The Unused Voyager Tricorder V2

MangyDog

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
So ive been dealing with these hinges for the last several days and thats it.... IM DONE WITH IT! no really theyre done :D

Though Im also done with it... cant say how fed up i am with them but so glad that theyre (mostly) done.

So first task was to take my cut strips and make the hoops. I first bent the strips using pliers into a rough u shape, and placed the 2mm steel rod I was going to use as a pin, into the middle. Then placed the strip into the vice and clamped it down at multiple angles till i had my shape. To make each hoop, took roughly 10 to 20 minutes each and was just the beginning of the tediousness of this task...

I also soldered half the hoops to add strength and to stop them opening over time.

IMG_20210319_230813.jpg
IMG_20210319_230719.jpg


To help make the hoops more uniform and to remove all the humps and bulging from bending and some of the dents, i placed all the hoops on a length of rods ans filed them back and round
IMG_20210319_183744.jpg



After chopping up the pins and started placing them into the frame to test and figure out how im going to messure and bend the strips to fit.......
IMG_20210319_155542.jpg




In the end it took me ALLLLLL DAY today (and several hours yesterday) to finally fit all the strips and I had to go by eye and figure out where to bend it... Fiddly as hell is an understatement.!

It genuinely took far too long and Im kinda inclined to slightly rework the design to make it a little easier in the future... If i can be arsed to be honest.

IMG_20210320_222307 (1).jpg



Because everything is eyeballed... they dont all quite line up perfectly.... They should be fine for the tricorders, but the protectionist in me is really tweaking here...

And when fitted, things might not perfectly close without perfect zero gaps.......... oh well....
At this stage Im forced to go with its good enough! Just so i can be DONE with this and get back to the rest of the thing!

Anyway

HInges are done... for now. Well not quite, i still need to solder the ends of the pins to the brass and then dremel them back flat... But must put on a mask, using leaded solder!
 

gmprops

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I wanted to keep true to the concept design and my previous version with 2 hinges... But im curious, what did they use the third hinge for in the endgame tricorder?
The third hinge was never used , at least in the electronics I designed. I had separate circuit boards for the main body and the door. All they needed was power. I was scheduled to do a run for Roddenberry.com back in the early days, but it never happened.
 

gmprops

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
So ive been dealing with these hinges for the last several days and thats it.... IM DONE WITH IT! no really theyre done :D

Though Im also done with it... cant say how fed up i am with them but so glad that theyre (mostly) done.

So first task was to take my cut strips and make the hoops. I first bent the strips using pliers into a rough u shape, and placed the 2mm steel rod I was going to use as a pin, into the middle. Then placed the strip into the vice and clamped it down at multiple angles till i had my shape. To make each hoop, took roughly 10 to 20 minutes each and was just the beginning of the tediousness of this task...

I also soldered half the hoops to add strength and to stop them opening over time.

View attachment 1438888 View attachment 1438889

To help make the hoops more uniform and to remove all the humps and bulging from bending and some of the dents, i placed all the hoops on a length of rods ans filed them back and round
View attachment 1438890


After chopping up the pins and started placing them into the frame to test and figure out how im going to messure and bend the strips to fit.......
View attachment 1438892



In the end it took me ALLLLLL DAY today (and several hours yesterday) to finally fit all the strips and I had to go by eye and figure out where to bend it... Fiddly as hell is an understatement.!

It genuinely took far too long and Im kinda inclined to slightly rework the design to make it a little easier in the future... If i can be arsed to be honest.

View attachment 1438893


Because everything is eyeballed... they dont all quite line up perfectly.... They should be fine for the tricorders, but the protectionist in me is really tweaking here...

And when fitted, things might not perfectly close without perfect zero gaps.......... oh well....
At this stage Im forced to go with its good enough! Just so i can be DONE with this and get back to the rest of the thing!

Anyway

HInges are done... for now. Well not quite, i still need to solder the ends of the pins to the brass and then dremel them back flat... But must put on a mask, using leaded solder!
That is pure genius. A lot of work, but still genius. I am very impressed with your solution.
 

MangyDog

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
That is pure genius. A lot of work, but still genius. I am very impressed with your solution.
Thanks Gerry :D How genius this is, is yet to be seen.... Ive been through this hinge design so many times and previous ones ended up failing sooooo lets hope the brass holds out better. And the physical connection inside is stable enough for serial to go through without too much error correcting.

