Acer Aspire 3000 Battery Internals

Acer Aspire 3000 Battery Internals

This is a 4-cell battery; before opening it up, I was under the impression that it was a 3-cell.

The charge controller circuit board has “LIP8198” and “1-867-277-11” markings in the silkscreen, along with a strip of Kapton tape over the top of the PCB.

The PCB has +/- going to the 4 cells in series, as well as leads between each cell (probably for measuring voltage at each intermediate point), and two temp sensors: one on the battery closest to the circuit board (the one that the board’s “-” connects to) and one on the next one after that (the middle-most one).

The top side has the following ICs:

  • 3182 5J94 (Looks like a tiny EEPROM/Flash)
  • Two unlabelled 8-pin square ICs marked “04” and “07” on the silkscreen
  • 12AH4 SC SF

The bottom has the following:

  • TI bq80201DBT – “Battery ‘Gas Gauge'” for storing the cycle count?
  • TI bq29312PW – “Two, Three and Four Cell Lithium or Lithium-Polymer Battery Protection AFE”
  • A number of various bare-copper test points 🙂

With a bit of digging, it seems that the bq80201 is used for many different battery makes such as Sanyo, Dell, etc.

Relevant URLs:
Battery EEPROM Works (Software; not affiliated with this site, I have no guarantees of how well it works)
Battery EEPROM Works Forum topic re: B80201 support (Forum Thread)
Would still be nice to actually find a listing of the I2C codes that it uses.

D-Link DWL-120 Hacking/Probing

D-Link DWL-120 Hacking/Probing

I found 3 or 4 of these at a garage sale a few years ago for a few bucks, and I am (surprisingly) just cracking them open now.

On the front, it is marked as D-Link DWL-120 11Mbps Wireless USB Adapter, on the back is FCC ID# MXF-WL280, H/W: B2, F/W: 2.25

On the bottom of the PCB, we have the following chips:

  • Atmel AT76C503AWireless LAN MAC Unit with ARM7TDMI RISC Processor
  • Atmel AT25040N4K (512 x 8) SPI Serial EEPROM
  • tmTECH T14L1024N128 x 9 High-Speed CMOS Static RAM
  • Intersil HFA3861BINDirect Sequence Spread Spectrum Baseband Processor

On the top of the PCB (under the RF shield), we have the following chips:

  • Intersil HFA3683AIN2.4GHz RF/IF Converter and Synthesizer
  • Intersil HFA3783INI/Q Modulator/Demodulator and Synthesizer
  • Intersil HFA3983IV2.4GHz Power Amplifier and Detector

I plugged it into my i386-based laptop (My x64 desktop doesn’t have drivers) and got this dmesg:

