Introduction: Use the Switcheroo to Control Toys With Your Smartphone
What if you could make a toy do a dance when that special someone called, or set an alarm of your phone that caused a physical object to come to life? With the Switcheroo, it's easy!
First, you'll need to get a Switcheroo board. Get one at www.switcherooboard.com
You'll also need a toy of course. We chose Palm Tree Petey for his easy going charm and funky song he plays ("jump in the line").
Next, get some tools together. You'll need some electrical tape, needle-nose pliers, a philips screwdriver, a soldering iron and solder, and finally some connecting wire. Once you have all your stuff together, you're ready to start.
Since you will be leeching power from the toy's battery pack, you will need to solder the included 3.3v regulator to the Switcheroo board. If you're unsure how to do that, follow these instructions!
Step 1: Get at the Heart of Palm Tree Petey
Most toys have a central "heart" which houses the electronics, motors, speakers, etc. and the "skin" of the toy is wrapped around it. In the case of Palm Tree Petey, to get at the "heart" you simply have to remove a ring around the bottom battery door, then pull out the hot-glued fabric from a recess in the plastic. Use pliers to carefully remove the material or it will rip. You will also want to try to stuff all this back in when you're done, so try keeping the hot glue in the same basic shape, don't pick it out of the fabric or anything.
Once you have the fabric separated from the plastic housing, you can slide the fabric up off the plastic housing. Don't try to pull the plastic housing out. There are arms and actuators attached to the upper part of the toy.
Step 2: Petey's Open Heart Surgery
Once you have exposed the heart, use the philips screwdriver to remove the 4 retaining screws. Once the screws are removed, the battery carrier separates from the two sides of the plastic housing the contain the electronics, so you end up with 3 parts. The control board for the toy is attached to the battery carrier.
Step 3: Wire It Up
Once the toy is open, you will unfortunately get a good look at just how cheaply these toys are made. In this toy alone, we had to immediately re-solder two wires which broke off the control board. Using horrible quality wire, bad quality solder, and marginally skilled labor to solder it all together leads to some pretty bad connections.
Assuming you have already soldered a 3.3v regulator to your Switcheroo board, you will be soldering 4 wires from the control board to the Switcheroo board.
- Choose one of the 4 outputs on the Switcheroo board. Let's go with output 1.
- Solder the - (gnd) side of the switch pair to the - (gnd) pin of output 1
- Solder the + (positive) side of the switch pair to the + side of output 1
- Solder the +6v (positive) power supply wire to VIN source pin on the Switcheroo
- Solder the - (gnd) power supply wire to the - (gnd) pin on the Switcheroo
After you're done soldering, you may want to consider wrapping the Switcheroo board with electrical tape to ensure it will not short out anything when placing it inside the toy.
Re-assemble the toy and you've got yourself a bluetooth controlled dancing dandy!