Transmitter - PC program works at last!

When I got my transmitter first working in R5, I thought it was just me and my wiring that had the left and right turning wired wrong. I later found out that this was not the case! And that I needed to 'swap' them over via the program.
I had tried to install the programs to alter the transmitter, but it just wouldn't install??

I left it in the hands of the wife (IT expert) who got everything working :)

"What......how.......???" I asked.

"I turned the PC off and on again for the program to be recognised as the latest version."

.........so there is something to be learned, IT people really DO know what they're saying lol, heed those immortal words people!

........"have you turned it off then on again?........" :D


'Bad Motivator' - upgrade to power lift 'Blown' status 1.1

 Because the original mounting hole position was so close to the pie hole opening, the mounting bracket's hole wouldn't reach it without me having to turn the hole in it into a U cut out, which for location and securing I wasn't happy with. So got to cutting up some aluminium angle and a spacer block.

Bad Motivator R5D4 Bad Motivator R5D4
Motivator in the up position (left pic) & down position (right pic)

Drilled and tapped M5 threads into the spacer block. To be secured through the angle support from the rear face.

Next up was to make the top securing plate. Firstly I realised that I could use the other T-nut location, which meant that the Motivator would actually be the right orientation as in the Film [face-to-palm] lol. This made fitting MUCH easier.

So drilled the hole for the M8 cap head bolt and positioned it in place via the T-nut inside the Dome. Then marked where the best position and fit was for the Motivator to slide up through the pie hole. A second smaller hole was drilled to help secure and keep the top securing place located correctly.

Then, back to the top securing plate. This was trimmed for clearance for the pie hole opening, marked and M5 clearance holes were drilled to secure through into spacer block.
Bad Motivator R5D4
In the above picture you can see I've now mounted the
Motivator to the other side of the pie hole.

And here's the view from the top of the Dome.
Bad Motivator R5D4Bad Motivator R5D4
Left pic is Motivator in down position, right pic is in (max) raised position

Next is sorting out the 'remote lock servo' to lift the Bad Motivator.....


'Bad Motivator' - upgrade to power lift 'Blown' status 1.0

Here's my work on building the frame to hold and lift up the 'Bad Motivator' when it 'blows'.

18th September 2014
After doing some measuring, I've worked out the length of a beam and point to act as an off set pivot point. The movement on one end will then be more on the other end. Am hoping this will 'pop-up' the motivator as if it had blown.

I cut a small piece of angle and drilled a 12mm dia hole in it. This will be secured by the motivators main bolt & nut that goes right through it. Next, two M5 threaded hole to bolt onto a main section angle. This has guide blocks with guide rods to ensure the motivator lifts straight up.

Originally I had flats machined onto the rods and tapped out holes for locking screws, but the threads stripped, so I drilled and pinned the rods from the other side.

22nd September 2014
Next was to drill, tap and pin the upper block to the Motovator's angle bracket.

Looking at the Motivator moving up through the pie hole, I could see it was a little tigher than I would be happy with. So I had to prise out the two inside side pie hole panels. This will need to have wood filler applied, smoothed and sprayed up (See last two pics below).

Using a piece of aluminium angle, I cut and bent it into shape to act as a securing bracket to mount the Motivator assembly to the original inside bolt hole.
(This bolt location was what was fitted to secure the static motivator into the pie hole socket)

23rd September 2014
Drilled a hole in the support bracket, this is for securing to the T-nut already installed in the dome. I cut down the guide rods to a more suitable length. Then the run part, adjusting the hole in the support bracket with a file so that the right amount of clearance was achieved for the Motivator to fit/slid/pop up through the Pie Hole!
This little lot took over an hour and it's still not 100% right.....more fine tuning required!

View into the Pie Hole


*** Chippenham Sci-Fi 2014 - more updates ***

Chippenham Sci Fi will be filmed by an international film crew. Yes folks they want to film the event for TV! Only question now is what to wear, better iron our shirts for the interviews. Great chance to promote our town to a national audience.

click image for FaceBook page, Like and get all the updates!


R5-D4 Trading Cards & DIY Display Stand

R5 trading card display

Since I started my R5 build, my searches for info, pictures etc have revealed a few items dedicated to him. The toy figure, being the most obvious one. I also now own a 'Bad Motivator' hoody and T-shirt. But I'd also come across a few trading card game cards, which led me back to the original film, cards.

A quick eBay search and Amazon too, revealed five different cards. So I found/bought the six. (Six, yes, one I bought two of lol). Next I wanted to display them, so came up with this idea.....
R5 trading card display
 The material is perspex and machine's well, I used a Milling machine to cut the slots, though you could just as easilly use a drill or dremel?? You just have to keep it cool so it doesn't melt. I then spaced out the slotted pieces and glued them in place with regualar super glue. The Galictic Hero R5 is not glued down, might do in the future.

