Sunday, November 18, 2012

Revamping the charging port

Way back when I first got R2 going, my fellow building friend, Kevin, came up with a great way to plug into in to recharge the batteries.  He used a trickle charger that attaches to a wall outlet and replaced the end with a microphone jack.  The portion that was installed in R2, the male plug portion, was then wired to go to the two electrical systems; one dedicated to the foot motors and one dedicated to all the electronics.  With the ON OFF ON toggle switches for each system, I could put one system in the recharge position and the trickle charger would recharge that battery.  In the other ON position, it would power on R2.  And, of course, OFF would shut down all power.

Since then, the R2 Builders have been busy adding more scene-accurate details to our droids.  Among the many things has been the panel on the front of R2, where in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, Luke plugged him in to a power charger.

From ESB, not long after Luke's X-WING fighter crash lands on Dagobah.

The builders came up with a way to replicate not only the look and pattern of the blinking lights, but to a degree, function!


The problem I ran into was the LEDs were a tad too big to fit into the plastic template cover made for it.  Plus, being made of plastic, I had some concerns over how strong it would be to handle the plugging/unplugging functions.

Thankfully I had purchased extra PCBs and it takes about 30 minutes to piece these together.  I had a 1/8th inch thick aluminum version of the template made up and painted it flat black earlier in the day.

Not very visible but I have a clear piece of acrylic under the charging plate so the LEDs will be flush when I solder them in place.
 I debated about mounting the charging face plate in front of or behind the template.  Due to the shallow depth of the press-to-release notch on the microphone jack, I decided to place it on top.  Perhaps on the second R2, I'll change around to a different jack type.

Now the existing ON OF ON switches are pretty big.  I told think they can fit on this charging template.

The PCB stays in place quite well but to be sure, I'm added some double-sided Servo Tape...

Another challenge, finding a safe spot to mount the Arduino Pro Micro!
 I think the best place to relocate the switches are going to be the panel just below, since nothing is currently there and the existing wiring would reach just fine.

I need to make a new structure for the switches to mount to, then securely attach to the frame.