the soldering iron from the computer chip after 15 seconds have passed to disrupt the chip’s ability to limit the current flowing into the laser diode.
Unplug the soldering iron. Let the laser pointer cool off for five minutes.
Place a strip of duct tape over the two holes on the laser pointer. Smooth the duct tape onto the holes with your fingers.
Put the batteries back into the battery compartment. Put the battery cap back onto the back end of the laser pointer.
Aim the laser pointer you have modified at a far wall. Press the power button to project a powerful beam of laser light.
Tips and warnings
- Wear protective goggles when using the laser pointer you have modified.
- Never aim the beam of a laser pointer at a person's eyes as it can damage their retinas.
- Increasing the intensity of a laser pointer will cause the laser diode to drain the batteries much more quickly than would otherwise be the case.
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