[   80.592101] usb 1-2: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 2
[   80.763204] usb 1-2: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
[   81.504200] cfg80211: Using static regulatory domain info
[   81.504209] cfg80211: Regulatory domain: US
[   81.504215] 	(start_freq - end_freq @ bandwidth), (max_antenna_gain, max_eirp)
[   81.504224] 	(2402000 KHz - 2472000 KHz @ 40000 KHz), (600 mBi, 2700 mBm)
[   81.504233] 	(5170000 KHz - 5190000 KHz @ 40000 KHz), (600 mBi, 2300 mBm)
[   81.504241] 	(5190000 KHz - 5210000 KHz @ 40000 KHz), (600 mBi, 2300 mBm)
[   81.504248] 	(5210000 KHz - 5230000 KHz @ 40000 KHz), (600 mBi, 2300 mBm)
[   81.504256] 	(5230000 KHz - 5330000 KHz @ 40000 KHz), (600 mBi, 2300 mBm)
[   81.504264] 	(5735000 KHz - 5835000 KHz @ 40000 KHz), (600 mBi, 3000 mBm)
[   81.504290] cfg80211: Calling CRDA for country: US
[   81.654555] cfg80211: Regulatory domain changed to country: US
[   81.654567] 	(start_freq - end_freq @ bandwidth), (max_antenna_gain, max_eirp)
[   81.654577] 	(2402000 KHz - 2472000 KHz @ 40000 KHz), (300 mBi, 2700 mBm)
[   81.654585] 	(5170000 KHz - 5250000 KHz @ 40000 KHz), (300 mBi, 1700 mBm)
[   81.654593] 	(5250000 KHz - 5330000 KHz @ 40000 KHz), (300 mBi, 2000 mBm)
[   81.654601] 	(5490000 KHz - 5710000 KHz @ 40000 KHz), (300 mBi, 2000 mBm)
[   81.654609] 	(5735000 KHz - 5835000 KHz @ 40000 KHz), (300 mBi, 3000 mBm)
[   81.912231] Atmel at76x USB Wireless LAN Driver 0.17 loading
[   81.912307] usb 1-2: firmware: requesting atmel_at76c503-i3861.bin
[   81.965349] usb 1-2: using firmware atmel_at76c503-i3861.bin (version 0.90.0-44)
[   81.967174] at76c50x-usb 1-2:1.0: downloading internal firmware
[   84.329808] usb 1-2: reset full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 2
[   84.477154] usb 1-2: device firmware changed
[   84.477265] usbcore: registered new interface driver at76c50x-usb
[   84.492786] usb 1-2: USB disconnect, address 2
[   84.604098] usb 1-2: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 3
[   84.781393] usb 1-2: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
[   84.789161] at76c50x-usb 1-2:1.0: downloading external firmware
[   85.032206] phy0: Selected rate control algorithm 'minstrel'
[   85.034924] phy0: USB 1-2:1.0, MAC 00:05:5d:f1:9d:39, firmware 0.90.0-44
[   85.034935] phy0: regulatory domain 0x00: <unknown>
[   85.383777] udev: renamed network interface wlan0 to wlan1
[   89.584738] ADDRCONF(NETDEV_UP): wlan1: link is not ready
Flambeau Brake Control Demo Kit

Flambeau Brake Control Demo Kit

This is a nice item that I found today at Princess Auto… A grey box hiding on the bottom of a grey shelf. The phrase “Demo Kit” caught my eye, and I had to take a peek inside. I was blown away by the beautiful innards, and I just had to have it. It appears to be made by Flambeau (judging from the company name stamped into the front of the case) and the sticker on the lid says it is a “Brake Control Demonstration Kit”

A metal front panel (as seen in the picture) holds a set of terminals, a voltmeter, large Brake and Overload buttons along with various assisting components, such as Output and Stop lights, Battery test button, power switch, 30A removable fuse, and a panel-mount power plug that fits with the included wallwart.

Underneath the panel (picture attached below), reside a 12 Volt, 5 Amp-Hour SLA (Sealed Lead Acid) battery for powering the kit, and some type of coil or capacitor for powering the ‘overload’ button.

Bonus points for the Output and Stop Light lamps: They’re actually incandescent bulbs, not LEDs. (The power light is an LED though, presumably so you can still see that the unit is not DOA even with a near-flat battery.)

Possible uses: (besides requisite attempts to blow various electrical components up with the Overload button)

  • Portable bench power supply (With an adjustable voltage regulator, and maybe an LCD display for kicks?)
  • (Have any suggestions to add? Sound off in the comments!)

(NB, this doesn’t show up on Princess Auto’s website, as it’s probably a new item. It is SKU #8339715 and $19.99 at the time of posting unfortunately, no longer a stocked item.)

Molex Evaldi Earphones (Review)

Molex Evaldi Earphones (Review)

I haven’t used earbuds in a long time. They either fall out of my ears, sound like you’re listening to music through a tin can, or even (in the case of the ones that go in your ear) hurt.

These Molex Evaldi earphones are better than that. These earphones feel sturdy, and look well-built, and come with an array of different sizes of rubber earpieces in 2 styles: vented (for hearing things around you) and normal (for blocking out external noise).

The vented rubber earpieces let you hear a bit of what’s going on around you, so you’re not subject to that deafening silence that normal earpieces give you (though the earphones do come with a selection of normal (non-vented) pieces as well, I think the vented once work best for me).

