This writeup will cover my method of upgrading the N-Strike Light Beam Unit. I'll be replacing the stock red LED with a red Laser / white LED module. In this other thread "DIY Dummy AA Batteries" I used the bottom part of the Tradewinds 3-Function Light and Laser Pen, this time I'll be using the top part which contains the Laser/LED module (LLM), circuitry and batteries.
NOTE: I will be cutting the Light Beam Unit shorter just because I want it to fit on the bottom rail of my Stryfe, however you can skip the cutting part and add the Laser/LED module to the uncut unit if you want.
- N-Strike Light Beam Unit
- Tradewinds 3-Function Light and Laser Pen
- Dremel (with cutoff wheel and sanding wheel)
- Soldering iron
- Solder + Flux
- Electrical tape
- 22 gauge (or similar) copper wire
- X-acto knife
- Sandpaper (I used 220 grit)
- Wire stripper
- Phillips screwdriver (to open the shell)
- Krazy Glue, Hot Glue or similar (optional)
- 2x "Micromini" 2-pin or 3-pin toggle switches
- N-type battery holder
- 4x LR44 batteries (The Tradewinds pen comes with 3 which is ok, but for maximum performance you'll need 4.)
First of all, get a Light Beam Unit (LBU). You probably have one laying around from your Recon or Element Action Kit you don't use anymore. Open it, and this is how it should look.
Take it appart and save all the parts, you'll be using some later,
Using tape or sharpie, mark a cutting line. I cut the back part of the LBU, where the battery pack used to be. Then sand and even the edges.
Now let's break open the pen so that we can remove the LLM. First remove the metal clip and using the Dremel cut or grind the two silver buttons so that they are flush with the body of the pen. BE CAREFUL AND GENTLE they are not very rugged.
Using some pliers, gently grab the top shiny metal part of the pen. Proceed to remove it by slowly rotating and pulling until it comes off. Some are easy to remove, some are hard. Note that it's glued to the LLM module.
Using the Dremel cutoff wheel and pliers, make a cut such that you can remove the LMM more easily. If needed, rotate 180° degrees and repeat on the other side.
Using the Dremel cutoff wheel, proceed to cut the LMM like shown on the images below.
Now let's go over wiring:
RIght Wire (bare metal) ---> Common (+)
Left Wire (red) ---> LED (-)
BACK SIDE (Note that the small soldered little square is a resistor)
Left terminal (pre resistor) ---> Laser (-)
Right terminal (post resistor) ---> DO NOT TOUCH. If you accidentally apply current to the right terminal YOU WILL burn the Laser.
Proceed to solder a wire to each indicated terminal. (Three total)
Now the battery pack:
In order to ensure proper contact with the batteries, add a ball of solder to the positive (+) terminal of the battery holder.
Insert the 4x LR44 batteries, and tape the whole thing.
This is where it will be placed inside the LBU. Notice that you will have to sand the two plastic pieces that are touching the battery pack in order to get it to fit properly.
Now the switches:
Since I'm a righty and will be using this LBU for my Stryfe's bottom rail, I placed the switches on the left side of the unit.
Notice in the photo that the right switch will be for the Laser (Red Dot) and the left switch will be for the LED (Tactical Light).
Also note that I mounted both switches on the OFF position. if you are using 3-pin switches (DPST) make sure you know which 2 terminals are OPEN or not connected when the switch is in this OFF position.
If you are using 2-pin (SPST) switches it doesn't matter.
This is how the complete circuits looks. Feel free to use any other configuration, but this is the one I used.
Now mount all the pieces together. Once you are confident on how to properly accomodate and fit all the parts, proceed to solder the wires and complete the wiring. It's easier if you start mounting the parts in the top side of the shell (see photo).
Insert the LLM into the gray plastic piece that used to house the sliding plastic piece with the old red LED we removed. Notice that is almost a perfect fit. This will be very useful when you are calibrating/aligning the Laser.
Mount the switches in place. Glue the battery pack in place and proceed to complete the wiring. When done, test the switches and make sure you wired them correctly.
Now put the LLM back inside the grey plastic piece and organize the wires in place.
Finally mount the lens holder (AFTER REMOVING THE CLEAR PLATIC LENS), grey plastic piece a.k.a. LMM holder, and finally secure it in place by screwing back on the little orange plastic piece.
Close the shell making sure you don't pinch any cables and you're done!!!
Proceed to carefully rotate the LMM until you align/calibrate it properly. I used a small screwdriver. Once satisfied you can glue it in place.
Pretty sweet huh?
This is how it looks mounted on my Stryfe and some possible configurations.
And the finished piece! I just painted it black and covered the openings with custom cut pieces of orange foamie.
Hope this helps! Happy nerfing!