I just finished my Pack upgrade project!

http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=17v ... leid=en_US

This guy is almost entirely made of parts from junk lying around the house and picked up at Stines and Radio Shack.

The before and after pics are on the site and show why and how badly I needed an upgrade to not only be satisfied with the look of the thing, but also to make it sturdier and less likely to drop parts all night like last year! Almost everything is screwed/nailed down now and she's got MUCH more bells and whistles.

I took a few liberties to accomodate functionality of the home-made lighting setup which runs off of 2 power supplies with switches on top of the crank box and on the gun. Most notably the bottom of the crank box is nonexistant, there's a LOT more exposed wire (it's colorful and I liked the way it looked so I left it out and threw in some tie wraps to keep it neat), and also there's no battery cell. Instead there's an actually battery pack with 3 AA's in its place! Nothing like when real things take the place of their prop versions! I also sort of made a hard drive out of the Ion arm which is basically a steel bracket and a screwdriver shaft. I got so many compliments on the "hard drive" of my pack I decided to leave it. I know detail sticklers are gonna hate it and wonder "why?!" but for lack of resistors to put on the side of the Ion arm, I just decided to put an Iomega Zipdisk on it and make it into a Pack HD!

My favorite feature is the real heat sink on the gun that replaced the cardboard piece of crap from last year. Also, the gun can be clipped to my gun belt on the costume if I don't want to mount it on the pack for easy access.

Special thanks to Eric Lindenberg for his grand woodworked bumper and plastic grips. They and my MultimediaMayhem Resin Clippard Valves are the only things on the pack I didn't build from scratch.

Hope this link works! I know some of you like to see what a totally improvised/scratch pack can look like. She's not the prettiest near replica, but she's mine and I love her dearly!

Next year begins phase 3 of a 3 year project. I intend to include Exoray's sound kit and gun firing apparatus which will integrate with my own lighting setup. I figure an additional 15 hours this year on top of last year's 25 and the couple hundred dollars I spent on parts and tools and scraps was enough for this year before I drop another 350 on electronics!

I also made a simple cardboard trap with flashing lights, reflectors, wheels to roll it across the floor, and a mini Halloween strobe in it so if flashes as it rolls away to catch nasty little slimers!

Thanks for putting up with my questions/comments these past few weeks!

Last edited by GAVAL on October 4th, 2013, 9:54 am, edited 12 times in total.
The pic gallery is gone... has it relocated?
Ya, I think Kodak gets rid of them for lack of activity after six months.

I'll put up new pics with a pack progression album on Facebook once I'm done with this year's upgrades. I know Facebook won't can my pics since I actually use it from time to time!

I use photobucket for my video and pic uploads.. its free n easy.
Gonna be a week or two. I'll be posting 3 years worth of upgrades from year one to this year all together.

It's come a long way tho!

This year's mods arent' ready yet to photograph. Hopefully I"ll have something up by Halloween. It's not the most beautiful pack. What will make it unique (besides my choices on the scratch parts of it) will be the sound setup and perhaps the way I'm trying to add a laser or two to the flasher firing circuit R2DEVO is making me. There will be a video when I'm down showing off the sounds. I think it'll be fun for those of you who want to see and feel your packs.

But if words can be worth a thousand pictures, and because I wanted to get this jotted down somewhere:

Basically it was Year 1, 2007: Have a pack. With Lights. ANYTHING will do! It looked cool, but needed some spark. Lost parts all night. The gun was mounted ot the pack with a milk carton made into a funnel for gods sake. Thrower was very flimsy overall. Looked pretty good, but had no sturdiness to it. Trainset sound recorder/player made the pack firing sound. Cute! But meh.

See video: Ben's Costume on Youtube for Year 1. Dark lighting will make it a bit frustrating to look at...

Year 2, 2008: Get the thing sturdier. Have everything screwed on. Rebuild the gun closer to specs and much sturdier. Get a V hook to mount it. Added more lights. Replaced some cardboard with wood on the pack. Added a few resin casted components like Clippard Valves and resistors. Ordered a good wooden bumper and shock mount. Make the cyclotron spin, not blink with the original LED sequencer from Trainsetelectronics.com from year 1. I still lost 1 or 2 parts but I actually took that pack to a lightsaber fight. I also built a cheap trap with blinking LED's and a strobe light in it that year. It rolled right under a Sith at the Star Wars party and took him out. See Video of "Acadiana Comics Lightsaber Party" on Youtube.

