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Wireless Energy Management SmartSensor

Cover Removed
Cover Removed

Here’s another random bit of RF tech, I’m told this is a wireless energy management sensor, however I wasn’t able to find anything similar on the interwebs. It’s powered by a standard 9v PP3 battery.

Microcontroller
Microcontroller

System control is handled by this Microchip PIC18F2520 Enhanced Flash microcontroller, this has an onboard 10-bit ADC & nanoWatt technology according to their datasheet. There’s a 4MHz crystal providing the clock, with a small SOT-23 voltage regulator in the bottom corner. There’s a screw terminal header & a plug header, but I’ve no idea what these would be used for. Maybe connecting an external voltage/current sensor & a programming header? The tactile button I imagine is for pairing the unit with it’s controller.

PCB Bottom
PCB Bottom

The bottom of the PCB is almost entirely taken up by a Radiocrafts RC1240 433MHz RF transceiver. Underneath there’s a large 10kΞ© resistor, maybe a current transformer load resistor, and a TCLT1600 optocoupler. Just from the opto it’s clear this unit is intended to interface in some way to the mains grid. The antenna is connected at top right, in a footprint for a SMA connector, but this isn’t fitted.

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BluVision Bluetooth Low Energy Beacon

Violent Disassembly
Violent Disassembly

These photos were sent over to me by a friend, an interesting piece of tech that’s used in the retail industry. This is a BluVision BLE Beacon, which as far as I can tell is used to provide some automated customer assistance. From their website it seems they can also be used for high-price asset protection & tracking. These units don’t appear to be serviceable, being completely sealed & only having a primary cell. I’m not sure what they cost but it seems to be an expensive way to contact clients with adverts etc.

Component Side
Component Side

There’s not much populated on this PCB, the main component here is the CC2640 SimpleLink ultra-low-power wireless microcontroller for Bluetooth Low Energy. It’s a fairly powerful CPU, with an ARM Cortex M3 core, 129KB of flash & up to 48MHz clock speed. There’s a couple of crystals, one of which is most likely a 32,768kHz low-power sleep watch crystal, while the other will be the full clock frequency used while it’s operating. Unfortunately I can’t make the markings out from the photos. There doesn’t appear to be any significant power supply components, so this must be running direct from the battery underneath.

2.2Ah 3.6v Lithium Cell
2.2Ah 3.6v Lithium Cell

The other side of the PCB has a single primary lithium cell, rated at 3.6v, 2.2Ah. The factory spec sheet specifies a 2.2 year life at 0dBm TX Power, Running 24/7, 100ms advertisement rate.

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Contec CMS-50F Pulse Oximeter Teardown

Rear Case
Rear Case

The rear has the specifications, laser-marked into the plastic. The serial numbers are just sticky labels though, and will come off easily with use.

Contec CMS-50F
Contec CMS-50F

This is the Contec CMS-50F wrist-mounted pulse oximeter unit, which has the capability to record data continuously to onboard memory, to be read out at a later time via a USB-Serial link. There is software supplied with the unit for this purpose, although it suffers from the usual Chinese quality problems. The hardware of this unit is rather well made, the firmware has some niggles but is otherwise fully functional, however the PC software looks completely rushed, is of low quality & just has enough functionality to kind-of pass as usable.

Top Cover Removed
Top Cover Removed

A total of 4 screws hold the casing together, once these are removed the top comes off. The large colour OLED display covers nearly all of the board here. The single button below is the user interface. The connection to the probe is made via the Lemo-style connector on the lower right.

Lithium Cell
Lithium Cell

Power is provided by a relatively large lithium-ion cell, rated at 1.78Wh.

Main Processor
Main Processor

All the heavy lifting work of the LCD, serial comms, etc are handled by this large Texas Instruments microcontroller, a MSP430F247. The clock crystal is just to the left, with the programming pins. I’m not sure of the purpose of the small IC in the top left corner, I couldn’t find any reference to the markings.

Aux Processor
Aux Processor

The actual pulse oximetry sensor readings seem to be dealth with by a secondary microcontroller, a Texas Instruments M430F1232 Mixed-Signal micro. This has it’s own clock crystal just underneath. The connections to the probe socket are to the right of this Β΅C, while the programming bus is broken out to vias just above. The final devices on this side of the board are 3 linear regulators, supplying the rails to run all the logic in this device.

