Monthly Archives: February 2013

Sound off!

But not for long!
Look what was waiting for me when I got home from the blizzard today!








Now I need to get a micro SD card to load up the MP3s, then once I have the Ground Loop Isolator and the remote, R2 will be… censored? 🙂


Even small jobs are important

I’ve been restless wanting to work on R2, but with parts on the way, parts missing and it being to cold outside to sand or prime, I haven’t had much to do.






Sitting there looking at parts I decided to fix the Power Distribution Board. When I got it, must be because it was sitting in the cold mailbox all day, but 2 of the solder joints for one of the 9v screw terminals cracked.






So I fixed it. Just a bit of heat and a tiny bit more solder and good as new






I then noticed that the Adafruit servo board hadn’t been assembled yet.









Soooo… I assembled it. This one is going to be for the 4 servos used for the Dome Pie Panels. (2 panels don’t open like this)

6 for the servos for moving the Holoprojectors. Which leaves 6 channels, that I may use for some of the panels around the dome.
I’ll need to get an other one for the panels in the frame. Which will be nice since rumour has it a new skins run should happen shortly and there’s an ongoing run for JAG hinges.






I also got an email from Robotshop that the MP3 Trigger finally shipped. I love this store. They special ordered it for me, now they’re actually carrying it.

What next?

As mentioned in a previous post, the company I work with has a profit sharing program and this year’s was particularly good 🙂 SO it means some more parts.

I’m definitely getting some Holoprojectors, especially with BobC’s new HP housing, I can now install it in the dome and eventually replace the HPs with aluminum ones.

HPThe ones I’m getting are the ones pictured to the right. I like them, because compared to other resin ones, the nosle is replaceable and there’s actually a back cap.






After this, I’m going to have to wait I think and just save up the cash. My main goal right now is to get the parts I’m missing to have R2 stand on his own. Which means, legs and a centre ankle. There aren’t any runs on these parts yet, but JAG, the guy who made the outer ankles has mentioned that he’s probably going to do centre ankles next.

I might finally go pick up the battery as well… who knows.

The  other thing I’m tempted to spend on, which, go figure is also Star Wars related is finally to start my costume to join the Rebel Legion (the good guy version of the 501st). I’ve been wanting to join for a while, and have been going back and forth as to what to make. I started with an X-Wing pilot, since I’m building R2, then went to a Tie Fighter pilot (cause I LOVE the helmet), then to the Emperor (which I will also do) and back to the X-wing pilot. I have a quote in for the chest box and the materials to make my helmet. The fun thing is, Ange is also thinking of making herself an X-wing pilot costume, so she can join to 🙂





I’m thinking she should do Jaina Solo 🙂

New Parts Old Parts

So I got home from a work offsite (where I got news of some extra $$$ for R2 parts is coming. Thank you profit sharing!) to find the Power Converter that R2D2-eh sent me had arrived

Power Converter


This baby will take in 12V from the battery and step it down. There’s 2 5V regulators, 1 for an RC receiver and one shared by CN2 and CN3. There’s 2 9V regulators and 3 optional regulator locations with 12V pass throughs.

Now I should hopefully have a battery in the next few weeks to hook this up to and start making sounds and turn the dome.


Next up is the old parts. I’ve finished most of the work on the Charge Bay Indicators, so the next logical step in that chain is the data port.


  • This is the board in question. There are quite a few parts needed to complete it. Luckily I had some on hand. Others I’m going to have to order online or hope that Active Electronics has them in stock






  • 2 EDE2SRD Super Bright Red LED Light Bar
  • 5 EDE2SGD Super Bright Green LED Light Bar
  • 5 EDE2YD Yellow LED Light Bar
  • 6 5mm White – Diffused or Clear
  • 6 3mm Blue – CLEAR
  • 2 5mm Red – Diffused (I had 1! Why couldn’t I have 2 :()
  • 1 10uf Cap – C1
  • 1 .1uf Cap – C2
  • 1 28k Ohm 1/4 Watt Resistor
  • 1 Maxim 7219CNG IC (ordered 10 of them on ebay)

So, I don’t want to solder on the LEDs I do have cause there’s a faceplate that goes over them, and I need to make sure the light bars are aligned properly.


Once complete though, this board hooks up via a series of jumper cables to the CBI board and they share the same arduino code to make them blink 🙂

Lastly… when I ordered these 2 boards a third board came with them.


Lastly… when I ordered these 2 boards a third board came with them. This board is called the R-series FX i2c Shield. It’s actually used for yet an other controller system for R2s. This one uses a Nintendo Wii Nunchuck and a wrist mounted touchscreen.

Michael Erwin designed this one too… and it’s pretty concealed. I’m just not sure about having to strap on a wrist controller every time. I’m also kinda scared of losing control with the accelerometer.