They also come with varying sizes of rubber earpieces: The ones that came preinstalled on the earphones made my left ear hurt, but fit my right ear fine. I swapped the left earpiece down a size, and now they’re perfect! The first set of in-ear earphones I’ve ever been able to wear without the hurt, and without the deafening “earplug” silence. (Though those earpieces are included as well)

The wire on the right earphone is longer, so that you can have the cord at your side, instead of straight forwards.

The set comes in a drawstring (soft-vinyl?) bag that has a separator inside: this helps keep the earphones on one side, and the spare earpieces on the other. The bag also helps keep the earphones from getting all tangled up in the bottom of a knapsack, etc.

(To be honest, I was a little underwhelmed at first with the high-end sound quality, but then I realized that I was used to full, over-ear headphones. It’s probably best to compare apples to apples, and not big, bulky over-ear oranges.)

Would I buy it? They’re definitely out of the ordinary for earphones. I would buy them for the excellent bass response and for the vented earpieces — I can hear what’s going on around me and still enjoy my music.

tl;dr Summary:

  • Very nice build quality and feel
  • Wide frequency response!
  • Good selection of sizes/type of rubber earpieces (S, M, L; Vented, non-vented) (~10 +2)
  • Nice storage pouch
  • Very little plastic used in packing, fully recyclable (or re-usable) sturdy box


  • Power-handling capacity:50mW
  • Impedance: 16 Ohms at 1kHz
  • Frequency Response:12Hz – 22kHz
  • Cord:1.2m (4ft.)
  • Jack: 3.5mm (1/8″) Stereo Mini Plug

Disclaimer/Reviewer bias:
I am not paid for this review, but was sent these earbuds from Molex in the hopes that I would write a ‘quick review’ on the company Twitter or Facebook page.

WIP: Cantenna

WIP: Cantenna

This shows step by step how I made a Cantenna. This is a simplified tl;dr version of “How to build a tin can waveguide antenna” by Gregory Rehm.


  • 1x Can, washed (hapi HOT Wasabi Peas [450g])
  • 1x N-type, Female Chassis-mount connector (Digikey# 367-1081-ND)
  • 1x Piece of copper wire
  • 4x Nuts & bolts


  1. Measure diameter of the can -> 3.9″
  2. Calculate wavelength using waveguide calculator found here.
  3. Mark a point 1/4 Wavelength up from the bottom (closed) side of the can.
  4. Measure the hole to be cut (diameter of part of the connector that will be going inside the can) -> 0.43″
  5. Drill marked point to measured diameter (0.43″)
  6. Dry-fit the connector, and mark holes for the screws or nuts/bolts (if any)
  7. Drill marked points to the diameter of your connector’s holes (if any)
  8. Cut a piece of copper wire so that when it is in the copper sleeve on the connector, the total length of the copper sleeve and piece of copper is exactly 1.21″ (or as close as you can humanly get to it), and solder it in place.
  9. Mount the connector in the hole in the can and secure it with screws or nuts/bolts (if any). Make sure to mount the heads of the screws or bolts inside the can to reduce antenna obstruction.
BGMicro Shipment

BGMicro Shipment

I just got my shipment of stuff from BGMicro, including a ton of pinheaders!

I ordered:
1x Velleman 4×4 keypad
1x GI AY-3-8910 Sound Chip (and matching IC socket)
2x LEDs with wire and
1x 2.5″ stero cable end (Digital Rebel XT Trigger?)
1x Graphical KS0108 Display
and Lots of 1×40 and 2×17 Pinheaders 🙂

MiBook Hacking? (Work in Progress)

MiBook Hacking? (Work in Progress)

I recently acquired an old Photoco MiBook. (Photoco LLC had its assets sold off by creditors, and many MiBooks and associated software are being sold on clearance by stores like The Source by Circuit City). Photoco LLC magically reopened under the name of MiBook LLC, and is currently the subject of a nice big lawsuit from Scripps Networks, the owners of Food Network, etc. It’s an interesting read.

MiBook Reader #1

My first of two MiBook readers that I’ll be looking at is this one, which I got from The Source by Circuit City in a “Home Decorating and Gardening” bundle for $29.96, and a set of “books” on 512MB SD
cards for $1.96 each.

The sticker on the back reads “miBook”, along with voltage/amperage requirements, Serial Number (no barcode) and the FCC logo.

