WARP NACELLES

 This page is part of my Model Remodel series of articles.

DISCLAIMER: If you choose to attempt any of these modifications, you assume all risks thereof. I just wanted to share my experiences here. Neither Eaglemoss, nor myself, are responsible for any damages that may occur.


Re-Lighting the Warp Nacelles

The stock lighting source for our Eaglemoss Enterprise D Warp Nacelles is a small circuit board with a single red LED for the Bussard Collector, six blue SMD LEDs (plus a rear 3mm flat top LED) for the Warp Grilles, and two white LEDs on a flasher circuit for the rear Formation Lights. Not only does this kind of design produce uneven lighting, I did not find it to be very bright. And, they intended for each nacelle to be powered by their own pair of CR2032 button-cell batteries. I decided to replace all of this with something new.

NOTE: At the time I did these modifications (after Stage 58), I only had the port-side Warp Nacelle to work with. However, the starboard nacelle will be modified in the same exact way.


Disassembly

First, we need to tear down our Warp Nacelle assembly. The only parts I left attached were the rounded metal nose pieces and the two side Warp Grilles:

The stock Nacelle Light Strip PCB (Part 46G) will no longer be used, so I put it in storage. Maybe I can use it for something else:

Finally, on the Nacelle Lower (56I), I unscrewed the Power Switch and cut its wires off at the Battery Box (55F). As I will be powering these nacelles from the main ship, we no longer need this switch (and we don’t have to see it sticking out of the nacelle anymore):

Improving Light Emission

The insides of the Warp Nacelle are painted in the same hull grey as the exterior, which is not very reflective. To help maximize our the light output of our Warp Grilles, I cut pieces of Aluminum Tape and stuck them to the inside of the Nacelle Upper (02D) as shown:

For the Nacelle Lower, multiple pieces of the same Aluminum Tape were used to cover the inside as shown. We even added small pieces to the top of the two Lock Brackets (57C & 58B):

It is important that this tape seals up the hole where the Power Switch used to be. Otherwise, our Warp Grille lighting would leak out:

Creating the Upper Beacon Light

Since we removed the stock PCB (and I want all of my Beacon Lights to look the same), I needed to create new ones. Ultimately, two of these assemblies are required for each nacelle, but only one is needed right now. First, I put a drop of UV Resin inside the open end of a Formation Light (02I).

NOTE: I removed the blue paint from this first Formation Light and sanded the tip back in Stage 2. I have not received the second Formation Light yet, but Eaglemoss did send the red ‘replacement’ part 45L with Stage 45, so I just cleared and sanded that one to use it now:

Using another pre-wired warm white 0402 micro LED fitted with another inline ¼ Watt 470 Ohm resistor and colored with my yellow Sharpie, I lowered the LED into the resin pool inside the Formation Light so the bulb was facing the tip. Then, I hit it with UV light to cure the resin:

I gave this LED a quick test by hooking it up to 5 VDC power – looking good so far:

Next, I fed the wires of this LED assembly down through the round black bracket at the rear of the Nacelle Upper Frame (02H).

You may want to wrap the sides and bottom of the clear part of this Formation Light with black electrical tape to prevent light leaking into the nacelle:

Then, I fit the Formation Light back into its proper location at the rear of the Nacelle Upper

… before fitting the Nacelle Upper Frame back into the Nacelle Upper:

Before securing the Nacelle Upper Frame into place, I used a small piece of Aluminum Tape to hold these LED wires in place. This was just to keep things tidy as the micro LED wires are tiny:

Upgrading the Bussard Collector

There are many shots in the television show where it looks like gases are moving around inside the Bussard Collectors. I wanted to simulate this effect, so I decided to use three (3) LEDs inside my collectors. Using a small drill bit, I began by drilling two holes on either side of the existing hole in the back of the smallest Bussard Collector Reflector 3 (53K).

NOTE: The tool you see here is a WowStick Mini Cordless Drill. It was my first time using it and it did a fantastic job!

These two new holes were then enlarged to 3 mm with my Pin Vise Hand Drill:

The black Bussard Collector Reflector Cover (54G) also needs matching holes drilled into it:

Each one of these three LEDs needs to have a ¼ Watt 150 Ohm resistor attached to them. On my model, I soldered the resistors to the longer anode (positive) leads of each LED. I like to bend leads back on themselves and solder the joint:

I then cut off any excess wires around the joint:

Once the three LEDs had their resistors attached, I fit the LEDs into their respective holes of Bussard Collector Reflector 3 to align them and then gently bent and soldered all of the shorter cathode (negative) leads together. The steady LED was placed in the center:

To connect these nacelles to the main ship, I bought a 100ft spool of 26 AWG RGB Ribbon Cable. This type of cable is typically used to extend RGB LED Strips. We cut off a 3 foot length which should give us plenty of slack to work with later on. The four wires of this cable will be used to power my nacelle lighting as follows:

  • BLUE – Warp Grilles
  • RED – Bussard Collectors
  • GREEN – Formation Lights
  • BLACK – Ground

UPDATE April 29, 2022: After some further testing, I needed to change how these wires will be used. This is because the MOSFETs that will handle the higher currents are N-channel and switch off/on at the negative side of the circuit. Therefore, I updated this page with new information. For the RGB Ribbon Cable, these wires will be repurposed as:

  • BLUE – Warp Grilles (Ground – )
  • RED – Bussard Collectors (Ground -)
  • GREEN – Formation Lights (Ground -)
  • BLACK – 5 VDC Supply (Positive +)

I covered each LED positive lead/resistor with heat-shrink tubing and then soldered them all to the red wire of the RGB Ribbon Cable:

UPDATE April 29, 2022: The positive (anode) leads of these LEDs should be soldered to the black wire of the RGB Ribbon Cable.

