Sunday, August 6, 2006

TJ's Modding the Hasbro Interactive R2D2

TJ Dimacali informed me last month about his modified R2D2, I was excited to see his R2D2 embeded with a wireless video camera, but I failed to attend a Sci Fi convention which his Artoo made a great debut.

here TJ was featured in Philippine Star KIDS ONLY last Saturday

and also below are some notes from TJ. visit his website for more information on how to create your own lil' cute droid.

"I managed to set up my Artoo unit like this by taking into account the following considerations:

1) The wireless camera is rated to 9VDC, but runs smoothly on as little as 4.5VDC. The only drawback I can see is that the camera's transmitting range is reduced. However, even at 4.5VDC, it has been successfully tested to a range of 50 feet --which, IMHO, is more than enough for R2D2 (being a voice activated toy, it's not meant to wander far away anyway).

2)Artoo's internal circuitry has clearly marked 6VDC terminals --well above the minimal power requirements for the camera. Apparently, Artoo uses the four D cell batteries to power its drive motors and uses the four AA batteries to power its sensors.

Afer some melting and tweaking on Artoo's head to accommodate the camera, I snaked the leads into its body. Then I attached the negative and positive leads to the GND and AV terminals, respectively, on the power switch PCB (for clarification, see picture labeled 100_2538.jpg).

I had initially tried to connect the positive lead to the D+6 terminal, but this resulted in interference every time any of Artoo's motors were activated.

I surmised that the terminal marked A+6 carries +6VDC from the AA batteries, while the terminal marked D+6 carries +6VDC from the D cells. Since the D batts power the motors, this accounts for the electric interference that I encountered.

NOTE: the Artoo unit that I used was an original 2003 model. Although I doubt that anything changed in the 2005 ROTS edition, there may be some very slight changes in board layout and/or internal markings.

I plan to post more pictures and detailed disassembly instructions on a blog exclusively for others who want to try this, or who might want to perform other hacks on their Interactive Artoos.

Of course, since this is all homebrew, I can't guarantee completely successful results nor can I be held responsible for anything that might go wrong.

I was also able to fit the receiver into the case of an old SW Jedi Commtech Communicator (the one used to read the voice chips that come with the newer action figures).

But that's another story ;-) "

visit TJ Dimacali's website blog at for more instructions in building your own Interactive Artoo


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