Introduction

Google is looking to bring the robot assistants of the future to the world today. Equipped with Google Assistant, the Google Home is raring to work with smart home devices, support Google services, and answer your everyday questions. Does it have what it takes to fulfill your futuristic fantasies and smart home dreams? Time to tear down the house Home!

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This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your Google Home, use our service manual.

Image 1/3: High excursion speaker with 2” driver + dual 2” passive radiators Image 2/3: Far-field microphones Image 3/3: Customizable base
  • Ok, Google. Let's look at your Home's specifications:

    • High excursion speaker with 2” driver + dual 2” passive radiators

    • Far-field microphones

    • Customizable base

    • 802.11ac (2.4GHz/5Ghz) Wi-Fi

    • "Touch surface" controls

  • Armed with some X-ray reconnaissance from Creative Electron, we stand ready to begin this Home invasion.

The shield on the back of the motherboard looks like a little house in this picture... intentional "home" easter egg?

kevlargibs - Reply

Image 1/3: Handy, in case you want some privacy from the Google overmind... Image 2/3: The foot features the A/C power port, model number, and various certifications. Image 3/3: With a diameter of 3.79 inches and a height of 5.62 inches, this rounder, gentler, speaker comes in just over half  the height of the [https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Amazon+Echo+Teardown/33953#s79306| Amazon Echo| new_window=true].
  • No neat smell from this air freshener unit (so far), but we do find a "standby" button for Home's microphones, along with a status LED.

    • Handy, in case you want some privacy from the Google overmind...

  • The foot features the A/C power port, model number, and various certifications.

  • With a diameter of 3.79 inches and a height of 5.62 inches, this rounder, gentler, speaker comes in just over half the height of the Amazon Echo.

Your dimensions are totally wrong. The GH is about 3.5" in diameter, and 5.5" tall.

Selden Deemer - Reply

We revisited this step after seeing your comment and noticed that we worded this step poorly. Thank you for the heads up! We have since gone in and edited. For those that are curious, here are the specs from Google.

Scott Havard -

I'm not sure "charging port" is appropriate here since there is no battery inside to charge.

Charles Pickering - Reply

Good catch! We updated the wording there to make it more accurate. Thanks :)

Jeff Suovanen -

Image 1/3: Removing the base gives us our first look at that high-excursion speaker and a hidden micro-USB debug/programming port. Image 2/3: To pull out the four Torx screws hiding deep in the speaker recess, we pull out our [https://www.ifixit.com/Store/Tools/Pro-Tech-Screwdriver-Set/IF145-239|set of fixed-blade screwdrivers|new_window=true] for a little extra reach. Image 3/3: Once they're out, we pop the top. The lid separates with ease, and finally the capsule is open.
  • Perhaps to set it apart from Amazon's limited color options (there're only two) for the Echo, the Google Home comes with a magnetically attached removable base, that you can swap out for a new color.

  • Removing the base gives us our first look at that high-excursion speaker and a hidden micro-USB debug/programming port.

  • To pull out the four Torx screws hiding deep in the speaker recess, we pull out our set of fixed-blade screwdrivers for a little extra reach.

    • Once they're out, we pop the top. The lid separates with ease, and finally the capsule is open.

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Image 1/2: After [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMCZqKowlzM|sending out|new_window=true] a few test signals, we move on to disconnect a pesky interconnect cable. Image 2/2: This cable runs from motherboard up to a board tucked in the top of the lid, probably home to a fancy microphone and LED array.
  • Here we see the Home's tiny telegraph machine. Just kidding. Its an arm that goes between the mute button and its switch on the board, to give it just the right amount of springy resistance.

  • After sending out a few test signals, we move on to disconnect a pesky interconnect cable.

    • This cable runs from motherboard up to a board tucked in the top of the lid, probably home to a fancy microphone and LED array.

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  • We turn up the heat on this teardown and bust out some enhanced interrogation tools—an iOpener and dental pick to be exact.

  • There is some seriously serious adhesive holding this board to the upper case.

  • With a final yank (and a healthy dose of isopropyl alcohol to dissolve the oodles of glue), the LED board comes free to reveal the source of our struggle: a ton of adhesive tape.

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Image 1/3: This [http://www.mouser.com/ds/2/42/gpio_module_datasheet-768579.pdf|new_window=true|round green grid] is half of an array of capacitors—with the other half buried in another, deeper PCB layer. By measuring the total capacitance of each row and column, the controller can detect when—and pinpoint where—your finger is modifying the capacity of the grid through capacitative coupling. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitive_sensing|new_window=true|Science]! Image 2/3: This side of the board also hosts an array of 12 status LEDs. Image 3/3: On the backside we find some chips:
  • Here's the source of our board removal strife: A layer of super sticky adhesive, keeping the capacitive board in contact with the plastic upper case.

  • This round green grid is half of an array of capacitors—with the other half buried in another, deeper PCB layer. By measuring the total capacitance of each row and column, the controller can detect when—and pinpoint where—your finger is modifying the capacity of the grid through capacitative coupling. Science!

