Author Topic: EEVblog #295 – $30 eBook Reader Teardown  (Read 7967 times)

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Offline wilfred

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EEVblog #295 – $30 eBook Reader Teardown
« on: June 20, 2012, 01:32:29 pm »
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« Last Edit: August 22, 2018, 11:42:10 am by wilfred »
 

Online EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #295 – $30 eBook Reader Teardown
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2012, 01:45:44 pm »
I have no idea about the performance of this battery, it's brand or origins etc.
It's just that from my experience, in ultra low cost chinese products, a common thing that gets skimped on is the quality of the battery. And that is what I am talking about when I am dubious about the battery, I have nothing else to go on but experience. My fears may be completely unfounded.

Dave.
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: EEVblog #295 – $30 eBook Reader Teardown
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2012, 02:58:03 pm »
I have a cheap media player that had a dead battery after about 2 years. Went to the fong kong mall and bought a cheap knockoff phone battery and put it in it's place, and now have a much longer play time. Before it would shut off after around 2 hours, now it goes over 3 hours.
 

Offline johnboxall

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Re: EEVblog #295 – $30 eBook Reader Teardown
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2012, 03:32:12 pm »
The HYM8563S is a copy of the NXP PCF8563 real-time clock IC.
DS have had those readers for around eighteen months, turns out they're booting them out as one of their loss-leaders.

Offline calin

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Re: EEVblog #295 – $30 eBook Reader Teardown
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2012, 04:15:05 pm »
What about about the TFT display ... reusable in other projects? Might be interesting ... after all many TFT's are more expensive than the whole 30$ this thing is.
 

Offline PeterG

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Re: EEVblog #295 – $30 eBook Reader Teardown
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2012, 05:33:47 pm »
I could not resist. I went out and got myself a shiny new black BSTE101 from Dick Smith today. The interesting thing is, this one has no video playing ability at all. It also does not have the inbuilt mic. This leads me to believe there is more  than one model being sold.

Also, i am thinking this may be hackable to play video if the correct firmware was put on it.

If anyone has a video playing model, can you please post the model number here ?

Regards

P.S. It works well for everything apart from pdf files. It cant scale pdf files at all. It also refuses to load basic pdf files such as Microchip PIC docs.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2012, 06:48:25 pm by PeterG »
Testing one two three...
 

Offline metalphreak

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Re: EEVblog #295 – $30 eBook Reader Teardown
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2012, 07:07:58 pm »
The older batches (with the same model number... come on seriously?) have a different RockChip CPU in them. Try the update on the MiGear site if you don't have video. If it won't detect, see the thread in the buy/sell forum where I posted instructions on firmware updating.

Mine had issues with some Microchip datasheets, that now work fine after the upgrade.

Old one was RK2729 whereas this one is RK2738. Not sure on the difference but the bootloader in the firmware is definitely different for each.

Dealextreme has them listed for $70-90 depending on colour. Probably because its the price they were listed at 2 years ago.

Offline PeterG

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Testing one two three...
 

Offline cyteen

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Re: EEVblog #295 – $30 eBook Reader Teardown
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2012, 01:38:11 am »
If the usb has been wired for host this could be a pretty got screen for arduino based projects to allow navigation of functions/controls and displaying/graphing results.

Anyone care to check? My last attempt to buy a cheap screen (Parrot picture frame) was wired in peripheral mode only.
 

Offline johnboxall

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Re: EEVblog #295 – $30 eBook Reader Teardown
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2012, 01:45:10 am »
If the usb has been wired for host this could be a pretty got screen for arduino based projects to allow navigation of functions/controls and displaying/graphing results.

Anyone care to check? My last attempt to buy a cheap screen (Parrot picture frame) was wired in peripheral mode only.

That size and resolution of screen is outside the realm of Arduino. If you're looking to drive a large LCD, you need something like a Gameduino board with VGA out - http://littlebirdelectronics.com/products/gameduino or one of the 4Dsystems modules that have the graphics processor.

Offline T4P

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Re: EEVblog #295 – $30 eBook Reader Teardown
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2012, 02:01:49 am »
More likely for beaglebone ...
Or finally something the Pi can be used for
 

Offline cyteen

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Re: EEVblog #295 – $30 eBook Reader Teardown
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2012, 02:08:51 am »
I was intending to hack the reader to run a openwrt and then connect to the arduino for data.

It would be a shame to discard a 600Mhz linux box just for the screen.
 

Offline T4P

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Re: EEVblog #295 – $30 eBook Reader Teardown
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2012, 02:13:32 am »
I was intending to hack the reader to run a openwrt and then connect to the arduino for data.

It would be a shame to discard a 600Mhz linux box just for the screen.

Yeah it is, but i ain't sure if it's the ARM9 CPU slowing the thing down or the SDK is awful
Rockchip has a long history of being slow and terrible
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: EEVblog #295 – $30 eBook Reader Teardown
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2012, 02:19:05 am »
The unpopulated pads near the earphone socket are for the built in FM radio. It is either a small ultra thin pcb that is solsered to the outer pads, or they put the actual chip on the outline and add the 5 or so passives it needs. There is a pad thar connects the antenna via a 22pf or so capacitor to the output socket, and there will be a 0R chip jumper that would be replaced with a smt inductor to use the headphone lead as an antenna. There is built in support in the Rockchip main processor that drives the FM radio over i2c, and suprisingly the little chip is a FM stereo receiver, not the best ( originally based on the tech developed in the TDA7000 series and updated to stereo)  but quite good for the chip price.
 

