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jasonkc25

Victory II LED Engine Mod

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Good morning,

 

This is my first post in any FFG forum.  Figured I would start off with my LED engine mod of my Victory II.

 

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I used the following to complete the mod:

There have already been discussions on how to take the model apart, so I won't go into that.  Another user mentioned using magnets to keep the victory together after modding which I thought was a great idea...so I ran with that (you can find his post here: https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/index.php?/topic/172424-destroyer-with-leds/).

 

Below is a pic of the guts:

  • Notches were made in the backside of the engines to accomodate the three Micro LEDs.  These LEDs were then fixed into place with super glue.
  • The space between engines 1 & 2 and 2 & 3 were widened to accomodate the bigger LEDs.
  • The red magnet wire was then soldered to the positive contacts (the top) of the five LEDs fixed to the engines).
  • The green magnet wire was then soldered to the negative contacts (the bottom) of the five LEDS fixed to the engines).

Note: the entire length of the red and green wire where they are attached to the LEDs had the coating burned off.

  • Hot glue was used on the magnet wire to hold it to the ship.
  • The wire was then soldered to the positive and negative contacts on the battery holder/switch.
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I'm considering adding running lights or window lights to the edges of the ship.  I found some extremely tiny LEDs (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/12621) but these things are so small I'm not sure it will be worth the headache to attempt it.  We shall see.
 
Let me know if you have any questions.
 
J

post-199614-0-67634200-1430143590_thumb.jpg

post-199614-0-29822800-1430143627_thumb.jpg

post-199614-0-27624700-1430144733_thumb.jpg

post-199614-0-02846700-1430144778_thumb.jpg

Edited by jasonkc25

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Wow, Thank you so much for the post! This makes it look really easy and I like the color of the engines, it looks perfect.  

 

Do you have any recommendation for a soldering iron? I have never done a mod like this before, but I am extremely tempted based on how this turned out.

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This is the iron I have.  It comes with a pencil tip, but additional tips are available.  A needle tip would probably make soldering these tiny parts easier:

http://www.radioshack.com/radioshack-digital-soldering-station/6400053.html

 

Hakko is a respected brand:

http://amzn.com/B00ANZRT4M

 

And Weller is also highly thought of:

http://amzn.com/B000AS28UC

 

The mod is really fairly easy.  Most of my time was spent just prepping the model to fit everything.  The actual soldering was quick and easy.

 

Last note that I did not mention in my original post.  I used hot glue on the outside IN the engine cones...if that makes sense.  A pea size drop (or a tad smaller) on the inside of the cone helps diffuse the light shining through from the inside.  Otherwise, you get a stark and relatively focused light for the engines.  While this still looks good, the glue just adds a bit more.  Be aware that the hot glue is almost perfectly clear when it is hot, but as it dries it becomes opaque and works really well.  If you mess this up, don't worry.  The hot glue, once cooled, can be removed and you can try again until you get the look you want.

Edited by jasonkc25

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<---------- total LED noob here

 

Looks like I'm buying the components in pieces while I try to educate myself on the parts and process. I just picked up (4) the Lillypad battery holder you use. I have found 100s of LEDs for the cost of one pack of the Lillypads, other than the easy solder points is there a reason relevant to modeling why I should spend 25x the cost per LED? I also have a question with the wire; 38G makes me all kinds of nervous, is there a larger size (and type) somewhere in the 20s you might recommend or am I being nervous for no reason? Thank you for you time, and thank you for being a source of inspiration!

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Another fantastic job, and props for getting the sub-engines as well! If you DO end up doing the lights you're going to go futher than I've seen anyone else doing, and it would be amazing.

 

These threads keep coming up but I don't know how people are making the switches. Could you post an example of where the switch i and how you're turning on and off the lights?

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<---------- total LED noob here

 

Looks like I'm buying the components in pieces while I try to educate myself on the parts and process. I just picked up (4) the Lillypad battery holder you use. I have found 100s of LEDs for the cost of one pack of the Lillypads, other than the easy solder points is there a reason relevant to modeling why I should spend 25x the cost per LED? I also have a question with the wire; 38G makes me all kinds of nervous, is there a larger size (and type) somewhere in the 20s you might recommend or am I being nervous for no reason? Thank you for you time, and thank you for being a source of inspiration!

 

So my choices are purely based on aesthetics, ease of use and evolution of my knowledge as I work with this stuff.

 

My first ship mod was an X-wing Imperial Shuttle.  In that project I used the Lilypad LED's and conductive thread thinking it would be easier than soldering wire.  In short...I was wrong and now redoing the Imperial Shuttle with wire.

 

However, I liked the Lilypad LED's because they were easy to use which is why I chose them for the Vic II mod.

