Spooky Scary Soldering!

Hey guys,

Still working on getting the Positron kits shipped out!

positron-switchespots

The manufacturer was supposed to overnight me the boards Tuesday, but the tracking info was never updated and I’m not sure what their present status is, but as soon as I have them in hand they’ll begin going out.

In the meantime as you can see above, I’ve been soldering hundreds of switches, pots, and LEDs, as well as assembling power switch and charge harnesses, and crimping connectors onto vibration motors.

The vibration motors have been a particular pain in the ass because the thin wires are extremely easy to cut through when crimping them, but after screwing up half a dozen I think I’ve finally got it sorted.

Halloween Update: Proton Pack Kits + Tau

Hey guys,

With Halloween fast approaching, I thought I should post a update on the state of the proton pack kits.

The kits are currently being manufactured, and they should be in my hands by the 24th. I apologize for cutting things so close, but at the last minute I discovered a serious issue with the amplifier and I had no choice but to order one final prototype. I received that a couple weeks ago and after making sure everything was finally working as it should, I put the final order in.

In the meantime, I’ve also been dealing with a serious issue with the Taus I shipped last month for one of my Kickstarter campaigns. Half of them would not accept new sketches being uploaded from the Arduino IDE, and I could not reproduce the issue locally which made it that much harder to diagnose.  As this affected dozens of customers, and would affect my all my Firecricket backers as well if I did not figure out what was going on, I needed to spend a lot of time that I’d planned to devote to assembling switch harnesses and LED cables for the proton pack kits to solving that problem.

As a result, I’m a bit behind on the Proton Pack Kits and I’m not sure I can ship them all in time for Halloween. Thankfully, not every customer needs their kit immediately, and I should still be able to get them to all the customers that do.

So, if you need your kit for Halloween, send me an email and I’ll do my best to get it to you before then!

PS:

If you’re reading this and purchased a Tau before October 8th, your boards may be affected by the issue I outlined above. If you can’t upload new sketches to them because of a verification error, then the problem is the NVMCTRL_REGION_LOCKS fuse was incorrectly set by the manufacturer.

If you have an Atmel ICE debugger you can easily change this fuse yourself by doing the following:

  1. Open Atmel Studio.
  2. Connect the Atmel ICE.
  3. Go to Tools->Device Programming.
  4. The ICE should be listed in the Tool box.
  5. Select ATSAMD21E17A from the Device box. Hit Apply.
  6. Connect the ICE to the Tau’s SWD port.
  7. Click Read to read the device signature and voltage.
  8. Open the Fuse tab.
  9. Click the Read button below the fuses to read them from the chip.
  10. Scroll to the bottom of the list of fuses to find the NVMCTRL_REGION_LOCKS fuse.
  11. Set it to 0xFFFF.
  12. Click Program.

The fuse settings should now be correct.

If you do not have an Atmel ICE, you will need to return the board to me so I can correct the fuse settings for you. There is no way to correct the fuse settings through the USB interface.

Strobes!

Hey guys, The color changing strobes for the Positron proton pack kit arrived today!

The rest of the boards for the kit will be arriving the second week of October and will ship the following! Sorry about cutting it so close to Halloween but a serious issue came up at the last minute which needed to be resolved.

img_3798

Introducing: The Firecricket!

The Firecricket is an Arduino compatible light, sound, and motion controller for your replica props which you can program yourself!

It features a 32bit 48MHz processor with 16K of ram, a 2.5W audio amplifier, a MicroSD slot for storing sound effects, images, and configuration files, and a MOSFET with flyback diode for driving high power inductive loads like vibration motors, or high power LEDs.

You can use it for cosplay, Halloween costumes and decorations, movie props, toys,  or even simple robots!

Available now on Kickstarter!

Positrons and Neutrinos and Taus, oh my!

It’s been a busy week!

Not only was the Kickstarter campaign for the Neutrino 2.0 successfully funded, but I also got the Tau bootloader working finally, and I put in orders for both with Macrofab!

The Neutrino 2.0 and Pixel are both on sale now, and the Tau is also currently available for pre-order!

