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TOPIC: ASP reviews - Negotiator and Forgiveness

ASP reviews - Negotiator and Forgiveness 1 year 2 months ago #62531

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I received two ASP sabers, one for me (Negotiator) and one for my partner (Forgiveness). The names aren't set in stone yet. My review will be posted in multiple parts, because the forum thinks I have too many pictures for one post.

Group Shots

Here they are: (Forgiveness on top, Negotiator on bottom) (click pics to embiggen greatly)





The timeline: (~3 weeks)
2016-06-16: Paid indiegogo.
2016-06-17: Sent SF a "parts selection" email.
2016-06-17: Received a tracking number later that day, with a note saying it'll be sent in 7-14 business days.
2016-07-07: Tracking says the package was picked up from its origin.
2016-07-09: Arrival!

Updates:

2016-07-30: I upgraded one with a charge port, lighted switch, kill key, and charging rig. This explains how:
http://www.saberforgeforum.com/forum/adaptive-saber-parts/11817-mod-add-charge-port-and-lighted-switch-to-asp

2016-08-08: 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


(review continued below)
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ASP reviews - Negotiator and Forgiveness (part 2) 1 year 2 months ago #62532

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Saber: Negotiator



My saber was mostly designed to be practical with aesthetic touches, but I also opted for the pretty-but-impractical Venom emitter piece. I wanted something sized for either one or two hands, with a front choke point for grip, no protrusions to get in the way during use, no harsh texture to tear up my hands, and an enlarged pommel to catch in case I slip.

Parts

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  • * Pommel: 8, standard
  • * Body: Sinister Prophecy, standard
  • * Switch: 9, standard
  • * Emitter: Venom, standard
  • * LED: Green

Assembly / Modifications

Assembly was super-easy, except that I had to remove some black goop to get the switch nut off.

Some parts were sharp and needed to be filed down. Specifically:
  • * Emitter retention screw
  • * Hilt corners at the rear edge of each claw
  • * Claw corners
  • * Some of the larger pommel vents
The base of each claw needed the most material removed. I used a dremel. You may also be able to see that the slot is a bit wider than the claw, so it can rotate and wiggle a bit.



The LED retention screw is also much more comfortable after filing it down. I used a diamond-coated hand file:



At some point, I'm hoping to do some of my own weathering on this hilt. I'd like to add a weak anodized layer then weather it in a similar manner to what SF does. However, I'm intending to make the silver parts pretty light and keep the black parts completely black. So, basically, adding some light weathering only to the parts which were originally bare metal. I'm a little worried about attempting this on the claws though, since they appear to be silver-anodized instead of bare (or maybe they're just molded and cut? hard to tell).

A bit sooner than that, I'm hoping to add a recharge port and kill key, and find a switch which isn't so easy to press by accident. Aside from just being convenient, the recharge port and kill key would greatly ease my worries about wear and damage from removing the battery all the time (especially to the speaker).

A blade retention thumb screw would be a nice upgrade too.

Another mod I'm hoping to do is swap out the sound board for something which allows custom fonts. I'd like to make some new sound fonts on my analog synth...

Warnings

Don't duel with the claws on.
They can be damaged fairly easily, as I found when one got struck. Fortunately, nothing broke, and I was able to mostly bend the metal back near its original shape.

The silver switch on mine protrudes unless pressed. It's far too easy to activate by accident. It's definitely a momentary e-switch, not a clicky/latching switch, but it sticks up like a latching switch. Will need to find a different one so I don't keep hitting it when I don't mean to.

Misc

Here it is with the covertec wheel installed:


I prefer it with the wheel removed, especially for dueling since it gets in the way. It's a bit scratched up underneath the wheel though, right out of the box:
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ASP reviews - Negotiator and Forgiveness (part 3) 1 year 2 months ago #62533

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Saber: Forgiveness



This saber was designed to be simple, sleek, and practical. Which is a little odd coming from someone who is usually covered in jewelry. :) It has had a few problems though. I guess, with a name like "forgiveness", it's practically asking for something to go wrong.

