View Full Version : Step 1 - Decide on electronics design

02-16-2007, 12:32 PM
In an attempt to help answer some questions regarding what type of sabers are available here and how they differ from each other, we've compiled this overview. If you find this overview does not answer your questions, please do not hesitate to PM me or email sales@thecustomsabershop.com

Every lighted saber is made up of two main parts, The blade and the hilt. Except for the FX sabers we sell, the blades are made to separate from the hilt for storage, transportation and general convenience.

Master Replica/Hasbro FX sabers (LED strip in the blade)


The Master Replicas FX Sabers come to us pre-assembled and have fixed blades.They utilize 64 LEDs inside the hollow polycarbonate blade to light it up. An internal microprocessor causes the LEDs at the base of the blade to light up first, followed by the section of LEDs directly above them, and so on. This gives the impression of the light "growing" out from the hilt rather than just coming on all at once. Turning the saber off reverses this process, giving the impression of the blade's glow "retracting".
The advantages of this system are a very defined blade extension and retraction as well as having an excellent sound module. The FX sabers utilize sound modules that have the sabers make noise when you turn them on, move them around, hit things or turn them off. These sounds are taken directly from the movies. These are licensed replicas.
The disadvantage to FX sabers lay in the fact that having all those LEDs inside the blade makes it quite prone to having an LED's connection come loose if the saber's blade hits anything, such as when engaging in mock duels. The other disadvantage is the blade is not removable and is made of a thinner material than either of the other two types of blades we offer.
What people often do is take an FX saber and convert it to use an LED type blade while retaining the original sound module. This gives you the durability of the Luxeon blade and the superior sound of the FX system. We sell CNC machined conversion systems as well as offer a conversion service for this if you are interested.

Click here to learn more about MR sabers and converting them (http://forums.thecustomsabershop.com/showthread.php?t=2026)

As far as custom sabers go, there are two types technology we offer to light the blade. These two lighting methods are EL and LED. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. The following briefly describes the two in order to help you decide which may be right for you..

Electro luminescence aka EL (Wire in the blade) - BEING PHASED OUT


EL is a wire that glows when a current is applied. The color is determined by the color of wire inside the blade. You have probably encountered it before as perhaps the back light of a watch. EL saber blades use up to 17 feet of wire inside a 3/4" Polycarbonate blade. The wire itself is disguised by a diffuser of HD polyethylene tubing. This opaque tubing conceals the wire yet allows light to filter through. EL's advantages are it's even color and ease of color changing. All it takes is switching a blade to change the color. Some colors however are fairly dull compared to others. EL sabers generally do not have as long of a "run time" as LED sabers do. EL's brightness is affected by the voltage and the inverters sold here can be safely run at 9-18V. EL blades are 3/4" in diameter.

Click here to learn more about EL sabers (http://forums.thecustomsabershop.com/showthread.php?t=2024)

Light Emitting Diodes aka LED (LED in the hilt)


We use Luxeon brand LEDs. They are extremely bright versions of the LEDs you may have seen in small key chain flashlights. In fact, LED sabers are basically really powerful flashlights. The color is determined by the LED in the hilt. A Polycarbonate blade is used to contain the light. A diffuser and optics are also used to direct the light up the tube. LEDs are much brighter than the brightest EL. The downside is that the color is not even (the light will fade more towards the end of the blade and tends to flare at the base). Changing colors is not as easy but there are two options: The Modular Hilt System using a quick change kit, and colored discs. The quick changes' disadvantage is that is requires unscrewing the blade holder and unplugging the LED. The color discs work by using a white LED. Changing colors is achieved by removing the blade and placing the filter over the LED and optics. The disadvantage is that a filtered LED will always be less bright than the pure LED of that color. LED blades are 1" in diameter.

Click here to learn more about LED sabers (http://forums.thecustomsabershop.com/showthread.php?t=2025)