Year 3, 2009: Adding sound. 10 SFX including an amplifier with volume control.
Sound include:
Pack start, (which also makes steady lights come on on the thrower.)
Pack Shutdown
Pack fire. (this activates flashers in the gun barrel. When I'm done it will also fire a laser near the LEDs.)
Pack Thrower wind down. (this activates when I release the trigger.)
Pack Vent sound from Game on the front thrower button.
GB theme. (momentary switch on Gunbox near yellow chaser bar.)
Pack Hum. (Custom made a :10 loop which sounds great and can go indefinately.) (toggle switch near yellow bar on gun).

The above sounds are on existing gun buttons. The following, I'm building a hidden switch panel with 2 momentary and 1 toggle switch. Somewhere near the amp controls down by where the bumer attaches to the motherboard or cyclotron.

Ecto-1 SIren. (on a toggle)
Ghostly cackle. (momentary red switch)
Monstrous Roar. (Momentary black switch)

Then I rebuilt the crankbox/HGA from more sturdy components than cardboard, and put the pack and gun LED sequencer into it along with its switch. I also replaced the Trigger box and Ion Arm/Wand with resin casted parts. Just tired of making my own stuff when there's affordable quick alternatives that look good. Damn, that resin can get heavy though!

There's other changes but too many small things to mention.

Coming in 2010: Rebuilding the gun once more, this time with a resin casted gunbox, now that there's some really affordable options out there. My homemade wooden one just doesn't look flush enough, even after plastering and sanding it. ALL that painted hot glue just looks bad...some of it looks like welding which is cool, but alas...it's gonna have to go eventually before I"m really satisfied. I may also add a vibrating module for when I fire the thrower to make it really kick.

Left to do this year:
Make the hidden Switch Panel for the 3 sounds I dont' have buttons for yet.
Replace the Ion Arm and add new real Dale resistors. Build an Ion Wand. (Gonna be wood dowels and wood block).
Assemble the components of my new Crankbox which are now ready to go. (Made from wood and Electrical boxes. The HGA is an excellent Flat Black spray paint cover with grips.)
Insert the LED thrower barrel flashers and wire them to my thrower trigger.
Replace one of the LED flashers or add to that circuit a red laser.
Mount the Sound module behind the 3way 6x9 speaker in the cyclotron.
Redo the cyclotron lights now that the cake pan is not hollow anymore and I'm limited in space.

*thinks* And then I think I'll be done!

Touchup paint and a few tubing replacements should finish her up and have her ready for some costume contests and parties!

That sure sounds like a lot of work you put into building all from scratch except for those few items here and there.

I cant wait to see pictures of this once your finished. I still think however that you should upload what you have to the GBfans props section so we can check it out and it also builds the database for future reference

good luck
Will do. Worked on it till 1am last night. Gonna be a long Monday!

I attached the crank box and finish wiring up the lights on the gun. I permenantly mounted the breadboard and sound module to a piece of cardboard that fits around the magnet on the speaker in the cyclotron, and hot glued the existing wiring into place permenantly. No room for error here!

Then I attached my LED sequencer to the crankbox, and just as I'm about to go to bed I notice that 2 of my 5 LED's in the power cell are no longer flashing in sequence...or at all really. The trauma of stuffing all those wires into the sequencer broke at least one of those led inputs. The fifth, I can't even find because there's 11 leads on the sequencer and many of them share more than one light.

Upgrades can be a byotch. Never know what you're gonna break while adding the new parts.

I'll have a video showcasing my sound setup and a few in progress pics over the last couple of years once I'm done. Been taking a few as I go.

I just found one of the leads to the switch to my trap's lights was loose the other day.. and I haven;t even finished the damned things yet! LOL!
A few pics...gonna be a while before I can dredge up the old pack look from `07 and `08, but I have the upgrade in progess stuff, in part, ready to show.

Here's a look at the speaker after I finally got it to fit into the cyclotron. You can also see the amp controls (volume and a power switch for it) as well as the amp battery on the left, which will be hidden behinid the bumper when it's put back.

My old Crankbox, made of cardboard, and the components for the new one, ready to go.

Here's an early test of locating a home for my sound board.

Below are buttons for extra sounds like a horrifying Roar, a Ghost laughing demonically, and the Ecto 1 Siren. Can you guess which is which?

Here's the final placement of my wiring for the sound system.

Here you can see, I've mounted my sound board onto a plain piece of cardboard (From my electronics store shipping box!) which is in turn mounted around the speaker magnet.

