Monday, January 28, 2013

Lab 2

Commercial Electronics Autopsy: Take apart a piece of commercial electronics (provided). Take pictures, study construction techniques, draw a block diagram, write a bill of materials of major parts (top ten), and find some data sheets, but don't draw a schematic. Make a list of the major components; the main integrated circuits are important, of course, but don't overlook interesting examples of passive components, connectors, internal cable assemblies, switches (and other controls), heat sinks, mechanical elements, etc. Deliverables (as a web page):
  • Link to service manual (if found)
  • Basic test results showing operation (or non-operation)
  • Pictures of the disassembly and the insides
  • Block diagram of the system
  • Bill of materials of ten major parts, with date codes and datasheets
  • Discussion of the mechanical design, including functional and decorative elements
  • Short presentation for informal show-and-tell session
If your item has an FCC ID code on it, be sure to check out if any of the FCC filings are public at

Here are the items chosen by the students for investigation:

Wild Planet's Off the Map Wrist-Talkies (rated one star on Amazon). An interesting example of a low-cost RF product. See the discussion of Jerry Norris's superregenerative CB walkie-talkie in [1].

HP ScanJet 4100C.

Jakks Pacific SpongeBob SquarePants TV Game and Disney Princess TV Game (2005). The SpongeBob one is kind of fun, but the Disney one is terrible.

Denon AVR-2308CI AV Receiver.

RCA/VIZ WA-504B/44D audio generator. Probably a Wien-bridge circuit. See [2].

Tiger Electronics Mio Pup robot dog. "The future of friendship."

Casio Casiotone MT-240 keyboard, with MIDI input.

Tektronix TVS625A waveform analyzer.

Racal Instruments 2.4-GHz signal generator. Contains some really interesting RF circuitry and some beryllium oxide.

IBM S/390.

Stay tuned for the results!


[1] Thomas H. Lee, "Tales of the continuum: A subsampled history of analog circuits," IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society News, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 38-51, Fall 2007.

[2] Jim Williams, "Max Wien, Mr. Hewlett, and a rainy Sunday afternoon," in Analog Circuit Design: Art, Science, and Personalities, Jim Williams, Ed. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann, 1991, ch. 7, pp. 43-55.

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