Here’s an old HDSPA 3G USB modem stick that I got with a mobile phone contact many years ago. As it’s now very old tech, and I have a faster modem, not to mention that I’m no longer with Orange (Robbing <expletive>), here’s a teardown of the device!
The top shell is just clipped into place, while a pair of very small screws hold down the orange piece at left to hold the PCB stack in the casing. Not much to see here, but it’s clear that there’s a lot crammed into a very small space.
Here’s the PCB stack removed from the outer casing. The main antenna is on the right, attached with another small screw. Every IC on the boards is covered with an RF can. No problems there, pliers to the rescue!
Here’s the top PCB, all the shields have been removed. On the left is a Qualcomm PM6658 Power Management IC with integrated USB transceiver. This is surrounded by many of the power management circuits.
The integrated SD Card slot is on the right side. with what looks to be a local switching regulator for supply voltage. This might also provide the SIM card with it’s power supply.
The other side of the top board reveals more power management, with another switching regulator, and a truly massive capacitor at the top edge. I’m guessing this is a solid Tantalum.
The other PCB holds the main chipset & RF circuits. On the left here is a Samsung MCP K5D1G13ACH IC. This one is a multiple chip package, having 1Gbit of NAND Flash & 512Mbit of mobile SDRAM.
To it’s right is a Qualcomm RTR6285 RF Transceiver. This IC supports multiband GSM/EDGE/UMTS frequencies & also has a GPS receive amplifier included.
At bottom right is an Avago ACPM7371 Wide-Band 4×4 CDMA Power Amplifier. The external antenna connector is top right.
On the other side of the main PCB is a Qualcomm MSM6246 Baseband processor. Not sure about this one as I can’t find anything resembling a datasheet. Another micro-coax connector is in the centre, probably for factory test purposes, as it’s not accessible from the outside.
Just above the coax connector is a Qorvo RF1450 SP4T (single-pole 4-throw) High Power (34.5dBm) GSM RF Switch.
Upper right is an Avago FEM-7780 UMTS2100 4×7 Front End Module.
Under that is an RFMD RF3163 Quad-Band RF Power Amplifier Module.
The OPN-2001 is a very small handheld barcode data collection device, used for stock keeping, inventory, etc.
It’s powered by an internal Li-Poly cell, at 150mAh, and has storage for 1000 barcodes in it’s internal memory.
The unit is charged via it’s USB port, the data can also be downloaded using this interface.
Here’s the bottom of the unit with it’s label. Serial number removed to protect the guilty. 😉
Here the bottom cover has been removed from the scanner, showing the internals. The barcode engine is on the left, this contains all the hardware & logic for scanning & storing the barcode data. The Li-Poly cell is under the FFC cable wrapped in foam tape for protection.
Here’s the PCB & engine assembly removed from the casing. The lower PCB appears to just handle the user interface buttons, beeper & USB power & charging circuitry. All the processing logic is on the barcode engine itself.
Here’s the back of the support PCB, with the pair of buttons for scanning & deleting barcodes. Also on this board is a 32kHz clock crystal & a Ricoh RV5C386A RTC IC. This communicates with the main processor via I²C for storing the date & time with the barcodes. At the bottom right corner are some of the power supply passives.
Here’s the other side of the support PCB, with the beeper, battery connector & the switching regulator to provide the barcode engine with 3.3v power.
Here’s the barcode engine itself, which is absolutely tiny, at roughly 20mm square. The main processor & it’s associated Flash ROM are on this PCB. The main processor has an ARM7 32bit core, with 64kB of RAM, and onboard 512kB of ROM for program & barcode storage.
Here’s the business end of the barcode engine, the mirror vibrates at 100Hz to produce the scan line. The laser diode is rated at 1mW, 650nm. This is in the deep red range.
The latest addition to my radio shack is the GY561 frequency & power meter, which has already come in useful for measuring the output power of all my radios.
It’s a small device, roughly the same size & weight as a stock UV-5R. Power is provided by 3 AAA cells.
The display is a standard HD44780 8×2 module. The display on this unit isn’t backlit, so no operating in the dark.