Just after I replaced the HGA and crankbox, I began the decision making process on whether or not to keep the shiny hose going to the HGA since I can't find anything black that works, or to use standard Coax Cable in its place. Still haven't decided but I did find some shiny black tubing at Home Depot that might work. Either way it's an accuracy I won't have time to fix this year.

Here you can see the final placement of my new crankbox and HGA. SO much better. Not movie accurate, but you saw what I had before! This I can live with. And it's in keeping wih the scratch theme.

As you can see, my Ion arm is one of the least accurate parts of the pack remaining. It will be replaced with a resin arm with real Dale resistors. I will miss the compliments I got on my Pack's "Hard Drive" and the blinking LED I placed on my arm may have to be abandoned.
I always had a problem with my LEDs in the cyclotron falling out of place or bumping up or pushing out the lenses. My solution was to use wall tak, or DAP, to hold the lamps in place, generously, and then reenforce the wires with some insulated tape.

Here I've finally finished the Sound system and have begun the task of reassembling the pack and gun.


Still lots of work to do. A lot of obvious changes need to be made, stickers to be redone, fully accurate new Ion Arm going in with real Dale resistors, lots of resanding and painting, some cables and wires replaced, flashers to be added to gun, My bumper needs repairs and reattachment,etc. But I thought I'd share this bit for those doing sound systems to offer some altnernative options for those wlling to compromise on a few things.

When I'm done I'll have a video showcasing the sound setup and lighting setup which I think are my most unique contributions.
Whew...got the new ion arm finished, complete with Ion Wand, Dale Resistors, and tubing. Also got the R2DEVO custom flashers in place. The laser is going to be touch and go...for some reason the voltage drop from 9volts is down to about 2 volts by the time it gets through R2's board. So the laser looks weak and I'm on the fence about adding it or not.

One or two small, but key parts to fabricate and I'll be ready to put her all back together again!

Party is this weekend! Crunch time!

If you want to dull up the shiny hoses, if you can remove themn, just tke them off, and spray paint them flat black.
What I really need is a smaller split hose! I went to HOme Depot, Stines, and Lowes and they just don't have them.

The shiny hose is metal, so cutting it and mounting it will be a pain. It won't adhere to hot glue, so I'd have to crimp it somehow. I'll give it one more go, but if I can't find anything at the last store I'll either put the shiny black tubing I found or use a BNC cable. The shiny tubing is a gas hose, which has a very wide attachment on the far end similar to a garden nose. That's way too wide to put on my HGA, so It's probably gonna go.

Where did you guys find your smaller 1/2" split tubing? My Pack plans say to look in the electrical department at Home Depot.

I've just bought 10 feet of 3/8" at lowes, and they had 3/4 next to it at Lowe's in electrical. Since you pack isn't accurate anyway, don't worry about specific size, especially when its so cheap. Just go for what looks right. Spilt loom is lighter, cheaper, and you can use compression or hoy glue or gorilla glue to hold it in place, since there isn't any real stress on it.

Its also what you use for the cable to the gun, and for the ghost trap cabeling as well.
Alright, I'll try the electrical isles. The Tubing section didn't have it...it's the smaller one, the 3/8" I'm in the need for. The tube that goes from the booster to the HGA. Gun hose, I think I've got the same thing you have.

Thanks, fellow G!

Yep. Spilt loom isn't hose, even though it looks like it. It's proper use to to wrangle a bunch of wires into one "cable" thats easier to deal with. Thats why you also find it in automotive stores.
Found the right cable! It was hiding behind a column in front of the shelves at Stine. I also found some nice elbow replacements there as well as some vinyl washers for my cyclotron lights, and a few nice brass pieces to replace copper ones I had settled for.

My new Ion Arm is complete, the silver tube is out and the new proper 3/8" tube is in with nice brass fittings.

I fixed the broken lights on the Cyclotron so that's done.

I've found an acceptable alternative for mounting MMM's trigger box using a shunt of Hot Glue stick, so that's in place.

Unfortunately just as I found a working option for the laser emitter I wanted to put on my wand firing flasher circuit, the laser emitter burnt out. I guess I put one too many volts into it. It was either not enough or too much, and when I went with too much voltage I should have thrown in a resistor but didn't, so there wont' be a laser this year, but the good news for me was with that out of the way I could finally close up the gun and start reassembling the pack and gun, which will lead to a massive resanding and painting, new decals, and hopefully a finished `09 version of the pack in time for Sunday's kiddie party.

Wow, what a weekend!

I rushed work on the pack in time to finish Friday and hit up a costume contest. Pulled off first place!

