Stormtrooper Pi Radio Project
Awhile back I purchased this talking First Order Stormtrooper Toy. Originally, the toy would play a few different recorded prases and sound effects. While this toy had a lot of neat features, wouldn't it be fun to hack this toy.
First we need to see what is inside. Look Ben, there's screws!
Removal of the battery cover we find some AA batteries. There is a three position power switch at the base of the neck.
In order to gain access to the inside, it is necessary to first remove the head.
Of course, as soon as the head is removed, there is an unexpected visitor.
"Who gave you permission to remove that helmet? Submit your blaster for inspection and report to my division at once."
Now that the external screws and head have been removed, we can check out the internals.
On the left side or back part is a PCB containing a three way switch, and two momentary buttons. This PCB is wired to the main PCB on the right side or front piece. Wired to the main PCB is a small speaker and a momentary switch that is hidden in the Stormtroopers belt. There is also a button in the right arm that actuates one of the momentary switches on the back PCB when the blaster is removed/placed in the right hand.
In this photo, a closer look at the PCB containing the power switch and momentary switches. Bellow you can see some markings for removal of materials.
Another view of the power switch and momentary switches on the back PCB. One of the switches is meant to detect the presence of a blaster rifle in the right hand and the other switch is meant to detect the presence of the rocket pack on the Stormtrooper's back.
Here is the main PCB board that controls the sound effects.
There are some LEDs on the reverse side of the main PCB that illuminate the First Order Emblem on the Stormtrooper's chest. The black plastic piece is meant to separate the light from the LEDs.
With the main pcb removed, we can see the speaker and momentary switch on front.
The factory microcontroller and pcb containing the switches has been removed. The switches will be reinstalled at a later time.
With the electronics removed, we can began removal of some of the unnecessary plastic.
For this a cordless drill and snips were used.
Holes have been drilled thru the old battery compartment so that the snips can easily remove the unwanted material.
A check to ensure the switches will work with the modifications.
Rebuilding the Stormtrooper
To replace the electronics, I have chosen the Raspberry Pi Zero W.
An Adafruit MAX98357A I2S 3W Class D Amplifer has been connected to the speaker. https://www.adafruit.com/product/3006
The amp has been wrapped in Kapton tape and secured with a bit of hot glue. The wires for the front momentary switch have been temporarily secured with some blue stuff.
On the battery cover, an Adafruit USB Micro-B Breakout Board https://www.adafruit.com/product/1833 has been soldered to the power pinouts on the Pi Zero W.
A piece of recycled plastic from a DVD case was used to make a faceplate for the Micro USB slot.
Just about everything on the pi zero w has been wrapped in Kapton tape to prevent short circuits.
Pinouts from the MAX98357A have been directly soldered to the pi zero w. A detailed tutorial on installation and configuration of this I2S Class D Amp can be found at https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-max98357-i2s-class-d-mono-amp/overview .
On the 16GB microSD the most recent Raspbian Stretch Lite has been installed. https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/raspbian/
For power, a Raspberry Pi 5.1V 2.5A microUSB Power Supply available at http://www.newark.com/stontronics/t5875dv/psu-raspberry-pi-5v-2-5a-multi/dp/77Y6535
For the first boot, I like to use the HDMI connected to a TV in order to set up and configure the Pi Zero W.
Afterwards all connection is established thru SSH.
Testing the Stormtrooper Pi Radio
With everything connected, installed , and reassembled, we can find out if this crazy idea will actually work.
The only change to the external appearance of the Stormtrooper is the micro USB port on the back.
The following demonstrations were performed by issuing commands to the Pi Zero W from PC by SSH connection. Type alsamixer for volume control.
Speech Synthesis Test with Festival
Streaming Music Test
sudo apt-get install -y mpg123
Thanks for stopping by this post and checking out my project.
Please check back for updates.
May the force be with you.
trent_darkside at Instagram