Hello to you all, novice prop maker in the house!

Hey ya’ll I just wanted to join this forum to get some help on some projects I’m building so I can be a master of electronics and become better doing electronic projects of my own…so yeah.

what I’m currently stuck on is converting a cheap Playmates Star Trek TNG Phaser into a fully working prop from the TV Show Star Trek TNG for which converting a toy into a prop may sound weird to you but…it can be done as long it’s a prop from the show with functions like the power readout and stuff.

If you post what you need (probably in beginners) or want to do I expect some of us will make suggestions. Since I have no idea what a Star Trek TNG Phaser power readout looks like you would need to describe what it needs (such as a bar graph display where light moves up or down the bar to indicate power). Given that we can probably point you in the right direction. Welcome aboard.

edit: If you aren’t already aware of it, you may also want servo magazine:


they are running a monthly column on prop building which sounds like what you are trying to do. As part of that there are lots of pointers to other resources that may be interesting.


its basically like this!

- it also have to be arudino powered for the powerup tone I need to add and use the same speaker for them and a rewritten sounds for different sounds of the phaser when which level is set.

Doesn’t look that difficult, looks like 3 buttons (finding a wide one for the bottom may be exciting, but there are lots and lots of switches of all sizes available). They make LED bars similar to that, but they are typically either all one color or have red and orange on each end so you may need to use 8 square leds of different colors to get what you need, but again not that difficult (I expect they make multicolored leds in square although I’ve not used them). Both of those will interface to an Arduino without problem (just a minor matter of software :slight_smile: ). One of the mp3 player modules or a sound module for the arduino should be able to reproduce almost an sound on demand. I’m assuming you have or can make a suitable case (a toy with the correct case is a good bet for that). You would need a battery somewhere in it to run the arduino and the leds, again not difficult. I don’t see anything that should be a show stopper (although that doesn’t mean there isn’t something :slight_smile: ).


Actually there those 5mm rectangle LEDs which I’ve got from Mouser Electronics to complete the display, I was thinking finding the 3.3V volt mini and use that and just have it powered by 3v.

Plus I may just use the soundboard to make the LED light with the phaser sound and that’s about it unless I use pin 13 for sound or pin 12 for it…multiplexing 16 leds are gonna be a challenge plus getting the finished display to be in the toy where the fake display used to be.

Multiplexing pins isn’t that hard. A 74hc595 8 bit shift register is the easiest, or there are led driver modules on ebay. If you search in the forum for 74hc595 there was someone else a while back needing them for led multiplexing. You may want to look at boost or boost/buck power modules (which basically take a varying input voltage such as a battery in and regulate it to 3.3V at %80 or %90 efficiency, you only need a boost/buck if the battery voltage can get higher and lower than the output voltage, for a lower voltage to higher you only need boost and for higher to lower only a buck which are both a bit cheaper than a boost/buck) some of them are very small and they smooth out power problems from low battery. I made a fritzing part for the square leds a while back, it is in parts submit somewhere (a forum search should turn it up). Sounds like you are well on your way :-).


You could easily charlieplex 16 LEDs using 5 pins. Sound is actually the hard part from my experience. I found hacking a cheap MP3 player or buying a sound module was about the only way to add sound to an Arduino project.

Also for an 8mhz Arduino pro mini with its voltage regulator removed you can safely power it from a 3.7v lipo battery and it will run happily from fully charged at 4.2v all the way down to the 2.7v safety cut off on the battery and when put into low power mode and woken by the interrupt pins (pins 2 and 3) it can last for many months without charging.

I really don’t want to mod the playmates Toy too much and it’s redeemed useless the standard 2 AA battery compartment is fine and that’s what I’m trying to do power all leds using 3 volts and the tones from the arudino and new SD card powered sound board, including the new LED indicator.

that sounds good and what about it now?