    • This side of the board also hosts an array of 12 status LEDs.

  • On the backside we find some chips:

What's the QR code say?

Alex - Reply

It says QCM650-00987-010A6AD02571. It appears to be the number of the board silk screened at approximatly 2:00 on the board photo.

Jeff Hager - Reply

Image 1/3: In addition to its role as a gatekeeper, this O-ring probably also functions as a vibration dampener. Image 2/3: This seems a more repair-friendly solution than the layer of stuck-down fabric we [https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Amazon+Echo+Teardown/33953#s79316|sliced off the Echo|new_window=true]. Image 3/3: We pry open the casing and reveal exciting green fields of magic and mystery:
  • The stretchy o-ring seems to be the key to delving even deeper inside this smart speaker.

    • In addition to its role as a gatekeeper, this O-ring probably also functions as a vibration dampener.

    • This seems a more repair-friendly solution than the layer of stuck-down fabric we sliced off the Echo.

  • We pry open the casing and reveal exciting green fields of magic and mystery:

    • The motherboard!

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Image 1/2: Marvell [http://www.marvell.com/multimedia-solutions/armada-1500-mini-plus/|88DE3006|new_window=true] Armada 1500 Mini Plus dual-core [http://www.arm.com/products/processors/cortex-a/cortex-a7.php|ARM Cortex-A7|new_window=true] media processor Image 2/2: Toshiba [http://toshiba.semicon-storage.com/us/product/memory/nand-flash/detail.TC58NVG1S3HBAI6.html|TC58NVG1S3HBA16|new_window=true] 256 MB NAND flash
  • We're having déjà vu with these chips, as most of them (CPU, flash, and RAM) made an appearance in last year's Chromecast:

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Image 1/3: Closer inspection reveals: yet more mystery!The cable sports four contact points. Perhaps more testing points? Image 2/3: Alternate (totally made up) theories: Image 3/3: Recognizes the color of the base, so the Home can coordinate its outfits better.
  • The footy bit that holds the magnets for the bottom case also has a mystery cable locked inside it.

  • Closer inspection reveals: yet more mystery!The cable sports four contact points. Perhaps more testing points?

  • Alternate (totally made up) theories:

    • Recognizes the color of the base, so the Home can coordinate its outfits better.

    • Vestigial charging mechanism. (Maybe the Home's architects intended it be a portable device?)

    • Abandoned easter egg dungeon level for teardown engineers.

Maybe a serial port connector to fix the firmware, when it has a soft-brick, or something like that...

Fabricio Biazzotto - Reply

It has a Micro-USB port for debuging

Ethan Lyons - Reply

Wireless charging?

pharbio - Reply

I would guess a serial or USB port that the hardware manufacturer uses for initial programming; probably special base stations in the factory they plonk these things down on before applying that sticker to the bottom or the colored base. Though it's a bit perplexing since the USB port is accessible with the colored base removed.

Two of the contacts are connected to each other (outer two) through conductive material below the film and share thicker planes/copper to the ribbon connector that goes to the motherboard. I highly suspect that the outer two are electrical ground connectors, designed to provide some degree of shielding for the two lines in the center, which are likely differentially paired signals. This would suggest the connector is half duplex serial (as USB has a 5V, D+, D-, and GND connector).

I'm almost tempted to break out an ohmmeter and try and figure out where those signals go on the board.

Letter13 - Reply

That's a USB debug port for Firmware upgrade and ATE. The differential paired trace in the picture can tell, 99.99%, it is the D+,D-.

Francis - Reply

Maybe there's a possibility of future connectivity with peripherals of some sort for expansion via Special USB docks

Paul Ebrey - Reply

UART board for firmware loading and debugging

Andy Church - Reply

Image 1/3: ....pluck out the driver... Image 2/3: and there she be! Image 3/3: Looks like the Home is powered by a Peerless PLS-50N25AL07-04, likely very similar to the [http://www.tymphany.com/peerless/driver-search-results/driver-detail/?id=682|PLS-50N25AL01-08|new_window=true].
  • We pull the speaker casing apart into its two halves....

  • ....pluck out the driver...

  • and there she be!

  • Looks like the Home is powered by a Peerless PLS-50N25AL07-04, likely very similar to the PLS-50N25AL01-08.

    • But, from our multimetering, and reading of that final "-04", it looks to be a 4 ohm version.

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Image 1/3: Thanks again to [http://www.creativeelectron.com|Creative Electron|new_window=true], our partner in revelation, for the X-ray imagery! Image 2/3: Thanks again to [http://www.creativeelectron.com|Creative Electron|new_window=true], our partner in revelation, for the X-ray imagery! Image 3/3: Thanks again to [http://www.creativeelectron.com|Creative Electron|new_window=true], our partner in revelation, for the X-ray imagery!
  • Here's all of Google Home's guts and glory, laid out for your gadget-loving self.

