Nexus One Torn Down

January 6, 2010 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

We heard the Nexus One was developed by HTC under close supervision by Google. We wanted to see what kind of Google magic lay inside the device, so we took it apart and made a video slideshow!

Once we took the fancy wrapper off the phone, the Nexus One revealed itself to be very similar to other smartphones, albeit with stronger hardware. Its thoughtful internal design did impress us, as did its ease of disassembly.

Teardown highlights:

  • The 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor is quite speedy. We had a Motorola Droid on-hand for comparison, and it seemed to us that everything went a bit more smoothly on the Nexus One — at least before we took it apart.
  • The unbelievably easy task of removing the plastic rear cover gives access to the replaceable battery. Hey Apple, take notes!
  • This phone is very nicely put together and has no visible screws. Yet, we were able to remove the battery cover, unscrew three screws, and take off the battery holder frame. Depending on the part, the phone can certainly be user-serviceable.
  • It’s quite a colorful phone on the inside. HTC/Google was nice enough to include greens, yellows, oranges, dark grays, and all sorts of other colors inside the device.
  • Nexus One chip winners include Qualcomm (QCOM), Broadcom (BRCM), Skyworks (SWKS), Texas Instruments (TXN), Samsung, Synaptics (SYNA), Atmel (ATML), and Audience.
  • The 3.7-inch (diagonal) WVGA AMOLED touchscreen is made by Samsung, the same screen supplier as for Microsoft’s Zune HD.
  • Qualcomm is certainly the chip winner for the Nexus One, having three of the largest-profile chips in the device: processor, power management chip, and RF transceiver.
  • The 802.11n capability gives the Nexus an advantage over the iPhone 3GS, which only has 802.11g. The Broadcom BCM4329 chip in the Nexus is the same chip found in Apple’s newest (3rd generation) iPod touch, and also has Bluetooth and FM transceiver functionality.
Taking out the logic board

Taking out the logic board

Complete disassembly

Complete disassembly

Chumby One Teardown

December 17, 2009 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

We thought we’d follow through on our open source repair guide announcement by taking apart some open source hardware. We got our hands on a Chumby One and put it under the knife!

Chumby industries has thrown down a gauntlet to other hardware manufacturers by giving hardware hackers a tremendous amount of freedom, and by making the Chumby One quite easy to take apart.

What’s impressive is that they managed to provide unprecedented freedom AND deliver a nicely designed and executed product.

Check out the video slideshow of the teardown!

Teardown highlights:

  • Notable components found inside the Chumby One include:
    • Freescale i.MX233 CPU, running at 454 MHz
    • MMA7455 3-axis accelerometer
    • Hynix 923E 64MB DDR DRAM
    • QN8005B FM Radio chip
    • An inscription that reads “with love, bunnie”
  • The MicroSD socket contains a 2GB Kingston MicroSD firmware card, which can easily be pulled out once the device is opened. Users can load custom firmware and upgrade Chumby One’s storage in a snap.
  • There are plenty of ventilation holes in the top and rear outer cases. Such a Swiss cheese case design allows the Chumby to stay cool without the need for a fan.
  • Volume control commands are sent via a rotary encoder that translates angular degrees of rotation into binary code recognized by the board.
  • The wireless card is attached to a small interconnect board, converting the four-pin connector found on the logic board into the USB connector used by the wireless card. This could potentially mean hacking/upgrading the Chumby to 802.11n in the future, were you able to find a USB Wi-Fi card of similar size.
  • You can also unplug the USB Wi-Fi card and plug in regular ethernet using a USB-to-ethernet dongle.
  • The 2W mono speaker is mounted onto a resonance box which occupies precious interior space, which could be used to stuff more awesome hacking stuff into the Chumby. Alternatively, it could be used as a secret stash for narcotics.
Final Layout

Final Layout

Droid Teardown Contest Winner

November 11, 2009 Hardware, Teardowns — Miro

Our war with the Droid is over, and we’ve won! A bounty hunter / iFixit user by the name of Dr. Wreck stepped up to to plate, ripped apart a Droid, and posted his teardown on our site.

