From the Lab ...

... Hacking and Slashing since 2002

I did this proof-of-concept demo piece in October of last year for TechShop here in St. Louis. The eyes were animated ... it was fun. 
 
Guts... 
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In operation... 
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My wife and I were recently talking, and I said that I wanted to start a website called Crappy Chinese Manufacturing. She admonished me by stating that such websites already exist. They're called D.... and F... B..... Redact that please. 
 
Here's a prime example, except these were not cheap headphones. And yet they broke less than a month after we purchased them. Albeit young boys are hard on stuff, but come on ... a month! Failure mode was a lack of charging. 
 
This is the main board, and that shiny thing is the USB micro connector. You may notice that the 2 pins on the ends of the connector have broken free from the board (let's call them pins #1 and #5). As one would plug in, or unplug, the USB cable, one might put lateral stress on the connector, thus breaking the connections. The cheap manufacturer couldn't spare the few extra pennies to buy an appropriate connector that had mechanical support at both the front AND rear. 
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So I took the time to scrape the solder mask and mechanically attach the back end of the connector to the board. In the past 4 months, we've had no new failures. By the way, they used CSR for their bluetooth chipset. 
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I helped with the electronics portion of this proof-of-concept project in December of last year for TechShop here in St. Louis. It was fun. 
 
Robby without any guts... 
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Click to embiggen (~2.5MB) 
 
Wiring side... 
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Click to embiggen (~2.5MB) 
 
In operation... 
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Click to embiggen (~3.5MB) 

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I received my nRF52840 PDK from Symmetry Electronics right after Christmas. I have been doing some basic Bluetooth / BLE 5 experiments (including building a sniffer) recently. 
 
A note on Symmetry Electronics ... They were running a promotion before Christmas in offering discounts and free shipping on Nordic Semiconductor development tools. Long story short, they screwed me out of free shipping. I won't go into the gory details, but suffice it to say that when I checked out my purchase from their website, it clearly showed my shipping was free. And then it wasn't. I can NOT recommend them as the most honest / trustworthy distributor to order Nordic supplies from. Just my personal experience. 
 
The board... 
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Click to embiggen (~3MB) 
 
The part... 
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Click to embiggen (~1.5MB) 

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So I have (had?) a few (6+) of the older nRF51822-EK dongles hanging around the shop, and was recently using one related to some BLE sniffer hackery (more on that later). As I was getting the code running, I noticed that one of the timers (Timer0) was acting peculiar. No matter what bitmode I set the timer to, it was always counting in 24bit mode ... long story short, I was directed to this - https://devzone.nordicsemi.com/question/1310/nrf51822-bit-width-and-bitmode/ Basically Timer0 of the rev1 and rev2 Si of the nRF51822 was broken. So, what does any good engineer armed with a shop full of expensive re-work equipment do ... re-work. 
 
I removed the nRF51822 Si off these and replaced them with nRF51422 QFAB A1 (rev3) Si ... works(ed) like a charm. I do have access so several nRF51 Dongles (newer style), but why throw these way when they can easily be updated. The only difference between the '822 and the '422, is that the 422 supports ANT (along with BLE). 
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Click to embiggen (~2MB) 
 
Funny. Looks like there were a few nRF52s (nRF52832 QFAA AA) in there. I had 2 nRF52 Preview Development Kits that had engineering samples of the nRF52 on them. Again, why throw them out when they can be easily updated with new Si. 
 
A little closer ... 
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Click to embiggen (~2MB) 

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