 

Since then I have purchased LED's that are not pre-mounted (as the Lilypad ones are) for another project.  In that case I'm using these guys: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11248 (actually I found a pack of 100 for really cheap elsewhere).  They are extremely tiny, but I found that with my soldering iron I can still wire them up.  But it takes a bit more work.

 

As for the wire, I was a little nervous at first too, but I figured it was a few bucks so I'd give it a shot.  For me it was actually pretty easy to work with.  In addition, it helps keep your mod really clean.  Keep in mind the smaller the gauge the more resistance which could lead to dimmer LED's.  Being a relative noob at this I would need to do some research to quantify that.

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Another fantastic job, and props for getting the sub-engines as well! If you DO end up doing the lights you're going to go futher than I've seen anyone else doing, and it would be amazing.

 

These threads keep coming up but I don't know how people are making the switches. Could you post an example of where the switch i and how you're turning on and off the lights?

 

Thanks!  I have the LED's for the running lights...but haven't gotten there quite yet.

 

Below is a picture of the switch/battery holder that I used.  It's all-in-one so it's super easy to wire up.  Simply just flip the on/off switch to turn on/off the lights.  I also outlined the positive and negative contacts.  Just solder in your positive and negative wires to the corresponding contact and you are good to go.

Edited by jasonkc25

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One more thing, a drop of hot glue in the engine cones helps diffuse the light coming from the LED's giving a more realistic look (in my opinion). 

 Yeah that's a good thing indeed, could I just matte finish the bulb before installation?

 

Thank you OP for the the super fast response. So is there an "optimal" wire size for the LED amount and size used on this project? I don't want to inhibit any light.

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A matte finish on the bulb itself will not have the same affect.  A drop of hot glue dries in a sphere like glob.  This diffuses/magnifies the light in all directions.

 

I'm sure there is an optimal wire size and my guess would be anything 30g and above.  You just don't need much wire to run these little LEDs.  I'd go with the smallest wire you feel comfortable with and experiment a bit.

 

Keep in mind, at least in my experience, a lot of this higher gauge wire is not insulated.  Only magnet wire has a coating on it that acts like insulation.  So that may also limit the wire gauge you can find.

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A matte finish on the bulb itself will not have the same affect.  A drop of hot glue dries in a sphere like glob.  This diffuses/magnifies the light in all directions.

 

I'm sure there is an optimal wire size and my guess would be anything 30g and above.  You just don't need much wire to run these little LEDs.  I'd go with the smallest wire you feel comfortable with and experiment a bit.

 

Keep in mind, at least in my experience, a lot of this higher gauge wire is not insulated.  Only magnet wire has a coating on it that acts like insulation.  So that may also limit the wire gauge you can find.

 

The rubber coating on wire is not insulation? Man I really don't know crap about this stuff. What is that then, just to keep positive and negative wire from crossing? As for the hot glue; my hot glue gun is not really a precision tool, do they make "hobby grade hot glue guns that can produce smaller "beads" of glue? 

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Oh no, that is insulation!!!  I meant that you will find higher gauge wire that is bare....and then there is magnet wire that looks bare but is actually insulated by a coating.  If it looks bare and isn't magnet wire...it's not insulated.

 

Sorry for the confusion.

 

As for glue guns...no idea...I have a cheap hobby glue gun from Michaels or something and it can squeeze out a little drop that does nicely.

Edited by jasonkc25

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Another fantastic job, and props for getting the sub-engines as well! If you DO end up doing the lights you're going to go futher than I've seen anyone else doing, and it would be amazing.

 

These threads keep coming up but I don't know how people are making the switches. Could you post an example of where the switch i and how you're turning on and off the lights?

 

Thanks!  I have the LED's for the running lights...but haven't gotten there quite yet.

 

Below is a picture of the switch/battery holder that I used.  It's all-in-one so it's super easy to wire up.  Simply just flip the on/off switch to turn on/off the lights.  I also outlined the positive and negative contacts.  Just solder in your positive and negative wires to the corresponding contact and you are good to go.

 

 

I saw that when I checked out the product page you linked. What I was curious about was where you put the switch on the outside of the ship... or do you have to crack the ship open to turn on/off the lights? That's what I was curious about, where the switch on the outside was.

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Another fantastic job, and props for getting the sub-engines as well! If you DO end up doing the lights you're going to go futher than I've seen anyone else doing, and it would be amazing.

 

These threads keep coming up but I don't know how people are making the switches. Could you post an example of where the switch i and how you're turning on and off the lights?

 

Thanks!  I have the LED's for the running lights...but haven't gotten there quite yet.

 

Below is a picture of the switch/battery holder that I used.  It's all-in-one so it's super easy to wire up.  Simply just flip the on/off switch to turn on/off the lights.  I also outlined the positive and negative contacts.  Just solder in your positive and negative wires to the corresponding contact and you are good to go.