I promised a through the years series of pics and vids to show you guys my pack's evolution, and really to demonstrate what I think is a unique sound setup.

So here goes! (Note: I'm infuriated right now because I was finished with this post when Internet Explorer locked up, so I'm doing this a second time, and you guys KNOW how long it takes to do these picture posts. HODDAMMIT.)

In 2007, with little more than junk lying around the house and a handful of knicknacks I found at the local Stine, I put this pack together and was completely delighted with it. It fell apart all night long and was WAY off the mark on accuracy, but for a first year attempt with a guy who's knowledge of electronics and carpentry is rudamentary, I was ecstatic about it! Note the milk jug gun mount!

Here's the 2007 flimsy gun after the parties were done with its future heat sink. That thing lost parts all night long!

Here I am overjoyed with my pack in 2007 with huge plans for the future.

Here's a youtube vid of the pack that night. You can see the cyclotron blinked instead of spun and I had already started losing parts before the party started.

In 2008 I wanted to make the pack sturdy enough to not lose parts. The gun's flemsyness had to be dealt with too. I wanted to bring the pack's overall accuracy up a good deal with a few ordered parts, some real spectra-strip cable, and more proportionate parts to the original props. I also HAD to have a cyclotron that spun. Mission accomplished! The only parts I lost that year were parts of the cheap trap I put together with a cell phone box and my old cyclotron lights.
The 2008 Pack:

Here you can see the gun had evolved a lot in 2008:

The old hard drive on the pack got much notice from folks out and about! Alas, it had to go, but it was a crowd pleaser while I had it in 2008!

Here's a short vid of the pack with it's much upgraded lighting system which really took full advantage of the potential the LED Sequencer had to offer.
http://s578.photobucket.com/albums/ss22 ... 0_3081.flv



Magic vs Science! Magic won in my wife's favor that night, after all, we all know the equation: Bewbs > ALL
Disregard the date stamp, that was in 2008 on Halloween Night.

In 2009 it was time for the sound system to be installed. I also wanted to make major leaps towards a much more screen accurate pack, so she got a new Ion Arm assembly, a new Crankbox and HGA, some lighting modifications, flashers that went off when you fired the pack, and a great, LOUD, soundsystem with an amp and volume controls that plans back 10 sound effects.
The 2009 Proton Pack as it stands today:

Left Side:

Right Side:

Right side CU:

In the Dark:

Left side CU:

And here's the feature, an 8:00 walkthrough of my sound system setup, and some of the pack features. Sorry, I suck at paraphrasing, and I said a few things in my rush to make this that don't make sense. The HGA is a Paint Can top, not a Cake Pan top. And the Power supply for the LED Sequencer does not consist of LEDs. It consists, of AA's.
http://s578.photobucket.com/albums/ss22 ... onPack.flv


Here's my little Ghostling who has joined me on my journey to look like a Real Ghostbuster and his Doc at a special Halloween party for the Doc's patients.

Whew! That's about it.

My next contest is Thursday, then of course there'll be a big one on Saturday. I've made enough so far this year to pay off this year's upgrades, so the rest is gravy if I win again!

Cheers, Ghostheads!


It's not terribly uncomfortable, but I will be reversing it in the next couple days. I noticed it was backwards after 2 years only last week when I was shopping at a surplus store for a kidney pad. The way the pad fits onto the frame startled me into realizing the entire thing was ass backwards all this time!

Doh, and easy to fix.

Pack Back

Speaker mids and highs poke through here...

I went ahead and fixed the Alice frame problem...it's on right now! And I did some repainting of the tubes that had chipped off almost completely. I also put a transluscent piece of plastic over my power cell LEDs so they weren't so blinding. First time ever I didn't get a complaint that I was blinding someone with my pack lights. Lots of touch up flat black, some sanding, and it was ready for another contest Halloween night!

Won Outstanding Costume award at a bar with about 100 contestants.

So far I'm 2 for 3 in winning best costume at contests! The real fun for me was just milking how much folks love the Ghostbusters and sharing the fun in pretending to be one once again!

Man are my shoulders sore...

Another great Halloween!

Yeah a heavy pack will bruise your shoulders for as few weeks.. ask AKADan about that. Thats part of the reason we made lightweight packs.

We used that blue tinted plastic picnic plates people found at target to dim our power cell lights some.. but I like them bright.. it keeps people away from the pack, and from bumping into it!
man that looks great! I really love how it transformed over the years. Lots of work. You sir area a craftsmen. You give me hope that one day I will be able to make my junk pack better. Thanks. Peace to you and Happy Holidays.

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