23 Jul

Buzz Light Year – Fisher Price Power Wheels Hack

Yeah, I know it’s for toddlers, but really–how pointless to not have a reverse.  Just so everyone’s clear, this was done with only the purchase of a DPDT rocker switch at RadShack for $3 or $4 (can’t remember).

Everything else came from stuff I already had–so please don’t comment on how lame I am using solid core 14-gauge wire.  I pulled it out of a chunk of Romex I had in the basement.  I didn’t really want to go spend the cash on heat-shrink tubing, the proper hookup wire, connectors, and such.

Here’s my philosophy on the matter:  Whatever I used and however bad the solder joints look, they will still WAAAAAY outlast this $50.00 electric scooter.

This is what I’m going for.  A simple rocker switch that allows the driver to go from forward to reverse.  I added it on the same side as the thumb button to force a stop before changing directions.  It would probably be more fun on the other side, but also a lot harder on the poor little motor.

On to business.  Here’s what the interior looks like.  Pretty simple stuff.  Battery to the switch to the motor and then back again.  No surprises at all.

Disconnect the Battery.  Stop now and do it.  Just remove the whole thing by taking out the screw and the retaining bail.  We want to cut the red and black wire as far away from the motor as possible, but still an inch or so away from the battery connector.  In other words, give the motor leads as much wire as possible but still give yourself an inch or two away from the connector so it’s easy to work with.

Here is the little switch.  It is a double-pole, meaning that two entirely separate circuits may be attached, but also a double-toggle, so that when one side opens, the other side closes.  In other words, a  DPDT.  There are six(6) terminals on the underside.

Ok, soldering it up is a simple enough.  Connect the two center wires–I used a white and a black.  Then connect two more of the same colors to ONE SIDE.  This is the “forward” side.  When the switch is closed on this side, the car operates just like it always did.  The last two wires will be swapped.  So connect the black to the same pole as the white common, and vise-versa.  This will be the “reverse” side, and cause the opposite polarity to be sent to the motor.

Not my best solder job, even with Evan helping I couldn’t hold everything at once.  Sigh.  But, remember, I am trying to go low-rent here.  I suppose you want a diagram.  Reverse will be on the top two terminals and forward on the bottom two of the switch.

Go, Dia, go.

Now, let’s cut a whole in the side to mount the switch.  I punched a pilot hole first, and then pulled out the 3/4″ spade bit.  Took just seconds.

Getting all of the wires through was more of a struggle because of the stiffness of the solid wire.  Just don’t forget to put the switch retaining nut on at the appropriate time so you don’t have to pull everything out and do it a second time.  Like I did.

Alright, almost there.  I just wire-nutted all of the motor leads together.  If I had been thinking, I probably could have run just one wire through by joining them closer to the switch…but hindsight’s 20/20 and all.  No big deal.  All the blacks go together, and then the whites and red (your motor may have other colors).

Now, for some really difficult soldering.  Stranded wire to solid.  Ick.  The less said the better.  Anyway, the two new wires from the switch get connected essentially to the battery leads (the ones cut at the beginning).  Black to black, white to red again.  Then I literally just taped it all up into a contained little bundle.  It doesn’t really meet up with my standards, but I promised myself not to get too far down the “perfection” rabbit trail with such a simple job.

The proof.  Nolan loves it.  And really, that’s all I was after.