Lex Petros: Project Phaser: Phase 1

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Project Phaser: Phase 1

Captain's log...

Let me explain what "Phase1" is....but before that, how "Phase 1" got its impetus...

I recently touched based with my old friend, Chow Fook Cheong, a fellow Trekker (amongst others) and blogger (check out his blog "Oh!Penions"). Ever since that bloke got married 5 years ago, we hardly kept in touch. Chow is also an electronic-ian extraordinaire and has undertaken to revamp the electronics in my Starfleet Type II Phaser.

Chow's really got the neck for tinkering around with electronics. Check this link out for a sample of his projects. He's posted a few on YouTube and he goes by the pseudonym ,"Mr. Engineer" (how appropriate).

I've had this cool 'weapon' since I was 18 years old. Remember paying an arm and a leg for it. I've tinkered around with it years ago. I incorporated a switch to power up the power setting bar and I pushed the emitter 'crystal' (clear plastic) back into the pre-fire chamber, making it look more realistic.

Chow showed me a prototype circuitry of a Phaser Rifle (aka Type III Phaser) lighting. When I saw the thing light up, I got very intrique. I noticed that the LED-bar could be wired up to a silicon chip and programmed to run multiple sequence.

So, there it was, the moment when my passion for electronics re-ignited! :)

So, "Phase 1" entails redesigning the electronics to accommodate a programmable chip and an LED-bar. Ideally, the power settings should go up to 16, but the LED-bar has only 10. On the bright side, I wanted to be different. I love what Chow did with the "sweeping" mode on the LED-bar...he programmed the LEDs to flash diametrically opposed to each other after a 1-minute elapse. (To see what that looks like, go watch one of the Star Trek movies. The same light sequence of the main viewscreen on the USS Enterprise's bridge.) A super-bright Luxeon LED will be planted in the emitter chamber, running on 15mAh in substitution for the present 1.5V bulb.

"Phase 1" may also entail incorporating a capacitance swicth beneath the Phaser's grip. When you place your hand on the grip, the whole unit will energize (it's like a touch screen but using dynamics of an electric charge to activate the switch). Although, this is strictly optional for want of space...may not be able to fit all the necessary electronics in the 'weapon'.

Terminology time: If you don't know what a Phaser is, here is an exerp from Wikipedia:

"PHASER is an acronym for PHASed Energy Rectification, though from a physics standpoint even this is of equal semantic content - ordinary incoherent light is not 'rectified', or synchronous, whereas Lasing and Masing emissions are rectified, or synchronous.

Phasers appear as both personal hand-held weapons and as starship-mounted weapons. Hand-held phasers are depicted to have a variety of settings, able to "stun", "kill", "heat", "disrupt", and "dematerialize". Capable of being used as welding torches or cutting tools, they can be set to "overload", whereby they build up a force-chamber explosion internally; the resulting blast will destroy most natural objects within a 50-yard radius. This process is marked by a distinctive sound that increases in volume and intensity until it is deactivated or it detonates. Hand phasers can also be set to fire in "Wide Beam" mode, to strike multiple targets at once. The weapon can also be useful for wilderness survival in cold weather with its ability to create a sustained heat source by shooting at a large piece of solid material like rock."

In a nutshell:-
  • A Phaser is a directed-energy, particle beam weapon with no intermediary energy conversion (such as a laser).
  • A Phaser discharge is achieved via coupling of energy stored in the weapon's power cells with a LiCU251 superconducting crystal, resulting in a narrow (or wide) nadion (artificially generated particles) particle beam.
  • The higher the setting, more nadions are produced and the higher nuclear distruption forces (NDF) as opposed to simple electromagnetic effects (SEM) Distruptive effects increases geometrically with higher settings. (SEM: NDF ratio increases) The effects range from simple disruption in the central nervous system (CNS), causing unconciousness (at lower settings) to massive thermal effects to vaporisation of the subject matter (at higher settings)

Once "Phase 1" is completed, Chow may go to "Phase 2", to incorporate a sound-chip, programmable to store sound effects from the the Phaser a nice "phzzzzz" firing sound. Again, subject to availability of space in the 'weapon'.

Last night, I surrendered my precious merchandise to him. Left it at his mercy now :) The project should take a few months. Our friend is now a family man and I can't expect him to put priority on this project. So, as in traditional naval practices, I wish him, "may the wind be in your back"...

Live long and prosper.

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