R5-D4 trading cards
 And here are my cards (so far). The two blue boarder ones are vintage 1977 cards. The far right is a modern trading card one (this is the one I have two of) The two middle ones are trading card game cards. And the bottom one, which is the same image as top left card is one made for the Japaness market. These are not all 'specific' R5-D4 cards, but they have rare images of him on these types of cards and thought it would be cool to have them. There's one or two cards I've see that I'm still after, I'll post these up in another post. 
R5-D4 trading cards
Picture above shows the reverse of the cards.


STAR WARS shoes..... Pt.2 - Wedges Revenge

Inbetween working on R5 I had time to work on two more pairs of shoe requests.
One pair of 'Avengers' heels & another pair with 'Justice League/Avengers'.
Both gratefully recieved :)
Justice League/AvengersJustice League/Avengers

Justice League/AvengersJustice League/Avengers
Didn't have any finished pictures taken of the Avengers pair.

Have also been asked to do another pair of Star Wars shoes, due to the strappy style,
the wedge part of the shoe has been covered.
These are wanted to be a day-to-day pair and keep the others I made,
for special occasions, like the Chippenham Sci-Fi event in October.
Where she will be a helper, so needs 'a more sensible pair of heels' lol

Here's some WIP pics
Star Wars heelsStar Wars heels

Star Wars heels


Fire Extinguisher 1.3 - 'Bad Motivator'

Flashback date: 24th June 2014
So, this was my first idea for how to get the effect of R5's Bad Motivator blowing.
R5's Bad Motivator
Then I thought, why stop there!?!?! So my next thought was to mimic the effect from the film, as best as it could be lol.
R5D4 bad motivator, ANH

R5's Bad Motivator
With idea 'B', I'd have extra vent points, positioned around the edge of R5's dome.
On activating the system, Mist would be ejected out of the Motivator pie hole and from around the edges of the dome, along with the sound effects of R5's motivator blowing up.

Roll on a few months and I'm now starting work on how to 'pop-up' the Motivator & vent mist at the same time. The sound etc will follow.

R5's Dome Motor.........found motor maybe?.......naaaaa

A Long Time ago.......

I thought I'd have a look at the stripped out motor with gears, switch, 6v battery (rechargeable) from the kids broken 'ride-on' toy car last year. Potential R5's dome motor??

It is noisy (plastic gears). Tried lithium grease, but made no major difference. So I'll either try other gears or go with something else.

Roll on two years and now R5 is 99% complete, I want to get him or some parts of him, moving. This is two fold:
  1. To start my journey to remotely controling R5
  2. And this is the main reason, until he is full operational, I wanted him to be able to interact with the public, by at least having some dome movement.
So I've been looking at the simplist and cheapest way (funds are very tight at the moment) of doing this. A fellow Builder Mr M Dutton, (see the UK R2 Builders Club on FaceBook) installed retro Tamiya mechanical speed controllers for his R2 Unit!

Searching on eBay, I found this, 12V 4 Channel RF Wireless Remote Control.

With the advice of fellow builders (who HAVE electrical knowledge) this could be used to control a motor for R5's dome. Using two of the channels, to turn left and right, in effect power in one direction and then reverse, hopefully stopping spinning at some point lol.

I would like to get a SyRen 10 controller, as this is a proven item by R2 Builders.

Roll forward to 14.09.2014
The 4 channel wireless remote idea has been transferred to another idea for R5's Bad Motivator.

As for the 'ride-on' toy car motor I had......this I am NOT going to be using as it is just TO noisey for my liking.

For simple dome control, rather than go with the SyRen 10 Speed Controller, I'm thinking of using Victor Franco's blogged use of a servo connected to two micro switches to control the dome motor. He's used this idea twice in both his R2 & R5 droids. This is a simple but proven idea, simple I can do :D


R5-D4's You Tube channel - R5's first steps

Click on the You Tube pic below, to see video's of
James' R5-D4 Astromech Droid:

For more updates on R5's moves and event's, why not follow him on his Facebok page:


R5-D4 First Steps........YES!!

What a day!

Started off trying to figure out why R5 wouldn't move? Tried to Motivate him lol, but no luck.

Was looking at options, new radio transmitter or receiver or replacement speed controller?? I eventually find out from reading a 'Full' set of instructions, that I had the power lead in the wrong socket, during the re-binding process! Once sorted, it worked and so did R5 :)

Still had to switch over cables to reverse forward and back, after almost running myself over lol. But all sorted and had him ready and moving just in time for when my kids came home :) they were very excited :).

Video footage will hopefully be posted up when I get to minutes.


R5-D4's first steps.............???

Finished off connecting up all the wires, strapped the batteries back inside, and just like the Jawa's, moved R5 off his transport platform, out into the twin Suns burning bri.....yeah okay, maybe not, it was 1am in the morning in my garage!

Power switch on................check.
Power switch to motors.....check.
Radio transmitter on..........check.
Radio reciever on..............check.

Here is R5's first steps.....