I have also just put in the first PCB order for the Positron kit:  50 RGBW strobes!  I will be putting in the remaining orders over the next week or so.

The good news is, it’s not too late to pre-order for the first run!  A few kits from the first batch are still available, so you still have time to get in!  Once those are gone, I’ll be taking orders for run two, but the second run won’t be ready until after Halloween!

And don’t worry when placing your order if it is the first or second run, I will post a notice here and on the order page once the remaining boards from the first run are gone.

Pre-orders Extended!

Hey guys,

Just wanted to let you know that I’ve decided to extend the pre-order period for the Positron proton pack kit until the end of this month.

Once I put the order in for the kits (the first week of August) it will take 3-4 weeks for the kits to be manufactured, and I estimate it will take another week or two ship them all out, so you can expect delivery by mid-September.

Now taking pre-orders for the first run of the Positron Proton Pack Kit!

Hey guys,

The kit is now ready for manufacture and I’ve got two new demo videos for you. You’ve got around two weeks to place your order if you want to get in on the first run!  I’ll be posting a tally here as new orders come in.

http://rabidprototypes.com/product-category/kits/

Once I put in the order, it will take four to six weeks for the kits to be manufactured, then it will take around a week for them to ship.

Please share the link and videos with your friends!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I get the whole proton pack for that price?

A: No.  The Positron is a light and sound electronics kit for a proton pack, but the pack and thrower are not included!

Q: Does this kit come with switches?

A: Yes!  The kit comes with all the switches and push buttons you need, minus the power switch harness, which is sold separately.  It also comes with a potentiometer for volume control, and a vibration motor!

Q: Does the kit come with speakers or a battery?  Which speakers and battery should I use?

A: You must purchase those separately, and I don’t sell them, but I’ve made a couple blog posts explaining how to choose a battery and speakers, and which brands are the best!

Which battery should I use?

“What speakers do you recommend?”

 

Positron Thrower Install

Hey guys,

Just thought I’d post some photos of what it looks like when you install the Positron kit in your thrower:

IMG_3698 IMG_3700

Note that this install was an upgrade, so I used the original switches that were already in place with their original wires.  I know many of you will be upgrading, so I used the same type of connectors for those.  The LEDs you’ll want to replace, since the new ones are soldered onto the wires instead of being in those sockets that they would often fall out of.

Also note that this install includes the optional super bright grille light.  Normally, I would recommend you find or make some kind of reflector to put in the grille to protect the electronics from the elements but here since I was pressed for time, I just installed it on a little plastic tab by the vibration motor that I attached with double sided foam tape.

In addition, I’d like to point out the screw that is holding the rear handle in place.  Your thrower may not have a screw there, but you should take note of any metal bits that may come into contact with the PCBs.  In this case I had to trim that screw to make it shorter and then I put a couple layers of tape over where it is inside the handle because the extension module that connects to the Cat5 cable and provides connections for those white flat flex cables and the super bright grille light sits inside the handle.  Alternatively, I could have gotten some large diameter heat shrink and heat shrunk that module but that would have made it impossible to unplug any of the cables from it later.  If you have a metal thrower I suggest using two layers of double sided foam tape to protect the underside of the PCBs.  I have used that here to attach the boards to the sides.

Finally, I’d like to draw your attention to the strobe at the front of the thrower.   You can see there’s some slack in the cable even with the switch module that it connects to all the way at the rear of the thrower so you can remove the tip and unplug it if need be.  The strobe should be placed flush against the rear of the acrylic tube, or the metal ring that holds it in place in the end of the handle.  It can be glued in place, or you can simply tape it in place, unless you have a tip extension mechanism in which case glue would probably be best.  For maximum brightness, make sure you don’t push the acrylic tube way into the handle with the strobe on the end of it.  You want the strobe to be as close to the end of the handle as possible, and that’s when it’s butted right up against that metal ring.

You may also have noticed the acrylic tube here is much shorter than usual.  Yours doesn’t need to be that short – that’s just how the owner of this pack likes it!

Oh, and the strobe is slightly smaller than the diameter of the acrylic tube, so if you have a tip extension mechanism with a metal tube that slips over the acrylic tube the strobe should fit inside it, no problem.

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