 

 

I saw that when I checked out the product page you linked. What I was curious about was where you put the switch on the outside of the ship... or do you have to crack the ship open to turn on/off the lights? That's what I was curious about, where the switch on the outside was.

 

I think he opens the ship up to turn it off and on. With the magnets in place I'm sure its a 5 second process.

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Oh no, that is insulation!!!  I meant that you will find higher gauge wire that is bare....and then there is magnet wire that looks bare but is actually insulated by a coating.  If it looks bare and isn't magnet wire...it's not insulated.

 

Sorry for the confusion.

 

As for glue guns...no idea...I have a cheap hobby glue gun from Michaels or something and it can squeeze out a little drop that does nicely.

 

Okay, just pulled the trigger on some 30g magnet wire on ebay, how important or convenient is it to have a color for positive and a color for negative?

 

So now I have the wire, the battery holder. Still need the LEDs and a solder iron. 

 

Why would you recommend a digital iron over a substantially cheaper "standard" one?

 

Sorry for all the questions, you're a big help though :)

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Another fantastic job, and props for getting the sub-engines as well! If you DO end up doing the lights you're going to go futher than I've seen anyone else doing, and it would be amazing.

 

These threads keep coming up but I don't know how people are making the switches. Could you post an example of where the switch i and how you're turning on and off the lights?

 

Thanks!  I have the LED's for the running lights...but haven't gotten there quite yet.

 

Below is a picture of the switch/battery holder that I used.  It's all-in-one so it's super easy to wire up.  Simply just flip the on/off switch to turn on/off the lights.  I also outlined the positive and negative contacts.  Just solder in your positive and negative wires to the corresponding contact and you are good to go.

 

 

I saw that when I checked out the product page you linked. What I was curious about was where you put the switch on the outside of the ship... or do you have to crack the ship open to turn on/off the lights? That's what I was curious about, where the switch on the outside was.

 

I think he opens the ship up to turn it off and on. With the magnets in place I'm sure its a 5 second process.

 

You are exactly right PhortKnight.

In my original pictures you can see the location of the magnet in the bottom of the Vic II.  There is another magnet in the same position in the top half of the model.

 

It literally takes a few seconds to pull the top off, flip the switch, and put the top back on.  The magnets are pretty strong so the top practically snaps back into place.  It actually works extremely well and creates a very tight fit.

 

Unfortunately, the magnets I'm using came with a computer water cooling kit I bought probably 10 years ago so I don't have a source for them.

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Oh no, that is insulation!!!  I meant that you will find higher gauge wire that is bare....and then there is magnet wire that looks bare but is actually insulated by a coating.  If it looks bare and isn't magnet wire...it's not insulated.

 

Sorry for the confusion.

 

As for glue guns...no idea...I have a cheap hobby glue gun from Michaels or something and it can squeeze out a little drop that does nicely.

 

Okay, just pulled the trigger on some 30g magnet wire on ebay, how important or convenient is it to have a color for positive and a color for negative?

 

So now I have the wire, the battery holder. Still need the LEDs and a solder iron. 

 

Why would you recommend a digital iron over a substantially cheaper "standard" one?

 

Sorry for all the questions, you're a big help though :)

 

The magnet wire I bought came with a red spool and a green spool.  It is helpful in determining which wire is positive and which one is negative, but not required.

 

I bought a digital iron just because that was the best one Radio Shack had on hand at the time.  It was either that or a 10 dollar cheap-o iron which I highly recommend against.

It's a very nice iron but probably overkill.

 

The advantage of a digital iron is that you can program preset temps, and the Radio Shack one tells you the actual temp of the iron as it heats up...which isn't all that necessary.

 

From what I understand this one is very nice as well and Weller is a really good brand: http://amzn.com/B000AS28UC

 

If I had to choose between the Radio Shack one and the Hakko one (http://amzn.com/B00ANZRT4M) I'd choose the Hakko purely because it's gotten better reviews.

 

Hope that helps.

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Not sure how ready I am to jump in with both feet, so I'm going with a highly reviewed iron under the $50 price point here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000B5YIYS/ref=ox_sc_act_title_3?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

 

Do you know what solder you use like the content eg: 60/40 with rosin core, and the diameter. 

 

After I get this part set up I will just need some LEDs, I'm almost there :) 

 

Thank you again for your help.

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For light 'incidental' hobby soldering go with the cheapest soldering iron you can find, I'm using a €7 one that works just fine. Sure it will probably break down after using it 20 times, but since I solder about twice a year...

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For light 'incidental' hobby soldering go with the cheapest soldering iron you can find, I'm using a €7 one that works just fine. Sure it will probably break down after using it 20 times, but since I solder about twice a year...

 

I wanted some thing I could in theory own for decades. As for the actual solder.......... whats the specs I should look for?

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