Parts

Direct ASP link
  • * Pommel: Sinister Prophecy, standard
  • * Body: Venom, weathered
  • * Switch: 7, weathered
  • * Emitter: 1, standard
  • * LED: Indigo

Assembly

The speaker appeared to have some visible damage straight out of the box, but it seemed otherwise okay. More on that later.

The switch and emitter parts had so much black goop on them that she couldn't get the front wiring to fit quite right. This ended up pushing the LED part farther forward than desired, and leaving stress on parts which probably shouldn't be stressed. Will probably be fixable later.

Sinister Prophecy pommel

The Sinister Prophecy pommel has some issues. It's a 2-piece pommel with a screw holding the two pieces together through friction. This might work okay if the screw went down to the bottom of the inner piece's grooves, but instead it was drilled awkwardly part way over the edge of one of the raised portions.


That means a choice of one of the following:
  1. Screw in the inner piece all the way, and align the outer piece in a precarious position. Display purposes only; can't withstand even light dueling.
  2. Align the outer piece's hole over the center of an inner ridge, for more strength. Causes the pommel not to screw into the handle very far, and also can't withstand dueling.
  3. Align the outer pieces's hole over the deep part of an inner groove, secure it with a longer screw. More sturdy, but leaves a sizable gap between the handle and the outside of the pommel.
  4. Drill and tap a new hole in the outer piece so it'll align correctly.
  5. Remove the outer piece entirely.
The first three cause damage to the inner piece, though the third option seems at least reasonably sturdy.

We discovered all this the hard way. She assembled her saber, took a few test swings, and came back bleeding saying the pommel bit/pinched her. The outer piece had slid down with her skin in the way. That was option 1, I think, straight from the factory. So, she took it apart, tried option 2, and we went out to duel. Within a couple minutes it had slipped again. We took the outer piece off, tightened the inner piece, and continued dueling. However, her sound wasn't right after that.

After a trip to the hardware store, we tried option 3 and that seems the best so far. Not ideal, but hopefully it will at least stay put and allow the pommel to be tight.

We haven't decided what to do about the sound yet. It sounds like the speaker is damaged. The sound is heavily clipped and crackly. Replacing the speaker will likely be awkward due to the black goop holding everything together, but I should be able to do it. I'll probably contact SF customer service first to find out what they think I should do. Maybe order a new covertec wheel while I'm at it, since we, uh, *cough, cough* already managed to kill one.

Pictures of the pommel...
The outer piece's hole was drilled in the wrong place. This is where it would align with the inner piece fully screwed on. Basically, it lands in a very precarious place which can't stand up to any pressure. Ideally it should be a longer screw which lands in the deepest part of a black groove, for maximum stability. Biting into a raised section is apparently a recipe for falling apart during use. (pic repeated from earlier)


The same thing, different view:


With the shroud installed, some underlying damage can be seen when things aren't rotated quite right.


... and after buying a longer screw, we drove it deep into the rearmost groove. This finally makes it stable (mostly), but puts a gap between handle and pommel.


Indigo LED

The Indigo-colored emitter looks nice, but since it's three blue LEDs and one red LED, it can sometimes appear to be somewhat different colors from different angles. This effect is subtle though, and unlikely to be noticed during use.

It's a good color choice for the Jedi with some aggressive tendencies.

Emitter 1

Emitter 1 is, IMHO, a very nice-looking and practical emitter piece. The only minor nit I found is that the blade retention screw hole doesn't quite fit. It seems to make no functional difference though:
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ASP reviews - Negotiator and Forgiveness (part 4) 1 year 2 months ago #62534

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This should be the last part of the review. We're both pretty happy about our new sabers, and keep finding ourselves grinning when we look at them. They're gorgeous, and they can be used for actual dueling. I should mention a few other things though, and some overall impressions.

General Issues

The covertec knobs only have 1 HP (hit point). They seem to be fairly soft, probably aluminum, so a dropped saber can easily mean a dead covertec. Would prefer steel. After one slip, my partner's wheel was bent far enough to close its groove. She tried to repair it when we got home, but the result probably won't be usable.




