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old tech teardown – handheld controller from an old microwave radio

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not sure how how interesting this is going to be for you guys but this is something was tossed at work that I'm sort of curious about so I'm gonna pop it open and see what's inside it so this is the one of the control methods a handheld control panel from Harris or Harris fair and on or through a various different names but Harris is the main company from Harris microwave the truepoint five thousand line or range of microwaves microwave radio it was let's see now so Harris made this radio for about five years from 2005 to 2010 and they don't seem to be into these point-to-point telecom carrier grade microwave radios anymore as far as I can tell from their website they've moved on to a lot of military communications and a bunch of other interesting niche stuff they do space-based communication stuff I guess there's more profit in there in that kind of stuff even though there's OS potential customers anyway um that's an aside so these are rapidly coming out of service I mean it's seven eight nine years since its so since they stopped supporting them so I guess it's probably do anyway so there's a bunch of different ways to talk to this to this radio system this was the absolutely most basic one it just plugged into a port on the front and it gave you a foreign menu needs scroll through and talk to the thing and you could do some basic stuff like turning on and on on and off different transmitters and switching the receivers you turn on and off different traffic ports on it and probably the most important thing the most basic thing that it was it used for at least once on every installation was to set the IP address of the unit so that then you could log into it with your laptop using its built-in web server and do all the programming a lot easier that way but this little keypad has got me out of so many jams when I couldn't get my laptop to boot or I was too easy to bring me in there whatever what's holding up together I guess those little nuts there there there we go a TBT nut driver somebody's gonna ask oh come on up asana loosen you'll have to crack it open crack up luces pliers and then spin it off of the neck paper there we go it's not perfect but it'll do somebody's gonna ask this nut driver came in a set from princess Otto they got years and years and years ago so how does that come out there we go uh-huh hung out here called he passed okay so two thousand six seventh months was when that was built and inspected which is odd since these the stamp on the plastic injection molding since 2006 and eight months hmm somewhere in that range anyway 2006 which is a year or two after this model was introduced but not not much after we have the little display board which does it identify what it is on the back not really TM tool for J a a 7p one okay 20 columns and four rows possibly that seems about right I wonder if I can repurpose that for something anyway here's the here's the fun and games in here and will that pop out well I think it will you guess it real okay a rubber keypad on the back which is just one of those the resistive things that make contact down there that's not at all surprising and on this side what the MC 68 HCP 11 e 1 CF n3 presumably the the main processor that guy with the sticker on him is probably the wrong for this little module they have an oscillator over there which isn't surprising because there's a little processor in here you have each C 5 7 4 D by Phillips and each C 5 7 3 D and if I'm measuring if I'm looking at this right it looks like they're connected to each other and then connected over to the serial port so that probably I'm assuming that's a serial port it's actually probably got other things going on because this thing's also got to get power from their power and I'm guessing serial data in and out so those are probably the serial drivers and yeah so that that's not going to be a standard rs-232 pin out because it's got to get 5 volts and ground from it because I'm guessing it's not anyway and H int32 C B's ed whatever that guy's doing there's nothing obvious it might be that it might be part of the display driver though and the other chip down in the corner there that I initially thought was part of the display or the display driver appears not to be and therefore was probably wrong about what those two eight port devices were doing earlier – this says the H a in two three – and it is an rs-232 driver so that's clearly what it's doing so I wonder what those other guys are doing so after the data sheets confirmed some of my guesses and blue some of them out of the water let's quickly go through so we got the microcontroller EEPROM this is the 8-bit latch and the bit flip-flop which now that I look at them the little bunch of vias which come down onto this side and go to the keyboard which is a four by four matrix so that's probably what they're doing well that's fairly clearly what they're doing and then this guy is the rs-232 and yeah not too much else to see on here just some common logic chips and stuff like that so somewhere on this connector there's going to be five volts and ground there's going to be rs-232 which is TX and rx and I don't know what the other pins are doing if anything on this side of the board we can see that there's only really three pins connected off four pins connected that looks like ground that one looks like he's got a resistor to the ground clean there's gonna be a TX and rx data and presumably a five volts now then there could be stuff happening on the other side of the board and it looks like there might just be but because of the connector we can't really see it supposed to go back and find the five volts on one of these chips and see if I get find it on here that might be interesting okay so there's ground on pin one of the db9 and I'll pick up VCC off this chip here and that's one diode junction above ground higher above VCC and bow VCC and there we go that is VCC itself on that end so let's see what happens if I get some power on this thing I'm not sure if this is gonna work or not without anything communicating with it there might be a backlight I can't member but we'll see so there's that I've got five volts in the power supply and we'll see if anything happens power on nothing happens it's not drawing any current to speak of nothing that was worth a try I guess yeah the five volts is getting onto the board so I don't know um that was a long shot anyways but it's always interesting to see what's inside something that you've just been taking for granted at work for you know a decade or more I may play with this a bit more in the future that that display looks interesting if I can find any information out about it unfortunately everything's all in blobs here so well actually maybe I'll just do a quick search for that part number there I didn't do that oh hello hmm so it is a fairly off-the-shelf item and relatively common although I wouldn't pay that much for it but it's interesting that that's what they think they can get for it even more interesting a datasheet 43 volts for the LCD 5-volt logic tolerant blue and black and white blue or black and white what do we got here 5 by 7 dot character talks 8-bit parallel there we go 20 characters by four lines is reflective no backlight oh ok and the LCD is positive type you know three digits 20 characters that's what we thought power supply max 7 volts we can run it straight off 5 volts that's awesome I may actually be able to use this thing oh and there's our data bits Oh awesome that should be fun to play with I made actually little selfish that out of there so after looking at to the data sheet for that LCD it occurred to me that the in might a box of displays here in amongst the 1602 and the nucleus and stuff that looks oh it's a big brother of it never mind and that one's got an SPI adapter on unfortunately I've got another one would that actually line up no not really but I think with the P note that I got from the datasheet it's probably gonna be pretty close to these guys I'm guessing and hopefully somebody some nice kind Arduino person has written a library that I can use but that's another thing for another time today was just about satisfying the curiosity and seeing what's going on inside here and that's been done and then some actually so oh yeah hope you found that interesting or amusing umm I was never really intending for that to get that deep in the reverse engineering or into the potential stuff but yeah there you go I mean also try a little bit more and see if I can figure out what's going on there but I don't know without without a bit more information it's gonna be a bit tricky I could probably chase the serial port back to there but I still didn't get any indication when it lit up there was no boot message or anything you know so I don't know well we'll find out anyways thanks for your time um I appreciate you stopping by to see what I'm up to given the questions or comments I'm not sure if I can answer the questions but what the hell throw them at you throw them down in the comments anyway and we'll see what we can come up with thanks doctor

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