Iron Man II Arc Reactor Toy: Advanced Modification Part II

[21042010 0150]

Creating the Ring of LEDs

Continuing from the previous diagram, the task now is to create the connections to all nine (27, actually) LEDs. As there will be a total of 30 white LEDs in the toy now. I have to remove the current limiting resistors to the three middle LEDs at this stage or else they will look very dim compared to the new SMD LEDs.


Take some spare cable, preferably those thick ones which is used for your house/building's power. Too thin a cable and the whole circuit would flex here and there. Carefully remove the plastic protective sheath to get at least two single undamaged strands. Oh, make sure these cables are copper as they are important during the soldering stage.

Slowly, make the inner ring. I had to bent the edges like this as the corner of each triangle is actually meant for the grey switches. I realise this idea is too time consuming and its easy to make mistakes with the wires going here and there, bending out of shape, even though you used tape to keep them in place.


Ok, so that di dnot work. I used another approach, whch is to glue the SMD LEDS onto the tracing paper. I was thinking of tackling this stage AFTER I made the two wires. Anyway, align each LED so that they can be seen from each window in the reactor cover. In the end, they will look like a rough triangle just like above. Don't worry if its not a perfect circle; its not meant to be. Make sure the glue is transparent.


Slowly bend the wires around the LEDs. Start with the inner ring until it is complete. When you are ready to solder, do take the whole tracing paper/LED away from the plastic cover as the heat from the soldering iron can damage it. Solder all the three legs of each LED to the wire. You can do this by putting a drop of solder on the legs and then use the soldering iron tip to 'smear' them onto the copper wires. It will stick. Trust me. Repeat the same with the outer ring. Pardon my soldering.


As the white LEDS take a lot of power, you can remove the original small SMT resistors. I have calculated that for a 3volt power supply, the current limiting resistor is 1 ohm, which is the same as not hainvg a resistor. So, solder small wire links as shown. The top link has been done by using the cut LED legs. Use a pair of pliers to hold them until you have finished soldering it. Remember, this is SRBP board so do not leave the iron on it for too long or you will burnt it.

I have made a mistake here. In the diagram on the previous page, the inner ring was positive. Here, I aligned the LED's negative legs to face the centre and so, the inner ring is now negative. Solder a pair of thin flexible connecting wires to the previous red/black cables to the modified three white LEDs. This wire must not be too thin or it will act as a fuse. Now, test the circuit. If everything is OK, the ring of lights would now light up.

Success! And its very bright!

Make sure when you put the whole thing back in, the cables to the new LED ring must be just long enough and does not block any of the three white LEDs.

It is also a good time to insulate the LED ring from the main circuit before you close everything together.

Gently put everything back together. Do not use force as we need to test if the LED ring affects any of the three grey switches. Here, on of the ring is affecting the switch and so, I had to gently bend it out of the way.


Compared to a normal white 3-LED Reactor (left), the advanced modfication (right) made it even more outstanding. The plate is thicker and so, activating the Arc might need a bit more force since I suspect another grey switch is affected.


With the Advanced modification, Arc Reactor is so bright, I can actually wear another shirt over it



Let's go back and take a look at the various modification. This was because Pete got his own Arc Reactor and let me modify it. So, I took some photos along the way.

On the left if the original Arc Reactor with its yellow LEDs. On the right is my Stage 1 modification, which is to just change the yellow LEDs to 5mm White LEDs.


After the modification, although the LEDs are white, there is a difference in terms of the white colour. This was because of the 3mm LEDs I used for Pete's Reactor has a slightly different shade of white, which is leaning towards yellow. Mine was leaning towards blue.

The 3mm White LEDs (left) compared to my original 5mm (right). Not much difference even though I removed the current limiting resistors for the 3mm LED version.

The same 3mm White LED reactor (left) compared to Advanced Stage Modified Reactor. Luckily I removed the current limiting resistors on mine too as the 9 White LEDs are too bright, overshadowing the middle LEDs. Maybe I should have used one element instead of three....


Make sure you lock the doors before you do this. (Both reactors are Stage 1 modification versions). Oh, how I wished I had a third Arc Reactor.....


In the evening, Peter dropped by and asked the same question as Richard: Can I modify the Arc Reactors in such a way to have the three white LEDs permanently on and off at will without a dorky switch that stickes out like a stopwatch switch? And so, I got to thinking, perhaps..... yes! I got it! (Last update coming up in a few more days)

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