Ill be adding packet checking code to the program.

Though fitting them hasnt been simple either... and having to sand back bits off the frame... Why cant things just be easy :D
 

MangyDog

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Sometimes I just want to curl up in the corner and cry......

This new tricorder has turned into a total nightmare.... At every step of the way I have had new problems to deal with and things just not working out as they should... From the issues with the lcd to bad board designs to failing hinges and now.... PAINT! (and some electronics woes)

As Ive mentioned before I have some one whos been incredibly patient waiting for their prop for a LONG time... well well over a year now. And I really had hoped to have finished this new version by last Christmas, Were now at April the 1st, No don't worry no April fools joke about me quitting the project. But damn do I want to.

And its also this poor guy waiting thats making me stay with it. Even though Id like to take a break from it.

Anyway progress has been made and I thought the doors were made and ready to attach to the main bodies and then I could install the rest of the electronics and glue the main body shut, fill in the gaps and have it ready to paint...... BUT NOOOOoooooo... Why would it ever be THAT easy!

So having a good warm couple of days I took the opportunity to paint the doors and lacquer them.

After painting I left them outside int he sun for an hour or so... I decided to take a nice break and head to the local beach to go for a walk because lockdown had really been bad cabin fever was setting in and I needed the break.

IMG_20210401_115210.jpg


Ive already repainted these 2 times, because I had already had to crack them back open to replace the old hinges, and do more filler work. But also because when I tried painting them before the warm spell we just had, the lacquer bloomed.

The first issue I found right away was when taking the masking off....... It didnt come with a clean edge.
IMG_20210401_115253.jpg
IMG_20210401_115237.jpg


Pealing some of the paint with it revealing the filler primer.
AGHHHGHHGHGHGHHHGHGHGHHHHHHHHGHHGH!

Because of the way the electronics are placed inside before its painted, Its impossible to not have certain things in like the emergency button frame and the ID button placed in before painting. SO they had to be masked.

I think part of the issue is I'm using bumper paint rather than body paint. Thats only because its near enough the same colour as what I used on my first tricorder build. I guess it has a slightly more flexible element to it that makes it not cleanly mask off.

I might be able to mix up some model paint again and get it close to this colour, then gently sand those edges and paint it in, mask again and give it a little dusting of lacquer and hopefully it would blend in well enough. But its just MORE headache and more things stopping me from continuing.


But thats the easy problems to fix....

This is much..... MUCH worse!

IMG_20210401_115349.jpg

IMG_20210401_115333.jpg


Some how, and i guess when I was last cracking it open the vinyl covering on the decal got damaged... As it was all under the masking I didnt see it happen.

Really this made me want to just fall down and blub... The only way to fix this is to again crack this door open then break all the epoxy glue holding the pcb down then peal the vinyl hoping not to damage the decal before puttng on some new wrap.

But thats not all thats wrong with this door...
When looking closely at this door i noticed something wasnt right with the leds...
IMG_20210401_121020.jpg

Spot the difference...
IMG_20210331_223531.jpg


I guess from flexing as i cracked the door open, the phosphorous broke off from the LEDS... (the yellow stuff) I dont think I accidently put a coloured led on those pads. But ive been so hetic on this it could have been the case. So I soldered a power cable to the hinge and programmed it with my led test program, and indeed. Those leds are not working at all.

i guess, "luckily" as i have to crack this open to fix the vinyl.... Ill be able to fix this too! joy!


IMG_20210401_115313.jpg

Oh and yes there is a crack there..... happened at the cracking open of the door last time, thought I fixed the actual crack but it traveled further than i thought... should be easy enough to fix with some super glue.

All in all.... I dont want to make any tricorders ever again after all this.

I really need to work more on redesigning the process to make it simpler to build. This really has turned into an utter nightmare.

Simply put if Im to make more I need to charge A LOT more than what I've already agreed to. Which will make these far far more expensive than anyone would ever want to pay for a tricorder.
 

MangyDog

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Well this time i just wasnt able to take the face off without breaking it :/ Gonna have to reprint that.
I also damaged the mini screen, so going to have to replace the decal on that as well as the damaged button decal :/

effing whelp!
IMG_20210401_164950.jpg


Interesting side note, the leds dies were ripped off.... Must have been done when I last took the face off
IMG_20210401_165021.jpg
 

MangyDog

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
So finally after loads of headaches this last few weeks dealing with hinges and painting and sealing the doors.... I FINALLY started installing the electronics in the main bodies of the three tricorders im building.

