Custom ST Voyager PADD build


Active Member
Notice: I know practically nothing about electronics. lol :p

I started out building a custom Voyager PADD for an Away Team Med Kit I'm building (I will post another build thread when it's done) and the PADD needed to be a bit smaller than the screen accurate 4"x6" size to fit inside the Med Kit (I "eye balled" the dimensions so it's slightly smaller than it should be). I mocked-up the PADD design in Adobe Illustrator at 3.75"x5.5" and used print-outs to cutout the styrene pieces. Since this was a fairly ordinary process and was only meant to be a "paint drying project", I didn't take any pictures. This "build thread" starts with building the electronic internal components.

So... as I was building it, I got a hair up somewhere and decided I wanted some lights in it; originally I was just going to make it light up "flashlight" style but, while at work, I started looking closer at the little disposable thermometers we use. The thermometer had a nice "touch on, touch off" function I thought I could just cannibalize the button (did I mention that I don't know much about electronics? lol). Upon pulling out the internals of the thermometer I quickly found out how impossible this was going to be; I decided to just experiment with it for awhile using a larger power supply (6v instead of the 1.5v needed for normal function) and using an LED to "probe around" the board for "hot spots." I found a few spots that could power an LED and even a spot that would flash and LED! Now I had something that would not only function as a button but also add a little pizzaz to the lighting function. :love

Various items used to build this PADD; Xmas lights (discounted at Walmart for less than $2), disposable thermometer (free!), CA (pack of 4: $1), copper plate (scrap), styrene (scrap), polypropylene container lids (out of the kitchen), and transparent printout (full sheet: $2). This project's cost was probably well under $5 but the time invested was ridiculous! Again, very little electronics experience.

Xmas light dissected for the LED

Disposable thermometer internal board wired for lights. The thermometer's speaker plastic housing was cut down and flipped around and attached to the bottom.

Scratch built push button switch using styrene and copper plate

Internals installed with custom battery box designed to use four 1.5v button cell batteries to output 6v.

Parts ready for assembly

Voyager PADD; front view of the PADD

Voyager PADD; back view of the PADD. I liked the way the larger screws looked so i went with it ...I guess it gives it a little more "machine look." :p

Voyager PADD; view from bottom

View with the room lights off

Video of the PADD in action! Notice the "chirp" during on/off and the three double chirps about 20 sec after it's turned on; it's the "normal function" of the thermometer that, I think, adds a nice touch to the PADD.

Last note: I finished this build last night and promptly placed it on the shelf for display; I pulled the PADD down to create the above video and the PADD would not power on completely. The batteries were dead; it seems I have a power "leak" somewhere. I have a feeling I know where it is as I had to supplement more "juice" to the display LEDs and a second cathode supply is wired directly to the battery array. Oh well, I'm still happy with this being my first fully scratch Hero build. :p

- Karl


Active Member
Thanks for the compliments! My only other electronics experience comes from on paper calculations required in physics. This was a huge trial and error project and, needless to say, learning experience. :)


Sr Member
Great work! you did a fantastic job with the electronics and jamming everything in there, I have acouple padd propjects like this but never got around to them, your inspiring me :)


Active Member
Great work! you did a fantastic job with the electronics and jamming everything in there, I have acouple padd propjects like this but never got around to them, your inspiring me :)

The "jamming everything in there" is an understatement. I originally wanted a mechanical push button on/off switch to control the PADD but I could not locate one that had a small enough profile to fit. Even powering the PADD made me think; I knew where contacts needed to be on the batteries to output the 6v but I didn't know how to accomplish it (stacking them is how I've typically seen them used to get the desired output). The battery box came out great but only through some serious thought. :)

Oh, the 1.5v button cell batteries were collected out of dissecting an Energizer 12v A23 ...much cheaper than purchasing them separately. :love


Well-Known Member
That is really amazing! You created that sweet hero prop with just a few bucks worth of material. Wow, I applaud you sir!
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Sr Member
Okay, I'm impressed. :)

That was some very original thinking. I like your on/off feature. I use a small tactile button along with a programmed micro-controller to activate my PADDs. But it also costs more than your solution.

I'll be posting a tutorial on my PADD so you can see how I make mine.

Well done.

Gerry :cool


Active Member
Again, thanks for the accolades! I really had to think outside the box due to the space I had (I wasn't planning on it being a Hero in the beginning). It was a fun challenge all around. :)

I look forward to your tutorial Gerry! :love
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