Introduction

Alright, Palmer—you asked, and we answered. Last week we tore down the Oculus Rift CV1, and today we turn our heads to Constellation—Rift's counterpart IR camera. Did Oculus shoot for the stars like in their high-powered headset, or will their design decisions leave the Constellation virtually unrepairable? Only a teardown will tell.

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This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your Oculus Rift CV1, use our service manual.

Image 1/3: Infrared sensor Image 2/3: Sweet stand Image 3/3: Standard USB 3.0 cable
  • We don't know too much about the Constellation sensor itself, but here are some specs:

    • Infrared sensor

    • Sweet stand

    • Standard USB 3.0 cable

  • But look how far we've come—from ugly webcam, to cute lil' Pixar lamp!

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  • Separation of the crew capsule complete!

  • We locked our keys in the Constellation, so we're gonna try to Jimmy the door open.

    • And with just a few plastic clips holding the back panel in place, it pops off with in a snap.

  • And look! Promising screws... that go nowhere.

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Image 1/3: Hats off to the [https://www.ifixit.com/Store/iPhone/iPhone-3G-Front-Panel/IF137-007-1|new_window=true|smallest suction cup] we could find! With one good tug, the modestly adhered visible-light filter gives way to reveal the eye of the IR camera. Image 2/3: Because the Constellation sensor's job is to track LEDs that only give off infrared light, any other wavelength is just noise, making it harder for it to operate. This filter blocks out everything but IR, making it easier to pick out the LEDs. Image 3/3: Without the visible light filter, the sensor would see what our fancy IR camera sees—and would have a hard time picking out just the pattern of LEDs to determine the Rift's position and orientation in space.
  • Let's try to smoke it out the other end. iOpener to full!

  • Hats off to the smallest suction cup we could find! With one good tug, the modestly adhered visible-light filter gives way to reveal the eye of the IR camera.

  • Because the Constellation sensor's job is to track LEDs that only give off infrared light, any other wavelength is just noise, making it harder for it to operate. This filter blocks out everything but IR, making it easier to pick out the LEDs.

    • Without the visible light filter, the sensor would see what our fancy IR camera sees—and would have a hard time picking out just the pattern of LEDs to determine the Rift's position and orientation in space.

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  • Never missing a chance to play with our IR camera, we hop outside and stack on the Constellation's visible-light filter to get a glimpse at the stars—or downtown San Luis Obispo.

    • The visible light filter restricts the light coming in to the image sensor to the IR spectrum, meaning the IR LEDs on the headband will shine bright like a diamond stars.

  • Even without the filter, there's plenty of infrared to see outside. That's why ordinary cameras need a filter, so they see what you see!

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Image 1/3: The Constellation's lone eye seems to stare pleadingly. Let's hope it doesn't start singing [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuEN5TjYRCE|new_window=true|"Daisy Bell."] Image 2/3: We shuck the (well-rotary-tooled) outer casing and find an inner shell secured with some fiercely-glued screws. Image 3/3: Whipping that away in short order, all that's left are the real guts of this sensor.
  • Okay, we asked nicely twice, but the components still won't budge—time for some aggressive negotiations.

    • The Constellation's lone eye seems to stare pleadingly. Let's hope it doesn't start singing "Daisy Bell."

  • We shuck the (well-rotary-tooled) outer casing and find an inner shell secured with some fiercely-glued screws.

  • Whipping that away in short order, all that's left are the real guts of this sensor.

  • Teardown Update: Whoops! According to Oculus, you can shuck the IR sensor's cowling by pulling the stand hardware off. When we got our second unit we took some channellocks and a vice grip to it and were able to free the hardware from the camera assembly.

    • Still, some disassembly instructions would have been nice!

To remove the optical sensor, you just need to remove the stand mount.

