Introduction: Switch-Adapt Toys: Luditek LED Party Light
Toy adaptation opens up new avenues and customized solutions to allow children with limited motor abilities or developmental disabilities to interact with toys independently. In many cases, the children who require the adapted toys are unable to interact with most toys currently on the market, because they aren't able to effectively push, slide, or press the manufacturer's operating buttons.
This Instructable guides you through the process of adapting an LED disco light that rotates and changes colors!
In this instance, we are adapting the toy by adding a mounted female mono jack into which the toy recipient can plug in the switch of their choice (whatever switch they are able to control and operate).
Step 1: Before Disassembling
Make sure the toy works: Put batteries into the light and test if it works first. No point in adapting a broken toy! Remove the batteries after this initial test.
Prepare the mono jack: This project uses a mounted mono jack. The mounted jack method is preferred over the lead wire in this case because there is enough space inside of the body of the light. If necessary, see our Instructable about Preparing a Mounted Mono Jack. Make sure the wire you attach to the mounted jack is long enough to reach from the planned exit hole to the circuit board.
Plan the exit: Turn the toy to the opposite side of the on/off switch. Mark a spot off center and next to the white wire with a permanent marker or small piece of tape. Do not do anything else yet.
Note: For some reason, the original on/off function will reverse itself after adaptation. This means that it still works, but when the switch is in the off position, it will be on, and vice versa. This does not affect the actual functionality of the toy.
Step 2: Opening the Toy
Locate the screws: Rotate the light until the battery compartment is accessible. Take out the 4 screws located under the battery compartment panel. Remove the clear dome and plastic on/off button from the on/off switch.
Step 3: Create the Exit
Location: Turn the light so that the on/off switch is facing away from you. This should be the side with the mark that you made in Step 1.
Carefully: Drill a hole where the mark is. This hole will need to be about the same size as the mono jack. Make sure you are drilling off center in a spot that does not interfere with the white wire. This is to avoid both the thicker line of plastic in the very center as well as running into the white wire when the toy is reassembled.
Step 4: Preparing to Solder
Location: Pick up the whole circuit board and flip it over.
Careful: The wires won't break easily, but can get caught as you pick up and move the circuit board.
Step 5: Soldering
Location: On the on/off switch, there are three prongs. Two of the prongs have red wires connected to them. These are the two terminals where you will solder the wires from the lead wire.
Mono jack: On the mono jack, there should be two wires. These are interchangeable. Each of these wires will connect to each of the spots the picture is pointing to.
Important: The connections on the two terminals CANNOT BE TOUCHING. Do not solder both free wires to the same terminal, and do not let solder connect the two terminals.
Soldering: Follow safety instructions for soldering.
After soldering: Wrap electrical tape around any exposed wiring. This will prevent the wires from crossing and touching after you reassemble the disco light.
Step 6: Test
Before reassembly: Test that your connections work by putting batteries into the disco light and plugging a switch into the mono jack.
Step 7: Reassembling the Disco Light
Take the mounted mono jack: Unscrew the ring and washer from the mono jack and fit the jack into the hole you just made, making sure that the actual jack faces the same direction as the outside of the toy.
Careful: Tuck the new mono jack wires in the side of the toy to ensure that they are out of the way of the original machinery. Make sure that no wires are resting on top of the circular pegs. This is where the screws go and the wires will be crushed if they are left there when you close the toy.
Reassembly: Carefully fit the circuit board back into its original place, remembering to put the plastic on/off button back onto the on/off switch. Place the dome over the toy, making sure that no wires get caught between the pegs, and that your newly added mono jack wire is not getting stuck on anything inside of the toy. After the two halves are fitted back together, put the screws back in.