A R2D2 without light and sound doesn't seem to be "alive", and so nearly all R2 builders install various electrics and electronics.


To start with I drilled 3 mm holes in a 3 mm thick polystyrene sheet. This succeeds best if you use 3-mm and 0.5-mm polystyrene strips as gauges. After each hole a 3-mm and a 0.5-mm strip is removed.

When all the holes of a row are drilled, all strips are inserted again, plus a 1.75-mm strip. Now remove one 3-mm strip along the longitudinal side (illustrated in the picture above left) and then drill the next row.

It takes some time to drill all holes.

After all the holes had been drilled and the plates had been cut out, I made silicon moulds in order to be able to build some duplicates without too much effort.

Some R2 builders use LEDs for the logic displays, which are then put directly into the perforated plates. Unfortunately this involves a great deal of soldering work on small areas and doesn't produce the fantastic effects as seen in the films. Therefore I used 3mm plastic mono fibre-optic cable which I shortened to approximately 13 cm. You need approximately 25 -30 meters for each R2-D2.

I warmed up part of the plastic fibre-optic cables and bent it a little. By this method you get a certain "disorder" at the other end, which has a very positive effect on the final product.

Now everything was filled with epoxy resin black dyed.

It doesn't look very spectacular yet.

The first 3 mm were carefully sanded off, thus the original perforated plate was completely sanded away. During sanding I had to make some pauses, otherwise the plastic fibre-optic cables would have been melted by the heat.

The opposite side was bundled as closely as possible and also filled with epoxy resin black dyed.

Behind the Logic displays blue and white 3-mm LEDs were installed, which are controlled by separate electronics.

The surface of the Logic displays feels absolutely flat. Notice that two different plates used, as in the ANH movie.

Unfortunately, the fascinating light display can only be shown in a picture as a snapshot.

The finished installed dome.

Inserted electronics for the front Logic display, as well as the Rear Logic display.

The coiled cable, which was fastened exactly in the middle, provides the necessary current supply for the dome without restriction its mobility.


The electronics can be built up on a simple raster board.

For the technical freaks among you here a short description of the circuit:

The parts shown above left are for the voltage supply, developed with a 5-V tightening automatic controller. To the right is the impulse generator, which is responsible for the adjustable speed of the logic display. All parts to the right of the 4017 provide an automatic RESET impulse when the operating voltage powers up. The CMOS 4017 contains a simple "run light IC". After RESET it runs through once to the end and stops itself.

Now comes the secret of the whole circuit: Some of the outputs of the 4017 are connected to the inputs of the 74164, which is a shift register by using diodes. With each impulse from the impulse generator the shift register and the run light IC continue one step. With each exit, which is provided with a diode, a logical 1 is read in into the shift register and a logical 0, if no diode is set. In the plain language: The 4017 is only used for the first load/programming of the shift register. This means that the loaded data is not “pushed out” again from the shift register, which is switched as continuous loop.

By using an IC socket the setting and removing of the diodes is made problem free. The 1 MicroFarad condensers and 18 Kilo ohms resistors at the output stages cause a short afterglow of the attached LEDs, thus the appearance of the logic display becomes more "sponge like".


For circuit diagram click here!



I soldered the superbright 5-mm LED's (3x red, 2x blue) for the front Psi Flasher together, as shown in the picture.

The LEDs now shine to the rear wall and thus produce no hotspots on the front. The use of bright, unfilled casting resin for the housing didn't work satisfactorily, because the LEDs were so strong that the whole housing, and thus the whole dome inside began to shine. A silicat filled casting resin solved this problem.

The use of two layers of "milky" plastics provided an even illumination of the finished PSIs. For this I used an empty canister, in this case an old resin canister, and cut out two round parts. One part was installed approximately 1 cm into the housing and the second was simply installed on the top.

The use of my circuit permits separate settings of the flash frequency as well as the flashing relationship, namely the illuminated period of the red LEDs in relation to the illuminated period of the blue LEDs. The 5-Volt current supply I simply obtained from my logic display circuit.

For circuit diagram click here!



The typical sound noises can be downloaded on various sites of the R2 Builders Club. The problem was now to get the mp3-files into the R2D2. Various circuits, which are available on the market and cost some 100 Euros, were too expensive for me. I therefore used an audio recording IC called "ISD 2560".

Unfortunately still no circuit diagram drawn.

The sound circuit board plays the next sound that is stored on the chip each time the key on the remote control is pressed. Likewise an impulse generator on the circuit board can be started by remote control, so that every 4-5 seconds the next sound is played automatically.