<insert video here>

This was where I'd planned to post up a video of R5 rolling around........but no, nothing!

I mean, nothing happened???

Checked voltage in, at first switch, at terminals into speed controller, all good! Speed controller status Blue LED, on and no red error lite. It was late and tired so called it a night and went to bed :( a little disappointed with myself. Will re-look in the morning.


***** Chippenhan Sci-Fi Day 2014, UPDATE *****


Sarah Louise Madison (Dr Who - Weeping Angle) won't now be attending
due to work commitments.

Chippenham Sci-Fi Event 2014

R5-D4 and other members of the UK R2D2 Builders Club will be in attendance.

I've set up my own...OK....R5's own Event page over on FaceBook, just for fun.


Electrical: Batteries arrive & more installation 1:4

Sunday I started sorting the servo leads, firstly by cutting off the end female plug as the wires are fitted into terminal blocks on the speed controller. The receiver get's it's power from terminal blocks on the Speed Controller.

Monday, my.....sorry, R5's Batteries arrived. They tried to deliver them last Friday, now that's quick service!!
R5D4 batteries

I placed them into the base area and they look good! :-)
I then started looking at how/what I had material wise to clamp them in place. Something lightweight, but strong! Found it! A strip of U section Aluminium (not shown in picture). I had left over. So after marking it up, into work it went and had two sections milled out. These help with securing the batteries and stabilising them from possibly sliding around. Next was to make up two angle securing brackets for the ends of the strip to be bolted onto.

Last night (Tuesday) was a good work night!!

Spent bout an hour soldering up last cable, re-wireing a cable to the main power switch, marking cables with coloured tape, and the battery connectors (just incase). Checked the battery connector circuit was the right way round to give 24v power out.

I then physically checked cables, that contacts were screwed down tight and all plugs were too.......then flipped the on switch......

Speed controller statue blue light: ON

Digital readout: reading 25v (no, not a typo) lol.
R5D4 electrical system

R5-D4 electrical system
Am very happy!


Electrical: More cable installation 1:3

Thursday's work:

  • The rest of my cables arrived so I could get on with wireing up R5.
  • The Batteries are ordered and have been dispatched, so soon have them.

Fitted the electronics board back into R5 the other night, but didn't like it's size so I cut it in half. This is the new layout pic below.
R5D4 Droid

I also milled out an area for the digital volt meter to be push fittd into the panel. I drilled some 10mm dia holes in the perspex to help ventilate the back face of the speed controller. I then cleaned up the slot cut out for the cables to fit through.

I found some double sided sticky pads to stick the Radio reciever to the board (once everything else is sorted). For now R5-D4 will only have power for his feet, driveing him on 24v from the two 12v batteries. Then next will be motorising his dome, with a seperate 12v battery. I may hook-up the lights in his dome to run of it as well. But his next stage will have to wait till funding is approved lol. [and by approved I mean by myself, as I need to save it].

Friday evening:
I screwed the supporting angles into place to take the electronics board. Then I started soldering up the cables to the switch and the spade connectors for the speed controller.
Then after cutting cable to length I realised I had cut one of them to short. Luckily tho it was just the right length for R5's other leg as the switch is closer to one side than the other.

R5's electrical/lectronics board - v2 installation

Saturdays work:
Added the female connectors to the battery cable terminal ends. Finished of some more soldering of spade connectors for the negative cables on both sides. Hooked up the battery cables. Have ordered a new length now for R5's other leg and we are good to go!
R5's electrical/lectronics board - v2 installation


Electrical: Cable installation begings 1:2

More pieces arrived on Monday, 12AWG cable, spade connectors and digital volt meter (range 3v to 30v).

Oh, and from the weekend, my Speed Controller!

Just waiting on some double pole switches, some more cable connectors with XT60's pre fitted to them and a light indicator. The extra XT60 connectors with cable, will be to connect up the two batteries in parallel, to boost power from single 12v power to 24v power!


Took parts into work to position them and drill holes to secure them to the 'Electronics Panel'.

The spade connectors that connect the cables up to the speed controller, have holes in them. These are enlarged so that the screw clamp will fit through, securing the spade connector in place. I'd seen this done before and thought it a great idea. My wires will all be soldered to the spade contacts, so they are doubly secured.
Dimension Engineering Speed Controller
Once home I started on feeding the 12AWG gauge cable down the inside of R5's hollow leg.
I removed the centre hub (can be seen just in front of outer feet) for easier access and taped the cable ends together.
R5-D4 power cable
(To see more of the inside of R5's legs, click on the right hand side)

R5-D4 power cable
Next I fired up my soldering iron, then trimmed the cable ends ready to fit the spade connectors. Once fitted, I then soldered the cable ends and connectors.
R5-D4 power cable
I think I have some cable sleeve somewhere, that I'll fit over where the cable runs into the foot shell and inside the leg, passing through them into the body. Granted, there is less chance of the cables chaffing but better safe than sorry!