Switch-Adapt Toys: Egg Remote Controlled Snake Made Accessible!

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About: The Taskar Center for Accessible Technology is lead and partner in bringing awareness to inclusion in play and recreation for kids with disabilities. These instructables are part of the creation of the Pacif...

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 the remote for a remote-control snake that can slither along the ground and change directions! We will only need to adapt the remote because the on/off switch on the snake itself can be left on at all times.

In this instance, we are adapting the toy by adding a female mono jack with a lead wire into which the toy recipient can plug in the switch of their choice (whatever switch they are able to control and operate).

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Step 1: Before Disassembling

Make sure the toy works: Put batteries into the egg and test if it works first. No point in adapting a broken toy! Remove the batteries after this initial test.

Notes: The snake must be turned on as well. There is a small switch on the bottom of the snake (see images).

Controls:
Top button: 1 press = go, press again = stop
Left button: hold down to go left
Right button: hold down to go right

Prepare the mono jack: This project uses a mono jack with a lead wire. The lead wire method is preferred over the mounted jack in this case because there is not a lot of space inside of the egg remote, especially since we are adding three circuits. If necessary, see our Instructable about Preparing a Mono Jack with a Lead Wire.

Plan the exit: Using a permanent marker, mark a spot on the bottom half of the egg, under the buttons. This will be where the lead wires exit. Do not do anything else yet.

Step 2: Opening the Toy

Locate the screw: There is only one screw to open the toy. It is located under battery compartment, partially covered by the spring.

Careful: There are wires that connect the two halves. Be careful not to try and tug the two halves apart, because these wire connections are VERY prone to breaking.

Step 3: Preparing to Solder

Location: The whole circuit board can be removed from the front side of the remote.

Careful: As you remove the circuit board, take care, as not to pull on the wires. They can and will break if you are not gentle. The buttons on the front half of the shell can come off as well, but can be easily put back on.

Note: There is no need to touch the switch on the side of the egg that is labeled A, B, C. Therefore, there is also no need to adapt it.

Tape: Tape down the black and red wires that connect the egg remote's shell to the circuit board. This will help to prevent these connections from breaking.

Step 4: Create the Exit

Location: Turn the egg so that the buttons face you. This should be where the mark that you made in Step 1 is.

Choice: Decide now whether you want to adapt all three buttons, or just one or two. The top button controls the snake's movement. The left button makes the snake turn left. The right button makes the snake turn right.

Carefully: Drill a hole where the mark is. This hole will need to be large enough to fit as many lead wires as buttons you are adapting through it. I.e., one button adapted will require one mono jack, and thus the hole will need to be large enough for one lead wire. Same goes for two and three buttons adapted.

Take the prepared mono jacks with lead wires: Thread the lead wire(s) through the hole you have just made, making sure that the actual jack faces the same direction as the outside of the egg shell.

Step 5: Soldering

Location: On the circuit board, there are three locations that each have four silver dots in the shape of a square. Each one of these squares corresponds to one button on the egg remote.

Choice: Depending on whether you want all three buttons to be usable, you can choose to adapt one, two, or all three buttons. The second image, where the connection shown is at the top square, controls the go/stop button. This is the most important one, as it controls the snake's movement. The third image, which shows the square at the right, controls the right turn button. The fourth image, which shows the square at the left, controls the left turn button.

Mono jack: On the mono jack, there should be two wires. These are interchangeable. One of these wires will connect to one of the prongs on the square, as shown in the images above.

Make sure: Before soldering, make sure that the lead wire has been threaded through the exit hole in the correct direction.

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 egg.

Step 6: Test

Before reassembly: Test that your connections work by putting batteries into the egg and plugging a switch into the mono jack(s).

Step 7: Reassembling the Egg Remote

Reassembly: It will be a tight fit to cram all three lead wires back through the back of the egg. Utilize the spaces between the edge of the circuit board and the perimeter of the shell to carefully bend and fold the lead wires to the other side. Carefully pull them taut from the front side.

Screw: Remember that the screw that holds the two halves of the remote together goes in the battery compartment, partially under the spring.

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