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Electrobinoculars with Bluetooth speakers


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A few months ago, I got a set of Electrobinocs from @justjoseph63 and have been extremely pleased with them. But... well... I wanted them to DO something. I got the idea to turn them into Bluetooth speakers so they could play the TK Chatter or some music during non-blaster troops.

 

And, fair warning, this is now a finished project. This won't be an ongoing build. I've wasn't even sure I could make this work, so I didn't post up a build thread for the binocs. I didn't wanna be defeated by this little hunk of plastic.

 

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This was my first step - hacking open the binocs. I sliced it at the rear intersection as it seemed like the most logical place. I then cut off the lens and drilled a hole in the (extremely thick) resin.

 

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Joseph doesn't mess around in the creation of these guys. The resin is VERY thick front and rear. Walls have some decent thickness too. It can face some serious action without being damaged. You know, aside from being hacked up.

 

The front 3/4 is attached to the back eyepieces with 3 screws and a thick layer of glue all around. I used a dremel cutoff wheel to saw it free.

 

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I wanted to use the top knob as the volume control, so off it came. It was held in place by a small screw.

 

I bought this little bluetooth amp off amazon... and destroyed it trying to modify the buttons to be remote. I would not suggest anyone get this amp if you want to modify it. I'm pretty good with electronics and regularly solder gauge clusters back together for my day job. Relocating knobs and switches bricked this little guy bad. Recovery wasn't possible.

 

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Then I happened across this Bluetooth speaker KIT on Parts Express. It was mentioned offhandedly in a youtube vid that didn't really have anything to do with the project.

 

At the time of this writing, the kit is about $44USD. Check it out on Parts Express. I didn't need all of the parts, expecially the 2.5" speakers, but the kit was much cheaper than buying the parts individually. Separately, the board and wires are more expensive than the whole kit.  I also bought the optional battery board and batteries to allow the board to play without being plugged in. A total of about $66USD. I used two of these tiny 1.5" speaker drivers (coincidentally also Dayton) as they juuuust fit into the binocs.

 

If anyone out there decides to use these parts for their own project, I'd highly suggest buying an extra or two of the 2.1mm DC barrel jack. They're quite delicate and I had to buy a spare. 

 

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One hole wasn't gonna cut it, so I printed a new sensor array in ABS and sliced off the molded one.

 

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Not a bad fit! And not a bad finish after a bit of extra sanding.

 

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The volume knob board required a very very thin wall to be installed into. So much grinding! And the speaker fit pretty well in the far left of the binoc housing, but not so well toward the right. More grinding. My dremel extension handle got some action.

 

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The tiny speakers needed to be stood away from the front holes to allow them to work well. My local Ace Hardware hand 1/4" spacers and associated tiny screws to enable mounting. I believe each of the speakers uses 3 screws to mount.

 

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Drilling tiny holes in a deep housing isn't the easiest thing. This extension made it possible.

 

And let me just apologize right here for the severe lack of build progress photos I took. I had roadblocks at like every step of this project. The drill bit extension for example. Every time I hit a dead end and had to wait another week for more parts from amazon, I was uncertain if this thing would ever get finished... so I didn't take many in-progress photos.

 

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I think this pic was of the nose and sensor being glued on for the first time in about 2 months. I also placed speaker cloth in each with hot glue.

 

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One of the very few pix I took showing the inner parts placement. It's TIGHT in there.

 

Speakers at the very front and just a tiny bit of space between the back of them and the front edge of those huge batteries. The batteries are screwed on in the very front and have some 50lb double sided mounting tape holding them in place in the back. The extra speaker wire and wire bundle for that volume knob are zip tied and stowed to the right side. The main Bluetooth board has barely enough space to be flipped and live right above the batteries.

 

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I used the top center button between the viewports as the power switch. The bottom two hide some screws. The bluetooth blue LED indicators light up the viewports. And the wires are indeed everywhere. I tried to tidy them before screwing the two halves together, but was only medium successful. All of the parts hide behind a printed acrylic panel.

 

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And here we are! That's a finished and re-assembled Electrobinoculars!!! It doesn't have the front lens anymore, but the opened up sensor array sorta makes up for that lack of magic.  I really like the look of that sensor array.

 

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Non-cannon LED pilot light are pretty easy to overlook. The little green one comes on when the unit is charging. Red is power.

 

The two things above the power & green LED are my original attempt at power and line in. They didn't go well. They're basically tiny speaker ports now.

