Tools Featured in this Teardown

Introduction

This week, Google's ever-expanding crusade to deliver all your Internet continued with the release of two media streaming dongles, the Chromecast 2015 and Chromecast Audio. So, today we're bringing you two teardowns for the price of one! With a fresh look and beefed-up hardware, this duo promises to stream through any Netflix binge or all-night dance marathon you can throw at it. Let's see how they do it.

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This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your Chromecast 2015, use our service manual.

Before we cast away this dongle's shiny new housing, let's see what Google has to say about it:
  • Before we cast away this dongle's shiny new housing, let's see what Google has to say about it:

    • Dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac

    • Multidirectional antenna array

    • USB-powered

    • 1080p HDMI output

  • Apparently, Google chose to withhold the specs on the magnet in the HDMI plug housing. We'll take their silence to mean something awesome is going on.

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Before diving in, we line up the original Chromecast next to its new siblings—Chromecast 2015 in the center, and a hockey puck Chromecast Audio on the right. The video models are functionally very similar, sharing the same HDMI output, reset button, and Micro-USB power port, as well as a single LED.
  • Before diving in, we line up the original Chromecast next to its new siblings—Chromecast 2015 in the center, and a hockey puck Chromecast Audio on the right.

  • The video models are functionally very similar, sharing the same HDMI output, reset button, and Micro-USB power port, as well as a single LED.

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It's not burning a hole in your display—that orange halo is backscatter from the crazy "coral" colored case. Little coral-flavored photons are flying everywhere. The previous Chromecast's cheeky model number appears to have given way to something more conventional: NC2-6A5. Is there a pop culture reference we're missing here? ...Anyone? ...Anyone?
  • It's not burning a hole in your display—that orange halo is backscatter from the crazy "coral" colored case. Little coral-flavored photons are flying everywhere.

  • The previous Chromecast's cheeky model number appears to have given way to something more conventional: NC2-6A5. Is there a pop culture reference we're missing here? ...Anyone? ...Anyone?

    • Alert reader Commodore Bob points out that NC2 could be read as NCC, and 6A5 in hexadecimal converts to 1701. As you all know, NCC-1701 is the registry number of the USS Enterprise.

  • According to Google, the rubbery new HDMI cable will reduce Wi-Fi interference from nearby EMF sources, by putting some extra distance between the dongle and your TV.

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Unlike its first iteration, the Chromecast 2015 proves to be rather tricky to open. Around the rim of the casing sits a small ring of surprisingly stubborn adhesive. It took a fair bit of effort to separate the two pieces with our trusty pry tools. After plenty of prodding and prying, the top cover finally comes free—giving us a preliminary peek at the new Chromecast, in all its tiny glory.
  • Unlike its first iteration, the Chromecast 2015 proves to be rather tricky to open.

    • Around the rim of the casing sits a small ring of surprisingly stubborn adhesive. It took a fair bit of effort to separate the two pieces with our trusty pry tools.

  • After plenty of prodding and prying, the top cover finally comes free—giving us a preliminary peek at the new Chromecast, in all its tiny glory.

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Having blown the lid off the new Chromecast, we encounter three T-5 screws securing the EMI shield and motherboard to the bottom case. We spudger up the motherboard, only to find it held in place by... bubble gum? On closer inspection that's actually thermal paste—a lot of it.
  • Having blown the lid off the new Chromecast, we encounter three T-5 screws securing the EMI shield and motherboard to the bottom case.

  • We spudger up the motherboard, only to find it held in place by... bubble gum?

    • On closer inspection that's actually thermal paste—a lot of it.

    • Hopefully that means this Chromecast won't have the overheating issues that plagued the original.

  • Those darker areas around the edge of the board are integrated dual-band PIFA antennas. Although this technology is similar to that used in the original Chromecast, this version actually has an adaptive three-antenna array to select the best signal.

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Lifting away our first EMI shield reveals more Hubba Bubba thermal paste! And even more underneath the second EMI shield. That's three—count 'em, three—gum-sized dollops of thermal paste, in a device roughly the size of a silver dollar. The HDMI cable sports a super-durable design, what with its tough rubbery exterior, heavily-soldered connector, and bolted-down connector bracket.
  • Lifting away our first EMI shield reveals more Hubba Bubba thermal paste!

    • And even more underneath the second EMI shield. That's three—count 'em, three—gum-sized dollops of thermal paste, in a device roughly the size of a silver dollar.

