2. Servo programmer — http://tinyurl.com/j2vfyfo
This super gadget gives you a tremendous amount of
flexibility in the use of digital servos. It permits you the
opportunity to adjust the speed, direction of travel, and end
points of your servo. The large screen is easy to read and
the unit allows you to test and program all Hitec digital
3. Kill-A-Watt electricity usage monitor —
Determining the amount of power your creations are
using is always a concern. There is no longer a need to
wonder when you employ this useful item. Take the
guesswork out of determining the consumption of a
particular prop and keep from overloading your electrical
circuits (Figure 10).
4. Digital multimeter — http://tinyurl.com/gvmavfe
This is one tool that should be in every prop builder’s
toolkit. They come in a wide range of prices, but for most
the added features may not be worth the extra expense.
Even an inexpensive unit will help diagnose a wide variety
of problems. I feel it is such a critical piece of equipment
that I carry one to all my speaking engagements where I
will be demonstrating mechanisms and controllers. I do not
leave home without it (Figure 11).
5. Smartphone camera lenses — http://tinyurl.com/
There are a variety of options available such as the 4-IN-
1 camera lens system for Olloclip. You can quickly choose to
use the fisheye, wide angle, or 10X or 15X macro lens. You
will find many opportunities to use this gift both in your
project construction as well as your “off” time (we do have
other hobbies besides building).
6. X2 battery charger — http://tinyurl.com/zo6mjyp
Providing power to our props can be a challenge, and in
some cases, we do not have access to a wall outlet. In these
circumstances, we are forced to turn to battery power.
Keeping batteries sufficiently charged can be a challenge.
Using a charger such as the X2 can make this process a
breeze. This power-packed twin-channel charger even allows
you to control it via your smartphone (Figure 12).
Let your creative juices flow and take your props to the
next level with a controller upgrade.
1. LED dimmer — http://tinyurl.com/hl2k252
An often overlooked or under-appreciated feature in
our displays is the quality of the lighting we use to focus
attention where we want it. This handy little device allows
you to adjust the intensity of your LED lighting to the
proper levels. The devil is in the details, but this dimmer will
assist you in achieving the perfect light levels (Figure 13).
2. PWM for wiper motor — http://tinyurl.com/h6lghh7
Wiper motors fulfill a very useful role for the prop
builder. They provide an incredible amount of torque for the
cost. They also allow you to select between high and low
speeds. The motor speed can further be adjusted by a
careful choice of the power supply voltages used. Even with
these opportunities to dial in the speed in which the motor
operates, we sometimes need even finer control. That is
SERVO 11.2016 11
Figure 10. Taking the
guesswork out of energy
Figure 12. Put a charge in those batteries. Figure 11. An electronics troubleshooting must-have.