 

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Power on and blue Bluetooth lights lit. Note the top button - it sticks out slightly and is a latching SPST push button switch. I found a 6mm switch that would fit inside the little button housing. The only downside of this button is that it can spin a bit when pressed. That's just the nature of the switch I used. It's installed tightly, just the button itself that can spin a little.

 

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This is VERY hard to see IRL, but it looks pretty cool in the photo. I did a holofoil desert scene with a little sandcrawler. At least it hides the wiring.

 

 

And here it is!! A working demo vid.

 

I can't wait to troop with it.

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Very nice, I have a printed version on my bench (never ending to do list) just waiting for some electronics, was going to add small screens behind the lenses with a video loop that can play a scene or zooming in or out, still haven't worked that part out. 

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Thanks Glen! Yeah, little screens would be awesome and make for an amazing prop. I wonder if a budget rear view mirror camera retrofit kit would work for that? I say "budget" because it might have a screen small enough to fit inside.

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Good job!!!!! but remember that the Stormtrooper ANH Stunt are not allowed to use this item by CRL...

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27 minutes ago, Quinquer said:

Good job!!!!! but remember that the Stormtrooper ANH Stunt are not allowed to use this item by CRL...

Officially correct to a point, that's only for legion approval and official canon  LFL events, any non official events it's entirely up to your garrison command and what there rules are, many allow non canon equipment, hence why some are seen wearing pauldrons from time to time ;)

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WOW,  Adam!  And I thought I put a lot of work into building these, lol.  You really took the ball and ran with it, sir, and I'm envious as all heck!  

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hace 3 horas, gmrhodes13 dijo:

Officially correct to a point, that's only for legion approval and official canon  LFL events, any non official events it's entirely up to your garrison command and what there rules are, many allow non canon equipment, hence why some are seen wearing pauldrons from time to time ;)

As far I know, maybe I'm wrong, any extra item must to be approved by the GML before to be used in any 501st troop or event, and they use the CRL for that approval, it isn't?

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4 minutes ago, Quinquer said:

As far I know, maybe I'm wrong, any extra item must to be approved by the GML before to be used in any 501st troop or event, and they use the CRL for that approval, it isn't?

As I say it's entirely up to your garrison command, ultimately your GCO has the final say as to what they allow at local non canon events (who I may add can overule a GML), some garrisons aren't as strict as others. For canon events yes every accessory would need approval by the GML or GCO and be from that particular costumes CRL. Locally we have very few canon events but if we ever do only CRL approved accessories are allowed.

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15 minutes ago, Quinquer said:

As far I know, maybe I'm wrong, any extra item must to be approved by the GML before to be used in any 501st troop or event, and they use the CRL for that approval, it isn't?

Definitely up to the local GML, so if ever in doubt about an item they are always your best local level source.

100% no go for items that are not in character for any Disney LFL troops where one may get paid.

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hace 6 minutos, gmrhodes13 dijo:

As I say it's entirely up to your garrison command, ultimately your GCO has the final say as to what they allow at local non canon events (who I may add can overule a GML), some garrisons aren't as strict as others. For canon events yes every accessory would need approval by the GML or GCO and be from that particular costumes CRL. Locally we have very few canon events but if we ever do only CRL approved accessories are allowed.

Sorry but could you explain me the difference between a 501st official mission and a canon event?

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Just now, Quinquer said:

Sorry but could you explain me the difference between a 501st official mission and a canon event?

The trooper survival guide would.better explain the differences 

https://databank.501st.com/databank/TrooperSurvivalGuide

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3 hours ago, Quinquer said:

As far I know, maybe I'm wrong, any extra item must to be approved by the GML before to be used in any 501st troop or event, and they use the CRL for that approval, it isn't?

 

3 hours ago, gmrhodes13 said:

As I say it's entirely up to your garrison command, ultimately your GCO has the final say as to what they allow at local non canon events (who I may add can overule a GML), some garrisons aren't as strict as others. For canon events yes every accessory would need approval by the GML or GCO and be from that particular costumes CRL. Locally we have very few canon events but if we ever do only CRL approved accessories are allowed.

 

Our troops here are also exactly as Glen describes - VERY very few official LFL events and our garrison is not strict about such items.  In the ~8 months that I've been trooping we've had one single LFL event that was limited to 5 troopers and I didn't volunteer for quickly enough.

 

For official troops, we're expected to remove any and all non-canon items and wear our top spec gear. So, for example, the rubber gloves come out and the pilots gloves get put away.

