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Spy Gadget

by Kelly A. McCauley on September 05, 2013

Jory is into spies. Not real ones. The superhero kind. So I concocted a secret plan to create a spy gadget for him.

The plan was simple. Or at least I hoped that it was simple. It all hinged on how easy it would be to round up the bad guys and save Mrs. LED. I hit my information sources up for any words they had about my intended targets. One informant came through. He said I should look in the project room. I assumed that he meant that my targets were hiding out in there. I spent the morning gathering and checking my spy equipment. When I was satisfied with my setup, I sneaked into my project room, slunk through the mess that lives within, and searched for my targets.

I stumbled upon the first three marks. All of us paused dramatically; each waiting for the other to act first. They bolted and I dove after them. Parts crashed in front of me as they tried to thwart my intent to capture them. Wires and shelves hampered my movements as I pursued them along their erratic course through the bad side of the project room. Finally, I cornered them in the back of a parts drawer. The cowards gave up at once and I bagged and tagged all three.

Mr. 9 Volty, his side kick Connector Boy, and the notorious hit man, Slide Switch.

My next target escaped from the room while I was interrogating 9 Volty. I caught a glimpse of the cylindrical, semi-transparent fiend as he slipped out through the door. The very same door I thought I had shut on the way in. I pursued but lost him. I continued searching. The search continued all of the way to the other side of the house and it ended when I spotted him trying to unlock a side window. I pointed my heat gun in his direction and in my best Matt Damon playing Jason Bourne impression, I called out, “You move, you die Mr. Container!”

He froze. Being melted was a bad way to die.

Mr. Container.

I hauled his sorry butt back to the project room and threw him hard upon the table. I grilled him hard on where I could find the nice and kind Mrs. LED. Mr. Container didn’t budge. I turned to brutally harsh measures and yet he never cracked under my constant pressure. No help there. I was on my own. I secured Mr. Container and turned on my miniature long range DC volt meter, hidden in my wrist watch. I began a careful scan the room, longing to see any signs of Mrs. LED.

While I panned the volt meter back and forth across the piles of debris, Mr. Container chuckled at me and said, “You’ll never find her that way, Bub.”

I changed tactics. I pulled out my electromagnetic visible spectrum emitter, pointed it at Mr. Container, and shouted at the top of my lungs, “Where is she!”

He stared into my eyes and just smiled that mocking smile of his. I knew the shouting wouldn’t work. It doesn’t work on Jory, so why should it work on a villain such as Mr. Container. Frustrated, I turned the emitter towards the piles of junk and continued my search for Mrs. LED.

Eventually I spotted her. She was laying limp under a pile of detritus from an old DVD drive.

Mrs. LED

The poor thing was dead. No, murdered. Her wire leads had been severed. Who murdered Mrs. LED? I turned to face Mr. Container. He tipped his cap at me and laughed a murderous laugh. Out of anger, I decapitated him right then and there.

Mr. Container didn't stand a chance.

Something had snapped in me.


I’m not sure I can keep going at that level of silliness so I’m going to switch back to normal person mode:

Mrs. LED–er–the LED is a three color oscillating LED scavenged from a solar Christmas ornament. After some testing it appears to be able to handled the full 8 volts from the 9 Volt battery. The LED gets a little warm and not hot enough for me to be concerned.

I dropped the 9 volt battery into the container and put the cap on. I then marked out the holes in the cap where the ends of the battery and the connector will connect. Next I traced an outline where I was going to place the switch and then proceeded to cut out the holes which seemed to capture the look on Mr Container’s face in his final moments. I also needed a place to run the battery connector wires back into the container, so I cut a little slot next to the “mouth”.

The cap with the holes cut out for the 9 volt battery, the switch, and the battery connector wires.

The next step was to dry fit the parts into the cap.

The cap with the parts dry fitted.

So far, so good. Now it was time to solder everything together. Ugh. I dislike soldering. My hands now shake enough to make any soldering difficult, let alone producing clean solders. I eventually got the parts soldered together. The battery connector’s black wire is connected to the common terminal on the switch. The LED’s black wire (which is actually black) is connected to the A terminal on the switch. The LED’s “red” wire (which is actually black) is connected to the battery connector’s red wire.

The battery connector, switch, and LED soldered together.

To separate the battery housing from the wires, I needed to add a divider to the inside of the container. I Grabbed an old plastic apple sauce container that I was using to hold loose screws and cut the side out of it.

Sliced up apple sauce container.

I whittled the curved bit down to where it would fit inside of the cylinder container.

The battery seated next to the divider.

Next I secured the slider switch.

Screwing on the slider switch.

Then I shoved all of dangle-y parts into the container.

The LED and wires went in first.
Then the battery.
Aligning everything up.

And finally, snap the cap the rest of the way on.

Behold, the oscillating spy beacon fully assembled!
The oscillating spy beacon test.

Since 9 Volt batteries and six (almost seven) year olds don’t always mix, Jory will only be allowed to play with it while either my wife (now ex-wife) or I are around to supervise.

See the spy beacon in action.

Creative Commons License
Spy Gadget article by Kelly A. McCauley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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