Many people have asked how a luxeon conversion works, so we're going to show you (well, for the most part). Below we'll go through a series of steps in the conversion process.
Luxeon Conversion - Step 1
First thinks first, we test out the functionality of the saber and then we have to gutt the saber and strip it down completely. This is a fairly long and somewhat complicated process and it's easy to damage both the saber's finish and the electronics in the process. Our tech used to use individual bins for each saber being worked on to prevent parts from being mixed.
Luxeon conversion - Stripped-down FX lightsaber
Luxeon conversion - original force fx lightsaber LED strand
And here's the main part to be converted. Remember where we showed you the blade disassembled in one of our other FAQ's? This is the LED strand that so many people end up damaging when using their force fx lightsabers. So we're going to get rid of it. Well, most of it at least.
Luxeon conversion - original LED strand
Luxeon conversion - original blade half out
Also, for those who have seen half of the blade go out, this is for you. See that nice silvery area at the half-way point on the blade? It's a solder joint. It's used to connect the two halves of the LED strand together. Occasionally those solder joints break causing the entire upper half of the blade to just go out.
Luxeon conversion - original LED strand - solder point
Luxeon conversion - LED strand connector & clash sensor
And this is all we're going to keep of that LED strand. Here you can see the simple connector that plugs directly into the FX board and the clash sensor. That's right, that little ball-bearing sensor is what takes care of telling the FX board when to make the clash sound. It's normally mounted up in the very base of the blade, but since your blade will be removable, we have to move it into the hilt, taking care to make sure it can still do its job properly.
Luxeon conversion - LED strand connector
Luxeon conversion - Luxeon III-Watt Star LED
And here's the star of our show, the Luxeon III-Watt Star LED (which is now obsolete and the new stars are the Luxeon Rebel Star assemblies). These little bad-boys put out a ton of light that can then be focused by a collimator into a narrow, and extremely bright, beam of light. And these little LEDs come in a wide variety of colors, so you can make your saber just about any color that you want it to be. And talk about an increase in functionality. With one of these installed, you can actually use your lightsaber without having to worry about breaking the LED strand again. Sure, you lose the power up/down functionality of the blade, but you gain full use of your saber in its place.
Luxeon conversion - Luxeon LEDs
Luxeon conversion - Luxeon with collimator
And here we can see the Luxeon LEDs with their collimators. As you can see, we have a couple of different types depending on the saber, blade length, etc...
Luxeon conversion - LEDs and collimators
Luxeon conversion - Luxeon on LED strand connector
Next we connect the LED strand connector to the Luxeon LED and test it. Of course, you shouldn't try this without attaching the collimator as looking directly at the LED can blind you (Luxeon III-Watt LEDs are considered to be class-II lasers). Very bright, in fact, bright enough to dimly light an entire room. Just make sure you don't use the LEDs without proper heatsinks.
Luxeon conversion - Luxeon connected to LED strand connector
Luxeon conversion - post conversion and wrap-up
So we'll save you the tedious details of assembling everything, but below you see an Anakin Skywalker force fx lightsaber and a Luke Skywalker force fx lightsaber, both converted using a standard blue Luxeon LED (again, the it's easy to damage the electronics and/or hilt finish during the re-assembly process). Now the blade is removable but the lightsaber still retains all of the original sounds and functionality other than what was lost by removing the LED strand (the sounds don't change, just how the lights work).
Luxeon conversion - Anakin FX post conversion
Luxeon conversion - Luke IV FX post conversion
Luxeon conversion - blade retention screw
Last but not least, we'll show you what the blade retention screw looks like. Now some places use thumb-screws, they're large, kinda bulky, and can actually hinder your use of your converted lightsaber. So we use a simple, button-head, hex style screw. You'll see on the top the original screw that's in the Anakin lightsaber, and below it you'll see the blade retention screw that we've replaced it with. The scrwe doesn't change the appearance too much and won't get in the way when you're using your lightsaber.
Luxeon conversion - Anakin FX original screw
Luxeon conversion - Anakin FX blade retention screw
Luxeon conversion - Final words
Well, that's about it. Again, we do not recommend doing something like this at home and no, we will not send you any step-by-step instructions on how to do it, please don't email us asking. And while we used to offer these types of services, the electronics in the lightsabers unfortunately became so unreliable that we can no longer offer them.
Happy New Year Everyone!