10-min. Star Trek Phaser Flashing LED Mod




Introduction: 10-min. Star Trek Phaser Flashing LED Mod

I was thinking of my friend Andy when I modded a Playmates Classic Star Trek Phaser. It was surprisingly quick and easy to do. I wanted something that showed up a little better and was not as dangerous as the Blu-Ray laser phaser mod (not that the Blu-Ray mod isn't very cool).

Step 1: Parts List

You will need:

1. A classic Star Trek phaser - around$25 on eBay.
2. A BlinkM smart LED - made by ThinkM and available from many sources. I got mine from the Maker Shed Store for $12.95
3. An Arduino controller if you do not have one to program the BlinkM. I got the Arduino Diecimila from the Maker Shed Store for $40.

Additional items:

A 2-pin wire connector with leads, like you would find on a PC fan power lead.
Hot glue gun
Soldering Iron
Rosin-core solder
Shrink tubing or electrical tape

Step 2: Step 1: Program the BlinkM

Program the BlinkM with whatever color scheme you like. I chose alternating blue and green. Make sure that you use one timeslice per color and do a 3-second loop. This will ensure that the color flashing matches the sound oscillation of the phaser at slow and fast oscillation speeds. ThinkM has a great walkthrough on how to program the BlinkM, along with all of the files you will need.

Step 3: Step 2: Prep the Phaser

Remove the batteries and disassemble the phaser, keeping all of the loose parts in a safe place. Discard the lamp bulb holder and the clear circular shield in the barrel of the phaser. You won't need these. Now grab the phaser barrel cap with the clear phaser stalk sticking out of it.

There are two small thread pads that you will need to file down, as we will be pressing the barrel cap back onto the body. Looking into the cap, there are two screws holding the thing together. Place a glob of hot glue on each screw head to prevent any short circuits with the BlinkM. Lastly, clip off the two metal tabs that made contact with the bulb.

Step 4: Step 3: Wire Up the BlinkM


First clip off the two leads on the BlinkM that DO NOT supply the power. On mine, they were labeled
D and C. Next attach the 2-pin wire connector, making sure that you note the positive and negative connections (+ and - on the BlinkM). Use a dab of hot glue to secure the connector the the BLinkM. Lastly, mount the BlinkM inside the barrel cap so the LED is facing down and is resting in the recessed area where the clear post is. Secure with hot glue on either side. GENTLY bend the 2-pin connector towards the center at an approximate 45-degree angle.

Step 5: Step 4: Wire the BLinkM to the Phaser

The two leads that were terminated in the two metal tabs for the bulb are the two leads you will use. On my phaser, the orange wire was the positive and the brown was the negative. Use a multimeter to test and verify your setup. Solder the two leads to the appropriate leads on the BlinkM and cover with shrink tubing or electrical tape. Leave enough wire for the barrel cap with the BlinkM to sit just outside the phaser barrel body. The best part about this mod is that all of the voltages match up without any modification.

Step 6: Step 5: Reassembly of the Phaser

With the barrel cap clearing the barrel body, reassemble the phaser, taking care not to pinch any wires and replacing any loose parts like the trigger, etc. Then run a bead of hot glue on the threads of the barrel body. Carefully press the barrel cap onto the barrel body until the cap covers the threads. note that the barrel cap will not seat as far down as it used to.

Step 7: Step 6: Grab Your Spock Ears and Test It Out!

That's it! You're done. Insert two new batteries and try it out. The thing that I like about this mod is that it doesn't alter the original look all that much and it is relatively inexpensive.

Thanks for looking and let me know what you think of my first instructable!

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    6 Discussions


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, they are cheap and simple. Yoo wouldn't be able to adjust the colors used or the rate of the color cycling.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    It looks good but spending $53 to make a flashing LED on a $25 toy seems a bit excessive. Couldn't it have been done using a 555 chip in dual astable multivibrator mode??


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Part of the cost comes from the Arduino to program the BlinkM. the BlinkM itself only runs $14 at Makershed.com. Also, this fits entirely in the head of the phaser. A 555 and associated wiring could be done, but you would be locked into the blink rate that you program the 555 to do and the choice of LEDs you use.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Nice idea! I could modify one of the hatches and extend the pin headers to allow Arduino reprogramming....