Which sci-fi props have the most leds, sounds, or moving parts?

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by sswift, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. sswift

    sswift Active Member

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    Hey guys,

    I'm trying to come up with a list of props with the most sophisticated electronics for a little project of mine. I'm looking for those which animate lots of leds, have moving parts controlled by servos, and play sounds.

    Here's a short list of props I've come up with so far:

    Ghostbusters - Proton Pack, PKE Meter, Giga Meter, Trap
    Slider's Timers
    Predator Bomb Timer Gauntlet
    Fifth Element ZF-1 Gun
    Delorean Time Circuits
    Star Trek props (too many to list)
    Star Wars props (again, too many to list)
    Iron Man suit (not a lot of leds, but it's got a few servo controlled parts.)
    Portal 2 - Wheatley, other Personality Spheres, Turrets, Portal Gun w/ GladOs

    So can anyone add anything to this list?

    As you can see from my inclusion of Portal 2, props from video games are allowed as well. I'm not strictly interested in what actually exists, but rather, what could be built.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
  2. Edwardowan

    Edwardowan Sr Member

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    R2-D2 builds are pretty elaborate. The front and rear logic LEDs and other dome lights I think account for about 240 LED's alone not including if you include a Lifeform scanner and Periscope eye that extend out of the top of his dome... you can servo just about every panel and door on his body and dome... then you have his two blue utility arms you can activate with servos. Some add the computer interface probe, zapper, cutting wheels etc that come out of his body... Some are 2-3-2 capable which is going from 2 legged mode to three legged mode and back again which is very difficult to achieve and requires a lot of engineering and gadgets to get to work... scooter motors, lifters, motor controllers, drive trains, batteries, voltage regulators, fuses, power distributors, RC receiver and transmitter... So many use Arduino's to run lights and even as a controller translator... wiring out the wazoo, I don't recall how many Artoo sounds there are but I have an mp3 on mine that runs for almost 20 minutes with probably every sound he made and you can make your own using the R2D2 sound generator so I guess that mean limitless sounds... And I read some builders have counted up about 1400 parts not including nuts and bolts, glue and paint! so...the list goes on... :lol
  3. Kevin Gossett

    Kevin Gossett Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Yeah, I think R2 wins this one... :lol
  4. sswift

    sswift Active Member

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    I'm not just looking for the single most complex prop out there. I'm looking to create a list of those which have lots of blinky lights and/or moving parts. That's why I just listed "Star Wars props". The list would be full of props from Star Wars if I listed every one which applies. :)

    But it's interesting to know that people are using Arduinos to control R2. I would have thought there was a controller board specifically designed for him out there.
  5. Edwardowan

    Edwardowan Sr Member

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    well, there is and its called the J.E.D.I. Controller ( Joystick Enhanced Device Input ) that is designed specifically for R2 functions but you can use any controller as its just a big RC shaped like Artoo! :lol All you are really doing is controlling wheel movement and a dome rotation and poping a few servos to open panels so any RC TX/RX controller package can work with the usual motor controllers. VEX PIC Microcontroller is popular with the 75mHz crowd as is the Cheap Control System Cheap Control Systems but many prefer digital 2.4 Ghz RC TX now but are more expensive but VEX radios can suffer from interference on their frequencies...

    so anyway sorry, I thought you meant specific projects within those realms you listed. I think that list is kind of general and vague really... STar Trek movies have lots of blinkies and lit panels but not much function... The Star WArs Universe encompasses so much more as far as robots, weapons, ships, computer interfaces etc that it seems like Star WArs would take the cake on any other film as far as the most sounds, lights etc. CAn;'t think of much in the Alien franchise... Battle Star Galactica didn't even have as much as Star Wars.... Maybe The Matrix series of films comes close or could rival Star WARs... that's all I can think of top of me head!
  6. weno

    weno Member

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    man its the tron lightcycle for sure!
  7. Fizbin

    Fizbin Well-Known Member

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    What... no love for Dr. Theopolis?

    Also, no one has mentioned the Time Machine remake from 2002 yet... no blinkys, but a heck of a lot of moving parts on that thing.
  8. ONEYE

    ONEYE Sr Member

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    *batteries not included (1987)
  9. Kestre

    Kestre Member

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  10. sswift

    sswift Active Member

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    The props I'm looking for don't have to have servos. I've seen some tricorders with a ton of leds. That would fit the bill.
  11. YenChih Lin

    YenChih Lin Sr Member

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    yeah TNG Tricorder onward to Mark IX makes the chrismas tree looking pale in comparison.
  12. micdavis

    micdavis Master Member

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    The WOPR computer from War Games has a nice array of blinking lights that are ominously planning the end of mankind by nuclear war.