Hilt parts tend to unscrew during dueling. It's a little awkward stopping to re-tighten the hilt pieces in the middle of a fight. This is probably common on all modular sabers though, I'd assume. And since I plan on future mods, I'm not going to glue anything.

The silver second switch hole covers look pretty bad. The black ones look nice though. I think the second hole can just stay open until I get a recharge port.





I may be a bit spoiled by li-ion flashlight tech, but the included chargers are basically the same as the junkers which come free with some super-cheap UltraFire lights. I'd recommend a better one from somewhere else, or at least check the charge termination voltage with a DMM to make sure it doesn't exceed 4.20V. I normally use a Nitecore Digicharger D2, but even a $5 Xtar MC1 is nicer than the included generic one.

The battery case only accepts narrow-button-top protected cells. My flat-top and medium-button-top cells are too wide to make contact, and my unprotected cells are too short to make contact. Not a big issue though, since the included Panasonic NCR18650B are probably the best and most appropriate cells on the market for saber purposes. SF picked good batteries.

The battery case is very tight, and removing/inserting it a lot has high potential to damage the speaker and/or wiring. These things can be reduced though -- add a ribbon, for great justice! It can help with pulling the unit out gently, and with removing the cell.


The shipped parts included a plastic saber stand instead of a staff coupler, but that's fine. We weren't planning to use the coupler anyway.

Only a tiny quirk, but with the retention screw tightened, the blade plugs pop up just far enough to let light out the side.


Overall Impressions

When I saw the tracking site say "out for delivery" yesterday, I was like...
Yaaaasssss!

On opening the box, my first reaction was basically...
Whoa. Pretty...

Then while we were out shopping for screws and finding a place to play, I did a lot of this...
Why yes, that IS my light saber.

Once we started dueling, I hoped I'd be like...
Bring it.

But in reality, I did a lot more of this...
Ow. Ow. Ow.

I regretfully admit that I need some kendo classes...

And some of the day left me feeling more like this instead. Like, the parts about the Sinister Prophecy pommel and the speaker behind it.
Hrrmph.

So, we've still got a few things to do before the sabers are truly complete. The saga continues.

By the end of the night I was pretty tired, wet from the park's lawn sprinklers (which ninja'd up on us during our fight), and itchy since the bright blades attract a lot of bugs. As it turns out, dueling in the middle of a park also attracts neighborhood kids.

On a parting note, don't mind Stuart. He's just trying to decide what he thinks of his mistresses' new toys.


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ASP reviews - Negotiator and Forgiveness 1 year 2 months ago #62535

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Beautiful designs and thorough reviews, bravo!



I'm a bit amazed you were able to coax the forum to post so many high quality pics. Anytime I try to put up a gallery I'm in for ten minutes of frustration.
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ASP reviews - Negotiator and Forgiveness 1 year 2 months ago #62536

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Yes, FAN-DAZZLE! Excellent review, and photo links are wonderful quality. The sabers look great and I'm sure Stuart won't mind sharing a photo op or two. :)
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ASP reviews - Negotiator and Forgiveness 1 year 2 months ago #62537

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Great reviews ToyKeeper! I like both designs for the sabers and choice of colors. I hope you can get the issues resolved quickly and be :woohoo: ! Customer Service should be able to take care of the speaker issue and maybe send a replacement pommel as that one just looks machined wrong. The covertech knob is for sale on the website under accessories might have to stock up if your going to use them.
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ASP reviews - Negotiator and Forgiveness 1 year 2 months ago #62540

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Wow both of these are sweet! And your pics are awesome! Hopefully CS sorts out the issues you are having.
MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU
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ASP reviews - Negotiator and Forgiveness 1 year 2 months ago #62541

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So I am Toykeeper's partner :) I just wanted to quickly add that the forgiveness blade is mine and some people had cited some issues with hands getting cut up do to the grenading on the handle I used for forgiveness.

