Ok, lets start with the box. A few photo's for anyone who's
interested, the deranged escaped mental patient still has their job at WowWee
and is still designing fiendishly difficult packages designed to make grown
Flipping the RoboReptile upside down, the fist thing to catch my attention is
the sheer number of screws that hold the bottom of his feet on. The feet are
mostly hollow inside, I wonder if originally something was going to be inside
here. It could just be that many screws are required to hold the "toes" on and
keep the feet secured to box during transport (the are screwed into a plastic
mount in box).
The first panel off is the back panel. The only touch sensor the RoboRaptor
has is on its back, it also has the wowwee logo on it which is a new touch.
The internal circuitry and mechanisms are relatively tightly packed inside
the body. The mechanism for bending the neck left and right is immediately
visible behind the neck joint. Not so clearly visibly slightly below and behind
is the mechnism for opening the mouth along with an encoder for detecting
the position of the mouth. I also removed his stubly little arms.
Next step is to get into the head, in order to do that, we have to disasemble
the neck segment by segment. First we have to remove the neck from the body,
removing the mechanism for turning reveals an encoder underneath for determining
the left-right orientation of the neck. The neck is interesting, in the RoboRaptor,
the neck is based around three solid shafts, with lose floating segments on
the outside. The RoboReptiles neck is based around a long spring, with tightly
spaced segments attached to it. The RoboReptiles neck is more flexible, but
limited to moving side to side, the RoboRaptor can move its head up and down
as well as left to right.
After the neck is dismantled, the segment behind the jaw is removed. This is
somewhat difficult as it has hooks that hold the two plugs on either side of
the head behind the jaw. These plugs hold the hinge pin for the jaw. Once the
hooks are removed, these just pop out along with the pin. Now comes the tricky
part, in order to get inside the skull, the inside of the mouth must be removed,
however the rubber is glued in place over the screw that holds it in. Once its
is removed the sensors become visible. Starting from the back and working forward,
we have a pair of mic's, a pair of IR receivers and a pair of IR transmitters.
Now if you look between the IR receivers you will see what looks like an LED,
its not. I'm not entirely certain what it is, I think it might be a light dependant
Now with the head and tail removed (there is nothing of interest inside the
tail, its just there to look good), lets have a closer look at the body. The
speaker is behind where the neck joins to the body. Looking at closely at the
main board you may notice two things, one, no annoying hot glue on all the plugs
and two, most of the plugs are unhelpfully not colour coded. So if you do get
a RoboRaptor and decided to pull it apart, pay close attention to which plug
comes from which socket. Whats that little black thing hiding between the wires
I hear you ask? thats a tilt sensor, don't get your hopes up though, it doesn't
detect if he's upside down, just if he's standing or sitting.
Next is removing the bottom peice of the torso shell, say hello to the two floating
circuits. Yep, those are our mystery circuits. They are H-Bridges for the legs,
I'm not entirely certain why these aren't part of the main board. It could have
been a lack of space, or perhaps a late design change (more on this when we
get to the main board). Inside the bottom shell is the battery pack and the
power switch, anyone know if this yellow thing is some weird form factor of
capacitor or something else?
Now lets have a look at the main board. If you look closely you will notice
that there are 4 spaces on the board for addition headers that are not installed.
Looking at the helpful labels on the underside we see that these are connection
points for leg motors (NOT H-Bridges) and more importantly leg sensors. This
suggests there may have been another design for the legs at some point, one
that actually involved some feedback as to the legs position. There is also
an interesting test point that you can't read just bellow and left of the IC,
its marked "Demo".
With the mainboard removed its time to look at the legs. In order to get into
the legs they must first be remove from the body, which requires pretty much
complete disasembly of the frame. Inside the leg is totaly empty, what a surprise.
Well that completes our little tour of the RoboReptile, lets have a look at
the remote. The remote is a new step, rather than having the multiple (and potentially
confusing) markings for the different shift modes, the plastic arround the buttons
is translucent. When illuminated from bellow with LED's it shows the different
button functions and modes (3 modes, one is an animation) of the remote.
Assides from the obvious things like button pads, and LED's for the different
modes, you may notice on the underside of the board in the bottom right corner
is a pair of pads labeled "Test Mode". You may also notice above and slightly
to the right is something, it could be an alignment mark, but its only a single
layer board, which makes unlikely.
And so ends our little tour. I'm going to be having some fun over the next few
weeks seeing if I can pry anything else out of my new little toy.