The phone was quite a handful to take apart, having a multitude of hidden screws and latches. Interestingly enough, the sliding mechanism consisted of two rails that were imbedded within the screen portion of the device, providing a simple and effective method to slide out the keyboard. Sadly, no aliens or hidden messages to Princess Leia were found inside.

We’ve awarded Dr. Wreck $300 cold hard cash for his valiant effort. One Droid had to be sacrificed for the cause, and we’re glad it wasn’t ours (for once at least).

Sony Contest: 19 New Teardowns

October 28, 2009 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

Our Sony teardown contest is complete, and we’re ready to announce the winners!

Most Creative Sony Teardown: TR-63 Transistor Radio

Most Creative Sony Teardown: TR-63 Transistor Radio

We received 19 different entries for the contest, featuring all sorts of Sony products:

The Sony Playstation 3 teardown was voted Best Overall. Author karasumachitose wins a PS3 Slim for a thorough walkthrough of how to get inside the PS3!

The Sony TR-63 Transistor Radio teardown was voted Most Creative. Author bac wins a PSP Go! This was our favorite teardown. The photos inside this historic piece of technology are absolutely stellar.

Best Overall Sony Teardown: PlayStation 3

Best Overall Sony Teardown: PlayStation 3

The judges were six members of the Wired editorial staff:

The judges labored for hours trying to pick the best teardowns. We thank them kindly for donating their time and for partnering with us for this contest. We loved the variety of teardowns you contributed. A good portion of them included tidbits on repair or reassembly, giving the world a useful resource, in addition to the pretty pictures. Good job to everyone who participated!

Want to create a teardown of your own? Get started!

27″ iMac Teardown

October 22, 2009 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Kyle Wiens
We spared no expense to bring you internal photos of Apple’s latest and greatest. We have in our studio, in pieces, the biggest iMac money can buy:
http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iMac-Intel-27-Inch/1236/1
Lightning-quick teardown slideshow:
XXXX
Highlights:
* The power supply puts out 25.8 amps at 12 volts, for a total output of 310 watts (365W input, 85% efficiency). That’s the biggest power supply we’ve seen in an iMac.
* The GPU and CPU are quite far apart, and they have separate heat sinks leading to opposite sides of the computer. This rather complex feat of thermal engineering allowed Apple to upgrade the iMac to use Intel’s desktop line of processors.
* The lack of Blue-ray support in this iMac is a bag of hurt. Fortunately, this is a drop-in replacement: http://www.panasonic.com/industrial/computer/storage/optical/models/UJ-135A.asp (Of course, until Apple releases software support, you’ll still have to boot into Windows to play movies.)
* There is a Wi-Fi antenna leading into the Apple logo on the rear of the iMac. Aside from the ports, this is the only spot on the rear of the machine that isn’t solid Aluminum. This is quite clever, and while it seems like the obvious place to put it, we’ve never seen Apple do this before.
* This thing is BIG. The desktop processor / GPU need three large fans and two huge heatsinks to dissipate heat.
* The new iMac’s edge-to-edge glass can slide around. After upgrading the RAM in our iMac, we noticed the glass was slightly out of alignment on one side. You can push it back into place by hand.
* There’s no direct line from the external Mini DisplayPort connector to the LCD. The signal will need to go through the logic board, so you’ll need to have your iMac powered on if you want to display from an external video source.
* Our 3.06 GHz E7600 Core 2 Duo processor is a LGA 775 Socket T CPU. There are some Core 2 Quad chips that use the same socket, but we don’t know if they would work. The i5 and i7 quad-cores included in the high-end 27″ iMac use a different socket, LGA 1156 Socket H.
Overall Photo
http://s1.guide-images.ifixit.com/igi/UZQRO2ARtsvgaDkP.huge
No screen
http://s1.guide-images.ifixit.com/igi/TLfSqZEZWnTwKylR.huge
Removing logic board
http://s1.guide-images.ifixit.com/igi/avNjZSRYK3eaWBm4.huge
Logic board w/2 heat sinks
http://s1.guide-images.ifixit.com/igi/ktLKDUFPyGmyPPQJ.huge
As always, I’m available for questions or interviews. You are welcome to use up to three photos in your story, as well as the video embed.
Cheers,
-Kyle Wiens
iFixit CEO
P.S. Check out this user-submitted Sony transistor radio teardown: http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Sony-TR-63-Transistor-Radio/1219/1 Retro cool!