The big issue is that its super sharp and people have had to put o-rings or rubber rings around each groove to make it usable. The weathering process seems to have made things a bit better for me so I don't see a reason for this, but it does definitely wear on you if you spend a few hours spinning it and doing tricks (.....surprisingly *not* how I broke my cover-tech XD) I feel like I'll probably just get away with some gloves while using it, but if you don't get it is most assuredly a different story.
Since Disney bought Lucas films does that mean we could have a light saber key blade in Kingdom Hearts, because this needs to happen.
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ASP reviews - Negotiator and Forgiveness 1 year 2 months ago #62542

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Great review, and even better sabers! I may have to "borrow" the Negotiator's design for a companion piece to my Interceptor. :P

Did you guys go with Viridian or Crimson soundfonts? And what sensitivities have you found work best for you? I haven't dueled with my saber yet, but for general spinning I found that I like the swings a bit less sensitive than the clashes.

TCSS has flush 12mm AV switches, though they only have lit ones (and are a bit more expensive). I got a pair on unlit flush black ones on eBay for a couple bucks, and am currently looking into vape shops for some alternate colors (I don't vape/smoke, but apparently mods for the vaping devices use 12mm AV switches as well).

I'm hoping the fact that you, as well as some others who ordered after the public launch, received a surprise free stand (which are $30 by themselves via LazerForge) means the one that was left out of my order is on its way soon (with the rest of my forgotten items). :dry:
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ASP reviews - Negotiator and Forgiveness 1 year 2 months ago #62546

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Negotiator / Crimson
Forgiveness / Viridian
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ASP reviews - Negotiator and Forgiveness 1 year 2 months ago #62551

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Just an amazing and in-depth review! Thank you so much! It's rare we get to see some battle testing, so that was a great addition to the review. I think I'm liking forgiveness in this one. :-) Both are great hilts!


- RGBA+ Monarch, FW Epoch, Juggernaut, Exhalted
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ASP reviews - Negotiator and Forgiveness 1 year 2 months ago #62556

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Fantastic review, and beautiful sabers. B)
Imagine what you will know tomorrow....
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ASP reviews - Negotiator and Forgiveness 1 year 2 months ago #62559

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As =ottomatix= says Forgiven has a Veridian font and Negotiator has a Crimson font. But we are likely going to change sound boards since well one, mine broke and two, Toykeeper and I want more versatile sound boards if we can get the mods to work.

As for sensitivities I have personally found I have to change mine for solo use or dueling use because the accelerometer doesn't have a pressure sensitivity or impact sensor so when you use it solo it might seem fine, but it doesn't react the way it needs to in battle. Anyway, in my personal experience my settings are:

Solo: Light = 2 Sound = low Impact = 4 Motion = 6
Fighting: Light = 3 Sound = high Impact = 6 Motion = 5

I think the reason for this is that solo movements are more broad tricks which are more fluid and the accelorometer has a smooth turn. When fighting though the hilt doesn't turn on its center of gravity as much so it doesn't activate as easily, so both impact and motion have to be set up a bit but impact def. higher. (for me at least).

TK could probably just add hers on her own as it might be different, I didn't ever notice.

Thanks for the tip on the vape switches! That will probably make things easier finding a variety of high quality on demand button choices. we don't vape or smoke either so it never would have occurred to us ^^

We heard about the huge issue with items not coming while shipped and waiting stupid long amounts of times for the products if you were a part of the initial KS so I hope that is resolved as soon as SF said it would be :)
Since Disney bought Lucas films does that mean we could have a light saber key blade in Kingdom Hearts, because this needs to happen.
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ASP reviews - Negotiator and Forgiveness 1 year 2 months ago #62563

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h2soy wrote:
I'm a bit amazed you were able to coax the forum to post so many high quality pics.
It seems to work like many other forums, except that it scales things down to fit the page and doesn't let me use any CSS. So, I just did normal imgs wrapped in hrefs, hosted on my site.

jonnys95s10 wrote:
Customer Service ... covertech ... stock up ...
From what I hear, SF is pretty cool about these things. I guess I'll find out soon. :)

I don't plan on leaving the covertech knobs attached during active use. They're nice, but kind of in the way on shorter hilts. Still, I'll likely grab a couple extras and mostly just use them while in costume.

