Adapt a Toy - Do it yourself 35 step by step Procedure - Instructions on how to solder and how to disassemble / reassemble Jack Hammering Bob the Builder Toy
Toy adaptation for special needs handicapped children with disabilities. Children who work with occupational therapists, and speech therapists need these switch activated toys. If you need another toy adapted instead of this one, you can send it to me and I will adapt the toy and create a procedure like this one and put it on this web sight. EMAIL: email@example.com
This is an approach that I took to make an adaptive toy out of Jack hammering Bob the Builder tm. It is now being used successfully at a local elementary school here is Olympia WA by special needs children. This toy says 1 of 3 different phrases, then he starts running his jackhammer full tilt- it vibrates and tickles when you touch it. The vibration only lasts for 15 seconds.
Note this approach to adapting Bob the Builder will NOT disable the existing button that is used to trigger it (this is a good thing so you can use it even when you don't have an adaptive switch handy). This method of installing a jack will require you to install a small pair of wires from a PCB (Printed circuit board) to a 1/8" mono jack. Take a look at the grey and red wire in this photo by clicking on this picture →
This may take you two Bob the Builders before you get this right. It is best to work about 1 hour at a time. This is because if you are impatient like me, you begin to get careless. If you get careless you will mess up the toy. Plan on it taking you 3 to 5 sessions to do this project. PATIENCE and careful thinking is the most important part of this project!!!!
Materials needed: Soldering iron, glue gun, scissors or wire cutters, sewing needle and strong thread, an empty egg carton to organize all the screws in the order that you took them off, 1/4" drill bit, a drill, 1/8" mono jack (PN# 274-251 from Radio Shack), 8 inches of wire (size 26AWG stranded, or size 28AWG stranded), wire strippers or strong finger nails, a cheap $10 volt meter, a 1/8" drill bit, a small vice to hold your work while you are soldering it, safety glasses, a well ventilated area, small round file to size the hole for the jack if needs be.
Note: Do this project at your own risk, be careful and safe! By using this procedure you agree to take full responsibility for toy damages or personal injuries. This is what can happen with a hot soldering iron. Click on the soldering induced blister image below to see large version of the blister on the finger.
Below are step by step instructions for adapting the toy Bob the Builder with a 1/8th inch female jack from radio shack. You can click on each picture to see a large view of that picture.
NOW FOR THE SCARY Part. The Jackhammer is glued together. It has to be gently pried apart. The prying DOES break 3 small plastic guide pins but this is OK because the screws are strong enough to where you don't really need the guide pins. See photo Just go around the Jackhammer with your screwdriver gently prying along the edge. If you have a hair drier, you might want to use it to heat upt he the jackhammer first so it comes out easier. DONT LET THE SCREW DRIVER SLIDE OFF AND POKE YOUR HAND!!!! IT HAPPENS!
Next it is necessary to remove the grey rubber button from off of the circuit board located in the jackhammer NOTE!!! be VERY gentle with this button. It will tear easily! Which means you will not be able to operate the Bob the Builder with the button that exists in the toy anymore.
Now take a mechanical pencil and make the lead stick out 1/2" so you can mark the hole in the center of the jack. You can use a small nail also to do this. This mark is very important because it is where you will drill a 1/4" hole. So keep the mark in the very center of the hack hole. If you are off to the side just a little bit the jack will not fit correctly in this small area.
When I tried to fit the jack in, it did not work at first because the small ring that screws onto the jack did not lay flat because some plastic was in the way. So I used my soldering iron to melt away a little bit of the plastic- please look at the photo. DO THIS VERY SLOWLY. A little at a time. This makes really yucky smoke. Do not breath it in. Use a fan on your work area to provide fresh air.
Now it's time to prepare the jack for soldering. It is very important to heat the jack up hot enough so the solder will stick to it successfully. The only problem with this is that it will burn your hands if you try and hold it. So you must use a small nail, or small screwdriver, or a male jack plug to hold it still when you are working on it. See photo
Now comes the tricky part. Soldering the other wire down on the PCB (printed circuit board). You must prepare the area by scratching the green photo resist layer off the trace (see the photo) You can use a small piece of sandpaper or sharp object for this like a small screwdriver. WARNING!!! DO NOT SCRAPE TOO MUCH , you will damage the copper trace that lies just under the green layer of film. BE VERY PATIENT!!!!!!
Now that you have prepared the spot to solder down the 2nd wire, you can get your other wire and solder it down. BUT First, put the two wires through the hole you drilled with the 1/8" drill bit. Just like this photo. NOTE!!! The spot where the grey wire in the picture is connected is VERY delicate!! Do not pull on it. Be very patient and gentle!!!!!!
Next it's time to glue gun the spot where the wires come through the 1/8" hole. NOTE: Only put a little bit and flatten it out with a flat something - (like a flat screwdriver) because if you put too much, it will slide back into the spot where it came from.
Next you can put some hot glue on the jack to make sure the Bob the Builder's Jackhammer does not shake the wires loose after a couple years of heavy use. This is your choice to do . I'm just being cautious.
Next it's time to test the electrical connections. This is a sanity check to make sure everything is working as it should. Put the batteries back int he back of Bob the Builder. NOTE!!: At this point Bob the Builder is LIVE!! If you touch the jack with something that is metal, it might cause him to start jumpin around all over the place. If this happens, just stay calm, and remove one of the batteries out of the back before some of your wires get ripped off of the PCB. Turn on your volt meter to measure a DC voltage under 10Volts. Measure the voltage at the terminals of the phono jack. You should get between 4.0 and 5.0Volts. See the picture: If you short a screw driver across the two wires, it should wake up ol Bob the Builder - but pop out the battery as soon as it happens!
If you don't get the 4.4VDC rating, make sure your volt meter is working by measuring the voltage on each of your batteries. Each on should be 1.5 volts or so. Also, check the orientation of the batteries that you installed to make sure they are positioned correctly. If you can't figure out what is wrong, send me an email with a picture of your wiring, and I will try and help you. EMAIL
Now it's time to re-install the PCB. There is one problem here. Do you remember where you drilled the hole with the 1/8" drill bit? Well if you put too much hot glue there, you will have a tough time sliding the PCB back in. So BEWARE!
Remember that 3 of the glued posts got broken when you pried this apart. It's best to remove them if they are not going to slide nicely back into the respective holes. MAKE SURE your red button is back in place.
Bob the Builder is a trademark of Playskool Toy Corporation.