We've been hacking around with two AL_01 kits for a few weeks now in my research group and have enjoyed them immensely. I wrote a short post on our early experiences here: research group blog
The rangefinding works quite well enough for our purposes, esp. once we configured averaging = off by default in the EEPROM. We're using one of the kits to scan for movement at high relative speeds (30-50mph), so we learn more about the passing object from non-averaged data. Good times are experienced with 20+ Hz sampling rate.
We have, however, hit the memory ceiling for the UNO board (32k) and want to switch to a Mega 2560 for the extra headroom (256k), but the SPI pin mapping is different (Mega = 50-53 vs. UNO = AL_01 = 10-13). Is there a way to change the pins the laser board is looking for? This isn't a design problem with the AL_01 kit at all, it is primarily an Arduino programming question, so, OK to punt if you need to.
So far we have found in constants.h from the AL_01 Arduino sketch files:
// SPI Hardware
#define SPI_CHIPSELECT_PIN 10
#define DATA_READYN_PIN 9
I should note that our setup is Mega2560 --> Wireless SD shield (for datalogging) --> AL_01 board all snugly stacked on the header pins.
I also want to note that Tracy has been OUTSTANDING on support over email over the past month. I thought other folks on the fence about buying these AL_01 kits should know that. It is rare to get decent support these days but Lightware has really treated us well. I have no commercial connection to them so I can say that without bias.