That reminds me. I haven't tried the saber yet while wearing my monk robe. I should fix that. :)

Venia wrote:
...
Love you, dear. ;P
(actually wasn't expecting to see you here)

Jaden Korr wrote:
... sensitivities ... AV switches ... stand, forgotten items ...
I'm still working out the best settings. TBH, I tend not to notice the sounds as much while dueling, so it's hard to tell when it's calibrated correctly.

AV switches are a bit new for me, so thanks for the tips on finding them. :)

I hope your missing parts will arrive soon!

HotRod wrote:
It's rare we get to see some battle testing
Really? People buy battle-class sabers and don't use them? What kind of crazy talk is that? :)

The blades definitely have a lot of little scuff marks now, but I can only see them if I carefully reflect light off the blade while it's off. It doesn't appear that the blades will be needing replacement any time soon.

...

Anyway, I hope to have time soon for upgrades and other finishing touches. And, um, learning how to actually use a sword...
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ASP reviews - Negotiator and Forgiveness 1 year 2 months ago #62608

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Venia wrote:
Toykeeper and I want more versatile sound boards if we can get the mods to work.
If you plan on keeping your SF quad LEDs, the NEC brand of boards will work the best with them. If you haven't already, check out forum member Kouri's informative DIY soundboard breakdown thread.
Thanks for the tip on the vape switches! That will probably make things easier finding a variety of high quality on demand button choices. we don't vape or smoke either so it never would have occurred to us ^^

I'm about to order some from a website called dripp3d.com ($2 shipping is cheaper than driving all over town), and I'll report back on if they work. I had to check the specs carefully, since some are listed at 12mm but also have a 16mm face (SF's switch holes can accept 12mm switches with 14mm faces).
ToyKeeper wrote:
AV switches are a bit new to me, so thanks for the tips on finding them.

No problem. AV switches are the most commonly used switches for sabers, but tiny tactile switches like this one will do the job just as well. For scale, that's a nut for 3/16" threaded rods next to it.

The blades definitely have a lot of little scuff marks now, but I can only see them if I carefully reflect light off the blade while it's off. It doesn't appear that the blades will be needing replacement any time soon.

I've heard of people using something like a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to get the scuffs off before, should they become too numerous and noticeable.
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the wait begins again 1 year 2 months ago #62652

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Okay, CS contacted. I'm not expecting a reply for a few days since it sounds like the company is very busy lately. Meanwhile, I can try to figure out the details for recharge ports.

About switches, I'm more accustomed to the little tactile e-switches like Jaden Korr showed. Only needs enough material to close or open a circuit, and push the button back up after being pressed. They're nice in flashlights. For example:


(that's a 4x18650 "soda can" style light which puts out a relatively moderate ~3000 lumens... or probably more since I upgraded it again last week with a BLF-Q8/Narsil driver)

On a related note, I find it highly amusing that flashlight drivers are named after famous swords like Narsil, and light saber drivers are named after, um, toast. :)
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the wait begins again 1 year 2 months ago #62665

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ToyKeeper wrote:
Meanwhile, I can try to figure out the details for recharge ports.
If you'd like to use the ones SF uses, here's a LINK to an eBay listing for them. Works with a 2.1mm jack, and the housing is 12mm and fits right in the second switch hole of their sabers. I was initially skeptical of them based on their price and place of origin, but since SF, resident electronics guru Kouri, and the great Shameem vouched for them I grabbed a set. I haven't hooked anything up to them yet, but they do fit great in my hilt. Forum member Jeff Vader recently added one to his ASP electronics kit.

The other commonly used recharge port in sabers is the 2.1mm SwitchCraft branded one from TCSS, though you'd have to make a new smaller hole for it or keep it inside the hilt.
On a related note, I find it highly amusing that flashlight drivers are named after famous swords like Narsil, and light saber drivers are named after, um, toast. :)

Nano Biscotti, Pico Crumble... Erv Plector must be hungry whenever he names his boards. :whistle:

And funnily enough, TCSS sells parts to turn flashlights like Maglites into lightsabers.
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ASP reviews - Negotiator and Forgiveness 1 year 2 months ago #62979

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SF responded and offered to repair/replace any damaged parts. They offered to send a pre-paid shipping label for a medium flat-rate USPS box, using a code which expires 24 hours after being sent. So, that's helpful. Can get the speaker fixed/replaced, at least.