I’m thinking I’m going to stick with the PS2 controller idea.


This is what the Wii control system looks like:

vLog 3

How to read Resistor Colour Codes

So I’ve been working with lots of resistors and capacitors lately. Today I was looking for a specific Ohm and had forgotten the colour codes.

So a resistor has several rings of different colours as seen on the image bellow

common_resistorAs you can see the last ring in this picture is gold. A gold ring means this resistor has a tolerance of 5 %. That ring could also be silver, meaning 10%, red, being 2% or no ring, being 20%. This tolerance can go either way, so if the resister is 1000 Ohm, a gold band resistor could go between 950 to 1050 Ohms.

The other rings are then added up to figure out the Ohms. Best way, instead of doing the math is using an only calculator like this one.


Just so I don’t lose it

The Arduino sketch I used for the CBI is the one written by Glyn and can be found here CBI_Logic_MP3



SOoo happy!


Family Day

Today is Family day. One of the few things Dalton McGuinty did right… but this isn’t a political blog so let’s get back to the topic at hand. R2!

With the day off, and Ange having to work, I figured I could probably get some good headway on R2.

I started off by cutting all of the dome panels off.

panelsAs you can see I’ve numbered every part in order to know where it goes after I’ve painted them, and done all the work to the inner dome.

After cutting these off, I had to get rid of all the burs from the laser cutting. To do this, I used a chisel and … hey wait a sec. Instead of reading this, why don’t you watch this short video I’ve made?

So as you can see I’ve worked on the Radar Eye, the Lens and cleaned up the dome panels.

Radar Eye Back


This is the cleaned up Radar Eye. As mentioned, I used my Dremel to clean it up and it made a mess even standing over a running Vacuum Cleaner. I’d HIGHLY suggest doing this outdoors (if it isn’t too cold)






This is the Christmas Ornament from Michael’s. It comes in two parts. What I did was stuck it in the Radar Eye, then used a permanent marker to outline where it fit. Then used a Plastic Cutting disk on the Dremel to cut it down to size. I’m not going to permanently attach it to the Radar Eye yet, as it needs to be painted.




Tinted Lens




As mentioned in the video, I tinted the lens, using Future Floor Wax, mixed with a black acrylic paint. A few coats with the airbrush and voila a darker, still see through lens



Radar Eye



Here’s the lens in the Radar Eye… purdy!






Well, that’s alot of work, but it’s not all I did. I also FINALLY finished soldering all the LEDs on the Rear Display. I started that almost a year ago, but now it’s done. I still have some soldering left, but it’s only headers, a few LEDs here and there, nothing that would take as much time as what I’ve done to date.

Next up… Starting to cut into the inner dome… Or work on the sound system.


Update to the last post. I ended up finding out that the Sparkfun MP3 Shield won’t work with the libraries I’m using and would probably conflict with some of the servos. SO I contacted Robotshop and they gladly special ordered the MP3 Trigger that I actually need and RMA’d the shield. This is awesome!

Also, I have a dome topper on the way and a Power Converter board (and I didn’t even have to go to Toshi Station :))
But I think the coolest news is that I’m getting some foot drives. These drives use scooter motors with a chain, which should be awesome. So now, all R2 is missing to start moving around is legs and a centre ankle… well and a battery of course.


So after calming down and trying all sorts of combinations with the Arduino Uno. I gave up! Either it’s actually NOT getting the sketches or there’s something very wrong.

It’ll light up the displays, but no blinks or anything.

So Back to figuring out what’s wrong with the main setup using the Arduino Pro Micro.

I had read in the forums that some people were noticing that it would lose the sketch. Well that’s dandy… how am I supposed to reload the sketch with a broken USB port? Well I managed! Not something I’d be doing over and over again, but I managed and the lights worked!

For now, I’ve loaded Joymonkey’s Universal Dome Sketch for Teeces v3/3.1

But now I really need to get a new Arduino pro micro, so that I can load the Padawan 1.2 code so it can control the servos for the holoprojectors too 🙂 So I went onto Sparkfun‘s site… SOLD OUT! Crap!

Went to and they had a few, and considering I have to pay for shipping, might was well get a few more things that I





So first off is the new Arduino Pro Micro, this holds the programming for the lights in R2’s dome, the servos that will move the holoprojectors and the servos for the dome panels.







Next up, also from Sparkfun, is the Arduino MP3 Shield. This board has an SD Card slot, where I store all the sound files for R2. It also has a 3.5mm speaker jack, so I can hook it up directly to the mini amp I want to get.










Lastly, is the Adafruit, 16 channel 12c servo controller. This attaches to the Arduino Pro Micro, via 2 pins, and essentially adds 16 channels to control all of the servos in the dome! So cool!