We spared no expense to bring you internal photos of Apple’s latest and greatest. We have completely dissected the biggest iMac money can buy. We also made a super-fast YouTube video slideshow, replete with banjo music, for your enjoyment.

Highlights:

  • The power supply puts out 25.8 amps at 12 volts, for a total output of 310 watts (365W input, 85% efficiency). That’s the biggest power supply we’ve seen in an iMac.
  • The GPU and CPU are quite far apart, and they have separate heat sinks leading to opposite sides of the computer. This rather complex feat of thermal engineering allowed Apple to upgrade the iMac to use Intel’s desktop line of processors.
  • The lack of Blu-ray support in this iMac is a bag of hurt. Fortunately, there is a drop-in replacement. (Of course, until Apple releases software support, you’ll still have to boot into Windows to play movies.)
  • There is a Wi-Fi antenna leading into the Apple logo on the rear of the iMac. Aside from the ports, this is the only spot on the rear of the machine that isn’t solid Aluminum. This is quite a clever design, and while it’s an obvious place to put it, we’ve never seen Apple do this before.

  • This thing is BIG. The desktop processor / GPU need three large fans and two huge heatsinks to dissipate heat.
  • The new iMac’s edge-to-edge glass can slide around. After upgrading the RAM in our iMac, we noticed the glass was slightly out of alignment on one side. You can push it back into place by hand.
  • There’s no direct line from the external Mini DisplayPort connector to the LCD. The signal will need to go through the logic board, so you’ll need to have your iMac powered on if you want to display from an external video source.
  • The 3.06 GHz E7600 Core 2 Duo processor is a LGA 775 Socket T CPU. There are some Core 2 Quad chips that use the same socket, but we don’t know if they would work. The i5 and i7 quad-cores included in the high-end 27″ iMac use a different socket, LGA 1156 Socket H.

Magic Mouse Teardown

October 21, 2009 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Kyle Wiens

We took apart the new Magic Mouse. We didn’t find any fairy dust inside, just a lot of capacitive sensors.

We took the opportunity to try a new technique with our photos. Make sure you click the ‘view as slideshow’ link on the teardown, or install CoolIris. (All of our guides are CoolIris enabled so you can see them full-screen.

Highlights:

  • From the Apple logo up, the entire surface of the mouse is covered with capitative touch sensors.
  • The mouse uses a Broadcom BCM2042 Advanced Wireless Keyboard/Mouse Bluetooth Chip.
  • There’s not much Aluminum in the mouse; we weighed just 10 grams. That’s compared to 37 grams of plastic and 47 grams of batteries. Nearly half the mouse’s weight comes from the two AA batteries.
  • We were really expecting it to pop open when we said ‘Open Saskatchewan!’ Alas, the mouse’s magic was too arcane for our humble wizards.

MacBook Unibody Teardown

October 20, 2009 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

After three and a half years, the venerable plastic MacBook finally received a makeover — and we took it apart to sneak a peek inside. Apple has added an LED display, upgraded processor speed, added curves, increased battery life, and made things more fun to disassemble by using a combination of Phillips, tri-wing, and Torx screws.

Unfortunately, it’s not all positive news. Apple has also quietly removed the FireWire port, IR port, and the useful external battery indicator.

We also made a YouTube video slideshow of the teardown for everyone to enjoy.

Interesting tidbits from the teardown:

  • The Bluetooth antenna has been relocated to the display assembly. This is likely an attempt to improve the MacBook’s notoriously dismal Bluetooth range. On previous MacBooks the Bluetooth antenna was located above the optical drive.
  • The battery is 60 watt-hours, the same capacity as the 13″ MacBook Pro. The previous plastic MacBooks featured a 55 watt-hour battery and claimed a 5-hour run time. With this machine, Apple has added 5 watt-hours of battery capacity and two hours of claimed run time.
  • The new MacBook’s battery boasts a power-to-weight ratio that’s 23.5% better than its predecessor.
  • Some disassembly is required to replace the battery, which is readily accessible by ordinary users with the right tools.
  • Apple removed the IR port for a remote control. As far as we know, that makes this MacBook the only currently-shipping Apple laptop that doesn’t support a remote.
  • FireWire is gone! If you need FireWire, only a MacBook Pro will do.

