Introduction: Toy Mod: Convert a TR-550 Star Trek Tricorder Into a Digital Clock With Picture Frame

I Was going to use my Toy TR 550 Star Trek TNG Tricorder  as a case for my Mini Arduino Enviroment monitor, but it didn't fit. So I found a Digital key-chain picture frame I bought at Radio Shack on clearance for 5 bucks, and guess what, it fit like a glove!

I realize that not everybody is going to have the needed items, and I don't know where you can find them, maybe in eBay?. So  This instructable is more of a "get motivated and do something with what you have" type of project.

For those Star Trek fans and collectors, I   Didn't damage or modify any of the Tricorder  parts so I can put it back together to it's original form, if desired.

Step 1: Parts and Tools Required.

Parts Required
1 Paramount Pictures Playmate Toys TR-550 Tricorder
1 Digital Decor  Digital Picture Keychain
2 Small Washers
1 USB to Mini USB Cable (that came with the Picture frame key chain)


Mini Phillips head Screwdriver
Soldering Iron (optional)
Wire cutter


Before starting the disassembly, connect the USB Cable to the  Picture key- chain and charge it.  Download the  pictures you want to have on the picture frame using your computer and the built in key-chain software.  I found some cool pics here.

Step 2: Disassemble Tricorder and Picture Key Chain.

You will need to remove six screws from the tricorder, and 4 screws from the Picture key chain.

Step 3: Carefully Remove the Back Covers From Tricorder and Picture Frame

Be very careful when poping open the cases. The tricorder has the small speaker attached to the back cover, and the picture keychain has the electronics taped with double-sided tape to the back cover so remove the front side.

Step 4: Remove / Relocate Internal Components.


1 - Remove the 2 screws that hold the battery compartment and  set it to one side for now.
2.- Remove the 2 screws that hold the Screen Back light, lift up the back light and place it, light side up, where the battery holder was.
3.- Remove the back translucent screen cover and filmstrip. leave the transparent front screen cover in its place.
4.- Gently pull on the speaker and remove it from the Back Cover
5.- Cut (or unsolder) the wires that go to the battery connector. Set the battery holder aside.

Picture Keychain:

1. - Remove the 2 screws that hold the Picture Keychain to the back cover
2.- Gently pry out the electronics from the the back cover, it is also held to the back cover with double sided tape.

Step 5: Install Picture Frame Into Tricorder

We are now ready to install the  Picture frame into the Tricorder:

1.- Place the  picture frame, screen side down and USB port facing the  top of the Tricorder, between the 2 plastic screw lugs(the threaded, tapped holes that are part of the case) and carefully slide it in until the screen makes contact with the PCB that  has the sound chip.
Note: The Picture fame screen is somewhat larger than the  tricorder screen window, so we lose a portion of the view space, we'll have to compensate for that when we upload the pictures we want to use.

In this step, make sure that the picture frame middle button is almost touching the protruding "ear" that is part of the screw lug.

2.-Place the washers into the screws, and screw them into the screw lugs (holes)  to hold the picture frame in place. Do not over tighten.

Step 6: Final Assembly and Going Further

OK, So I finished my project here because I didn't want to  further modify the original tricorder, But you can go further...
 Steps I left Out:

modify the USB Cable so that it fits in the battery compartment.

Add buttons from the picture frame to the outside, or use the buttons it has by carefully modding the sound chip PCB buttons.

The final assembly is to put the back of the tricorder  in its place, and screw it back together using the original six screws..

How to use:

Open the battery compartment cove and stick your index finger inside, Slightly pull the picture frame towards the outside. this will allow the middle switch to make contact with the screw lug ear and will activate the switch. watch the action on the video.

Step 7: Video Preview of Final Working Mod.

Craft Contest

Participated in the
Craft Contest

Toy Contest

Participated in the
Toy Contest

Battery Powered Contest

Participated in the
Battery Powered Contest