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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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103RS GPS Tracker Teardown

Rewire Security 103RS Tracker
Rewire Security 103RS Tracker

I thought it was time to add a bit of security to the gear I take camping, so this GPS tracker unit was sourced from eBay. This is a Rewire Security 103RS, a slightly customised version of the common Chinese TK103 GPS tracker.

Input Connections
Input Connections

The small module has all it’s power connections on one end of the unit, on a Molex multi-way block. The white connector is for a piezo-shock sensor – this interfaces with the alarm functionality of the unit. There’s an indicator LED for both the GPS & GSM status, and a switch for the backup battery.

Antenna Connections
Antenna Connections

The other end has the antenna connections, microphone connection for the monitor function, along with the SIM & SD card slots.

PCB Top
PCB Top

Once the end panel is removed, the PCB just slides out of the aluminium extruded casing. It’s pretty heavily packed with components in here. A switching regulator deals with the 12v input from the vehicle battery, and is protected by a polyfuse on the right. The GSM module is hiding under the Li-Po backup cell, unfortunately the sticky pad used to secure this wouldn’t come off without damaging something. The pigtails for both the GPS & GSM antennas are permanently soldered to the board here.

PCB Bottom
PCB Bottom

The bottom of the PCB has the GPS module, and mainly input protection & bypassing components. There is a FNK4421 Dual P-Channel MOSFET here as well, probably used for switching the external relay or alarm siren. The SIM socket for the GSM modem is located here in the corner.

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Tenma 72-10405 DMM Teardown

Tenma DMM
Tenma DMM

Well it’s time for a new DMM. After the last pair of eBay El-Cheapo Chinese meters just didn’t last very well, I decided a proper meter was required. This one is a Tenma 72-10405, stocked by Farnell for under £60. Not quite as many festures as the cheapo Chinese meters, but I expect this one to be a bit more reliable.

PCB Rear
PCB Rear

Since I can’t have anything without seeing how it’s put together, here’s the inside of the DMM. (Fuse access is only possible by taking the back cover off as well. The 9v PP3 battery has a seperate cover).

PCB Rear Bottom
PCB Rear Bottom

He’s the input section of the meter, with the 10A HRC fuse & current shunt for the high-amps range. The other fuse above is for the mA/µA ranges. The back cover has a wide lip around the edge, that slots into a recess in the front cover, presumably for blast protection if the meter should meet a sticky end. The HRC fuses are a definite improvement over the cheap DMMs, they only have 15mm glass fuses, and no blast protection built into the casing.
There are some MOVs for input protection on the volts/ohms jack, the jacks themselves are nothing more than stampings though.

PCB Rear Top
PCB Rear Top

Not much at the other side of the board, there’s the IR LED for the RS232 interface & the beeper.

PCB Front
PCB Front

Most of the other components are on the other side of the PCB under the LCD display. The range switch is in the centre, while the main chipset is on the left.

DMM Chipset
DMM Chipset

The chipset of this meter is a FS9922-DMM3 from Fortune Semiconductor, this is a dedicated DMM chipset with built in ADCs & microcontroller.