Feburary 2018

Slip Ring Image
Slip Ring

So far this month, my research has been about the electronics of my droid. From watching videos, reading other builders logs I've discovered that people tend to add a set of basic electronics into their droid and most add into it later. Future-proofing your droid is a wise choice and by this is I mean, behind your skins, your frame will have gaps that roughly show the panels on your skins, future-proofing is where you leave the gaps in which will allow you to cut out that panel, add a motor too it and put something behind it at a later date. So what are the "basics" that people put in? Well, usually from what I have seen and read, dome lighting, sounds and movement are pretty much as basic as you can go for that "realistic" feel. Would R2 really be R2 if he didn't make his chirps and whistles? Moved around? Or had his flashing lights around his dome?

Of course, as this will be YOUR build, the choice is completely down to you what basics you put in and the best thing I find out this build in general is there is no limit. You can put in whatever you want however restrictions do come into play when you want to take your droid to live events, adding a functioning taser would be cool but could be frowned upon at an event! People have gotten screen accurate tools for example R2's Computer Interface Attachment. For my build I have decided to add in Dome Lighting, Sounds and both Dome and Body Movement. I have opted to stay away from the motorized panels for the time being except for a few small ideas I'm having that I will detail below. The reason I'm not making the panels motorized is the fact that I'm not 100% sure what I want behind them and since my build is on an extremely tight budget I do not have the spare money to spend on motors that open panels and not show anything behind them.


I've seen a few builds that do the Dome Lighting a few different ways but two of the most common would be to use a slip ring with the dome bearing and feed cables up that way which in turn prevents the cables from twisting when the dome rotates. The second way I have found which is a much easier way I believe is to run all the Dome Lights from a battery pack using replaceable batteries. Adding a good ol' bit of Rob to this idea (linking back to the exception to the panels) I will be making a battery charger to go into my dome. On one of the dome panels I will cut out and add a motor to it which will have a socket of some sort on there which I can plug into a wall socket to charge my dome batteries. I'm still unsure at this moment as to what type of batteries I will use, so I will begin asking around on both forums. I don't need the same batteries that will be used to power the whole droid simply because the light do not need that much power to run and I could run the risk of damaging the components.

I am still researching what is the best but affordable board for adding sound to my droid. I plan to attend a R2UK Builders Meet as soon as I can, so I can get an up close look at the droids and see where other builders have positioned their boards, how they have fixed them to the frame etc. I think I will invest a bit of money into high quality speakers that I am thinking of attaching to the vents. Being a musician as well I think I'll enlist the advice of some musicians, studio engineers and live sound engineers to get their input on the best place for the speakers to give the best possible quality without loosing volume or quality being in a bad position. I haven't looking into this yet, I'm pretty new to the whole RC thing in general but I have noticed that a lot of people use motors from scooters. These are supposed to be somewhat an affordable option as well as good with the end results.

Charging Idea Image
Charging Idea

I am also thinking about a built in charging port for R2 as well as an experimental idea of looking into wireless charging. If you think back to Episode I when R2 and his friends are on the Queen's ship, all the droids are in these little bay type things and I assume they are charging the droids. I am curious whether I can create a wireless transmitter and receiver coil, the transmitter side I can attach to a home-made battery charger and the receiver side I can connect to the other half of the battery charger (the part that stops charging when the batteries are full) and attempt to have a go at wireless charging. I mean how cool would that be? Wouldn't that just add to the whole futurist droid image of being able to charge it wirelessly?! I will however keep the option of having a charging port as well as keeping the batteries near the rear panel, so I can manually take them out to either charge or replace them when and if I need too. I also plan to make my droid very easy to dismantle if it is ever in need. By this I mean the legs will be fixed to the body however I am going to add some removable connectors to the cables, so I can simply unclip them, remove the bolts and it will come away from the body without any major work. This might be overkill on the future proofing but who knows what will happen!