In preservation of that original article, I have reposted it here, along with key posts that followed in reply:
Well, well, well,...aint' it funny how life turns out? Remember that screen used pack that sold on ebay a few weeks ago? There's a long story to this, and I aint' gonna go into the specifics of it but the outcome of this little adventure is the screen used "hero" proton pack sitting in my garage last night under the watchful gaze of it's new owner, Ken Huegel aka our very own Volguus.
No bullshit kiddies,...the pack, affectionately known as "number four" as it has that numeral carved/written all over it, came up last night and me, Ken, J Ryan,(wwptvboy) and Chris,(specialbeat) went over this thing with a fine toothed comb.
Here's Chris trying to keep it all in perspective but like the rest of us,...totally jazzed.
J. mugs for the camera while basking in the glow of the particle thrower.
Did we sit there and revel in it's glory? Did we muse about how we came to this historic moment in the fandom? Did we put the pack on a pedestal and gaze at all of it's majesty?
Well,...sorta. But mostly we just tore the thing apart!
In the best spirit of monster garage, we stripped the bastard and forced it to yield up all of it's technological secrets and the best analogy I can give you is this,...
"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"
And while the pack actually makes a very good Wizard,...it's a very poor man.
First up,...we disconnected the ancient,(and broken) Alice pack, set off of the motherboard by 1/2 in. spacers at it's connection points, and pulled the motherboard off.
What did we find?
Oh! Lookit that! A fiberglass packshell and an aluminum motherboard! I wonder who's ever done that?
As far as attaching the motherboard to the pack, they used the high tech solution of four bent aluminum brackets in the top corner of the EDA, the gunmount and two on the bottom half of the spacer. If we thought there was gonna be any great yield on electronics secrets we were sadly mistaken. Note how the cyclotron circuit is bolted crudely to the motherboard itself.
...and here's a closeup of the circuit. Four incandescent bulbs just jutting out.
And check out the power cell circuits! Whoa! Nutty but with fifteen incandescents in the string!
After monkeying around with the electronics,...which have been modified for display to eliminate any moving lights,... we got the lights working,...sort of.
They were all static and Ken also found a nice chunk blown out of one of the pins on the power cell circuit. When he ran a full charge through the thing it smelled like a model train transformer! Note to all the dudes on the board doing lights,...Exoray, Hyperdine, etc. You guys are waaaaaaaaaaaaaay further ahead than these things ever were. Let's take a look inside the particle thrower shall we?
The thrower itself is fiberglassed as well,...something I have been toying with lately, and there's not a whole lot going on in here either. The biggest irony was this crude little lip of sintra, a cheap brittle plastic that I built my first particle throwers out of in the eighties, acting as a shelf for the bottom cover to bolt to.
Now onto cosmetics,...it looks like the Samsonite gorilla repaired this thing over the years,...and he was drunk every time he did it. Pay special attention to the HGA,...
There's also a happy little split across the bumper! The resin shell, foam filled bumper,...something Ken has been doing for years only, well,....better.
The particle thrower nozzle was my favorite! It looked like someone melted Gumby down and used him to fix the thing!
So what did this all tell us? In our quest for the definitive answers, we found out that we had them all along and had, in fact,...done it better, more lovingly and in more meticulous a manner than the original guys ever did. It's not necessarily a surprise, but it is a bit anti-climactic.
Buyers remorse? I think Ken needs a drink!
I'm kidding of course but it is true that, as fans, we've all been doing it better for years and while it was always something we suspected,...it's so nice to know. Rest easy builders,...our numbers are correct. Our methods are sound, and our finished products are great.
It would be interesting to see what a first generation GBI hero pack looks like because while this is definitely a screen used GBII pack, and is most definitely not a stunt pack or a foam pack,...exactly how hero it is, is still in question. The coolest thing is, one of our own now owns a screen-used "hero" pack and is now the final word on a great and many things.
Ken Huegel, I salute you my dear friend, and you have secured yourself bragging rights until the third rectification of the Voldranai. I think you should take a cue from the Chevy Chase playbook and introduce yourself thusly,...
"I'm Ken. I own a screen-used pack, and you don't"
From now on,...when someone asks us if we are Gods,...
We say yes!
In fact, the AC-DC converter on the pack to power it from house current, was a 240V/50Hz input - indicating this pack was, at least temporarily, in Europe!