Second one is now nearly done. Third to do tomorrow...

As always nothings been simple. Little strange soldering issues have popped up and then the very fiddly installation work.

While I wont do it now. I might end up making a v3 version of this tricorder. With revised PCBs and even newer hinges.......
Just to make it easier to install, wire up and build.

Also the hinges.... sighs. Theyre not perfectly aligned. So the doors aren't perfectly lined up and when its closed its not perfect. Ill try hiding some of it with filler and sanding but its not going to be as I designed.

Ive hit the point in this project of accepting good enough rather than perfect. As its just taking too long.

The v3 will be better for sure as Ive already come up with a better more accurate hinge design that shouldn't possibly have alignment issues. as they will be printed and built into the door and body with the brass barrels screwed in precise locations.

But as for V3 who knows when Ill do it. Not this year. Far too much on my plate to deal with.

Hopefully the three tricorders will have all the electronics installed, and the seems filled and sealed up, and maybe some painting done by the weekend.

All that would be left is maybe 3 weeks worth of hardcore fueled by coffee demented programming! And it would be done!

IMG_20210419_124407.jpg

1618842267942.jpg
IMG_20210419_152616.jpg

IMG_20210419_152639.jpg
 

MangyDog

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Hi all,
I realised ive not been very good at keeping everyone up to date on the project sooooo heres some news......

Im nearly there..... Nearly....

First good news. I have now started work on finalising the programming. A few months ago I started jigsawing up bits of code from the old version and started writing a bunch of new code for this version. With the goal of getting most of the core systems working. All the backend that I can develop ontop of to create the UI effects and what not.

This was a rough quick chuck it all together job. And it turns out I did a pretty good job of it too.

This last few weeks I wasnt working on the tricorder as I was going through a several stage job interview process for a graphics job. Which involved a test project and a few interviews. Annoyingly even though they seemed to really like me. I didnt get the job. So time wasted there :/

That delayed me a little, but I have NOW this last couple of days started resuming the programming. Reacquainting myself with code I barely remember writing and cleaning up and tightening functions to make it work... And im getting there. Im not too far away from being happy with the core system, to start writing all the UI (scanning pages) elements...

So just before the job interview happened I finished constructing the main bodies around the hinges and painted them. The decals still need attaching and a couple more greebles but the build was pretty much done.

However, while programming and testing some button code I discovered a problem in 2 of the builds.

2 buttons are not working correctly. I suspect the solder joins are shorting with something or a faulty chip.
The real nightmare is that to fix these, I have to crack open the front face of the main body, pull out the lcd and main board to fix this.

And as you can imagen thats a scary prospect and also very destructive.

But as long as the fix is as simple as I think I should get that fixed within a week when i start dealing with it. But it means having to yet again glue sand and fill and repaint parts.....

Im not going to lie. This project has really been testing me. And when these three im building are over. I wont be building any more for a LONG time.

I have been thinking up ways of simplifying the build for the future. The incentive for me to still build what would take weeks if not months to build even so, would need to be higher than what Im currently accepting.......

And with all the work on the hinges. Ive had to accept they just wouldnt mount correctly and the door doesnt close perfectly flush with the seem. Its just one of those things I've had to accept as good enough as it was killing me constantly trying to get corrected.

Anyway.... Sooooooon these will be done and Ill make a video.


IMG_20210521_114751.jpg
IMG_20210519_013355.jpg


IMG_20210521_114811.jpg
 
Last edited:

MangyDog

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Effing whelp!

So it turns out an LED on the tricorder i thought was fine, turned out to be dead too... Again i tested these before closing these up.... This time Instead of taking the faces off, I decided to cut open a hatch on the back. As i felt this would be the easiest way to one get access. But more importantly, fix and clean up.

My limits are being reached!

Anyway ive now got to get access to the board thats under the brass contacts... le sigh!

IMG_20210521_184928.jpg
 

MangyDog

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
This Geo mapping UI has been a right pain in the arse to make... Its really pushing the limits of the graphics hardware.

From some graphic glitches in the hardware to layering issues.

I think ive mostly worked around them by reducing some draw commands but not 100% sure.

So far so good though... I hope....

Its also been a super pain to actually make as ive written over 1200 lines of code just for this 1 UI alone. AAGHGHGHHHHHHHHHHH!