Jordan King - Reply

Image 1/3: Despite being embedded in the heart of the Constellation, this is a standard USB 3.0 peripheral connector, swappable in the event of catastrophic failure. (Though we're at a loss as to how you'd put everything back together). Image 2/3: We remove the camera from the board, and the heat sink from the camera, and then the lens from the image sensor, and well, here we are. Image 3/3: We remove the camera from the board, and the heat sink from the camera, and then the lens from the image sensor, and well, here we are.
  • First out: that USB 3.0 Cable.

    • Despite being embedded in the heart of the Constellation, this is a standard USB 3.0 peripheral connector, swappable in the event of catastrophic failure. (Though we're at a loss as to how you'd put everything back together).

  • We remove the camera from the board, and the heat sink from the camera, and then the lens from the image sensor, and well, here we are.

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Image 1/2: EtronTech [http://www.etron.com/en/products/webcam_detial.php?Product_ID=10|eSP770U|new_window=true] Webcam Controller Image 2/2: Nordic Semiconductor [https://www.nordicsemi.com/eng/Products/Bluetooth-Smart-Bluetooth-low-energy/nRF51822|nRF51822|new_window=true] Bluetooth Smart and 2.4GHz proprietary SoC (also found in the Oculus Rift [https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Oculus+Rift+CV1+Teardown/60612#s126619|Headset|new_window=true])
  • We're at the end of the line—let's take a peek at the silicon!

    • EtronTech eSP770U Webcam Controller

    • Nordic Semiconductor nRF51822 Bluetooth Smart and 2.4GHz proprietary SoC (also found in the Oculus Rift Headset)

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Image 1/2: Stand and visible light filter are removable and can be replaced if damaged. Image 2/2: All main components (motherboard, camera, lens, and filter) are discrete and modular, making repairs fairly low cost and straightforward.
  • Oculus Rift Constellation Sensor Repairability Score: 7 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)

    • Stand and visible light filter are removable and can be replaced if damaged.

    • All main components (motherboard, camera, lens, and filter) are discrete and modular, making repairs fairly low cost and straightforward.

    • The USB cable plugs directly into the motherboard and can be swapped out quickly.

    • Strong adhesive holds the visible light filter in place.

    • Stand hardware takes significant force to remove and is not obviously removable without instructions.

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14 Comments

But how do they assemble the thing together in the factory if you can't undo it without causing permanent damage?

Honam1021 - Reply

Because it's meant to be bought again.

jvelez -

Glue. It's easy to glue things together. Hard to unglue them.

Chris Cline -

Ultrasonic welding, not glue.

William Gates -

Turns out you can pull it apart without cutting it open https://twitter.com/PalmerLuckey/status/...

karlww -

Are the cables supplied by S7 ?

garryjenereaux - Reply

This is what you got out of Luckey's comment? How about the microphone in the headset, the HDMI chip, or the fantastic contraption that magically tells the software what IPD you have as you change the lens separation? Oh yeah, HOW ABOUT THE BLOODY HEADPHONE DRIVERS?! Nobody should have to tell you to be thorough, good god iFixit, get your tools together.

A3roflux - Reply

Any info about the sensor?

einstein - Reply

LOL, it looks like you need to do a little more research before getting on your high-horse. Way to make iFixIt look like amateurs.

Erik Jorgensen - Reply

So now that Palmer has told you the real way to do it, when are you going to pull this faulty guide?

Mike Krade - Reply

Note that you could glomp this thing back together with duct tape and hot glue and it would still function, as long as everything was plugged in and you kept stray light off the camera. Would be ugly but you don't see it when you're using it.

robert scott - Reply

It turns out that in order to remove the outer shell, you simply pull the stand out of the tilt mount: http://imgur.com/a/5CIjH. No cutting required! The Repair Rating probably needs an update due to this.

Edward Zieba - Reply

Wow, April 28th, and still no update? BOO!

Erik Jorgensen - Reply

I guess they are just never going to update this article to acknowledge that cutting the casing in half was totally unnecessary and consequently their rating is completely wrong...

Worm Slayer - Reply

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