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Virgin Media Hub 3 Crap & Router Upgrades

I posted a while back a teardown of the VM Superhub 2 router, as VM has “upgraded” to a rebranded Arris TG2492S/CE CM. Alas Virgin Media in their wisdom have decided that simple router features like being able to change the LAN subnet & DHCP server range are far too complex to trust to the Great Unwashed, so they’ve removed them entirely from the firmware, and locked the local LAN onto the 192.168.0.0/24 range.
As my network is already numbered in the 10.0.0.0/16 range, with several statically addressed devices present and other systems relying on these static assignments, using this router would have meant renumbering everything.

Luckily Virgin had the decency to leave the “modem mode” option in the firmware, effectively disabling the WiFi & routing functions & allowing the connection of a third-party router. Some searching for a suitable replacement for the core of my network turned up the Linksys WRT1900ACS. While I waited for this to arrive, some temporary workarounds were needed to make everything function well enough with VM’s crap router.

WRT1900ACS
WRT1900ACS

These routers have been designed as a modern replacement for the venerable WRT54G series of routers from some time ago, with full support for OpenWRT/DD-WRT firmware, and with a beefy 1.6GHz dual core CPU & 512MB of RAM I doubt I’ll be able to knock this one over with too much network traffic! This was pretty much the most powerful router I could afford, and should mean I don’t need to upgrade for a long time. (No teardown of this yet, as it’s taking care of the network at present. Maybe some point in the future I’ll take the plunge).

The stock firmware isn’t totally awful, and has some nice features, but I decided it needed to be replaced with DD-WRT for more security & future flexibility. I’ll leave the firmware flashing stuff for another post šŸ˜‰

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IR Remote Control Repeater

IR Remote Repeater
IR Remote Repeater

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.

Repeater Module
Repeater Module

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.

Repeater PCB
Repeater PCB

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.

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eSynic 2-Way HDMI Signal Splitter

HDMI Splitter
HDMI Splitter

Time for another random teardown, a signal splitter for HDMI. These units are available very cheap these days on eBay. This one splits the incoming signal into two to drive more than one display from the same signal source.

Main PCB
Main PCB

The stamped alloy casing comes apart easily with the removal of a few screws. The PCB inside is rather densely packed with components.

Chipset
Chipset

The main IC on the incoming signal is a Silicon Image Sil9187B HDMI Port Processor, with a single input & 4 outputs. In this case the chip is used as a repeater to amplify the incoming signal. the signal path then gets fed into a Pericom PI3HDMI412 HDMI Demux, which then splits the signal into two for the output ports.

Microcontroller
Microcontroller

The main pair of ICs processing the video signals are controlled over IĀ²C, with this STM32 microcontroller. The 4 pads to the lower left are for the STLink programmer. The main 3.3v power rail is provided by the LM1117 linear regulator on the right.