 

On all other local troops, we're encouraged to build and bring fun props like this that help engagement with the public. More than 50% of our local troops are non-blaster, which leaves us TKs empty handed. These binocs help fill those empty hands. One of our most popular troopers is a baby Yoda toy held by a Rebels Scout (people go crazy for Grogu here).  Again, as I said, it's a laid back garrison. Others would probably not allow such props to be carried.

 

Sorry if this project offended you Lluis.

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Those look awesome! Gotta love all those little extras that just add to a TK - always makes for fun interactions with the visitors:duim:

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Great job, Adam. I also like the worn collar strap with your TK ID in Aurebesh. :jc_doublethumbup:

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En 24/5/2022 a las 16:06, revlimiter dijo:

 

 

Our troops here are also exactly as Glen describes - VERY very few official LFL events and our garrison is not strict about such items.  In the ~8 months that I've been trooping we've had one single LFL event that was limited to 5 troopers and I didn't volunteer for quickly enough.

 

For official troops, we're expected to remove any and all non-canon items and wear our top spec gear. So, for example, the rubber gloves come out and the pilots gloves get put away.

 

On all other local troops, we're encouraged to build and bring fun props like this that help engagement with the public. More than 50% of our local troops are non-blaster, which leaves us TKs empty handed. These binocs help fill those empty hands. One of our most popular troopers is a baby Yoda toy held by a Rebels Scout (people go crazy for Grogu here).  Again, as I said, it's a laid back garrison. Others would probably not allow such props to be carried.

 

Sorry if this project offended you Lluis.

 

Don't worry Adam...this project didn't offend to me in any way, I admire your skills to performe this project. Only is that I'm a littel shocked beacause FISD staff and Centurions don't persuade people to be as canon as posible in all events... maybe in Spain we are too strict... ;)

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On 5/25/2022 at 2:14 AM, T-Jay said:

 I also like the worn collar strap with your TK ID in Aurebesh. :jc_doublethumbup:

 

I include those (strap and name in Aurebesh) on every order. ;)

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The strap is lovely and super soft too. :dancing-trooper:

 

Like I said in the video, I take no credit for the beauty of these binocs. That's all Joseph. I tried to keep them as "stock looking" as possible in my bit of repainting after sealing it back up.

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This is really cool.   Would you be willing to do this for someone else as a service?  Asking for a friend ;-)

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4 hours ago, revlimiter said:

Gosh. I probably could do that if supplied with another of Joseph's excellent binocs...:salute: 

 

Paul has a pair of mine already so it would be a matter of him sending them to you. ;)  

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Actually I'd buy a new set from Joseph to drop ship to you - would that be OK?  Happy to move to DM if that's easier.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

So it turns out I do have an update for this little build. :D I really didn't think I'd have anything more once I got the binocs sealed up.

 

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I made a little carrying case. This is a cheap 50 caliber ammo box from amazon.  It just happens to be the right size to house a set of bincos. I painted and weathered to match my TK armor box.

 

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Of course there's a little plaque on top. I modeled this after vintage military plaques for similar gear. It reads "A unit of stereoscopic sights and enhanced magnification."  The serial has my TK number in it, the bar code is my TK number, and it is, of course, property of the Imperial Stormtrooper Corps.

 

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All of this exists to protect the delicate volume knob. The resin holding that in place is super thin in order for the knob to mount and spin. It seemed like that could be damaged in transport to and from troops... so a case was in order.

 

This was my first attempt at padding the inside of a case like this. It's adequate but not too pretty. Foam wrapped in black cloth. It should last a long time though, since no foam is being touched directly when taking the binocs in and out.

 

also... the factory put out a 2nd binoc unit. :dancing-trooper:

 

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The left set of binocs belongs to @Daetrin . They're also made by @justjoseph63 and got a nearly identical bluetooth modification in my hands. Paul has taken delivery of these, so these pix aren't spoilers. I was holding off posting them till he had them in hand.

 

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Paul asked if I could do a 2nd pair, Joseph sent me a fresh electrobinocular, and the magic happened. Aside from the extra weathering, the only big difference between mine and Paul's is that his should be able to open if needed via the 5 screws on the eye plate end. Mine is epoxied shut.

 

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I also moved the red light into that grey area. It fit extremely nicely there.

 

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And, of course, Paul's set also got a transport case. I didn't want to mail it with any lesser level of protection.

 

Enjoy the binocs Paul!!! They're set 2/2. No set 3 will ever be made... unless my daughter demands one. heh

 

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Your talent never ceases to amaze me, Adam!  I think you have discovered the perfect transport for the binocs, and I'm sure Paul will be appreciative of the job you did.  Well done, brother!  :salute:

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