Rumble Research: Magic Wand Rechargeable Teardown

Header photo for Magic Wand Rechargeable Teardown

Bedroom

For all the high-tech sex toys in my collection, the ones I feel most connected with—my strapon, some silicone dildos, perhaps a steel plug or two—are decidedly analog. They’re simple, adapt to fit my evolving style, and last long enough to make some memories. So far, only one vibrator has ever joined these particularly well-loved ranks: the Magic Wand Rechargeable.

My beloved Magic Wand Rechargeable

Manufactured by Hitachi and distributed under the Vibratex name, The Magic Wand Rechargeable is an update to the original Magic Wand vibrator first sold in the early ‘70s.   It adds more power settings, vibration patterns, a silicone head, and, most importantly, freedom from the wall socket, while keeping the original’s beloved power and industrial design.

By doing one thing—rumbly vibration, and doing it breathtakingly well, the Magic Wand Rechargeable is infinitely useful. I love using mine to add vibration to dildos and plugs, turning up the power to balance on the edge of overstimulation in predicament bondage, and even taking the silicone head internally! I tested its battery life at a clit-ruining 3 hours and 20 minutes on the highest vibration setting, more than enough for anything I’ve dreamt up so far. Though the toy isn’t officially waterproof, every seam is gasketed, so it easily shrugs off all the lube and squirt my partners and I can throw at it.

I love the wand in part because it helped me to re-discover my body’s sexual response as it changed over the course of gender transition, all while bringing me to a boatload of affirming orgasms along the way 😉  Unlike more complicated alternatives, it doesn’t require any particular body type, position, or adjustments—it’s just an easy way to put as much vibration as I want wherever I want it.

Basically, this toy is one of the best and most popular on the market, which is why I wanted to make it the inaugural teardown on this blog. It’s not perfect, but we can think of it as a baseline for successful engineering.

Workshop

The Magic Wand Rechargeable has two main sections—the head, covered by a white silicone sleeve, and the beige ABS handle, joined by a flexible, silicone-sleeved neck that connects the electronics and motor in the handle to the mechanical vibration mechanism in the head while isolating the handle from too much hand-jarring vibration.

Reverse view of wand with screws removed

Removing a few Phillips-head screws (all conveniently exposed) allowed me to pull the chrome plastic collar up and separate the handle, revealing the sexy engineering secrets within.

Screws removed to reveal electronics inside the handle.

And here’s where the surprises begin—this this is MODULAR! The bottom half of the case holds a standard Sanyo 18650 li-ion cell housed in its own plastic enclosure and connected to the main board in the top half with a crimped connector, glued lightly in place. This is extremely surprising, not only because the connector adds significant cost over simple solder joints but also because it will likely be more prone to failure in a vibrating device like this. While easy pluggability is fantastic from a repair or recycling perspective, it’s still a confusing choice here.

Sanyo 18650 Battery cell

In the top half of the case, our journey continues with the main control board, a tiny board for the DC jack, and the motor and its safety thermistor, both also connected to the main board with socketed connectors. The main PCB is double-sided, but all the action is happening right here on top.

Main control PCB (front)

On the right, we see the brains of the operation—an impressively full-featured Elan EM78-series microcontroller, which handles everything from the Magic Wand’s button inputs to generating PWM signals to control the different vibration modes. It even includes analog-to-digital converters to monitor thermocouple temperature sensors on both the motor and battery. While this microcontroller might not as well-documented or easy to hack on as an AVR or PIC, another microcontroller could easily be grafted in for custom patterns and control modes (stay tuned…).

Next, the two middle chips are a MEM2309 P-Channel MOSFET [datasheet] and an A308 (the 14-SOIC package), which appears to be a charge monitoring device. These work together to manage and protect the lithium ion battery.

Finally, we have two more MOSFET’s on the left—an Alpha and Omega 4803 dual P-channel [datasheet] (though only one of the two is used) and a NCEPower 3010 N-channel [datasheet], which switch current to drive the motor.

The reverse side of the board is much simpler, with a sea of passive components, a few small transistors and voltage regulators, and buttons for user inputs. Though relatively well-protected by a silicone cover, these surface-mounted buttons introduce the potential for solder joint failure due to repeated board flex from heavy-handed presses. This may be a nitpick, but it’s a notable departure from the original Magic Wand’s simple, case-mounted rocker switch.

Main control PCB (back)

The only user feedback (other than vibration, of course) is provided by LED’s here on the back of the board, which interface with a dual-shot injection molded light pipe assembly to shine through the outer enclosure.

Main Enclosure (bottom), button cover assembly (top left), and light pipe (top right)

Now here’s where things really get movin’—once its board connectors are separated, the motor and head assembly can be pulled and separated for a closer look.

Motor and head assembly removed from handle

The DC motor is rated for 7400rpm at 8.4 volts. The original Magic Wand was plagued with overheating issues, and the lessons learned from that are very evident here— after all, a lithium-ion battery fire on your genitals is definitely the wrong kind of hot. To help keep temperature under control, a small plastic fan is mounted to the motor’s output shaft, and both a thermocouple and automatically resetting thermal cutoff are mounted to the motor casing to shut it off in case things get toasty. The fan may not be terribly effective inside a sealed enclosure, but redundant thermal cutoffs are definitely enough to put my mind at ease.

Head assembly and motor with thermocouple, thermal cutoff, and fan

The motor shaft connects to the vibrating mechanism in the head through a round spring acting as a drive shaft, which helps to isolate the handle from vibration and allows the head to flex a bit.

Neck flange and drive shaft spring connecting to head assembly

While the teardown to this point is easy and entirely reversible, things get a bit more complicated and… umm… destructive when it comes to the head. Let’s just say that I spent a few hours wailing and twisting on this thing with every tool on my bench before just giving up and cutting around the edge of the silicone head cover. It still works, I just have to be a bit more careful of fluids getting in.

Head assembly with silicone and foam cover removed (right)

Pulling the head cover off reveals a dense foam inner-lining and the beautifully molded nylon body of the vibration mechanism itself. Even after removing a few screws and sawing off a section in frustration, cleanly separating the translucent nylon head from the springy metal neck and its silicone cover proved impossible. Unwilling to completely destroy the toy (it’s just that good…), I opted to just pry to the head open to get a look inside.

This is the magic behind the magic wand. Regardless of whether you’re turning it with a battery or mains power, this mechanism has been getting people off for decades, and it’s not hard to see why.

Two rubber-jacketed bearings hold a shaft with a BEEFY asymmetrical punched steel weight. Pretty much all vibrators work by swinging an unbalanced weight around, but sheer mass of this one is what makes the Magic Wand and other rumbly vibrators special. The bearings ultimately transmit that vibration to the outer shell, and smaller, cheaper ones can wear out quickly from the high radial load of a powerful vibrator. I’ll be particularly interested to see how these bearings compare to the ones we find in future teardowns.

By this point my girlfriend was accusing me of forcing her into chastity by taking her favorite toy out of commission, so, having seen where it all goes down, I screwed the head back together and left one last Inside Sex Toys flourish before beginning to piece it back together…

“Customized” head assembly XD

You can pick up a Magic Wand Rechargeable of your own at SheVibe [link], Stockroom [link], Pleasure Chest [link], and many more feminist, queer-friendly community sex shops!

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