Main PCB Rear
Main PCB Rear

The rear of the PCB has the SiLabs CL2102 USB-Serial interface IC, the large Winbond 25X40CLNIG 512KByte SPI flash for recording oximetry data, and some of the power support components. The RTC crystal is also located here at the top of the board. Up in the top left corner is a Texas Instruments TPS61041 Boost converter, with it’s associated components. This is probably supplying the main voltage for the OLED display module.

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AIX Gigabit Ethernet To USB Bridge

USB To Ethernet
USB To Ethernet

Here’s a chap eBay USB-To-Ethernet dongle I obtained for use with the Raspberry Pi Zero. This one is getting torn down permanently, as it’s rather unreliable. It seems to like having random fits where it’ll not enumerate on the USB bus. The silicon in the ICs will eventually make it here once I manage to get a new microscope πŸ˜‰

Main Chipset
Main Chipset

This is quite a heavily packed PCB, with the main Asix AX88178 on the left. This IC contains all of the logic for implementing the Ethernet link over USB, except the PHY. It’s clock crystal is in the top left corner.

Reverse Side
Reverse Side

Not much on the reverse side, there’s a 3.3v linear regulator at top left, the SOIC is an Atmel AT93C66A 4KB EEPROM for configuration data.

Vitesse PHY
Vitesse PHY

The final IC in the chain is the Vitesse VSC8211 Gigabit PHY, with it’s clock crystal below. This interfaces the Ethernet MAC in the Asix IC to the magjack on the right.

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Behringer DEQ2496 Mastering Processor

Bootscreen
Bootscreen

I was recently given this unit, along with another Behringer sound processor to repair, as the units were both displaying booting problems. This first one is a rather swish Mastering Processor, which has many features I’ll leave to Behringer to explain πŸ˜‰

Input Board & Relays
Input Board & Relays

All the inputs are on the back of this 19″ rackmount bit of kit, nothing much on this PCB other than the connectors & a couple of switching relays.

Main Processor PCB
Main Processor PCB

All the magic is done on the main processor PCB, which is host to 3 Analog Devices DSP processors:

ADSP-BF531 BlackFin DSP. This one is probably handling most of the audio processing, as it’s the most powerful DSP onboard at 600Mhz. There’s a ROM on board above this for the firmware & a single RAM chip. On the right are a pair of ADSP-21065Β  DSP processors at a lower clock rate of 66MHz. To the left is some glue logic to interface the user controls & dot-matrix LCD.

PSU Module
PSU Module

The PSU in this unit is a pretty standard looking SMPS, with some extra noise filtering & shielding. The main transformer is underneath the mu-metal shield in the centre of the board.

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ETI Thermamite Catering Thermometer

Catering Thermometer
Catering Thermometer

Here’s another bit of commercial gear, a catering thermometer. These are used to check the internal temperature of foods such as meat, to ensure they’re cooked through.

This was given to me with some damage, the battery cover is missing & the plastic casing itself is cracked.

Battery Compartment
Battery Compartment

Power is provided by 3 AAA cells, for 4.5v

Main PCB
Main PCB

There’s not much to these units, the large LCD at the top is driven by the IC in the centre. A programming header is also present on the board near the edge.

Microcontroller
Microcontroller

The core logic is taken care of with a Texas Instruments M430F4250 MSP430 Mixed-Signal Microcontroller. This MCU has onboard 16-bit Sigma-Delta A/D converter, 16-bit D/A converter & LCD driver. Clock is provided by a 32.768kHz crystal.
The probe itself is just a simple thermistor bonded into a stainless steel rod.

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IC Decap: Motorola XPC860PZP50D4 Communications Controller

XPC860PZP50D4 Package
XPC860PZP50D4 Package

This is a System On Chip from Motorola, designed for network routing applications. This chip contains a hell of a feature set, so I’ll just include an excerpt from the datasheet:

XPC860PZP50D4 Die
XPC860PZP50D4 Die

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Netgear GS308 Gigabit Switch

Here’s a new addition to the network, mainly to replace the ancient Cisco Catalyst 3500 XL 100MB switch I’ve been using for many years, until I can find a decently priced second hand commercial gigabit switch.

Operational
Operational

Here’s the switch with some network connections on test. So far it’s very stable & draws minimum power. I’ve not yet attempted to run my core links (NAS) through yet, as I’ve not yet seen a consumer grade switch that can stand up to constant full load without crashing.

Internals
Internals

Here’s the switch with it’s lid popped. The magnetics can be seen at the back, next to the RJ-45 ports, the large IC in the centre is the main switching IC, with a heatsink bonded to the top. Very minimal design, with only a couple of switching regulators for power supply & not much else.