The cover pops off easily to allow access to the internals, without having to remove any screws!
The 4 screws on the back of the unit hold the heatsink plate for the 50W 50Ω dummy load resistor.
Removing the cover reveals a couple of adjustments, for frequency & RF power calibration.
There are also 3 tactile switches that aren’t on the front panel. According to the manual (which in itself is a masterpiece of Chinglish), they are used to software calibrate the unit if an accurate RF power source is available. I will attempt to do a reasonable translation when time allows.
Disassembly further than this involves some desoldering in awkward places, so a search of the internet revealed an image of the rest of the internal components. In the case of my meter, all the part numbers have been scrubbed off the ICs in an attempt to hide their purpose. While it’s possible to cross-reference IC databooks & find the part numbers manually, this process is a time consuming one. Luckily the image I managed to locate doesn’t have the numbers scrubbed.
Under the LCD is some 74HC series logic, and a prescaler IC as seen in the previous frequency counter post. However in this unit the prescaler is a MB506 microwave band version to handle the higher frequencies specified.
In this case however the main microcontroller is an ATMEGA8L.
This is complemented by a SN54HC393 4-bit binary counter for the frequency side of things. This seems to make it much more usable down to lower frequencies, although the manual is very generous in this regard, stating that it’s capable of reading down to 1kHz. In practice I’ve found the lowest it reliably reads the frequency input is 10MHz, using my AD9850 DDS VFO Module as a signal source.
It did however read slightly high on all readings with the DDS, but this could have been due to the low power output of the frequency source.
Just like the other frequency counter module, this also uses a trimmer capacitor to adjust the microcontroller’s clock frequency to adjust the calibration.
The power supply circuitry is in the bottom left corner of the board, in this case a small switching supply. The switching regulator is needed to boost the +4.5v of the batteries to +5v for the logic.
Also, as the batteries discharge & their terminal voltage drops, the switching regulator will allow the circuit to carry on functioning. At present I am unsure of the lower battery voltage limit on the meter, but AAA cells are usually considered dead at 0.8v terminal voltage. (2.4v total for the 3 cells).
When turned on this meter draws 52mA from the battery, and assuming 1200mAh capacity for a decent brand-name AAA cell, this should give a battery life of 23 hours continuous use.
On the back of the main PCB is a 5v relay, which seems to be switching an input attenuator for higher power levels, although I only managed to trigger it on the 2m band.
Finally, right at the back attached to an aluminium plate, is the 50Ω dummy load resistor. This component will make up most of the cost of building these, at roughly £15.
On my DVM, this termination reads at about 46Ω, because of the other components on the board are skewing the reading. There are a pair of SMT resistors, at 200Ω & 390Ω in series, and these are connected across the 50Ω RF resistor, giving a total resistance of 46.094Ω.
This isn’t ideal, and the impedance mismatch will probably affect the calibration of the unit somewhat.
The heatsinking provided by the aluminium plate is minimal, and the unit gets noticeably warm within a couple of minutes measuring higher power levels.
High power readings should definitely be limited to very short periods, to prevent overheating.
The RF is sampled from the dummy load with a short piece of Teflon coax.
There’s a rubber duck antenna included, but this is pretty useless unless it’s almost in contact with the transmitting antenna, as there’s no input amplification. It might be handy for detecting RF emissions from power supplies, etc.
For the total cost involved I’m not expecting miracles as far as accuracy is concerned, (the manual states +/-10% on power readings).
The frequency readout does seem to be pretty much spot on though, and the ability to calibrate against a known source is handy if I need some more accuracy in the future.
I’ve also done an SWR test on the dummy load, and the results aren’t good.
At 145.500 MHz, the SWR is 3:1, while at 433.500 it’s closer to 4:1. This is probably due to the lower than 50Ω I measured at the meter’s connector.
These SWR readings also wander around somewhat as the load resistor warms up under power.
I’ll probably also replace the AAA cells with a LiPo cell & associated charge/protection circuitry, to make the unit chargeable via USB. Avoiding disposable batteries is the goal.