No Script, No Fear, All Opinion
RSS icon Home icon
  • EEVblog #36 – It’s Hardware Puzzle Time!

    Posted on October 10th, 2009 EEVblog 78 comments

    It’s time for YOU to get involved and solve a hardware puzzle – what does this board do?
    Get your reverse engineering brain into gear and win a prize.

    High Res images 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

    RULES:
    – Dave makes the rules and can change the rules
    – The first person who (in Dave’s opinion) is the closest to guessing what this board does and how it works wins the prize, the more detail the better. The most correct may not necessarily win if enough detail is not there. I’ll let it run for a while even if someone is spot-on up front.
    – No time limit, until Dave closes it that is.
    – I will not reply to guesses, so no “cold”, “warm” etc
    – Hints may be given in due course
    – You can build upon other peoples answers and gazump them with extra detail if you think they are pretty close!
    – You can guess as many times as you like

    Be Sociable, Share!
    • george

      it’s full of relays. i believe that it drives some kind of monitor because of the 2 ucn….i believe that it is from an oscilloscope

    • http://N/A David

      I believe its the master board on a PLC system based on the components I could make out.

      large number of single in line reed relays series 112 from pickering
      i see a rabbit RCM2000 8 bit MCU
      two of the ucn5832A a BiMOS II 32-bit serial-input, latched driver chip
      AD 620AN Instrumentation Amplifier
      AD 637 is 24-bit RMS-to-DC Converter
      AD8037AN is a Wide Bandwidth Voltage Feedback Clamp Amp
      AEL 1210 Series 50 Mhz oscillator

    • Aaron

      The Pickering-112 relays are arranged in 4 banks (18, 10, 19, 21) connected in parallel (presumably to raise current carrying ability and act as a giant relay in compact space) as well as using thicker traces (coil connected internally to these.
      The UCN5832 chips allow a serial datastream to be converted to parallel 32-bits at a time without destroying the serial data, so it can be monitored.
      One daughter card has a 50MHz oscillator, six relays, a control PIC, and a High Bandwidth Amplifier (EL2142CN). It appears capable of amplifying and comparing two independant analog signals, and transmitting results to the main processor.
      The other daughter card has a monolithic function generator (XR 2206CP), 74HC86 XOR gates, 8-channel analog multiplexer (hc4052), 2 voltage comparators (LM311), high-precision instrumentation amplifier (AD620AN), and RMS-to-DC converter (AD637).
      The 2 master boards each have their own PIC microprocessor to interface their functions with the host card’s RabbitCore RCM2300 series module with 128K SRAM, 256K flash, operating at 22.1 MHz, with configurable I/O. The RCM2300 software library includes AES-128 bit Encryption codecs, a TCP/IP library, real-time kernel, and is field-programmable.
      I believe this circuit uses a built-in highly random random number generator to produce a highly secure encryption key stream for use in the Rabbit core, and acts as a secure IP VPN Tunnel for whatever device is connected to it.

    • holger morgen

      Traffic light controller?
      (Why ELSE have SO many channels?)

      Using the el2142 to communicate with other controllers and/or the slave unit.
      Hence it make sense to add another, to talt to even MORE nodes.

      This leaves the AD converter…
      Only thing I can see is, if this if for some sort of feedback, to verify that the unit works.

    • Christoffer Braestrup

      id say out of logic and common sense, its a driver circuit for a large or advanced motor system,because of the relays, and as there is a slave version of it, it could be the primary controlling unit in a arrangement of equal acting robotic assembling system.

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Not even close, sorry.
        The answer has already been revealed.

    • Peter Perez

      I guess it’s a RAID controller for the servers.

    • adn

      This is the master controller for some kind light matrix, i.e. a large screen made up of multiple modules. Depending on the number of slaves, it could be really big.

      No point in listing all the components, but it looks like the two 40 pin ics allow for a total of 64 outs controlling the relays that are multiplexed.

      The master gets the rabbit to coordinate the slaves based on the main input.

    • p j wood

      is it a server

    • Murat

      Printer head controller board?