Hack Apollo Jammer & Fix Indicator Lights




Introduction: Hack Apollo Jammer & Fix Indicator Lights

About: I am a University of Edinburgh electronics engineering student.

First of all I have to thank Instructables for giving me the awesome Apollo Jammer kit as a prize in the LED Contest!

Despite my greatest fascination around it and the joy that I felt watching the colourful light show, there was something disappointing.

I tried to figure out how to set the sensitivity of the Apollo Jammer and struggled to figure out how the indicator light related to the actual performance ... so I had to surrender and read the manual.

And I decided to change that once and for ever!

Redesign the new toy! Sounds interesting. Let the hardrawe hacking start now!

Step 1: The Problem

On top of the LED controller we have two status lights:
  • Power - can be RED
  • Level Status - can be OFF, GREEN, YELLOW or RED
Before fixing it was hard to tell what state the Level Status light is in. It was either RED or YELLOW and no GREEN or OFF state. It actually depends on the surrounding light (i.e. whether it is dark in the room or you have daylight or bulbs are on), but in the general case it was very difficult to tell what colour you see without going through all four settings.

After fixing it is obvious what colour we see! The colours are deeper now also.

Step 2: Open It Up

Remove the rubber caps on the bottom of the Apollo Jammer.

Simply unscrew the 4 screws on the bottom and the 2 on the side.

Step 3: Explore

There are LEDs in the box, that lights up for each different settings state. Because the LEDs are not on top of the box, but around 1cm under the box cover, there needs to be a conductive piece of material - one that will conduct the light particles from the LEDs to the top of the box.

In my case this conductive material is just a tiny plastic channel- one for each LED.

As these channels are transparent - light exits from the sides of the channels and mixes between the two sources. So we see mixed colour.

We have to physically separate both channels one from another - something like building a wall between them.

Step 4: Fix It

General instructions:
  • Cut a piece of heat shrink tube (non-trnsparent one)
  • Place the tube on a screw driver that has the same diameter as the plastic channels that we will be covering and shrink one end of the tube
  • Put the shrunk ends on the transparent channels - it should fit tightly
  • Trim off the other side to a height that it is just reaching the PCB when you close the Jammer box back
Now repeat the steps above to make a second cover tube.

Step 5: Close Your Improved Apollo Jammer

When you put the PCB back on its place, the LEDs will be covered by the wider side of the shrunk tubes. Thus, the light emitted from the LEDs won't mix up and colours will be normal.

Not only that, but you'll see the indicators being brighter as less light exits from the sides of the plastic channels.

Step 6: Enjoy

Now you can read the LEDs' colours just as it is supposed to!

And next time when you're having a smashing party you can simply tell your friend to change the sensitivity level to green, instead of ""H-m-m-m-m put it somewhere between the very red and the yellow, but more like to the less red, just before you see it orange....."

Thanks for watching!

Make It Glow

Participated in the
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Instructables Design Competition

Participated in the
Instructables Design Competition

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Participated in the
Hack It! Contest

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    4 Discussions


    6 years ago

    Just got my Jammer and just "fixed" it. Great hack!


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Nice! It looks trivial, but why the manufacturer did not do it at the first place ...

    great idea! I've never seen one of these before, can you program it to do light shows?


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    It is already programmed. You have different modes only.