The final layout

By the way, there’s still a week left in our Sony Teardown contest. To win, take apart anything made by Sony, take photos, and use our editor to post a teardown.

Two lucky people will win a Sony PS3 Slim and a PSP Go!

Blendtec Total Blender Teardown

October 13, 2009 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

We partnered with Blendtec to bring you an extra-special teardown today: the complete disassembly of a Blendtec Total Blender! This is the same model that is featured in their famous (infamous?) “Will it Blend?” viral videos. We’re excited to show you exactly what makes the Blendtec blend, so we made a video of the result as well!

Teardown highlights:

* The shaft is made entirely of metal. Other blenders use plastic shafts as a safety mechanism. If the blade gets stuck, the blade/motor connection will sever, as the plastic will either break or melt. The Blendtec blender relies on electronics instead. Should things get out of hand, a sensor will shut off the motor.

* The speed sensor uses inductive pickup to tell the control circuitry how fast the shaft is spinning. This is the same mechanism used by an electric guitar to pick up string vibrations.

* Blendtec informed us that the Total Blender includes what they call a “hammer-fire” system. The main microprocessor will trigger this system if it detects that the blade stopped spinning. The processor will send a series of strong electric pulses to the motor to free the blades from the obstruction. If that fails, it will shut off the motor to prevent any damage.

* We did not reassemble the blender to see if worked. 13 Amps, spinning at 28,000 RPM (that’s a 270 MPH blade tip speed) on a slightly-unbalanced shaft just strikes us as a bad idea!

Nikon Coolpix S1000pj Teardown

October 6, 2009 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

We were quite intrigued when we heard of the Nikon Coolpix S1000pj digital camera/projector. We wondered how Nikon packaged everything into this little device, so we decided to do what we do best — tear it apart and analyze it!

We also made a video of the teardown. Feel free to to check it out on YouTube!

Interesting stuff we found:

  • A room has to be quite dark to view the projector’s image properly. We expected as much given the size of the projector, but the image quality is mediocre at best. Anything that’s projected looks like it was shot in the ’70s.
  • Surprisingly, both the front and rear outer cases are machined out of aluminum. It’s quite a solid camera.
  • Like most compact digital cameras with no externally telescopic lenses, the S1000pj’s internal zoom lenses move perpendicular to the front face.
  • Light has to travel through at least four glass lenses until it shines on the CCD sensor. What a journey!
  • Disassembling this camera is not for the faint of heart — Nikon definitely did not intend this device to be user serviceable. We had to de-solder a bunch of components including the camera cover actuator, projector LED, and flash bulb.
  • Light for projecting images is supplied by a very powerful LED that even has its own heat sink to conduct heat to the aluminum front panel.
Final layout

Final layout

If you have any questions, please leave us a comment on the teardown!

PSP Go in bits and pieces

October 1, 2009 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

Opening the PSP Go

Opening the PSP Go

The new PSP Go was just released today, but we’ve already torn it apart to see what’s inside.

Here are some highlights from the teardown:

  • The battery is user replaceable! All that stands between you is seven screws and the careful peeling of the Warranty Void sticker. You don’t even need a soldering iron — the battery has its own connector to the logic board.
  • The Warranty Void sticker will only rear its ugly face (show a “VOID VOID” message) if it’s peeled back more than necessary. Just slide an iPod opening tool between battery and sticker and work gently side-to-side until the battery is free from the sticker.
  • Unfortunately, Sony still uses only an 802.11b chip for wireless internet connectivity. This perhaps did not matter as much in the past. Now that there’s no UMD slot, people will have to rely on an outdated Wi-Fi chip to get content onto the PSP Go.
  • The majority of chips are covered by EMI (electromagnetic interference) shields. We had to remove a total of five shields to access the chips (thankfully, they were not soldered onto the board). By comparison, the 3rd Generation iPod touch has only one EMI shield.
PSP Go logic board

PSP Go logic board

Final layout

Final layout