Here’s another random gadget for teardown, this time an IR remote control repeater module. These would be used where you need to operate a DVD player, set top box, etc in another room from the TV that you happen to be watching. An IR receiver sends it’s signal down to the repeater box, which then drives IR LEDs to repeat the signal.
Not much to day about the exterior of this module, the IR input is on the left, up to 3 receivers can be connected. The outputs are on the right, up to 6 repeater LEDs can be plugged in. Connections are done through standard 3.5mm jacks.
Not much inside this one at all, there are 6 transistors which each drive an LED output. This “dumb” configuration keeps things very simple, no signal processing has to be done. Power is either provided by a 12v input, which is fed into a 7805 linear regulator, or direct from USB.
Finally the Raspberry Pi Foundation have released an official LCD for the DSI connector on the Pi. When these were announced, I placed an order straight away, but due to demand it’s taken quite a while for it to arrive in the post.
The LCD itself is an RGB panel, to interface the Pi via the MIPI DSI port, some signal conversion is required. A small PCB is mounted on the back of the LCD to do this conversion. It also handles the power supply rails required by the LCD itself & interfacing the touch screen.
Taking care of the power supply is a Texas Instruments TPS65101 triple output LCD power supply IC. This also has a built in linear regulator to supply 3.3v for the rest of the circuitry on board. The large transistor to the left of the IC is the pass transistor for this regulator.
The video signal comes in on the FFC connector on the left, into the BGA IC. I’ve not managed to identify this component, but it’s doing the conversion from serial video from the Pi to parallel RGB for the LCD.
There’s also an Atmel ATtiny88 on the board below the main video conversion IC, not sure what this is doing.
The touch controller itself is mounted on the flex of the LCD, in this case it’s a FT5406.
Here’s the LCD in operation. It’s not the highest resolution out there, but it leaves the GPIO & HDMI ports free for other uses.
The Pi screws to the back of the LCD & is connected with a flat flex cable & a pair of power jumpers. I’ve added a couple of small speakers to the top edge of the LCD to provide sound. (More to come on this bit).
Here’s a quick look at a Sainsmart frequency counter module. These are useful little gadgets, showing the locked frequency on a small LCD display.
It’s built around an ATMega328 microcontroller (µC), and an MB501L Prescaler IC. The circuit for this is very simple, and is easily traced out from the board.
Here’s the back of the board, with the µC on the left & the prescaler IC on the right. This uses a rather novel method for calibration, which is the trimmer capacitor next to the crystal. This trimmer varies the frequency of the µC’s oscillator, affecting the calibration.
Input protection is provided by a pair of 1N4148 diodes in inverse parallel. These will clamp the input to +/-1v.
The prescaler IC is set to 1/64 divide ratio. This means that for an input frequency of 433MHz, it will output a frequency of 6.765625MHz to the µC.
The software in the µC will then calculate the input frequency from this intermediate frequency. This is done because the ATMega controllers aren’t very cabable of measuring such high frequencies.
The calculated frequency is then displayed on the LCD. This is a standard HD44780 display module.
Power is provided by a 9v PP3 battery, which is then regulated down by a standard LM7805 linear regulator.
I’ve found it’s not very accurate at all at the lower frequencies, when I fed it 40MHz from a signal generator it displayed a frequency of around 74MHz. This is probably due to the prescaler & the software not being configured for such a low input. In the case for 40MHz input the scaled frequency would have been 625kHz.