Power & EEPROM
Power & EEPROM

Here’s a closeup of some of the support components. There’s a 25MHz crystal providing a clock signal for the switch IC, just to the right of that is an EEPROM. I imagine this is storing the switch configuration & MAC address. Further right is one of the switching DC-DC converter ICs for power.

As a quick test, here’s 500GB of data being shifted through the switch, at quite an impressive rate. I’m clearly maxing out the bandwidth of the link here. Soon I will upgrade to a 10G Ethernet link between the NAS & main PC to get some more performance.

Test
Test
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4″ 7-Segment Display Driver

I was recently given some 4″ 7-Segment displays, Kingbright SC40-19EWA & of course, I needed to find a use for them.

I only have three, so a clock isn’t possible…

4" 7-Segment Display
4″ 7-Segment Display

As these displays are common cathode, & have a ~9v forward voltage on the main segments, some driver circuity is required to run multiplexed from an Arduino.

Driver Transistors
Driver Transistors

Driver circuit built on Veroboard, PNP segment transistors on the left, cathode NPN transistors in the centre, level-shifting NPN array on the right.

Base Bias Resistor Network
Base Bias Resistor Network

Base bias resistors on the back of the board to bias the bases of the segment drive transistors correctly.

Display Rear
Display Rear

Board soldered into the pins of the displays, which have been multiplexed.

Schematic to come along with some Arduino code to run a room thermometer, with an LM35 sensor

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Belkin PCMCIA Wi-Fi Card

Top label
Top label

Here is an old Belkin Wireless G network card. This is a PCMCIA version.

Bottom Label
Bottom Label

Here is the bottom of the device, with all the details.

Antenna
Antenna

Plastic antenna cover removed, showing the pair of 2.4GHz etched antennae. There is a pair of LEDs on the upper left of the PCB showing activity & link status.

PCB
PCB

Overall view of the PCB, antennae on the left, RF chipset in centre, WiFi controller IC on right, and PCMCIA socket on far right. Can below wireless controller is a quartz crystal for the clock.

Chipset
Chipset

Closeup of the chipset, a Ralink RT2560F wireless controller on the right & a RT2525LΒ transceiverΒ on the left.

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USB Flash Drive

Disk
Disk

Here is a cheap chinese made flash drive given out for free by Westlaw UK. Capacity 512MB

PCB
PCB

Here is the PCB removed from the casing, USB connector on the left, followed by the clock crystal for the flash controller, a CBM2092, which is a Chipsbank part. 512MB flash memory IC, unknown maker. Β Access LED on far right of the board.

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Current Cost ‘Envi’ CC128 Power Meter

Display Unit
Display Unit

This is the Current Cost CC128 Real Time Power Meter. Shown here is the display unit, British Gas issued these free to some customers.
This unit measures current power draw in Watts, cost of power currently being used (requires unit price to be set), overall kWh usage over the past 1, 7 or 30 days & power trends during the day, night & evening. Also displays current time & current room temperature.

Display PCB
Display PCB

Here the front panel of the display has been un-clipped. At the bottom are the RJ-45 serial port & power connections.
This unit uses a PIC micro-controller as it’s CPU (PIC18F85J90) Just above & left of the CPU is the 433MHz SPD radio receiver module. The chips on the right of the CPU are a 25LC128 SPI serial EEPROM for data storage & a 74HC4060 14 stage binary counter, to which is connected the 32kHz clock crystal. The red wire around the top of the display is the antenna for the radio receiver.

For more info on the CC128 in general, the serial port & software for computer data logging, see this link
See this link for Current Cost’s list of software

Processor & Radio
Processor & Radio

Closeup of the ICs on the mainboard.

Transmitter Unit
Transmitter Unit

Here we have the transmitter unit, with Current Transformer (CT). The red clamp fits around one of the electric meter tails & read the current going to the various circuits. This unit is powered by 2x D cells, rated at a life of 7 years.

Transmitter PCB
Transmitter PCB

The PCB inside the transmitter. Again very minimal design, unknown controller IC, 433MHz radio transmitter on right hand side with wire antenna. Two barrel connectors on left hand side of board allow connection of up to two more CT clamps for measurement of 3-phase power. Centre of board is unmarked header. (ICSP?)

Current Transformer
Current Transformer

CT unit. Inside is a coil of wire & an iron core which surrounds the cable to be measured.