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eBay Reverse Parking Sensors Teardown

Parking Sensors Kit
Parking Sensors Kit

This is a cheap kit from eBay, to retrofit an older car with ultrasonic parking sensors. 4 sensors are included in the kit, along with a hole saw to fit them to the bumper. There’s a small controller module, and a display module that fits onto the dash of the car.

Controller Module
Controller Module

Here’s the controller module, with it’s row of connectors along the front. The unit gets it’s power from the reversing light circuit, via the red connector.

Main Controller PCB
Main Controller PCB

Removing a couple of screws allows the PCB to be removed. There’s quite a bit on this board, including 4 tunable inductors for the ultrasonic transducers. There’s a linear voltage regulator on the left which supplies power to the electronics, and a completely unmarked microcontroller.

Electronics Closeup
Electronics Closeup

A closer look at the analogue end of the board shows a JRC4558D dual Op-Amp, and an NXP HEF4052B analogue multiplexer. As the microcontroller is unmarked I have no data for that one.

Dash Display
Dash Display

The dash display is housed in another small plastic box, with bargraphs for each side of the car & an overall distance meter.

Display Module
Display Module

Clearly this is a custom module, with the tapered bargraph LEDs on each side & the 7-segment display in the centre. There’s a beeper which works like every factory-fitted unit does, increasing in rate as the distance closes.

Display PCB
Display PCB

The back of the display module has the driver PCB, with yet another unmarked microcontroller, and a TI 74HC164 serial shift register as a display driver. There’s only 3 wires in the loom from the controller, so some sort of 1-wire protocol must be being used, while I²C is the most likely protocol to be talking to the display driver circuit. There’s also a small switch for muting the beeper.

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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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First Alert CO-FA-9B Carbon Monoxide Alarm Teardown

CO-FA-9B Alarm
CO-FA-9B Alarm

Here’s another domestic CO Alarm, this one a cheaper build than the FireAngel ones usually use, these don’t have a display with the current CO PPM reading, just a couple of LEDs for status & Alarm.

Rear
Rear

This alarm also doesn’t have the 10-year lithium cell for power, taking AA cells instead. The alarm does have the usual low battery alert bleeps common with smoke alarms though, so you’ll get a fair reminder to replace them.

Internals
Internals

Not much at all on the inside. The CO sensor cell is the same one as used in the FireAngel alarms, I have never managed to find who manufactures these sensors, or a datasheet for them unfortunately.

PCB Top
PCB Top

The top of the single sided PCB has the transformer for driving the Piezo sounder, the LEDs & the test button.

PCB Bottom
PCB Bottom

All the magic happens on the bottom of the PCB. The controlling microcontroller is on the top right, with the sensor front end on the top left.

Circuitry Closeup
Circuitry Closeup

The microcontroller used here is a Microchip PIC16F677. I’ve not managed to find datasheets for the front end components, but these will just be a low-noise op-amp & it’s ancillaries. There will also be a reference voltage regulator. The terminals on these sensors are made of conductive plastic, probably loaded with carbon.

Sensor Cell & Piezo Disc
Sensor Cell & Piezo Disc

The expiry date is handily on a label on the back of the sensor, the Piezo sounder is just underneath in it’s sound chamber.