556 Based Photon Torpedo Circuit

Thought I’d repost this circuit design as the earlier one I had in this blog has a fundamental fault – it don’t work! Ooooops!!

I’ve tested this one just recently so I know that it does work ok.  In fact I’ve produced a pcb for it if anyone is interested.  Only difference being that the circuit I use for that utilises a pair of red/white bi-colour leds rather than two red and two white leds.  Works either way though.

Apologies to anyone who couldn’t get the original to work!!!  Consider me well berated 🙂

Twin Photon Torpedo Launcher Circuit

This is what a single shot version looks like in operation (using a single bi-colour LED rather than seperate red and white LEDs:



Shop Contact and Future Plans

Just to mention – the contact page on my website www.wiredfx.co.uk is now fully operational and the shop can now take orders direct via Paypal

I’m hoping to add one or two more circuits to the shop as soon as I can. That’ll be a photon torpedo and deflector dish effects board for use with the Polar Lights Refit Enterprise for example, and a Star Fleet navigational beacons and strobe lights board that can be used on its own, or in conjunction with the photon torpedo and deflector dish board.

I have a couple of other circuits in the pipeline.  One is for lighting a 1:000 TOS Enterprise including the engines, and the other is a flicker effect circuit for engine exhausts etc.

As they say, watch this space!

New Year Kickoff!

As you can probably tell, the website is almost up and running fully. We’re at about 90% now. There’s a couple of teething troubles with the contact page (conflicting Java handling across different browsers apparently), so if you want to contact me, the contact page will tell you how!

Its going to be a busy week this week. I’ve got a whole bunch of circuit boards I have to get completed for existing orders and also produce some daughter boards to go with the Shields Up circuit board. They’re not strictly a must have for the circuit, but they make the connecting of all those leds in the display plaque to the circuit board a whole lot neater and easier!

So, to those people I’ve promised boards to in the New Year – I’m hard at it and I’ll email you all personally this week!

Oh, and there’s a new project waiting in the wings 😀

Shields Up Display Plaque Circuit

Yay!  My first product, the circuit to drive the Shields Up Display Plaque (available from Laserfirecreations), is very nearly available!

I’m just performing a “soak” test to make sure everything is as stable as planned.  I also just have to etch some connector boards (to simplify the connection of the display leds to the circuit board) and take some new photos and a video.

Check it out in the shop!

On The Move!!

Guess what, I’ve found another bullet to bite!  Must buy some proper Christmas fare insead of nibbling ammunition!
Anyway, the thing is, <drum roll> over the next few weeks, this blog will be migrating.  The new location is:


TaaDaaaa – yup, thats right, my new website is being constructed right now as I speak – well, scribble then.  I intend to duplicate my infrequent blog entries both here and at the new location for a while.

The new site has a shop section and thats where I will be selling my Starship lighting and effects circuits.  The shop is mainly aimed at the UK modeller, as we Brits can have quite a premium to pay when it comes to shipping in from the USA, and thats where the main suppliers of good quality circuits are currently located.  Mainly aimed at, but not exclusively, I’m just as happy to make up designs to go anywhere.

Its my aim to provide electronic circuits to enable keen modellers to add that extra “something” to their models by adding lights, navigation flashers, photon torpedo effects and more.  I wont be restricting the designs to spacecraft – if anyone has a requirement for achieving a lighting effect on any model, just let me know and I may be able to design a solution for you.

The new website is still a building site at the moment, so make sure you are wearing your hard hats when you visit!  Things will become clearer as things progress.  I’ll gradually add stock to the shop as and when I have working examples available.

Now then, ‘scuse me Mr Web designer – are we there yet?  Are we there yet?  Are we…SMACK!!  Ok, good things are worth waiting for!!

PCB Plans

Well, I bit the bullet and decided to produce my model lighting boards on a more commercial basis.  To that end, I entrusted the production of a batch of pcbs of my Shields Up design to a pcb manufacturer in China (Sitopway).  Today they arrived, a pretty darn quick turnaround, just 7 days from placing the order to receiving the finished boards.  Competitively priced as well.  I’ll certainly be using their services again.

