If I have learned one thing about these partworks, it is that they are power hungry! However, while most of them are powered by just three batteries, this 1:8 scale Ghostbusters Ecto-1 needs SIX (6) AAA batteries. That’s more volts and less capacity. If we were going to use the batteries as the power source, we will likely be changing batteries a lot! And, since the car will probably weigh close to 30 pounds when completed, and with the batteries stored under the car in the Battery Box (Fuel Tank), that is going to be a lot of lifting or flipping over a very heavy delicate car to replace them.
An amazing solution that I used on my Back to the Future DeLorean was The Power Mod that easily connects to the model to external power, runs off an AC wall outlet, and completely eliminates the need for batteries forever. Now, a similar solution is available for our Ectomobile!
This, my friends, is the new Ecto1- Power Mod from the great team at Model Modz!
The Ecto-1 Power Mod includes the following:
- 120/240V AC to DC 9V (2A) adapter with a 1.5m cable and interchangeable plugs to suit most global power outlets
- Custom barrel socket pre-connected to a power cable with five (5) outputs, dust cover, and nut
- 3m barrel plug/socket extension cable
- Inline power switch
- Clear plastic stickers to manage the wiring
NOTE: As of this writing, I was only at Stage 54 in the build so these steps are based on that level of completion. If you are farther along, you may have to remove additional parts of your model to access some of these components.
To complete this installation, we will need the following tools:
- Phillip-head screwdriver, size PH0
- A set of drill bits from 1/8″ to 5/16″ (3mm to 8mm)
- Sprue cutters or other sharp cutters
- Needle-nose pliers or similar gripping tool
Removing the Battery Box
Retrieve your Chassis assembly and remove the interior. Then, extract these two (2) EM screws holding the Battery Box switch in place:
Carefully turn the Chassis upside down so we can get to the Battery Box (Fuel Tank). We need to temporarily remove these four (4) BM screws and take out the two Battery Box Brackets:
You should now be able to lift the Battery Box out, disconnecting it from the Fuel Tube, and pull the wiring/switch up through the chassis until it is completely free, like so:
Preparing the Mounting Location
We are going to need to drill a 5/16″ (8mm) hole at this location in the side of the Battery Box (ensure this is the side WITHOUT the D-shaped hole for the Fuel Tube):
Temporarily remove the four (4) IP screws holding the Battery Box together and separate the halves:
If we were just to use the 5/16″ (8mm) drill bit right now, we would likely tear up the plastic of our Battery Box and that would be terrible!
Instead, we need a nice flat area to start a pilot hole. To create this, I took my 5/16″ (8mm) drill bit and laid it across where our hole will be:
Use sprue cutters or other sharp tool to mark this flat ledge on either side of the bit, as shown.
Using sprue cutters or other sharp tool, cut completely through the ledge at the marks.
Then, take needle-nose pliers or similar tool and remove this newly created ‘tab’ from the Battery Box:
Finally, cut out the ledge at an angle on either side of our new gap, as shown. This will provide room for the socket’s edge:
After cleaning up the cuts with a few scrapes of my hobby knife, I brought the two Battery Box halves back together for this picture. We now have a nice flat surface for our power socket:
Drilling the Hole
We need an easy way to start our hole and keep it centered, so I cut a small V shape in the middle of our new gap with my hobby knife:
If I put the Battery Box halves together again, you can see how this pilot hole is going to be a great place to start our drilling:
Now that we are ready to drill, remove these four (4) IP screws and remove the battery holder guts of the Battery Box. We won’t need this battery holder anymore and it can be stored or discarded, your choice:
With the guts of the Battery Box now removed, there is not much keeping the Battery Box Cover in place anymore.