I dunno if this helps but I know for a fact that the two switches on the gun body of the particle thrower aren't attached to anything.The only switches that do anything are attached to the trigger box.
One thing we learned quickly was this prop was meant to be opened and closed, and rapidly as well. All the fasteners are metal nuts and bolts, the wiring is just twisted and taped together, or put into screwable bus strips for easy connect/disconnect. Trust me, we didn't do anything that the propmasters on the set (or Planet Hollywood, and/or other owners) didn't do a hundred times during filming.
A good rule of thumb for this hero pack is as follows,...
as a rule, everything is fused to everything else. As far as I can see even the particle thrower is damn near a one piece fiberglass casting with a bottom plate. The spacing between the trigger-box and the thrower was filled in for molding so it looks a lot thicker. The gelcoat,(resin? I dunno what) is cracking and the Clippard fell off. It was BARELY bolted into the surface of the thrower anyway. This thing was thrown together QUICK and DIRTY and only had to last as long as the time frame between the words "ACTION!" and "CUT!"
The pack lights DID work. The cyclotron's were fine but Ken had to bypass a few connections and feed power directly to the power cell circuits for them to work right.
Also,...by "working" I simply mean they came ON. The circuits had been modified,(or damaged, or BOTH), to eliminate the moving lights and they are just static for display. The same with the particle thrower lights.
The toggle on the trigger box turned all the gun lights on. The momentary switch was dead; no strobing tip, and the two toggles on the body of the thrower itself were hooked up to nothing but air. The "yellow bar graph window" was a piece of plastic with a printed grid behind it and two dim incandescents behind that.
All of the bulbs were incandescents. There were NO LED's to be found.
And that's the continuing story.
OK, OK, I get the hint - here's a drawing:
Picture a mini hockey puck about 4cm diameter and 1cm thick. Slice off one end to make a flat edge. That's about the size and shape of it. Stick two inandescent bulbs through the round side, and sandwich the plastic sheets onto the other side, and voila! Instant "Cheap Version" wand power meter.
In reality, this gizmo was an indiator light for any number of applications, probably automotive or elevator, etc. The plastic sheets slide in and out of a track so you can replace them with printed words, which they probably started off with.
In fact, I dimly remember holding this same type of item in my hand during a 1986 jaunt to Apex. Back then, anything small that lit up was an immediate attention getter. Did I say "back then?"
Anyway, rather disappointing, to say the least. The gun power meter with its circuitry and vacuum-flourescent display was the main thing I was keen to get hold of (model numbers, etc.). From all the "corner cutting" I expected to find in this version pack, this item was about the only thing that took me by surprise!
- K -
Oops, forgot about Ectodude! These picks are links to larger versions:
Backside not visible from being glued to perfboard, but you can see most of the traces through the board.
PowerCell Chip Side
Note the hole blown clear out of the lower right IC from overheating! Are these "chips" or "popcorn?!?"...
PowerCell "Trace" Side
Actually wire-wrapping, for whatever reason... but how about those FIFTEEN lights, eh?
If anyone can recreate these beasts just from this info, you GO, girlfriend!
- K -
Well just an educated guess on the parts, until we have some confirmation.
ICs 4017, ULN2004, CD4047BC
The circled parts on the one pic...
The blue part is a potentiometer value unkown
The Grey part is a axial electrolytic capacitor
The orange is a ceramic capacitor
The small black part is a power diode
ICs CD4047BC, 2 @ 4015, 3 @ ULN2004
And again a ceramic capacitor and potentionmeter
The only read difference that I see between these circuits and the public circuit is the choice of oscillator a CD4047BC instead of a 555. Also the addition of darlington arrays to replace the bank of transistors, in the public design...
Well are your ready to smack yourself on the head?And that's it. Sadly there weren't any further opportunities for the Pack to be photographed, yet despite that the photos that were posted still offer a considerable amount of information, information which a few industrious members have worked from in order to create accurate recreations of that Pack's lighting.
The ULN2004 Darlington array is pretty straight forward
In - to the 4017 or 4015
Out - to the lamp
In 1 out 16
In 2 out 15
In 3 out 14
In 4 out 13
In 5 out 12
In 6 out 11
In 7 out 10
Pin 8 is GND
Leave pin 9 not connected for this application
Here is a pic of it overlayed on Keith's design with the parts it replaces...
And just Google for "ULN2004A datasheet" if you want more details They are on a revision now so you need to add the A at the end