  • Screen: 7″ Color TFT: Unknown Manufactuer M1P82BNB03170  “TS0700AAAD01” on LCD glass, “81P81N27 8C021” in small
  • CPU: Amlogic AML6210A (128-Pin QFP)
  • Memory: 64MB SDRAM: EtronTech EM638165TS-6G (54-Pin SSOP)
  • Boot Flash: 16Mbit Flash: Spansion S29AL016D70TF102 (48-Pin TSOP)
  • Real-Time Clock: Intersil ISL1208 (ISL1208IB8Z, marked “1208 ZI”) (8-Pin SOIC)
  • DAC (96kHz, Stereo): Cirrus Logic 4334-KSZ (8-Pin SOIC) (Probably)
  • Op-Amp: JRC 3414A (8-Pin SSOP)
  • Unknown/Audio Amp?: STH 63BJRC STH49S6H0 ??? (20-Pin QFN)
  • Unknown/Power-Related: 8A068 3213D (8-Pin SSOP)

MiBook Reader #2

I also have another MiBook reader which I got as a prize from DigiKey. It came as just the MiBook/charger/USB/Remote combination, and didn’t have any SD-card “books” like the Source’s bundle. This one is a little newer, and is better-built overall: the stand snaps into place, the charging LED is more visible, the buttons are better quality inside, the plastic pieces are formed better, the exterior screws are larger and much easier to remove, etc.

The sticker on the back reads “PHOTOCO miBook”, along with voltage/amperage, Serial Number with Barcode and the FCC logo. (It is interesting to note that this one is labelled specifically a PHOTOCO product. Old stock that they brought over from Photoco LLC to Mibook LLC? Check out the link at the beginning of the article for information on Photoco/Mibook/etc.)

  • Screen: 7″ Color TFT: Unknown Manufactuer HLLB-0302A1 HL080414D010075
  • CPU: Amlogic AML6210A (128-Pin QFP)
  • Memory: 64MB SDRAM: EtronTech EM638165TS-6G (54-Pin SSOP)
  • Boot Flash: 16Mbit Flash: MXIC 29LV160CBTC (48-Pin TSOP)
  • Real-Time Clock: S35390A (8-Pin SOIC)
  • Unknown: “C” or “e” C04558 (8-Pin SOIC)
  • Audio Amplifier (300mW Stereo): National LM4853L (20-Pin Mini-SOIC)
  • DAC (96kHz, Stereo): Cirrus Logic 4334-KSZ (8-Pin SOIC) (Probably)
  • Power Conversion/Adjustable VREG: STMicro LD1117A (3-Pin package)
  • Power Conversion/Switching PS Converter: Aimtron AT1380P (8-Pin TSOP?)

See also

Wii Off-brand Nunchuck Internals

Wii Off-brand Nunchuck Internals

Nyko “Kämä” Wired Remote:
MCU: Atmel ATMega 48 TQFP (The PCB also has pads for MLF package, based on availability?)
Accelerometer: Freescale A7260
EEPROM: Macronix (MXIC) MX25L4005 (4 Mbit)

Definitely a good nunchuck for hacking; it’s well-built, and the analog stick appears to be mostly metal-based, instead of plastic like others.

I wonder if the ATMega is read-locked? If so, I wonder how hard it would be to rewrite/repurpose it…

Biogenik OG1-CHUK:
The only thing of interest was a single epoxy blob on the PCB.

Madcatz Z-CHUK Wireless: (FCCID: P25S1MC5746U1709C, 2.405-2.475Ghz)
MCU: Epoxy blob of unknown origin
Accelerometer: Unknown. “033 A841 013”?
EEPROM: STMicroelectronics M24C02 (2 Kbit)

Wireless is nice, and might make for some interesting projects, and at $10/piece from XSCargo, it’s definitely an affordable way to get into wireless (and accelerometers, etc). The internals of this remote look almost identical to the actual Wii Nunchuck, with the exception of the battery and transmitter.

“Nintendo” and “Wii” are registered trademarks of Nintendo of America Inc. This site is not affiliated with, or endorsed by, Nintendo, Madcatz or Nyko.



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