We are going to need to super glue these two tabs on the backside of the cover to keep from falling out:
Starting with a 1/8″ (3mm) drill bit, drive it into the pilot hole, as shown. I started with my pin vise drill:
Move up to the next larger sized drill bit and make the hole a bit larger. As you drill into the plastic, keep the bit centered and hold the halves of the Battery Box tightly together to keep the hole round. Repeat this step over and over, using the next larger drill bit each time, until you drive the 5/16″ (8mm) drill bit through the hole. This takes time and patience:
(Optional) Once I reached a 5/16″ (8mm) sized hole, I cleaned it up with a semi-round file:
Drilling this hole is the toughest part of the Ecto-1 Power Mod install. If you’ve made it here, you are doing great and the rest should be easier!
Installing the Socket
Feed the barrel socket end of the Power Mod through this hole of the Battery Box, as shown:
Next, fit the socket down into this half of our new hole, aligning it exactly as shown:
Then, with your fingers, tighten the hex nut as best you can against the side of the Battery Box. This should hold the socket in place nicely. If you find that you need to tighten the nut even more, you can use a 7/16″ wrench on the nut. However, be careful, as this is a plastic mounting surface and too much force will damage it:
This is how it should all look at this point:
Finally, we can close up the Battery Box halves and secure them together with the four (4) IP screws we removed earlier:
Re-Installing the Battery Box (Fuel Tank)
Retrieve your Chassis assembly and turn it over. Feed all of the Power Mod plugs and wiring from the Battery Box back through this hole:
Flip the Battery Box over, fit it back onto the Battery Box Frame as before, and secure it down with the Battery Box Brackets and the four (4) BM screws we removed earlier. Note the location of our new Power Mod socket:
Completing the Wiring (and the install)
Arrange the Power Mod wiring along the top of your Chassis and collect the clear plastic adhesive dots, as shown. The clear plastic adhesive dots will be used to secure the Power Mod wiring in the correct locations:
Fit the heat-shrinked section at the front end of the Power Mod wiring into this exact location on the driver’s side firewall and secure into place with one of the adhesive dots, as shown:
Run the front Power Mod wiring down along the surface of the Chassis, tucking the wires into the Chassis grooves as needed, and secure it down with the next two (2) adhesive dots, exactly as shown:
Run the rear Power Mod wiring along the Chassis exactly as shown, tucking the wires into the Chassis grooves as needed, and secure it all down with the last three adhesive dots. Any remaining main wiring should be be tucked down through the hole into the Battery Box:
Here you can see the white plug for the main PCB (which we have not seen yet) and the three rear Power Mod plugs:
With that step, the Ecto-1 Power Mod installation is now complete!
I wanted to show where and how the five black Power Mod connectors can be used. In the last photo from the previous step, we can see how the three rear Power Mod plugs can be used on either side of the Chassis. In the photo below, any of the three rear Power Mod plugs can also be fed out from the side of the car:
With the interior pieces we have at this point re-installed, these plugs are readily available for use at this location:
Up front, the two front Power Mod plugs come up neatly behind the Dashboard assembly, like this:
These two plugs are also long enough to reach both sides of the car and can be tucked under the Dashboard as needed to hide them:
Using the Power Mod
With the Power Mod install now complete, this is how simple it is to power up your Ghostbusters Ecto-1. First, connect the power adapter to the inline switch, and connect the inline switch to the extension cable, as shown.
CAUTION: It is important to note that while the power extension cable and the one supplied with the DeLorean Power Mod are the same, the power supplies for each model are NOT INTERCHANGABLE! The 9 volts supplied to the Ecto-1 will seriously damage the 4.5 volt system of the DeLorean. I wrote a big ‘9V’ in silver Sharpie on this power supply so I can keep them separated:
Then, all we need to do it plug the extension cable into our new Power Mod socket underneath the car:
Since the plug can be rotated inside the socket without affecting the power delivery, the cable can be routed wherever you want it, including hiding it up inside the chassis. Look at how clean this is with the Power Mod main cable hidden from view!
This Ecto-1 Power Mod installation was easier than my first one with the DeLorean. The drilling steps are the only tricky part and that is only because we wanted a nice, clean mounting point for our socket. I love this mod’s simplicity and the future capabilities it has given us. I am looking forward to whatever mod we will power up next. Thank you so much Model Modz!