  • The HDMI cable sports a super-durable design, what with its tough rubbery exterior, heavily-soldered connector, and bolted-down connector bracket.

    • If you're the type of person who likes to carry things around by their cables, you're probably safe in this instance.

  • After we pry up the bracket, the HDMI cable flies away free—leaving just the motherboard bits of the device.

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With the pesky plastic set aside, we turn our attention to the heart of this device: Silicon! Marvell Avastar 88W8887 VHT WLAN, Bluetooth, NFC and FM Receiver
  • With the pesky plastic set aside, we turn our attention to the heart of this device: Silicon!

    • Marvell Avastar 88W8887 VHT WLAN, Bluetooth, NFC and FM Receiver

    • Samsung K4B4G1646D-BY 4 Gb DDR3L SDRAM

  • And on the reverse...

    • Marvell Armada 88DE3006 1500 Mini Plus dual-core ARM Cortex-A7 media processor

    • Toshiba TC58NVG1S3HBAI6 2 Gb NAND Flash Memory

    • MRVL 21AA3 521GDT—likely Marvell Semiconductor DC-DC regulator

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Can't get enough teardown? Neither can we! With one dongle deftly dispatched, we can now focus on its audio-only counterpart: model RUX-J42. Specs on the Chromecast Audio:
  • Can't get enough teardown? Neither can we! With one dongle deftly dispatched, we can now focus on its audio-only counterpart: model RUX-J42.

  • Specs on the Chromecast Audio:

    • Dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac

    • Multidirectional antenna array

    • USB-powered

    • Combination 3.5 mm and mini-TOSLINK socket

    • Doubles as handy backup puck for regulation air hockey tables

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Cracking open the Chromecast Audio gives us our first face-to-face with some familiar-looking hardware. Just as in the video-streaming variant, only three Torx screws stand in the way of removing the motherboard. Just as in the video-streaming variant, only three Torx screws stand in the way of removing the motherboard.
  • Cracking open the Chromecast Audio gives us our first face-to-face with some familiar-looking hardware.

  • Just as in the video-streaming variant, only three Torx screws stand in the way of removing the motherboard.

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Although the Chromecast 2015 and Audio have some external differences, they're very similar internally—right down to the gobs of baby blue thermal paste. In addition to the heat sink, both models also house two functional plastic bits in the lower case: a light guide for the LED indicator light, and a nifty lil' reset button. In addition to the heat sink, both models also house two functional plastic bits in the lower case: a light guide for the LED indicator light, and a nifty lil' reset button.
  • Although the Chromecast 2015 and Audio have some external differences, they're very similar internally—right down to the gobs of baby blue thermal paste.

  • In addition to the heat sink, both models also house two functional plastic bits in the lower case: a light guide for the LED indicator light, and a nifty lil' reset button.

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We're finally in deep enough to see some differences between these two—some hardware components are the same as in the HDMI version, although we spy a couple Audio-specific ICs as well: Marvell Avastar 88W8887 VHT WLAN, Bluetooth, NFC and FM Receiver
  • We're finally in deep enough to see some differences between these two—some hardware components are the same as in the HDMI version, although we spy a couple Audio-specific ICs as well:

  • On the reverse:

    • Marvell Armada 88DE3006 1500 Mini Plus dual-core ARM Cortex-A7 media processor

    • Toshiba TC58NVG1S3HBAI6 2 Gb NAND Flash Memory

    • Texas Instruments DRV632 DirectPath 2-VRMS pop-free stereo line driver

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We've arrived at the conclusion of our double feature teardown—and, once again, we've decided not to assign a repairability score to either of the 2015 Chromecasts.
  • We've arrived at the conclusion of our double feature teardown—and, once again, we've decided not to assign a repairability score to either of the 2015 Chromecasts.

    • Ultimately any device like those in the Chromecast family will be the same story—a board in a box. There is very little to repair in the event of an internal failure.

  • That said, we absolutely love the internally detachable HDMI cable. It adds longevity to the 2015 Chromecast by addressing what is likely to be the most common problem—a damaged plug or loose HDMI connection.

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30 Comments

which hdmi version it has?

Enrico Cammarata - Reply

it should support HDMI 2.0

Buddhika Mahesh -

Wait... 2 gigabits of storage? That translates to 256 MB. Which would be a decrease from 2 GB of storage from the previous model.

Same thing for the RAM. The video model only has 4 gigabits of RAM? That translates to 512 MB of RAM, the same as the previous model.

