Playmates Tricorder (26012013 1614)

OK, so, seven years later, I am still here, and still alive. I have two girls and my Wife is still great. Gerhard Mros has made a name for himself and his work has evolved tremendously. And in the meantime, my Tricorder was stolen. Yes, it was stolen many months after this and until today, I was still very very disappointed. It was still very painful to come to terms but then again, Life goes on, blah-blah-blah. And so, I decided to continue my work in upgrading the original Playmates Tricorder.

Prepping the shell

After reading Gerhard's manual and also experience fitting his electronics many years ago, I am going to borrow his idea. I will show you what I have done but some of the steps will not be explained in detail because they are all in his assembly manual. So, if you want to know more, you will need to get in touch with Gerhard Mros (gmros at just replace the "at" with "@")

The Playmates Tricorder revisited after so many years. You can see the scratches and smudges on the surface as I was holding it and carrying it with me sometimes.


Removing the 'previous' work

When I did the first Tricorder, following Gerhard's manual, there were a lot of things I had not thought of, mainly because I was afraid of cutting out and removing a lot of parts in the toy. But after being a member of The RPF, and seeing photos of many props, I realised that this is a necessary step to take. And so, for this little Tric, I will need to remove literally everything inside so that there is a lot of space for me to put in my own electronics.

As you can see, the front fascia has really been scarred a lot as I was not very experienced with a scriber and being an impatient person, I
wrecked more than I create.

For a normal casual Star Trek fan, there is nothing wrong with this image but for me, its a reminder of my mistakes. And as you can see, there are a lot of mistakes here.
  1. All LEDs are not supposed to jut out that much.
  2. All LEDs are also wrong types especially the greens at ALPHA , BETA, GAMMA and DELTA. They are diffused and require more voltage.
  3. The GEO, MET & BIO are supposed to be yellow and not green.
  4. The PWR's RED is the constant remind that I should have used the sticker as template before making the hole and not the other way round.

Opening the body, you can see that I used a lot of two-part epoxy. They have gone brown now and well, really yucky to me. Not only that, they have a very weak bonding here.
I know a lot of people have a lot of success with 2-part epoxies but for me, it always fails; either its gone off colour and hardens or, it hardens and does not bond. But all this will have to go because I will want to replace all these 'ancient' LEDs with newer and brighter ones.

See this little circuit board? This was the toy's original sound chip and LED driver. It was originally located under the GEO, MET & BIO buttons. I have cut the board, only leaving the black glob as this is where the microprocessor and sound circuits are.

All I need to do back then was to link the GEO copper track to a reed switch and once you open the Tricorder flap, the light on the scren would come one and so is the sound. I also discovered that as long as the circuit is complete (as in the flap is on the open position), the sound would loop over and over again, which is kind of cool.

I have remove all the brown epoxy since they do not really 'bite' into the plastic. Some of the LEDs are difficult to remove which resulted in broken pieces. The rest are easy since all it really needed was a sharp tap from a screwdriver. I keep the reed switch intact though as with my idea, I needed at least two reed switches but three is ideal.

Finally, the body is ready for the next stage, which is to house in the electronics.