    Those closeups of the computer always creeped me out like that. I knew what it was thinking.
  13. NormanF

    NormanF Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Any computer from 50's, 60's, and maybe 70's tv showd and movies. Maybe a vacuum volumn tape drive, those big refrigerator sized boxes with large reels of tape.
  14. propmaster2000

    propmaster2000 Sr Member

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    I think NormanF kind of summed it up:

    <snip>Any computer from 50's, 60's, and maybe 70's tv showd and movies. Maybe a vacuum volumn tape drive, those big refrigerator sized boxes with large reels of tape. <snap>

    I have found in my experience the last 10 years, HERO practical Sci-Fi props are becoming fewer and fewer. Most of the "blinky, animatronic" props now are done by computer graphics (CGI) and no longer cost effective to build "real time". Props which are built currently (with all the bells and whistles), don't get much camera time and no longer "pay for themselves" on set. The scene they may be shown in only lasts a fraction of a second now a days, no time to focus on it, not worth the cost to build.
    The early years of prop making was the best for LEDS and movement (sound usually is not in a working HERO prop, it's added later).

    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
  15. Stormleader

    Stormleader Well-Known Member

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  16. Hfuy

    Hfuy Active Member

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    For sheer blinkenlight count, let's not overlook the Jurassic Park control room. This is fairly well known, but they had the front panels (not the entire computers) from Connection Machines CM-2 systems:


    That's going to be hard to beat, but I suppose it's not really strictly a prop, it's a real piece of technology - although actually, it's largely window dressing. These were supplied by CM themselves from the UK. The fact that the front panels worked without the computers attached reveals exactly how much they actually do - except when a CM-2 is booting up, when some status information is displayed, these massed arrays of red LEDs are purely decorative. People used to program them to play Conway's game of life.

    A CM-2 would not be a terribly unreasonable piece of technology for an early-90s genetics lab to own, I suppose, although there's more obvious candidates. Also, why is it in the control room, the majority of whose machines appear to run Irix (because they were SGIs)?
  17. sswift

    sswift Active Member

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  18. sswift

    sswift Active Member

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    That's a shame. But what I'm looking for here are ideas for props to build. If it's CG but it's something that can be built and which a fan might want to own, like the Iron Man suit, then it's fair game. That's why I said video game props and weapons were allowed.

    And these Bat computers and things are neat, but I'm looking for stuff a bit smaller and more practical to own. :)
  19. Davlin

    Davlin Well-Known Member

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    The "movies" Proton Packs are actually pretty simples. The " 2009 videogame " Proton Pack, otherwise, is a Hell of blinking, moving stuff.
    WOPR : Good call ! The LEDs creeped me out as well.
    Weathley : Anyone who could make electronics for Weathley at a decent price would be rich quite quickly, I think.

    You can add " Quantum Leap " handheld link to the list, it was colored blocks put together with lots of little leds, if memory serves. The " Soul Cube " from Doom 3 is also a good mix between moving parts and lighting effects. :)
  20. sswift

    sswift Active Member

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    The proton packs from the movie aren't all that simple... There's the blue powercell with 15 leds, the 4 red cyclotron lights, and in the thrower there's the orange bargraph with 15 leds and at least 7 other leds on it, making for a grand total of 41 leds.
  21. Hfuy

    Hfuy Active Member

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    If you're talking about proton packs from the original ghostbusters movie, they certainly weren't blue LEDs as they didn't become widely available until the late 90s. Any blue blinkenlight prior to that is either an incandescent light with a filter on it (which is usually quite identifiable) or, much less frequently, some sort of electroluminescent or vacuum fluorescent device. It became quite obvious in the late 90s when they started using blue LEDs in tricorders, for instance.

    I've seen people build proton packs with blue LEDs, and if you want to be a real purist about it, it looks subtly... different.
  22. sswift

    sswift Active Member

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    Oh, I'm well aware of that. I have studied the packs extensively. :)

    On the real packs they did indeed use incandescent bulbs for the power cell, and it is believed a VFD was used for the bar graph on the thrower, though nobody can be sure because no one has ever seen the electronics that drive the thrower up close.

    The reason I said LEDs here and in my first post was because that's what replica prop makers generally use these days as replacements, and it sounds weird to talk about how many "lights" something has instead.
  23. Falkie2013

    Falkie2013 New Member

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    Just think if you had the room. What a mod case that would be for a modded pc or Mac.


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