Here is a closeup of how these LEDs are arranged:

Finally, we soldered a short length of black wire to the central ground of all three LEDs and sealed heat-shrink tubing around it:

UPDATE April 29, 2022: The negative (cathode) leads of these LEDs should be soldered to the red wire of the RGB Ribbon Cable.

Applying 5 VDC to these wires shows how the center LED stays lit all the time (so our Bussard Collector never goes fully dark when turned on):

The two outer breathing LEDs slowly fade on and off by themselves without any additional electronics. And, the longer they are on, the more out-of-sync they become. A simple solution with a cool effect!

Adding a LED Strip for the Warp Grilles

I did some online searching and found a really nice 1 Meter 5VDC Blue LED Strip Light. This strip has the LEDs very close together and they are mounted under a flexible silicone diffuser. The strip is marked every ~5 cm for cutting and I cut a 40 cm length to use here. Then, we soldered the blue wire of the RGB Ribbon Cable to the 5V end terminal and a short length of black wire to the GND end terminal.

UPDATE April 29, 2022: I will be reversing these connections so the 5V connection of the LED Strip should be connected to the black wire of the RGB Ribbon Cable. And, the GND connection of the LED Strip should be connected to the blue wire of the RGB Ribbon Cable.

We tried different ways of securing this LED strip to the inside of the Nacelle Upper Frame, from hot glue to super glue. However, the silicone on the strip does not stick to many things. Therefore, we simply used pieces of clear packing tape to secure it into place, as shown:

It is important to keep the LED strip clear of the mounting posts around the inside of the frame. The space between the LED strip can be used for the wiring as having things there will not disrupt the light output:

With this LED strip mounted, we can give it 5 VDC to test it. Note how I did not put any of the five reflector pieces back into the nacelle. The design of this particular LED strip puts out a nice even glow, so the reflectors are no longer required:

Reassembly

Once the Bussard Collector was reassembled and fitted back into the Nacelle Upper, I cut two small pieces of electrical tape to seal off the rear corners. This was because a small amount of blue Warp Grille light can leak forward through the frosted collector:

The wiring of the second Beacon Light assembly we created can now be routed through the Nacelle Lower Frame assembly (51D), as shown.

You may want to wrap the sides and bottom of the clear part of this Formation Light with black electrical tape to prevent light leaking into the nacelle:

With this lower Formation Light in place, we finished up the wiring as follows:

  • The two red positive wires of the Formation Lights were soldered to the GREEN wire of the RGB Ribbon Cable
  • All of the negative GROUND wires were soldered to the BLACK wire of the RGB Ribbon Cable
  • The RED and BLUE wires of the RGB Ribbon Cable were already soldered to the Bussard Collector and Warp Grille lights, respectively

UPDATE April 29, 2022: As I have mentioned, because my MOSFETs switch on the negative side of the circuit, these need to be soldered a bit differently:

  • The two blue negative wires of the Formation Lights were soldered to the GREEN wire of the RGB Ribbon Cable
  • All of the positive wires were soldered to the BLACK wire of the RGB Ribbon Cable
  • The RED and BLUE negative wires of the RGB Ribbon Cable were already soldered to the Bussard Collector and Warp Grille lights, respectively

We used a few pieces of white electrical tape to tidy up the wiring and ensure the RGB Ribbon Cable come out at the center of the nacelle.

Here are a few closeups of the connections:

Before fitting the Nacelle Lower Frame into the nacelle, we fed the free end of the RGB Ribbon Cable through this center slot of it.

NOTE: As we do not know how this cable will be routed into the ship until my nacelle pylon supports arrive, this cable may need to be rerouted later.

With the Nacelle Lower Frame secured, we used a Glue Dot to keep the lower Formation Light in place. Because these wires are very thin, we wanted to make sure they would not get pinched or damaged as we closed up the nacelle:

A quick power test was performed to make sure everything was working before we attached the Nacelle Lower. All good!

When we brought the Nacelle Lower to the nacelle assembly, the RGB Ribbon Cable needed to be routed through the long slot in it:

As we moved the Nacelle Lower into place, we noticed two small light leaks at the forward side joints. These were fixed with small pieces of tape on each side:

With those minor light leaks fixed, our new Warp Nacelle is now complete! The same process can be completed on the second nacelle.

Next Section


FIRST LIGHT TESTBringing these parts to life for the first time

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