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D.I.Y. Electronic Dice

Adapting for switch use

If you're an absolute beginner, we strongly recommend that you follow "The Basic Soldering Guide" - by Alan Winstanley.

SAFETY: Adapting equipment voids the manufacturer's guarantee, and the attempt may cause irreparable damage. Always use adapted equipment under supervision, and disconnect any batteries when not in use. These adaptations are at your own risk. Good luck!

You may be able to obtain LARGE Palco 'Electro Dice' directly from Palco Marketing, or search Google for other stockists. Tormont made a nice, easy to adapt, electronic dice for their giant Marvel and Disney board games, sometimes found at boot sales and on eBay. If all else fails, stores such as Maplin Electronics, sell Electronic Dice kits, although these don't always have sound, and require more skill and time to build.

You can daisy-chain these dice using a 3.5mm full stereo 2-into-1 adapter (such as Maplin's FP34M) and a 3.5mm jack to jack lead (mono or stereo will work fine).

You can use the following steps to adapt most low voltage devices that operate from a push button switch. Just make sure that there's room in the casing to fit the socket. If not, you could try bringing a lead out of the casing.

Buy pre-adapted: You can buy ready to go adapted Electronic Dice from the OneSwitch shop.

1. What you will need

1. What you will need.
  • Electronic Die; 3.5mm mono headphone socket; thin wire (e.g 7strand 0.2mm).
  • Soldering iron (15 to 30 Watt power); thin solder; soldering flux; desoldering braid.
  • Cordless drill with drill bit 6 (1/4"); knife or wire strippers; small screwdriver set.

2. Drill a hole

2. Drill a hole.

Locate the position of the internal spring switch (see cut-a-way image). Make a small pilot hole, using a soldering iron or sharp point, centrally beneath it at the casing join.

Holding the casing tightly together, drill a 1/4" hole as pictured, being careful to stop as soon as you're through.

3. Batteries

3. Batteries.

Open up the die, by unscrewing the 2 outer and 2 inner screws. The clear viewing plastic only fits one way, so avoid taking this out.

Take a note of which way the batteries are fitted, e.g. by marking the casing as pictured, then remove them. This will help protect the device whilst you work on it.

4. Remove the spring

4. Remove the spring.

Cut or saw off the spring switch. The die will no longer activate when you tap or roll it, as it was originally designed to.

5. Wire up the socket.

As not all sockets are connected alike, you will need to find which 2 of the 3 contacts you need to solder to.

Attach a test lamp or multimeter to any 2 contacts. Plug in your switch, then press it. If the lamp comes on when pressed you have the right connections, otherwise try a different combination. There's only 3 possibilities.

Solder two 5cm lengths of wire to the socket. Expose the ends, tinning them if you wish.

6. Find the 2 connections

6. Find the 2 connections.

The circled solder connections are the underside of the spring switch, and the points to which you need to connect the 3.5mm switch socket.

If you have the batteries connected, then touch these two points together with a short piece of wire. If you trigger a roll of the die, you've found the right places.

7. Solder socket

7. Solder the socket.

Carefully solder the socket to the spring switch connections, aiming to have nothing jutting out from the board.

Blow on the board to cool it down as soon as the solder flows. Too much heat could damage the workings of the die.

8. Reassemble

8. Reassemble.

Put the batteries back in, and test the die. If all seems OK, put it all back togther being careful, when tightning up the socket, not to twist the wires too much.

9. Full Test

9. Full Test.

Test the die with a switch several times, then leave it alone for a few minutes. If it activates by it's self repeatedly, there's probably a short circuit. Pull it apart again, and examine the accuracy of your soldering carefully, especially on the socket.

Don't worry if the die rolls occasionally when you touch the socket. This is due to a build up of static electricity, and is fairly normal, providing it stops when you remove your touch.

Text and images PUBLIC DOMAIN 2003 -
ElectroDice (c) Palco Marketing