  • Thanks again to Creative Electron, our partner in revelation, for the X-ray imagery!

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Final Thoughts
  • Minimal moving parts means there are minimal points of failure.
  • Only standard screws and connectors are used throughout the device.
  • Many components are modular and can be replaced individually.
  • The DC-in port is soldered to the motherboard, but is unlikely to experience much wear, considering the device stays plugged in.
  • The touch board is strongly adhered to the upper case.
Repairability Score
8
Repairability 8 out of 10
(10 is easiest to repair)

37 Comments

Does it have GPS?

Dave Sullivan - Reply

No, that's why it asks you to input your address during the setup process.

izzy -

Why would a stationary, internet-connected device have a GPS receiver?!

Rodney McKay -

Amazon advertises that in the Echo, the mute button uses analog electronics to disconnect the microphone so that it's impossible for a software hack to ignore the mute button. Can you tell if this is the case with Google Home?

Scott Miller - Reply

Great question! I'd also be interested to know this.

Carl Dean -

Im also interested in this question

Jyindo Tes Luerra -

+1 to the question

Konstantin Kruglov -

Can you point to where this is advertised? I'm very curious how this works as the button does not feel like it's toggling anything.

David Law -

I don't think bluetooth is necessary because I can cast to Google Home from the Home app.

It's much better than Bluetooth .

Thanh Trinh-Quang -

Ditto! - Let the imbecile... ummm umbilical cord be cut.

cowboybutler - Reply

The connection in the foot is maybe for an optional battery pack like the Heos? So you can carry it outside or around the house?

Mike Kedl - Reply

No line out? Like the first gen Echo.

Reza Pourzia - Reply

This was the one thing that really surprised me.

emanuvaderland -

But unlike the Echo, the Home can send (well, control) audio to a Chromecast Audio (or two, or three, in sync!), which is far more versatile than having an audio output on the device itself. I've been using various Echoes (including a couple of output-jack-equipped Dots) since their first release, but the Chromecast connection is the primary reason why I purchased a Google Home.

Rodney McKay -

Use Chromecast Audio. No line out needed.

Will Cloxton -

So, no Thread/IEEE_802.15.4 support.

In order to being able to control Thread devices it will be needed some bridge... :/

Oscar RdG - Reply

What does the Micro USB port do?

Mauni Mehrizi - Reply

No doubt something that will make all of us hacker types very happy, once we figure it out.

Rodney McKay -

Probably for Android ADB.

eric -

It has Bluetooth but it seems there is no way to pair it as Bluetooth speaker. Very inconvenient when I want to watch videos the tablet but have louder speaker. With Echo it is easy just annoying 1sec latency, hoped Google would be better but no such functionality exposed.

Sergei Mutovkin - Reply

Bluetooth pairing could always come in a future update and be managed in the Google Home app.

dmart91300 -

I agree that it would be great to be able to use it as a Bluetooth or connected speaker for my smartphone, tablet or Kindle.

peteamend - Reply

Ok really cool teardown. Now put it back together. =)

dmart91300 - Reply

It's fully reassembled and working great for teardown room tunes :)

Andrew Optimus Goldberg -

Is it possible to estimate the manufacturing cost from this? I

Fred Tropeano - Reply

Thank you for this! Discovered too late. So ... what is the final word on 802.15.4. Is there a chip in there? I speculated about Thread in Google Home here, with a nod to this teardown: http://www.cepro.com/article/ces_2017_vo.... Thanks again!

Julie Jacobson - Reply

Would it be possible to hack an audio-out into the home? It's a bit annoying to have this sitting next to my stereo and having to use a Chromecast Audio at the same time.

Toby White - Reply

is there an optional power supply available, so the unit can be carried to another room without unplugging the power supply?

Al S - Reply

My question, too. What adapter would I need to accomplish this? There's a replacement power adapter available on eBay from a seller in China, but they want $30. There's got to be a way more reasonable means of accomplishing this.

anonymous 6583 -

The the mystery cable mist hold the chip for the wifi when in setup mode the google home connect your phone to its wifi.

mitchellaarons2004 - Reply

I need a new power cord for mine and cannot find one any ideas?

swollenburg - Reply

did you ever come to a conclusion on this one?

odjinninabottleo -

There is an eBay seller from China offering a replacement adapter for $29.99. Search item no. 322441245141. That seems high for what it is. Specifically what would the layman look for in an alternative, cheaper solution, like maybe in a universal adapter set?

anonymous 6583 -

What is the actual size of the DC power plug?

Jonathan - Reply

I find the Google home speaker to have excellent bass but higher frequencies sound muffled. The Echo on the other hand has much crisper and clearer highs. Could this be to do with the fact that the Google just has one speaker without a tweeter where is the Echo seems to have one of each? Or am I misunderstanding something.

Russ Smith - Reply

What ADC and DAC's are they using? TI?

Sandeep Vijayakumar - Reply

Great work! Maybe you can add a final bill of materials to your tear down format. Thanks!

Mark Wright - Reply

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