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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Changing B9 power supply and Belly lights to LED

At MegaCon, B9 ran for up to 9 hours at a time. That's when I noticed there was a problem with the power supply. I think it was too powerful of a power supply which was why it fried B9's belly lights every couple hours. It went through about 50 lights (Thanks Charlie for bringing some out from Denver for me) during the show. The last couple hours at MegaCon, one lone belly light was left blinking in B9.

The blinker controller and rats nest of wires that were connected to the belly lights always has bothered me. Even though it was redone a few weeks ago, it was still a rats nest.

So I removed all the belly light sockets and cut off the part that the bulb goes into. That left a small shaft and a way to attach the colored lenses. After making a template of the holes on a piece of styrene, I cut two holes in each light bulb slot on the template. Then the blinking LED's were fed into the holes and attached to two thin long breadboards. Of course, hot glue was used to attach the LED's to the breadboard. Not only is hot glue a good insulator, it firmly attached all the LED's. I let them protrude forward as much as I could so they are level with the beginning of the colored lenses.

After a few hours, B9 had a nice neat little blinking LED belly light box. I hooked it into a switch in the programming bay and fired it up. I have to admit it looks spectacular. And the inside of B9's torso is much neater now. This should have been done this long ago. It only took a few hours.

Having LED's mean less heat, less power consumption, and no more burnt out bulbs.

As far as the power supply problem, I switched out the current power supply with a radio shack 12v power supply. That works perfect and also lightens the leg section by about 10-15 pounds. The Tripp power supply that was in the B9 was just too powerful.

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