Roboquad Electroluminescent Wire/Laser Mod

This is the electroluminescent wire mod that I'm doing on my Roboquad. We got the EL wire from VibeLights, in both blue and purple, along with a mini-inverter power supply. I have also changed the fore and aft animation LEDs to blue, and the outboard face LEDs to yellow.

After considering various options for anchoring the EL wire, I settled on using some 24 gauge craft wire wrapped around the EL wire. Twisting the ends made a nice anchor that could go through a small hole in the Roboquad shell.

After taking the top shell off, I drilled small holes all way around the rim of the lower shell for the tie wires to go in, about every 1.5-2".

Roboquad Light Hack and Mod 1

I'm working my way around, using a loop of wire with the ends threaded through the hole and then twisted inside the shell. After twisting, I nip off the ends and bend the twisted portion down so the loop is tight, and then apply a drop of CA (cyanoacrylate, crazy glue) to the wire on the inside.

Roboquad Light Hack and Mod 2

Here's a test of the EL wire with McReptile looking on. This is running off of a 2x AA-powered mini-inverter. It's kind of noisy (high pitched whine) so I may look into building a replacement power source and tie it to the RQs batteries instead.

Roboquad Light Hack and Mod 3

Here is a shot in the dark, you can see the extra wire looping in the background!

Roboquad Light Hack and Mod 4

I spent last night hooking the inverter board into the RQs power and setting the switch and connector into the shell. I'm going to bring the Try-me pads out to a connector too, so I don't have to open him up again.

Here's the connector (blue arrow) and the inverter (red arrow points to on/off switch) in place at the rear, flanking the animation LED (replaced with a blue LED from a V2 eye). The inverter power is connected to the +3V pad and ground pad on the bottom of the board, visible here under the connector just to the left of the main RQ on/off switch.

Roboquad Light Hack and Mod 5

There was barely enough space inside the shell at the rear to hold the 1.125" by 1" inverter board; with the switch aiming up, it can protrude through the shell if a slot is cut at the proper point. This is right on the back angle of the upper shell, as luck would have it. I drilled 1/8" holes and cut the slot between them open with an Xacto knife (red arrows). Also, the inverter occupies the position of one of the screw anchors- so I had to trim that out of the inner shell as well (blue arrow).

Roboquad Light Hack and Mod 5

After some additional slot-trimming (I was off to the side by 0.25"!), I got the shell to go back together, holding the inverter snugly in place and allowing the inverter switch (red arrow) to move right (flashing), center (off) and left (continuous on). Here it is together, with the business end of the EL wire plugged in (blue arrow):

Roboquad Light Hack and Mod 6

Partway through the installation of the EL wire, I came across an old laser pointer laying around. Hm, where would be a good place for that?

Roboquad Light Hack and Mod 7

The laser pointer ran off of 3 button cells or 4.5V, so I was confident with connecting it to the +4V pad on the head board. I tried several other connection variations, hoping to get the laser to pulse with the red LEDs but in the end came back to the 'always on' 4V. It isn't ideal, as it appears that this is always powered at a low level even with the main power switch in the off position, allowing the laser to glow faintly all the time. Batteries won't last long at this rate, I'll have to add another kill switch for the laser.

Roboquad Light Hack and Mod 8

Here's the laser fitted between the eyes. I drilled out the lower screw anchor from the rear eye assembly to allow the laser to fit, and drilled a smaller hole through the outer face to let the magic laser light out.

Roboquad Light Hack and Mod 9

It's Rudolph the Red-Nosed Roboquad!

Roboquad Light Hack and Mod 10

Rudolph scans for evil experimenters who stole half of his head!

Roboquad Light Hack and Mod 11

After working the EL wire all the way around the body joint, I decided to loop it around the black deck area on his back, and then go up the neck leaving enough slack that he could rotate fully left or right. This series shows the wire path.

Roboquad Light Hack and Mod 12

Left side of neck:

Roboquad Light Hack and Mod 13

Right side of neck:

Roboquad Light Hack and Mod 14

I had enough wire to make a small loop under his chin, and routed the remaining wire under the body to get to the plug at the aft end.

Here's some videos of Rudolph in action- enjoy!


J.    T.'s picture

WOW! I gonna do that with the reptile! How much did the wire cost?

milw's picture

Go to this page at Vibelights, you want the EL wire with EZ connects, sold by the foot. I got the 2.3 mm (thinnest type), and I believe it was 8 feet (I'll double check on the piece not used yet). 8 feet is about $12, and then the power supply inverter was the IM-4 for $5. I didn't look for cheaper sources, as these prices seemed reasonable to me.

Robo BG's picture

Wow.  That was freaking cool Milw.  I'm not smart enough to do it though.  Do you know any mods you could do without opening him up?

Marcus's picture

Well done,
This would look good on my iSobot!