It took me just a week JUST to get up the courage to figure out how do even start it. Its such a complex set of stages in the UI. Panning zooming loading markers keeping tracks of those markers....

Anyway heres a preview :)


I also did finish that medical scan UI.


I still have a few more UIs to make before the UIs are done and its just some tidying up.

I grossly underestimated just how much work this project was going to take and thats all on me...

So far the program in all is between 8 and 9 thousand lines of code ive written.

The UIs left to do are,
Power field scan, Metallurgy scan, subspace scan. And finally the EMRG effect.

Im still a few weeks away from finishing. So weeks rather than months. But its getting there :)

Sorry to all those who are waiting for me to get this DONE!
 

MattMunson

Master Member
for real, this is the best thread on the RPF right now. Not only is it because the Tricorder is my favorite prop of all time (in all its variants) but the quality of the work here is just astounding, and seeing your thorough documentation of your thought process and problem solving is just amazing to behold. Thank you for all the work you put into the project AND into this thread!!
 

MandoJedi

Active Member
Truly stunning!

I remember a lifetime ago when the most accurate Mark X was offered on this board, both science and medical versions. I was lucking enough to purchase one but sadly had to sell it a few years later...

Again, truly stunning!
 

MangyDog

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
SOOOoooooooooooooo.....
I was all set to being finished about three weeks ago...
I was doing my final testing with the battery and discovered very quickly the DC-DC boost converter design I was using.... Simply wouldn't work.
It was incredibly unstable and very noisy on the 5V line.
This caused all sorts of problems... After loads of testing on one of the other two boards I had made up, I came to the final conclusion.... There was no way to get that circuit to work. I tried different inductors and capacitors, even a clone of the chip I used (just in case) and all had the same problem.

I thought I had tested this before and it seemed to work at the time, but i guess it was because the current load wasnt high enough to show issues.

Also ive been running off usb power with the tricorder in display mode while doing all the software development work.

I was using the MT3608 which was one I found on some hobby boards I had. I even used one of these hobby boards on the old tricorder. But for some reason it just couldnt run in this new build.

Turns out its a crap chinese chip and known for catching fire! JOY!!!!!

Anyway that didnt work. Soooooo I needed to go back to the drawing board. I had to save the first main build. Even if its going to have a hacked in board.

There was two chips recommended to me. Texas instruments. First was the TPS61023 which also came on a premade mini pcb from Adafruite.
I ordered the board and when it turned up... I hacked it in using the available solder pads left by the original inductor I had on my board.

Annnnnnd, it kinda worked.

Well It would run stable at with the voltage going down to about 3.5v, but would again become really unstable at around 3.1v and 3v. This would cause my MCUs to under volt and reset.

The sound system im using would at some brief points trigger its over current I think, and it would reset the line.

The final option I had was the TPS61032 the previous chips bigger brother. This had a little higher input current headroom, and........
After spending 40 quid getting some new parts from america. And spending another couple of days making a home etched PCB, with a QFN footprint noless! I put the new boost board into the tricorder and turned it on.

IT WORKED! it was stable even as low as 2.8v input. It didnt even heat up. It was amazing! Honestly after all this knightmare of the project. THAT PART IS NOW WORKING......

I have already started incorporating the new circuit into the new revision pcbs i have already started designing to make this prop easier and quicker to build and repair.

IMG_20211110_192940.jpg

It might look like some of the pads have bridged... but thats intentional, the pads are all connected there anyway. And with this home etched board I felt the bridge would actually be beneficial to a more stable current flow.
IMG_20211110_195328.jpg


Its also small enough that I can fit it into the tricorder though I might need to slightly alter the closing lid so not to catch on the inductor.

Anyway... I dont want to call it just yet I still need to test this with a battery as I was testing this with the PSU first to control the input voltage.

I need to test the battery to make sure its happy and doesn't catch fire. And also to test the charge and discharge circuits properly. And also to measure how long it lasts on battery power from a full charge.

But if all goes well................ It'll be finished in the next couple of days.

Ill be making a video shortly after taking a bunch of photos and sending this build off to an exceptionally patient person who's been waiting for this for a LONG time.

I will then start work on some other projects while working on the new PCB revision of the tricorder to build a few more... Ill keep everyone updated on the new tweaked design.

I hope you like this update.... and dont mind the hacky fix :D
 

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.
Top