Kevin Liebler - Reply

Its gigabyte bud. 1GB=1024MB

Alex -

Yes sir, that is correct. I double checked and referenced our old Chromecast teardown and it seems there was a major decrease in flash memory and the RAM has stayed the same.

All of the chip specifications were in Gb, just like the 2013 Chromecast.

Andrew W. -

Andrew confirms that this is correct but what I'm most curious about, if this doesn't affect the performance, why should we care?

ingolfsson -

Alex its gigaBIT. As there are 8 bits to a byte 1 Gigabit = 1/8th of a Gigabyte. So 2 Gigabits is 2/8th or 1/4 of a Gigabyte. If my maths holds up thats probably around 256 megabytes. :) (Goes to check maths again with wikipedia....)

Moore52 - Reply

Enterprise reference:

nc2 = ncc

6a5 (Hex) = 1701 (Deci)

Commadore Bob - Reply

That's brilliant! Love it. We've added it to the teardown :)

Jeff Suovanen -

Beat me to it! This thing really is a spitting image of the saucer portion of the Enterprise. I may 3d print myself the rest of the craft to glue onto the Chromecast I got yesterday!

Lampshade -

Commodore Bob thank you, you beat me to it by about 45 minutes or the time it takes for me to walk my dog, then read this article and reference the OG chromecast iFixit teardown.

Although I did barely figure out the NC²=NCC, I did not figure out the hex. Great job, Commodore Bob!

Adam -

What is the bit of "metal" on the HDMI connector/dongle end? Any purpose?

transendre - Reply

I think you're just seeing the little magnetic strip that sticks the plug to the main enclosure when the cord is folded over.

Jeff Suovanen -

So.. It's NCC-1701.

What about the audio's RUX-J42?

Nelson Chen - Reply

RUX-J42 =

"R U eXperienced", and J-42 was the internal code for Midnight Lightning, a posthumous release from James Marshall Hendrix (aka. Jimi Hendrix). Looks to be a direct Hendrix reference.

magick72 -

It would be helpful if ifixit would use a spectrum analyzer to figure out what speed the DDR and the CPU were running at, since these numbers are set by the software.

Gregory Mack - Reply

How much would all the components cost for a DIY Chromecast 2 project?

Zubin Pahuja - Reply

You wouldn't be able to buy the IC's in tiny amounts, you would need to order at least a couple thousand, and then they would still be very expensive. Also, you probably wouldn't be able to solder them onto a PCB without a soldering oven. So you might just as well buy a thousand Chromecasts from Google.

sydcul -

Comparison between Chromecast 2015 (2nd gen) and 2013 (1st gen) : https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1...

cviniciusm - Reply

Does anyone know who makes the combination 3.5mm audio and mini-toslink jack?

Kurt Thomas - Reply

That's not just a "cable", that would require an ADC, because Toslink is optical (and thus digital), and 3.5mm is analog. Google it.

sydcul -

@sydcul He wasn't asking about cables. He was asking about the headphone jack, which supports both 3.5mm and mini-TOSLINK output.

Ruiz -

Dang it Google. Add a mic so I can talk to Google Home from any room.

leekeric - Reply

That would be AWESOME!

Some Guy -

when teardown Chromecast Ultra? what is the soc?

Gabriele De Vitis - Reply

I need both toslink and analog at the same time. Can i simply solder L, R and GND to the connector pins to get the analog signal ( I guess at three of the five pins on the sides of the connector), and use a regular toslink cable to get the optical signal?

KrAn - Reply

Has anyone tried to take i2s signal before the Akm4430 DAC and connect it to hi-fi DAC?

What is the mclk frequency?

allan olsen - Reply

My ChromeCast 2 keeps overheating & restarting while steaming video content.

I was thinking of opening the device up as shown here & removing that thermal paste that they use & adding this instead; any feedback?

Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LT0ZWJE/ref...

Jonathan David Chavez - Reply

My Chrome cast Audio was running hot so I strapped it too a CPU heatsink (no fan) with a cable tie. Now it gets warm but only just. No need for compound between the bottom of the puck and heatsink. The plastic case seems too transfer heat OK.

Adrian Parker -

I have a CC 2 that just died, no lights and gets warm. If I plug it in in the USB volt-amp monitor, it just dies everytime it gets power. I have yet to open and see if there's any shorted component *hopefully mlcc or protection diode of some sort*. Any previous experience you may have would be greatly appreciated.

lektrokits - Reply

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