Lightsaber Upgrade

Some of you may remember my Aeon LE V4 stunt saber I got many months ago from Ultra Sabers:

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Now, some people complain about the look of Ultra Sabers, saying they’re too plain looking. Well, to each their own is all I can say to that. To me, this is a wonderful looking hilt that I lucked out in getting, as I ordered it as a grab bag, which is their random hilt buying option. Anyway, I’ve been wanting to upgrade this wonderful looking saber for sound, so today I did exactly that.

One of the first things I did was, a while back I completely disassembled the hilt. I took out the LED, switch and batteries, as I wouldn’t need any of that for this build. Apart from just adding sound to the saber, I also added flash on clash, which basically makes your blade briefly flash another color when it hits something, to simulate the effect of two sabers clashing or blocking a blaster bolt in the films. In order to achieve this, I needed a tri LED, not the single LED that came with it.

Here’s a quick video I shot of what I did. I was a big vague on the products I used, as I plan to show this on the Saber Forum, which is owned by Ultra Sabers. They have a thing about discussing other companies’ products on their forum (a response to complaints from other companies, not a vanity issue.) However, I’ll explain everything in the text below and show more pictures:

The only thing I’m not happy with is the “Light side” sound font. The swing sounds are barely audible in person, I’m not even sure my camera mic picked them up. Power up, power down, hum and clash sounds are all fine. So, I may have to switch that font out. (that’s what some people on the TCSS forums suggest) The “Dark side” sound is fine, the swings are nice and bold, like they are in the films. Even though it has a bit more of a “Sith” sound to it, I really like that font.

Onto what I used here. To get the blade color and flash on clash, I used a Luxeon Tri Rebel Star LED in cyan, cyan, white. I was a dolt and forgot a heat sink in my TCSS (The Custom Saber Shop) order, so I had to use one I took out of one of my sabers. It works. Fortunately, I remembered the optic, as that’s more important and a single LED optic won’t work on a tri LED. As I indicated in the video, the gold button is just an anodized gold anti vandal momentary switch I ordered for a few bucks on Ebay. The pommel is a Manticore Low Profile pommel I ordered from Ultra Sabers, to keep the low profile look the hilt already had.

The sound board is a Plecter Labs Nano Biscotte V3. Plecter is a French company that makes a number of sound boards for props, including several lightsaber boards. This is one of their lower end board, though not their cheapest one. They have a new one out called a Pico Crumble that I want to try. It only comes with one sound font, but it does have other cool features, like the ability to change colors to one of six predetermined color profiles, if you use an RGB LED. I’m super excited to try this. Meanwhile, this is my first sound upgrade, so I went with the NBV3. I ordered mine pre-wired from TCSS, so the only soldering to the board I had to do was connecting stuff to the wiring rig. The V3 has some cool stuff, like a power extender built into it, which makes it possible to add flash on clash without adding one. I guess that was a new feature of that board. TCSS does still sell a power extender, probably for people using boards without one. Anyway, the sound fonts are loaded onto a microSD card, which makes changing them really easy. So, I may have to do something about that Light side sound font.

Here’s a few shots of the electronics work I did, except the LED (for obvious reasons):

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And, some shots of the complete saber:

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I’m really happy with this blade color. It’s not quite what I was expecting, but I like it. Also, one cool thing about having it wired with the NBV3 and having the FoC option wired, the blade has a slight flicker or shimmer to it, like the blades in the films do.

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6 thoughts on “Lightsaber Upgrade

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