Playmates Tricorder Update v2! (IN PROGRESS)


New Member

I posted a few years back about my upgrade to my Playmates Tricorder. I had added some EL wire, an MP3 player for the screen, and a random LED toy for the scanner light. Here is its current state:

Workable, but inelegant.

Now I want to use an Arduino (possibly Trinket) and some Neopixels and a TFT screen to have it all work together and have it turn on when I open it.

Posting here because I'm having trouble finding normally closed reed switches (aka the Tricorder is off when the magnet is next to the switch.) I have some normally open that I could work around (have it be in the bottom of the tricorder, where it is fully folded out to activate), but this isn't ideal. If any of you guys knows a good source (that isn't me waiting 2 months on a packet from China/Hong Kong), it'd be great.

I'll be posting updates here. First parts get here tomorrow!
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New Member
this is just an example of the reed switch you are looking for

Thanks! I was able to find some from a US seller.

Got the TFT screen in today. It's a tad large, but I think it'll do. If not, I might switch to a 1.5" OLED.


Gutting the internals.


The shell.


Seeing if new components will fit.


Keeping everything tidy.


First test: Success!
The code reads a BMP off the SD card and writes it to the screen. Though for some reason, orange got turned to blue.


Fitting the screen
The screen is a bit larger than the opening, so it took a bit of trial and error to place the LCARs interface right.


Coding more screen
This code keeps the BMP, but also writes several rectangles. I'd like to animate it, but I'd like to keep it simple for now while I try to fit everything together.

Here's the repository for my code so far, I'm super new to Arduino so this is mostly example code so far:
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New Member
Small update, but started the Neopixels. By "started" I mean "added a single one"

Waiting on a few components now.
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