Remove Cover & Batteries
Let's start this mod by removing the batteries. There's a screw that secures the battery cover to the handle. Use a screwdriver to remove the screw and take out the 3x AAA batteries.
Remove Screws from Handle
Next, we'll remove the screws from the handle. There's a total of 7 and they're all the same length.
Remove Screws from Blades
The blades are attached to the handle with brackets. Remove the four screws from each blade. Notice they're longer than the ones from the handle. There's a total of 8 screws for the blade brackets.
Remove Screws from Joiners
The two blades are secured together with two joiner brackets. Each has 4 screws. We'll also need to remove these. They're the same size as the ones in the handle.
Remove Brackets from Blades
With all of the screws removed, we can now start taking it apart. Start by separating the brackets from the blades. They're in two halves that "click" together. Carefully pull these part.
Crack Open Handle
Carefully lift the handle off the brackets. Once loose, you should be able to separate the two halves of the handle. And here's all of the electronics!
Take a moment to examine the components and wiring. See the trigger button? Take it apart and reassemble it. Is that the speaker? Follow the wiring and note where it's connected. Do you see any good spots to mount the microcontroller? Where are the batteries connected?
The LED Wiring
Mounted to the handle, are two main PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards). These contain all of the components that drive the LEDs, speaker and audio amplifier. On one of the PCBs are two connectors. These "plugs" are connected to the wiring of the LEDs. Each one is routed to a blade.
Disconnect LED Wiring
We'll be replacing all of the stock LEDs, so we can go ahead and carefully pull out the connectors from the PCB. They're a little tight, so you'll need to apply some force.
Remove LED Wiring
With the connectors removed, carefully remove the wiring from the harness in the handle. There's a few pieces of tape holding them down, remove these to unbundle them.
Inside one of the blades is a tilt switch. When in the "motion activated" mode, this little guy triggers sound effects when the energy sword is swung around. It's mounted to a bracket within the blade. We'll need to remove it from the bracket, but reattach it once we remove the LEDs.
There's a small amount of glue that secures the bracket inside of the blade. We'll need to remove it so we can remove the bracket. Use a hobby knife or similar to scrape off the glue.
Remove Plate from Blade
With the glue removed, you should be able to remove the bracket from inside the blade. Do this slowly and pull it out, little by little. Once the bracket is outside of the blade, pull out the inner plate. This features a mounting bit that contains the LEDs. Tip: You can pull apart the sides of the blade to allow the mounting bracket to come out. It's some strong plastic!
Remove Tilt Switch
The tilt switch is fixed to a standalone PCB which is mounted to the bracket. To remove it, you'll need to clip the two standoffs that hold it in place. Pull it off the standoffs and carefully separate the wiring from the LED wiring.
The LEDs are mounted to a fixture that's secured to the bottom of the clear plate. In order to remove the LEDs, I suggest using a pair of cutters to snip away the standoffs that hold them in place.
Remove LED Bracket from Plate
I found the bottom bracket from the plate prevented the NeoPixel strip from being installed into the blade, so I removed it. The easiest way I was able to do this was by trimming pieces off to free it from the inserts. You might be able to find a more non-destructive away to achieve this. Do not remove the second bracket on the end of the clear plate – This is necessary for aligning and mounting the clear plate back into the blade.
You'll need to repeat this process for the second blade. It should be a little bit easier since only one contains the tilt switch. You'll find most of the disassembly process is the same for the second blade. Oddly, one blade has five LEDs, the other has six. Not sure why.
In the next section, we'll sort out our power distribution and prepair wiring for the NeoPixel LED strips and Trinket micro-controller.