More generally, I'm still trying to figure out all the details for upgrades and possibly a second saber for me. I've been out practicing every day so far and I find I really like two one-handed sabers more than one two-handed saber. Plus, mine is short enough that it's hard to use two-handed.

Definite upgrades:
Recharge ports. Already ordered ports recommended by Jaden Korr, still need to order kill keys, adapters from TCSS, and make a dummy cell to connect it to my existing li-ion chargers. Haven't figured out yet exactly where to wire it in since all the interesting parts of the stock electronics are covered in liquid electrical tape. Is there a way to remove that black goop without damaging the parts underneath?

Swap in a better switch since mine sticks out too far and activates too easily. Vaping switches could work, or a 12mm AV switch from TCSS. Doesn't really need to be lighted.

Potential upgrades:
Maybe find a tube of some sort to use as a spacer between pommel and speaker (on the longer hilt), to help protect the speaker, eliminate sliding, and improve resonance.

Maybe get some Venom V1 claws if they're available, since they're significantly sturdier.

Maybe swap in a NBv3 board so I can change sound fonts. Only supports two fonts though, so I assume one would be my custom font and one would be dedicated to "mute". Unless I can figure out where to put a physical kill switch for the speakers, but there really isn't a good place for it. The main downside here is it gets rid of the onboard config options like adjusting sensitivity.

Maybe rebuild one or both with a Spark2R2 or SparkColor2R2 board. Needs another hole for a second switch though (or a second switch section), and it looks like the install is a bit of a pain (especially in a short hilt). Would likely need all new parts including a chassis.

I looked at more Plecter boards too, but they seem more complex and less appealing.

Possible additional saber:
Gladius, weathered, Hero level. It's both pretty and practical. Maybe even shattered, if it's not too much extra.

Unsure whether I'd do the install myself or ask SF to do it. Probably depends on whether I'm doing any fancy upgrades on other sabers (if I'm doing one I may as well do more than one). And whether SF offers the R2 firmware, because it has an option to make color changes harder to do by accident (must have the aux button pressed while rotating the hilt).

Also not sure where the third hole goes in that model. All the pictures show two holes, not three, so possibly no aux switch. Could be an issue.

To get multiple colors I'd most likely do a 2x royal blue 2x red emitter setup and add a photon blade. This provides options for 6W red, 6W blue, 12W purple, and 6W radioactive green.

Anyway, plenty to do and several things to decide. I consider the modifications and planning and chatting to be part of the value of the sabers -- not just a toy, but also a hobby. :)
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ASP reviews - Negotiator and Forgiveness 1 year 2 months ago #62982

  • Jaden Korr
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Happy to hear everything got sorted out with the bad speaker.

The tube for between the speaker and pommel is an interesting idea, and one that could work well. Usually c-clip/snap rings (like what SF uses in their regular installs) are used to keep speakers in place, but they are a real pain to deal with and use (since you either need a special tool or a modified pair of needle nose pliers to get them in place).
In installs where the speaker is free/not attached/enclosed in anything (like in the so called "Shameem Method", which isn't so different from SF's installs), I've seen people put a bit of the soft side Velcro or craft foam between the battery and the back of the speaker.

I know the Spark 2 has a single switch operating mode where all the features are still available, though the SC2 and Igniter boards do require two switches. And if SF's stock of SC2's don't have the most up to date firmware, the files can be downloaded from NEC's website. Though I imagine they are, as SF has a pretty good relationship with NEC (they've even swung by to answer questions from time to time).

And you can't go wrong with a Gladius, especially with a 32" blade. As for where the extra hole goes, SF puts them on the opposite side of the body and puts the recharge port there (the Gladius got new pictures recently, and they must have used the same hilts for all the tier pictures). I myself have thought about getting a grey weathered one with a bronze stingray wrap in the future.
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