GPS Disciplined Oscillator review and teardown

inside-allAndy Brown did a teardown of a GPS Disciplined Oscillator:

The design did actually surprise me. I was expecting to see an OCXO pulled from something else together with a modern GPS unit and an MCU to co-ordinate the synchronisation all mounted on a custom PCB. What we’ve actually got is an entire Symmetricom GPSDO pulled from some other device and mounted on to a trivial minimal PCB that does nothing more than break out connections to the front panel.

More details at Andys Workshop blog.

Check out the video after the break.

XBOX 360 GPU die decap: A look at the graphics processor silicon

A teardown video of an XBOX 360 and analysis of GPU silicon die from Electronupdate.

So, what makes an XBOX tick? One of the most notable parts will be the graphics sub system… and at the heart of it, the GPU.
The GPU die is bonded onto a substrate with an associated frame buffer just to the left of it. This complex assembly is our 1st hint that the engineers were pushing the envelope of technology…. this “should” be only on one die… it’s a bit of cost adder to do it this way.
Awesome! That means the GPU is going to be complex indeed!

More details at Electronupdate blog.

Review of NeoDen 4 pick and place machine with vision system


Ray Wang wrote up a review of NeoDen 4 pick and place machine with built-in vision system:

Recently NeoDen released a new model called NeoDen 4 — it’s their first desktop model that has built-in computer vision system. The vision-based alignment makes it possible to place fine-pitched components with minimal manual work. It has four pick and place heads, which means if can simultaneously pick up to four components at a time. It can fit a lot more feeders, and can handle a variety of component types, including matrix tray components, and any special components that you can lay out in a 3D printed tray. It has a vibration feeder for components in tube packaging. Although I rarely use tube packaging, one notable exception is the CH340G USB-serial chip, which is used in almost all my products, and so far it only comes in tubes.

More details at

Check out the video after the break.

Teardown of a Static fieldmeter


teardown of a Static fieldmeter from Kerry Wong:

Static fieldmeters (or electrostatic fieldmeters) are typically used for non-contact measurements of the electrostatic field strength (usually in kV) of charged objects. These are highly specialized test instruments and most hobbyists probably seldomly have the opportunity of coming across one. So in this post and a companion video towards the end, we will take a look at how it works and what’s inside.
An electrostatic fieldmeter comes in handy when handling ESD sensitive electronics components, especially those with metal oxide layers (e.g. MOSFET, CMOS chips). These devices are sensitive to ESD and a typical damaging voltage level is only several hundred volts. Most datasheet lists human-body model (HBM) and charged-device model (CDM) voltage figures. Although these specified voltage may seem to be high (usually hundreds to several thousand volts), they can be exceeded in dry environments when electrical insulating materials are present.

More details at Kerry Wong’s blog.

Check out the video after the break.

Teardown and analysis of an Agilent 86109B Optical/Electrical DCA-X oscilloscope module


Teardown and analysis of an Agilent 86109B Optical/Electrical DCA-X oscilloscope module from The Signal Path:

In this episode Shahriar presents the inner workings of an Agilent 86109B optical/electrical DCA-X oscilloscope module. This particular model offers up to 50GHz of electrical bandwidth and an optical input capable of receiving up to 40Gb/s data rates. The differences between a real-time and sub-sampling oscilloscopes are presented with focus on ADC resolution, signal periodicity requirements and input bandwidth. The block diagram of the module as well as a sub-sampling oscilloscope is also presented.
The teardown of the module shows various components such as samplers, O/E conversion block, impulse generator as well as a step-recovery diode driver. I/O interfaces as well as various analog blocks are also shown. Several modules are further disassembled to observe the inner semiconductor designs under the microscope.

Check out the video after the break.

Bi-directional voltage level translator – Board house test


Lukas Fassler from Soldernerd shares his experience with DirtyPCBs:

I can think of a lot of situations where it could be useful. But the main reason for this project was to gain some experience with getting a PCB professionally manufactured by a board house. For several years I have done my own designs but I always milled and drilled them myself. This had pros and cons. I never had to worry about silk screens or solder masks because my boards never had any. On the other hand I suffered from the lack of plated-through holes. Vias were always a pain in the arse because I had to manually solder in pieces of wire to connect the two sides. And it was very difficult if not impossible to put a via below a component which made the layout challenging when working with ICs with many and/or tightly spaced pins.

More details at Soldernerd homepage.

Amazon’s cheapest multimeter teardown: The DT-830B


A teardown of Amazon’s cheapest multimeter the DT-830B by Electronupdate:

Purchased the cheapest multimeter I could find so I could extract the integrated circuit. A surprisingly simple IC!
The actual meter design was much as expected. Poor attention to detail for higher voltages, concerning lack of fuses on current measurements… pretty thin feeling probe set.
Attractive die however!

More details at Electronupdate blog.

Check out the video after the break.

3D Printer extruder review


Bajdi wrote up a review of 3D Printer extruder:

End of last year I decided to build a new 3D printer. At that time I already owned a very cheap Chinese Prusa I3 printer, it worked, but wasn’t a very reliable machine and it was dead slow. As I did not want to reuse any of the cheap Chinese parts of my old printer I decided to build a completely new machine using better parts. My goal was to build a reliable and fast machine.

More details at

Check out the video after the break.