Roboquad Electroluminescent Wire/Laser ModPosted by milw on Monday, 31 March 2008
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".
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.
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.
Here is a shot in the dark, you can see the extra wire looping in the background!
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.
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).
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):
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?
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.
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.
It's Rudolph the Red-Nosed Roboquad!
Rudolph scans for evil experimenters who stole half of his head!
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.
Left side of neck:
Right side of neck:
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!