In this project I will show you how I extracted a laser diode from a DVD Burner which should have the power to ignite a match. In order to power the diode correctly I will also demonstrate how I build a constant current source which delivers a precise and steady current to the load. Let's get started!

Step 1: Watch the Video!

Thie video gives you a good overview of what you need to do to make your own constant current source and how to get a "burning" laser diode. In the following steps I will give you additional information about the most important aspects.

Step 2: Save All the Useful Parts From the DVD Drive!

You never know what your next project might need for components. So it is the best to save the 3 motors, neodymium magnets and diodes you find inside the drive.

Step 3: Order Your Parts!

Here is a list of all the parts that I used during this project:


1x Laser Module:http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

1x Vero Board:http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

1x MCP602:http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

1x 3.3Ω / 5W Resistor:http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

1x 1kΩ Resistor:http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

1x IRLZ44N N Channel MOSFET:http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

2x Screw Terminal:http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

1x 500kΩ Potentiometer:http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

1x Laser Safety Glasses:http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

1x Thermal Paste: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...


1x Laser Module: http://amzn.to/1MTIfJQ

1x MCP602:http://amzn.to/1BbAygT

1x 3.3Ω / 5W Resistor: http://amzn.to/1FgU5HM

1x Vero Board:http://amzn.to/1OeN41p

1x 1kΩ Resistor: http://amzn.to/1G4MLjh

1x IRLZ44N N Channel MOSFET: -

2x Screw Terminal:http://amzn.to/1CuBQgM

1x 500kΩ Potentiometer:http://amzn.to/1yZ4Vkb

1x Laser Safety Glasses:http://amzn.to/1L87R4z

1x Thermal Paste:http://amzn.to/1G4MVqN


1x Laser Module:http://amzn.to/1cUjekU

1x MCP602: -

1x 3.3Ω / 5W Resistor:http://amzn.to/1cUjhgD

1x Vero Board:http://amzn.to/1yZ4k1J

1x 1kΩ Resistor:http://amzn.to/1cUjjVL

1x IRLZ44N N Channel MOSFET:

2x Screw Terminal:http://amzn.to/1GtRU9R

1x 500kΩ Potentiometer:http://amzn.to/1yZ4Vkb

1x Laser Safety Glasses: -

1x Thermal Paste: http://amzn.to/1fay0FP


1x Laser Module:http://amzn.to/1fazakN

1x MCP602:http://amzn.to/1L88WcE

1x 3.3Ω / 5W Resistor:http://amzn.to/1TlDywV

1x Vero Board:http://amzn.to/1TlDGwj

1x 1kΩ Resistor:http://amzn.to/1cUkzbm

1x IRLZ44N N Channel MOSFET: -

2x Screw Terminal:http://amzn.to/1cUkF2w

1x 500kΩ Potentiometer:http://amzn.to/1TlDVYi

1x Laser Safety Glasses: -

1x Thermal Paste: http://amzn.to/1fazvnw

Step 4: Build the Circuit!

Here you can find the schematic for the LM317 and MCP602 constant current source. You can simply build the circuits according to the schematics or you can use my board layout for the MCP602 circuit.

Step 5: Connect the Laser Diode/Test It!

Now just hook up your laser diode to the load terminal of the circuit and you should be able to control the current flow by adjusting the 500k potentiometer.

Step 6: Success!

You did it. You just created a constant current source to power your LEDs or Laser Diodes.

Feel free to check out my Youtube channel for more awesome projects:


You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for news about upcoming projects and behind the scenes information:



<p>Great work, <a href="https://www.instructables.com/member/GreatScottLab">GreatScottLab!</a><br> <br> </p>
the design works, but is pretty inefficient since the mosfet will be partially open and therefore dissipate a lot of heat. there are other constant current switching supplies that would be a better alternative.
<p><a href="https://www.instructables.com/member/baecker03">baecker03</a>, you make a good point, but the whole idea is doing this on a budget of as close to zero as possible. Yes, switching power supplies are more efficient, but they have their drawbacks too. They throw off RFI &quot;hash&quot; like mad, depending on the frequency they switch at. <br><br>The driver circuit that the author has designed and showed us is more than adequate to protect the laser from over-current and voltage fluctuations.</p>
5:20 How sad :(
<p>And both the author, and us, learned something very good. Sometimes it takes 3 or 4 drives to get a good working laser module, and then fine tune it right.</p>
<p>Where do you buy you steel wire for making connections ?</p>
<p>Sometimes people mistake tinned solid copper wire for steel, if it bends really easily, it's likely tinned or plated copper. If it's tougher to bend it's not copper. Use copper, better conductor and it won't corrode like steel or iron (ferrous metals).<br><br>The leads on resistors and some other components are copper, but don't have a copper color because they're plated or tinned.</p>
<p>You don't have to use &quot;steel wire&quot; for this, regular copper wire works fine. If anything, you shouldn't use steel due to its poor conductivity compared to copper wire. <br>Usually jumper wires like those seen in this instructable are made from the longer clipped off leads trimmed from components like resistors, but copper wire segments would work just as well.</p>
<p>Very nice work, and plenty of explanations.</p><p>Keep up the good work!<br><br>I've got a nice but sadly non-working Blu-Ray drive I am gioing to dissect and see what I get following your plan. The motors quit, but the laser seens operational. And I agree, harvest all the parts that may come in handy in future projects, you never know when a magnet will be neeeded!</p>
<p>I have a question for you Please. Couldn't just so called hack a USB cord, snip off on end, strip sheild off &amp; find + &amp; - to power it?</p><p>Thanks</p><p>Tp</p>
<p>You can power the constant current source like this. But if you are using a usb port of your computer then you can destroy it if something goes wrong.</p>
<p>What is the mosfet for? I built one but it didn't light a match could it because it didn't have a mosfet? Nice pics by the way!</p>
<p>Take a look at the constant current load video. There I explain the circuit.</p>
<p>The mosfet is used to regulate the current.</p><p>The MCP602 measures the voltage across the 3.3ohm resistor, which is related to te current flowing, and regulates the resistance of the mosfet untill the set value through the potentiometer is reached. Of course, it's a little more complex, but that's how the circuit works in principle.</p>
<p>Nice project and video. Thanks for sharing. </p>

About This Instructable




Bio: Awesome Electronics Tutorials, Projects and How To´s
More by GreatScottLab:DIY Arduino Soldering Station Make Your Own GPS SMS Security Tracking System DIY Portable LED Panel 
Add instructable to: