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TOPIC: mod: add charge port and lighted switch to ASP

mod: add charge port and lighted switch to ASP 10 months 3 weeks ago #63986

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So, I decided to add a recharge port to my ASP saber. This is a slightly awkward process, so I'm documenting it.

Apologies in advance; the forum thinks I have too many images/links for one post, so this will be split into sections. Also, I kinda bumbled through the process without much of a plan, just figuring it out as I went. So, my writeup is also pretty disorganized.

Parts needed:
  1. recharge port
  2. lighted switch from TCSS or SF's ASP site
  3. resistor for lighted switch (required if you want the switch light not to burn out)
  4. kill key(s)
  5. external charger or 2.1mm charger
  6. (optional) adapter wired to a homemade fake battery
  7. some extra wire and soldering tools
  8. (optional) quick-connect adapters
  9. (optional) O-rings
  10. (optional) alligator clips

My charge port install should be pretty standard, with the only caveat being that my hilt is pretty cramped so I'm skipping the quick-connect parts. However, my charge setup is a bit odd. I want to use a nice li-ion charger and be able to check voltage with a DMM, so I'm going to create a fake external battery instead of plugging a charger directly into the hilt.


Layout / accessing the driver and battery

Here's the bare board, with the relevant connectors labelled "PWR + -".



Here's the same board installed in an ASP chassis:



The parts I need to get to are covered in liquid electrical tape. So, that's going to be in the way. The internet tells me to just pry it off with a knife, fingernail, tweezers, or whatever is handy. So, I tried that and it seems to work. It does require a very gentle touch though, since these components are fragile.

That red wire at the edge seems to be the BAT+ wire, so at least it's accessible. But what I really need access to is BAT-. Here's the tiny black wire going from BAT- to the PWR- connector on the driver:




In my case, it looks like the wire is actually partially exposed direct from SaberForge, since they seem to have scraped its casing off in one spot. Oops.

In any case, that short wire is a bit harder to tap into. And, according to JeffVader's schematic, the BAT- wire actually needs to be fully interrupted:



So, I need to insert the switch between BAT- and PWR-, and I need to tap into the BAT+ wire too. One wire from BAT- to the charge port, one wire from PWR- to the charge port, and one wire from BAT+/PWR+ to the charge port.

I took the BAT- to PWR- wire off entirely.

Also, I didn't follow the diagram exactly. I want my switch to indicate whether power is connected, so I attached it to the same wires which power the driver. The diagram above shows how to make the switch light up in patterns identical to the blade instead, pulsing as the blade pulses and lighting only when the blade lights. That's a neat effect, but I'm more concerned about being able to tell when the saber is truly off versus merely being in standby mode.

So here's the layout for what I actually did: (created after doing the mod and posting about it, sorry)



Motivation

I want a kill key because the SaberCore 2 board uses a lot of power in standby mode, meaning I'd otherwise have to take the battery out at all times while the saber isn't in use. Also, since it works as a charge port, there is no longer any need to remove the battery at all or otherwise open up the hilt. Cram it all in once and it's done. No more risking damage every time I open it.

I tested power use with the saber on and then in standby mode. It seems to idle at about 200-240mA, depending on which battery I use, and although I assume it must go down a bit from there, it still sleeps at a pretty high power level. Leaving the cell in drains the battery in 2-3 days. Here's how it behaves in the first two minutes -- I connected power, turned the blade on, turned the blade off, then just let it idle. It stayed at 200mA until I stopped the test ten minutes later.


So, the charge/kill port mostly fixes that. And as long as I was upgrading the switch from an "outie" to an "innie", I decided to make it light up too.

Update 2016-08-15: After sending an ASP driver unit in for RMA repairs (damaged speaker), I got a new unit back today and it appears to fix the lack of a sleep mode. I'm calling it a "SaberCore 2.1" board, and here's its power graph with a 3.64V NCR18650B cell. (I was too impatient to charge it, but the blade-on power would be higher on a full cell)

It's now going into sleep mode immediately after the sound and/or blade stops, and it idles at an average of about 4.5mA. This eliminates the overheating issue and extends the standby time to about a month. So, with an updated driver board it's now safe to leave the battery in while the saber isn't being used, but you should still remove the battery if the saber will be unused for more than a couple weeks.

Update: I got some new kill keys, 3D-printed with an on/off slot. Click to find out more:
http://www.saberforgeforum.com/forum/open-topics/11898-review-darthryo-rotating-kill-keys
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mod: add charge port and lighted switch to ASP (2) 10 months 3 weeks ago #63987

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Wiring up ports / switches

There's one other little detail in the way. The ASP switch quick connect is kind of sticking out in ways which make the charge port hard to fit.


But I need to get a new switch anyway, so that shouldn't be a big issue on my saber. You could try to rotate the QC parts out of the way, remove the QC bits and re-wire the switch, or get another switch. I ordered a TCSS AV switch and a dripp3d low-profile one to try out.

(the dripp3d ones are taking forever to arrive, so I did the mod without them)

My hilt is already cramped without the charge port, so I'm going to skip the quick-connect bits and just hardwire things in.

Before you start, you should probably check the fit on both holes. I needed a thin O-ring under the switch, and thicker O-rings above the nut on both:




So. First wire up the charge port.
  1. Red: The unique / sideways post goes to BAT+, which is also PWR+. So it should also connect to the resistor and then to the switch's + post. The resistor should have its "IN" side pointed toward the charge port, and its "OUT" side pointed toward the lighted switch.
  2. White: The middle post is the switched one, so it goes to PWR- and to the lighted switch's - post.
  3. Black: The remaining post goes to BAT-.

This shows where everything should connect:


Without quick-connect adapters, the charge port and switch actually need to be soldered in place, in the switch section of the hilt. This can make things a bit tricky. One complication is that you'll need to make sure to put the retaining nut and O-ring on partway through the process.

At first I accidentally connected the SWITCH- wire to the wrong post. Oops. That was a major pain to fix after I realized it. Here's my charge port all wired up, but with one wire in the wrong place.


The black wire going to the right should be connected to the same post as the white wire.

Here's the switch section with only the charge port installed.



Next wire up the lighted button.
  1. Green (resistor): The + post goes to the "OUT" side of the resistor. I used a green wire, but it's not very visible in any pictures.
  2. Black: The - post goes to the middle post of the charge port. (the one with the white wire)
  3. Blue: The other two posts go to the blue switch wires, in any order.

I considered doing something with the switch quick-connect, but discovered the wires were gooped in place... so instead I just cut off the quick-connect and stripped the ends for a direct solder connection.


BTW, when you strip any stranded wires like this, be sure to tin the exposed ends right away. Just touch it with some flux, melt some solder onto the iron, and touch the iron to the wire. Drag the iron away toward the tip of the wire, and it should provide a smooth tinned wire.

Also, when you attach a wire to a switch post, try not to put much heat into the switch (or charge port). Wrap the wire around the post (probably through the post hole), add flux to the post, melt solder onto the iron, and briefly touch the iron to the post. The solder should jump across and make a solid connection without actually heating up the switch enough to melt any of the plastic.

After connecting all four posts, my switch looked like this. Note that I had to do this with the switch only sticking partway out of the hilt. Also, be absolutely sure to put the o-ring and nut around the wires before soldering them together.



Holes all wired

After getting both of my switch holes filled and wired up, well, ... honestly it was a mess. Here is how it looked from both sides:




I didn't fill it with hot glue or anything, since I don't have any. I really hope nothing will short since it's all bare. In theory, a stray wire could rub against something sharp during use, and eventually cut through the wire's casing to cause a short.

You should probably goop up your connections after making sure they work, to avoid future issues.
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mod: add charge port and lighted switch to ASP (3) 10 months 3 weeks ago #63988

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Driver wiring

Wiring up the driver is pretty straightforward:
  1. Remove the black goop over the PWR pads and BAT- area.
  2. Remove the wire going from BAT- to PWR-.
  3. Attach the charge port's black wire to the BAT- area in the battery carrier.
  4. Attach the charge port's white wire to the PWR- pad on the driver.
  5. Add the charge port's red wire to the PWR+ pad on the driver, sharing the pad with the wire already connected there.

Here it is after connecting everything:


You should probably also put some kapton tape over the exposed parts of the driver where the black goop used to be.


Emitter quick fix

One of my emitter wires fell off, so I had to fix that too. I just did a quick re-solder and then folded some kapton tape over it to prevent shorts. I have no hot glue or liquid electrical tape or shrink wrap, but kapton tape is pretty decent as a second choice.





The connection is stronger than it looks.


Testing

After getting everything wired together, I did some tests to make sure it actually worked.





Oh, and I also wanted to make sure my charge port wiring was correct for charging purposes, so I tested that with a DMM.



Then assemble the hilt the rest of the way. First the emitter section, making sure to leave the emitter itself loose until the hilt is fully tightened. Then slide the electronics through the handle, with the battery removed, and tighten the handle. Then insert the battery, put the electronics in very carefully (mine was super-tight), and put the pommel on.

Then test it again. :)





It lives!


Charging / fake battery

The fake battery is pretty easy to do. Get an adapter and extend its wires to connect at the ends of some sort of non-conductive battery-shaped object. Then this fake battery can be inserted into a traditional charger or connected to a DMM or otherwise treated as if it were a real battery.

I modified a 2.1mm adapter from TCSS by adding alligator clips. I also wrapped an old AA cell in electrical tape and attached 22AWG wires to it, exposed at the cell poles and the far end of the wire. Cheap simple way to hold the wires in place against a charger.

Here are the parts...


... and here's how it is used in practice. I prefer my external charger over the 3A one SF sells, in part because I already know mine behaves well, and in part because it's slightly off calibration so it stops at 4.18V (improves battery life span), but mostly because 3 amps is way too much charge current for a 3.4 Ah cell enclosed in a tight insulated space with no way to shed heat. So I charge mine at a gentle 500mA. It takes longer to charge, but the battery should last longer in terms of years. Plus, it has a nifty display while charging, and this approach makes it easy to charge from USB using a travel-sized Xtar MC1 when I go to conventions.


I made my wires long enough to reach from the place I store my saber to the place I store my charger. It's only about 2 feet. The charging wires are 22AWG silicone-coated from Illumn, capable of carrying more current for longer distances than the 26AWG TCSS wires I used inside the hilt.

So, I now have an ASP saber with actual Champion-level electronics. I hope I won't have to open it up again any time soon. :)
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mod: add charge port and lighted switch to ASP 10 months 3 weeks ago #63991

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Hi ToyKeeper,

Lovely post and great info for a newbie like me.
Just to check if you would know if such modifications will void the warranty for ASP sabers?

Appreciate any inputs.

Thanks!
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mod: add charge port and lighted switch to ASP 10 months 3 weeks ago #63995

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mammania wrote:
Just to check if you would know if such modifications will void the warranty for ASP sabers?
Yes, this will definitely void your warranty.

I assume the blade warranty still applies, but the hilt and electronics won't be covered any more.
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mod: add charge port and lighted switch to ASP 10 months 3 weeks ago #64000

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Hi ToyKeeper,

Thanks for the reply.
Much appreciated ;)
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mod: add charge port and lighted switch to ASP 10 months 3 weeks ago #64006

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does the illuminated av switch need a resistor?
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mod: add charge port and lighted switch to ASP 10 months 3 weeks ago #64009

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Thanks for the write-up. :)

I admit I don't understand everything that was written. I can see why SF did not make recharge ports part of the ASP program. But is a Plug & Play recharge port out of the question? I do notice there are more wires involved and if there is an illuminated AV switch, space is going to be extremely tight in the hilts. Better still, like I have always maintained: a chassis solution that houses everything and all we do is slide the electronics chassis into the hilt with simple connections.
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Last Edit: 10 months 3 weeks ago by Execute66.
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mod: add charge port and lighted switch to ASP 10 months 3 weeks ago #64010

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Execute66 wrote:
Thanks for the write-up. :)

I admit I don't understand everything that was written. I can see why SF did not make recharge ports part of the ASP program. But is a Plug & Play recharge port out of the question? I do notice there are more wires involved and if there is an illuminated AV switch, space is going to be extremely tight in the hilts. Better still, like I have always maintained: a chassis solution that houses everything and all we do is slide the electronics chassis into the hilt with simple connections.

i agree, ex66. since there will two (pls correct me if i'm wrong) additional connections for the recharge port, these should be easy enough to add to the champion kits. the wires are colour coded anyway. this goes the same with the illuminated av switch.

one thing sf would need to do is to make the switch wiring longer (ie. qc's are not attached to the switch itself) so as it's not as cramped in the switch section. just long enough that the qc's are not inside the switch section. i believe the body section has enough space to accommodate two more quick connects/ wiring.
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mod: add charge port and lighted switch to ASP 10 months 3 weeks ago #64020

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This is a great post. Any chance you could post a revised schematic for the LED switch, so that it shows when power is running?

Looking to do something similar with an ASP I just ordered.
There must be both dark and light.
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mod: add charge port and lighted switch to ASP 10 months 3 weeks ago #64033

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Just a heads up that DynaOhm need more than 3.7v to properly power an accent LED. I mean, if your happy with current brightness, nothing needs changing, but you'll need to use an appropriate resistor to get full brightness on a switch LED.
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mod: add charge port and lighted switch to ASP 10 months 3 weeks ago #64059

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Gnost-Dural wrote:
does the illuminated av switch need a resistor?
Yes, it will likely burn out if connected to a full battery without something to limit current.


Execute66 wrote:
... is a Plug & Play recharge port out of the question? I do notice there are more wires involved and if there is an illuminated AV switch, space is going to be extremely tight in the hilts. Better still, like I have always maintained: a chassis solution that houses everything and all we do is slide the electronics chassis into the hilt with simple connections.
SF has mentioned they're working on an easy self-install with a charge port. I don't know any of the details though. Personally I really like the chassis idea too, like Hampton's OTS saber project. But Hampton's method requires a switch box (meh), the available hilt pieces are a bit bland, and it's more expensive.

This was the nicest saber I could put together with the OTS builder:



Gnost-Dural wrote:
one thing sf would need to do is to make the switch wiring longer (ie. qc's are not attached to the switch itself) so as it's not as cramped in the switch section. just long enough that the qc's are not inside the switch section. i believe the body section has enough space to accommodate two more quick connects/ wiring.
Yes, the switch quick-connect would be in the way. However, if it wasn't anchored directly to the switch it would probably be fine. As for space in the body section, that varies a lot with hilt style. Mine is really cramped, but my partner's saber has extra space inside.


ic3cold wrote:
Any chance you could post a revised schematic for the LED switch, so that it shows when power is running?
Honestly, I don't know much about electronics. JeffVader made the schematic, and I just used it as a guideline. I could probably make a modified one, but the only difference is that two switch posts connect to the charge port instead of the LED wires.


Kouri wrote:
Just a heads up that DynaOhm need more than 3.7v to properly power an accent LED. I mean, if your happy with current brightness, nothing needs changing, but you'll need to use an appropriate resistor to get full brightness on a switch LED.
That actually sounds like good news to me. I think the switch is way too bright. Sounds like I'll have to get the battery voltage down for some, uh, testing, to find out what it does under 3.7V. Testing, yeah, that's what I'm doing, I'm not just playing with my light saber. :)

I initially tested the AV switch on my bench power supply at 3.0V, but didn't test it with the resistor attached. It behaved a little odd, not wanting to light up at anything less than ~15mA, but was otherwise fine. I would have preferred something dimmer though; some of my flashlights have an always-on lighted tailcap running at 0.5mA which has been just about right, so it seems bizarre to me that this AV switch wants 40 times as much power.

Some of my lights with low-power lighted buttons and ~0.1 lm moon modes:


I can usually light up an entire room well enough to see at night with a 2mA moon mode, and a 0.3mA "firefly mode" tailcap is still plenty to light my path with, so the 20mA switch light seems excessive. But although dimmer would be better, I don't want the switch light to fail entirely on low voltage because I wouldn't be able to see when power is connected. So, I'll drain my cell until I find out how it responds. :)
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mod: add charge port and lighted switch to ASP 10 months 3 weeks ago #64112

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Sorry.. anyone where to get those quick-connect plugs and what type are they?

Thanks!
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mod: add charge port and lighted switch to ASP 10 months 2 weeks ago #64146

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Try here ..... The ebay item id given is invalid, no result has been sent
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mod: add charge port and lighted switch to ASP 10 months 2 weeks ago #64148

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I have two sabers from the indegogo campaign. Since they do not have in hilt chargers, unscrewing the hilt to replace the battery has caused the quick connect to break loose.

So, I thought lets just wire in an in hilt charger from the new parts shop. Why not an LED switch as well.

But having never wired them (which I doesn't seem too difficult) I have been searching for advice or schematics of where to hook up which wires and needed resistors if any.

Anyone have advice or a good link to look at to wire in these additions?
Last Edit: 10 months 2 weeks ago by OvrcAHst. Reason: independent query Topic tac'd onto exisiting Topic of relevent content
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mod: add charge port and lighted switch to ASP 10 months 2 weeks ago #64150

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Hi ToyKeeper!

Thanks for doing such a thorough install log. I still have my discount to use on shopsaberparts.com and want to add sound and a recharge port to my warrior saber. I haven't decided for sure Spark 2 or Sabercore 2.0 for it. Do you happen to know the dimensions of the Sabercore board? I'm thinking of going budget now and building a better chassis later. Then I'll have my warrior electronics and my budget sound that will need hilts. ;)
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mod: add charge port and lighted switch to ASP 10 months 2 weeks ago #64165

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jonnys95s10 wrote:
I still have my discount to use on shopsaberparts.com and want to add sound and a recharge port to my warrior saber. I haven't decided for sure Spark 2 or Sabercore 2.0 for it. Do you happen to know the dimensions of the Sabercore board? I'm thinking of going budget now and building a better chassis later. Then I'll have my warrior electronics and my budget sound that will need hilts. ;)
I don't know the dimensions of the board; don't have one I can get at easily right now. However, if you're doing your own installs I'd definitely go for a Spark 2 or Spark Color 2 instead of Sabercore. The benefit of the latter is that it's a convenient pre-installed option, which doesn't really mean much if you're doing your own. Spark is a much more capable driver and the base level one is only $10 more ($79 instead of $69). It should provide better motion sensing, custom sounds, and multiple blade colors.

I'm planning a from-scratch install, a fancier one, and it's getting a Spark 2 or Spark Color 2 ($115). Half tempted to upgrade my ASP with one too, but I'll wait and see if I still care after doing other projects.

Or I might do a light-only setup using one of my spare flashlight drivers and some custom firmware. A $4 qlite or nanjg 8x7135 driver is plenty for a single-color 12W blade, I have lots of extras, and the firmware for it is pretty easy. I could even give it power-saving modes and flashy disco modes if desired.

Something I'd really like to see though... is a saber driver which uses Korg's Wavedrum brain to produce its sounds. Basically, use the blade like a big microphone and algorithmically combine that mic with saber font sounds to produce realtime audio based entirely on what you're doing. I tried a proof-of-concept by connecting my wavedrum mini's clip mic to a blade and it works pretty well aside from being mostly unable to hear wind whooshing during a swing. It'd probably need an air hole to hear that, or use an accelerometer as an extra input like the drum itself does with a pressure sensor. Still, it worked pretty nicely and produced different sounds depending on what I hit and how hard and it also responded nicely to things like dragging the blade across carpet. It was far more responsive than any accelerometer-based saber I've seen.
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mod: add charge port and lighted switch to ASP 10 months 2 weeks ago #64191

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ToyKeeper wrote:
ic3cold wrote:
Any chance you could post a revised schematic for the LED switch, so that it shows when power is running?
Honestly, I don't know much about electronics. JeffVader made the schematic, and I just used it as a guideline. I could probably make a modified one, but the only difference is that two switch posts connect to the charge port instead of the LED wires.

Thanks ToyKeeper. I'm a bit of a noob myself on saber wiring and was looking for something visual to help me with some mods I'm looking to do on my own in the near future :) I made my own diagram based on what you wrote. Would you mind taking a look to confirm it's okay?

File Attachment:

File Name: Visio-SaberWiring.pdf
File Size:71 KB

There must be both dark and light.
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mod: add charge port and lighted switch to ASP 10 months 2 weeks ago #64199

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ToyKeeper wrote:
jonnys95s10 wrote:
I still have my discount to use on shopsaberparts.com and want to add sound and a recharge port to my warrior saber. I haven't decided for sure Spark 2 or Sabercore 2.0 for it. Do you happen to know the dimensions of the Sabercore board? I'm thinking of going budget now and building a better chassis later. Then I'll have my warrior electronics and my budget sound that will need hilts. ;)
I don't know the dimensions of the board; don't have one I can get at easily right now. However, if you're doing your own installs I'd definitely go for a Spark 2 or Spark Color 2 instead of Sabercore. The benefit of the latter is that it's a convenient pre-installed option, which doesn't really mean much if you're doing your own. Spark is a much more capable driver and the base level one is only $10 more ($79 instead of $69). It should provide better motion sensing, custom sounds, and multiple blade colors.

I'm planning a from-scratch install, a fancier one, and it's getting a Spark 2 or Spark Color 2 ($115). Half tempted to upgrade my ASP with one too, but I'll wait and see if I still care after doing other projects.

Yeah I'm thinking to get what I really want for this saber ultimately I'll end up with Spark Color 2. With the discount of 15% using the founder code and one shipping cost it does bring the Sabercore price in lower than just the $10. That and from all the post I've looked through on the Spark 2 you need 3 wires off your LED and my Green only has 2 as all the dies are jumper end together. It just means when I get ready to move the sound to a new hilt I can't plug and play a new color as easy.
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mod: add charge port and lighted switch to ASP 10 months 2 weeks ago #64201

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Mini Dean Connectors This is what the site says they are using, I had to make sure to match them up.
Last Edit: 10 months 2 weeks ago by Solinbeb.
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