Saturday, November 3, 2018

Chronicling My Star Trek V/VI Communicator Build Part 2

See Part 1 here

So it's been a crazy busy couple months. I've continued to photo document the building of my communicator and I'm pleased to say it's FINISHED! Unfortunately, I got a new phone during the process, and it seems some of my pictures from the mid-point didn't backup, so I lost a stage. I thought you would all like to see what I have, however, so you can see how it came out.

The next phase was gutting the old Playmates' toy Classic Communicators, and gutting the innards of the walkie talkies. We had thought (hoped) there would be plenty of room just to swap out one set of electronics for another. Unfortunately, nothing ever goes according to plan.

We had to do some modifications to the interior cavity of the walkie to fit the electronics in. Part of this also included cutting away part of the battery compartment so we could swap out the 9v for a 2 AA setup. We considered keeping the 9v with a voltage regulator but decided if we were going to do it, we should do it right. We also discovered the need to swap out the "buttons" which really were just pressure pieces for the board, with actual tactile switches. You can see those as the red buttons in the image below.

Alas, the gutting part was the pictures I seem to have lost. If I ever recover them, I'll update with those pictures.

Now, sadly, the LEDs in the Playmates communicator are actually red and green, not white under red and green lenses as I'd hoped. This meant we had to order white LEDs to wire up for the panel. A minor inconvenience in the end and 50 bright white LEDs cost about 6 bucks on Amazon, so I'm still ahead on cast.

The on/off switch at the back was left in place for purposes of both saving batteries when not in use, and to power the eventual LED panel. The switch itself stuck out quite a bit from the top, so we addressed that a bit later.

Here's the final swap-out of electronics, wired up and ready to be inset. At this point we were still waiting on the LED for the panel.


When we finally got the LED in, we wired it directly to the on/off switch:


Finally, we did some touchup on the back switch, using a dremel to sand it down to nearly flush. This morning I painted the red switches black to match the rest of the casing so they are less visible. Here's the final product:




While not 100% screen accurate, it's a pretty damn good costume replica, easily as good as anything Playmates or Art Asylum might produce. I'm pretty thrilled with it! The TOTAL cost of this particular prototype came out to be about $40...the same price as the online vendor wanted for just his communicator LIDS. All in all...I'm happy. 

Here's the video link:




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