I bought a laser and driver combo online. It's a 405nm,150-200mw,6v laser module like in the picture below:
I'm now trying to pulse the laser using step/dir signals originally meant for a for a stepper motor. I've written some code that will make an arduino uno wait for those 2 signals, and once the 'step' and 'direction' pins are both high, the arduino will fire an output pin that will serve as a signal to 'fire the lazer'. That output pin is assigned to pin 13 so that the SMD led on the board will also light up and serve as an indicator for me to confirm that the code is working.
Here's the catch: So I run my program without the laser attached to the firing pin. The LED on pin 13 flickers, and I know that it's signalling correctly. However, when I plug in the laser, the LED doesn't light up at all, and nothing comes out of the laser.
Here's what I'm thinking:
1 the output pin 13 doesn't push enough current or voltage to drive the laser. (can someone please confirm this?) So I'm thinking of using a transistor to handle it, and source the power from outside the arduino. Would someone please recommend what part I can buy to fire it properly?
2 I also contacted the manufacturer, and learned that the circuit (in the picture) is not built for pulsing, but rather for continuous current. I need it to pulse.. so the question is can I insert the transistor (from #1) after the driver circuit to control the firing?
Thanks in advanced!!