Here’s one of the boards, together with the prototype board (on the left) that I etched myself:

PCB Top Side (showing silk screen printing)

Solder Side

Just need to work out some pricings and sound out the market to see what people need.

RIP Basil

A short post, a fond farewell to one of the best, if not the the best friends I have ever had.


Today, Saturday 3rd December 2011, my dog Basil, the chocolate Labrador passed away suddenly.

Everyone who met him, loved him.

God bless you Basil, you will live on forever in my heart and in my avatar.  Enjoy long walkies in heaven boy.

Shield Progress and Laser (Printer) Woes

No pictures at the moment, but the Shields Up pcb is now fully designed and is in the etching tank, even as we speak.

Talking of etching – what an expensive mistaka ta maka!!  As part of the process for pcb manufacture, I laser print my circuit layout designs onto a product called Press n’ Peel and then transfer it to copper clad board as a mask for etching.  Now, I generally use the laser printer where I work, but decided that it would be a good idea to have one at home in my workroom (spare bedroom).  A quick search on Ebay (yeah, yeah, I know, my middle name is cheapskate) turned up a good condition Brother printer, and – bonus!- it was located only about 8 miles from home.  After winning the auction for it (yay!), I duly rolled up at the guy’s house, saw the printer working, paid the money and left before he could change his mind as the printer was a great bargain – it even had 2/3 full toner cartridge.  (Errr, that bit’s not true actually, the guy was really interested in my electronics dabbling, and what with me not being able to turn down an opportunity to waffle on and show off, it was quite a while before I left!).

Long story short – I’ve since found out that Brother laser printers don’t seem to be compatible with the Press n’ Peel!  It just won’t enable the transfer of toner to the copper clad board.  Subsequent investigation on the interweb reveals that its a known problem.  D’oh – why do I find these things out AFTER spending the cash!!!!!

Anyway, back to using the laser printer here at work so soon as the board is etched, dried and drilled, I’ll post some pictures.

I’m still working on a pcb layout for the USS Enterprise effects board.  That one is basically my earlier design for a photon torpedo and deflector dish effects board now combined with a new section to take care of navigational beacon and strobe light flashing.

STOP PRESS:  Here’s the photo – such as it is.  Its just to show the main board etched (still with masking in place) and a smaller board that’ll be the means by which all the wires coming out from the plaque leds get attached to a 14-way connector, which in turn will connect via ribbon cable to a matching connector on the main board.

Printed Circuit Boards

PS: I’m thinking of actually marketing some my circuits if there’s enough interest.  If enough people want a particular design I can get the boards commercially produced and offer them at a competitive price.  Perhaps market them as kits.  Let me know if you’re interested at all : )

Shields Up Captain!

Shields Up Captain! a video by Sloucher2009 on Flickr.

I’ve managed to make a bit more progress with the Shields Up Display plaque that I’m lighting for an expert modeller friend. Basically, the leds are all installed in the plaque and they were all wired up as per my instructions by the aforementioned modeller. The only problem was that it has turned out there was one less led than I had bargained for.

You see, I had designed the Arduino based code and the wiring scheme around the concept of seven groups of seven leds (no….sigh….not Seven of Nine – that’s a different starship all together – promise me you’ll concentrate?). Now, the mathematical experts out there have already worked out that that means 49 leds in total. However, now I had to redesign around 48 leds. Ok, no need to call in the rocket scientists, even I could work out that it could done by having eight groups of 6 leds (or 6 groups of eight leds, but for reasons I won’t go into (it meant using less wire!)).

I had to sadly unsolder all my friend’s labours (sorry Scott!), and re-wire all the leds as mentioned. See the photo (sorry about the quality, my soldering isn’t really that bad!) for the less than pretty result!

Rainbow Coloured Mayhem!!

To cut a very long and boring story short, I then tweaked the Arduino code for the revised configuration. (Very long story short in fact. In truth I had to……..ooooops, nearly gave the game away there didn’t I?).

The current situation is that the Shields Up/Down effect is sorted, now its just a matter of getting the greenbacklighting sorted out. The physical electronic design is now fixed, so I can now design and etch the PCB, solder all the components onboard and connect it all together using some ribbon cable and 14 way connectors. Power will probably come via a 12V wall wart arrangement, but thats down to my modeller friend.

More to follow…..