Chromecast Teardown

Teardown

Teardown

Teardowns provide a look inside a device and should not be used as disassembly instructions.

Featured Guide

Featured Guide

This guide has been found to be exceptionally cool by the iFixit staff.

Ding-dong, the dongle's here! Google knows that cat videos are more entertaining when viewed on a 72-inch HD display, so they packed Chrome into a compact dongle, threw an HDMI output on it, and provided the world with the cat videos we deserve! Join us as we tear down the Chromecast to find out how Google squeezed so many cats into one small package.

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Edit Step 1 Chromecast Teardown  ¶ 

  • Upon eagerly ripping open the Chromecast's box, we are greeted with more than just a dongle.

  • The dongle's specs and features:

    • 1080p HDMI output

    • 2.4 GHz WiFi 802.11 b/g/n

    • 1080P maximum output video resolution

    • USB-powered

    • Compatible with a variety of devices, including both iOS and Android devices

Image #1

Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • The Chromecast's sole port is the USB charging port. As if TVs don't have enough wires already, your favorite new dongle requires external power via USB.

  • When we hear "dongle," we don't usually think of external power. The Chromecast, however, requires external power via an available (non-service) USB port or via the USB charging cable and adapter.

    • At least Google sort of mentioned this…

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Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • Model Number: H2G2-42.

    • Wasn't "42" the answer to life, the universe, and everything in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?

    • And H2G2 is an abbreviation given to the book, as well as the name of a website dedicated to making a guide to life, the universe, and everything.

  • We see what you did there, Google. Your clever nerd humor will not be lost on us!

  • Call us speculative, but it appears Google thinks this device is the answer to life, the universe, and everything.

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • To our relief (and maybe a little disappointment), it seems as if we won't need to pull out the big guns to get this little guy open.

  • A plastic opening tool exploits the seam of our dongle, and just like that, we can start pulling out components.

    • Yes, we do enjoy typing the word "dongle."

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • The first thing out is, well, everything. Pulling the motherboard assembly out of the Chromecast leaves us with an empty shell.

  • Almost empty, that is, except for some excessive thermal leftovers and a big hunk of aluminum heat sink.

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • The central nervous system:

    • AzureWave AW-NH387 802.11 b/g/n WLAN, Bluetooth and FM Combo Module

    • Marvell DE3005-A1 System on Chip

    • Micron MT29F16G08MAA 16 Gb (2 GB) NAND Flash Memory

    • Micron D9PXV 512 MB DDR3L SDRAM

      • DDR3L SDRAM (1.35 V) is a low voltage version of the DDR3 SDRAM (1.5 V).

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • With the motherboard out, only one component remains: a (relatively) ginormous heatsink. Made of solid aluminum and spanning the entire length of the device, it rests—lifeless hardware in a tiny coffin.

  • We can't say we're surprised, though, as the product information states "Chromecast may get hot to the touch; this is normal."

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • We’ve decided not to assign a repairability score to the Chromecast.

  • There’s just nothing in it to repair. The Chromecast is essentially a luxury item with a limited use.

  • Best hope for this little guy: after a long, fulfilling life of streaming kitten videos, the Chromecast is recycled responsibly.

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Comments Comments are onturn off

HDMI 1.4 can power the device without USB power.

msgalicki, · Reply

Thanks, that's great to know..

Harry Hawk,

Dongle, dongle, dongle... yes, it is a fun word to type.

Any warning which includes the phrase "this is normal", clearly indicates something which any normal person would realize is not normal.

Rylan Luke, · Reply

Next teardown a Galaxy Minstrel .... or was that just a British thing? They don't melt in your hand (according to the advert anyhow) www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8ggWmC_Cpg‎

Bees,

Very very interesting design. Lots of somewhat surprising things! In particular, TSSOP flash was a little unexpected... I don't suppose you guys still have one around to try ripping the flash off of to see if there are BGA landings under there?

Other aggressively cost-reduced NAND consumers (i.e., USB thumb drives and SD cards) often have landings for both BGA and TSSOP flashes so that they can quickly change to whatever the cheapest source of NAND flash is that day without having to spin a new SKU of their board... would be interesting to know if Google did the same here.

Joshua Wise, · Reply

All HDMI 1.4 is HDMI 1.3c but listed on the HDMI web site. So tell me just how that makes it capable of powering devices? Magic perhaps? :)

P.S. H2G2 is not a reference to Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. HHGTTG is.

Stuart Halliday, · Reply

This is a fantastic device.

Imagine being able to wakk up to any TV and watch your content or display map/location.

Add a touch sensitive display and you've got one heck of a tablet!

Stuart Halliday, · Reply

H2G2 is a reference to the Hitch Hiker's Guide The Galaxy, see http://www.h2g2.com

Mark Dudley, · Reply

Doesn't the AzureWave AW-NH387 use the Marvell 8787 WiFi device?

Would like to see an analysis of the WiFi antenna used.

Verk, · Reply

Does anyone know who makes the two power regulator chips they are using on this design? I believe this would be the two small square chips marked WRVL-686B-311GAE and WRVL-21AA3-246GAO?

It is my understanding that HDMI1.x sink ports will not supply power out of the HDMI port, only MHL enabled HDMI sink ports can do this. If someone has a pointer in the HDMI spec that says anything about sinks putting out power then please share the reference.

GregGarner, · Reply

Perhaps these are MRVL instead of WRVL, which would make them Marvell chips?

GregGarner, · Reply

The nerd humor continues if you look at the model number of the power adapter it comes with - "MST3K-US".

Russell Schmidt, · Reply

I just stumbled on a feature that I have not seen mentioned anywhere. I have a Logitech Revue attached to my TV and to my network. When I play a YouTube video and hit the chromecast icon, I get the choice to cast to my chromecast dongle, my own device (laptop) or my Google TV. I just disconnected my googlecast dongle from my TV and still get the option to cast to my Google TV and it works just like I was broadcasting to the Chromecast dongle. At least some of the required drivers must be present in my Revue. Cool! Maybe I will be able to use the Revue instead of a dongle on this TV.

Kurt Myrmel, · Reply

It's too bad the author denied two edits that state that the device can be powered by the 5v line on the HDMI 1.4 input instead of via USB. Even Google states this.

Kris Rehberg, · Reply

A per numerology, the word CHROMECAST is 42. (3 8 18 15 13 5 3 1 19 20) -> (3+8+9+6+4+5+3+1+1+2=42)

jaswanth bahadur, · Reply

HHGTTG isn't a H2G2 reference. Nice, if a somewhat obvious, try though.

Dave Joy, · Reply

Do anyone know which supplier produces the 30pins BGA connector on the Chromecast?

Hami, · Reply

No, the USB is only required if your HDMI input will not supply enough power over the HDMI 5v line, see http://www.hdmi.org/learningcenter/kb.as...

Marc Brooks, · Reply

HDMI Sink Devices (like TV's) aren't the one's providing 50mA power, it's the source device. In this case, the source device is the Chromecast. Sorry but you likely need the USB power unless your TV is not following the HDMI spec.

Alan Maani,

I would like to make a costum case with better heatsick for that fun diy project

Friedrich Winkler, · Reply

What's the current rating on the power adapter? Regulation?

What's the current draw when idling, and when streaming?

Thanks

Ron Brooks, · Reply

Interesting OOTB capabilties such as Bluetooth, FM etc. May be they get enabled in the future.

pete, · Reply

Do anyone know which supplier produces the 30pins BGA connector on the Chromecast?

Hami, · Reply

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