Offline Simon Weel

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Re: EEVblog #295 – $30 eBook Reader Teardown
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2012, 02:45:14 am »
Hi Dave,

Nice teardown. But to classify it as crap, is IMHO a bit too steep? I mean, it does all the things the package says. And a sleeve is included - most (expensive) e-readers don't include that. No doubt there are better quality e-readers, but what is quality these days?

Take the iphone or ipad for example. Made of durable, quality material and components. Made to last at least 10 years. But who will use the ipad III in 2022? Not many people I guess. Most people use a phone or tablet for a couple of years and then buy a new one. And if they don't, they will find there's no support for their ten year old device. Like my Palm m515 PDA, which was released in march 2002. Early 2011, I bought a new pc running Windows 7 x64. And I could'nt hook up my m515 anymore - no x64 driver. So I had to either use the x86 version of windows or ditch my Palm. Didn't do either, lukily. A firm in New Zealand (Aceeca) made a x64 driver for Palm OS, so I can use my old m515 again.

But I digress. What I mean is, why should you use high quality materials for a commodity? If only used for a couple of years, one should use cheap materials that last a couple of years. Otherwise, you would be wasting valuable materials and resources....

Simon
 

Offline T4P

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Re: EEVblog #295 – $30 eBook Reader Teardown
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2012, 02:53:05 am »


Take the iphone or ipad for example. Made of durable, quality material and components. Made to last at least 10 years

Simon
That's a bad example,
Cheapest as possible, terrible quality material, components from china which is crap
And it's made to last 1 year
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: EEVblog #295 – $30 eBook Reader Teardown
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2012, 03:42:27 am »
Wish I could get one or two at that price..... Here they would be close to an iPad in price.
 

Offline Ed.Kloonk

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Re: EEVblog #295 – $30 eBook Reader Teardown
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2012, 05:15:47 am »
I dunno, the thing looks suspiciously similar to the gadget Steve Balmer was showing off a few days ago.

 ::)
 

Online Alexei.Polkhanov

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Re: EEVblog #295 – $30 eBook Reader Teardown
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2012, 10:52:43 am »
Hi, did you figure out what that 32KHz crystal was for? Maybe I missed something but it does not seem to fit within schema of things.

Rockchip - wow, huh .... where do people find data sheets for these Chinese chips. I spent like 30 min googling and found nothing besides few small pages with few basic parameters on Rockchip's home page. No data sheets unless you are "partner", Bummer. What are they hiding there - piles of stolen IP.

« Last Edit: June 21, 2012, 10:56:42 am by Alexei.Polkhanov »
 

Online Alexei.Polkhanov

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Re: EEVblog #295 – $30 eBook Reader Teardown
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2012, 11:25:05 am »
Hi, did you figure out what that 32KHz crystal was for? Maybe I missed something but it does not seem to fit within schema of things.

Rockchip - wow, huh .... where do people find data sheets for these Chinese chips. I spent like 30 min googling and found nothing besides few small pages with few basic parameters on Rockchip's home page. No data sheets unless you are "partner", Bummer. What are they hiding there - piles of stolen IP.

Aha! I found a data sheet for that real time clock, and it does require 32KHz crystal. http://roverbooksteel.narod.ru/tech/rtc/rtc_HYM8563.pdf
 

Offline T4P

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Re: EEVblog #295 – $30 eBook Reader Teardown
« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2012, 12:26:12 pm »
Hi, did you figure out what that 32KHz crystal was for? Maybe I missed something but it does not seem to fit within schema of things.

Rockchip - wow, huh .... where do people find data sheets for these Chinese chips. I spent like 30 min googling and found nothing besides few small pages with few basic parameters on Rockchip's home page. No data sheets unless you are "partner", Bummer. What are they hiding there - piles of stolen IP.

Don't be a idiot really ... they did not steal IP, they have the licenses to ARM it's written on wiki
 

Offline rr100

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Re: EEVblog #295 – $30 eBook Reader Teardown
« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2012, 08:46:36 pm »
I wasn't really paying attention to the video and can't watch youtube now, does it have wifi (probably not)?
 

Offline metalphreak

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Re: EEVblog #295 – $30 eBook Reader Teardown
« Reply #22 on: June 21, 2012, 08:55:11 pm »
No Wifi.

First google result for "RK2738 Datasheet" http://wenku.baidu.com/view/97e046a8d1f34693daef3e14.html Better than nothing :)

Doesn't really matter whether they make the datasheet or tools public. There's no way you'd be able to buy some of these chips in small quantities anyway.

Offline PeterG

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Re: EEVblog #295 – $30 eBook Reader Teardown
« Reply #23 on: June 21, 2012, 08:56:48 pm »
No wifi no internet, but it does have old school almost instant startup.

Nice back to basics unit.

Regards
Testing one two three...
 

Online Alexei.Polkhanov

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Re: EEVblog #295 – $30 eBook Reader Teardown
« Reply #24 on: June 22, 2012, 02:19:18 pm »
No Wifi.

First google result for "RK2738 Datasheet" http://wenku.baidu.com/view/97e046a8d1f34693daef3e14.html Better than nothing :)

Doesn't really matter whether they make the datasheet or tools public. There's no way you'd be able to buy some of these chips in small quantities anyway.
Well, I know where I can get samples easy and relatively cheap  :-)

I watched some videos on Youtube - two Rockchip guys were advertising 2 core CPU  on some conference. I was under impression that chip has MPEG-2/MPEG-4 in hardware, but now looking at datasheet I see that it has capability of implementing MPEG-2/MPEG-4/AVS... "by software and dedicated coprocessors". Perhaps they do have that in another RKxxxx chip.
 


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