Guitar Hero Controller Teardown

The Guitar Hero Wireless controller for the Xbox.


Taking apart a Guitar Hero controller starts with the removal of the neck via a release latch on the back. (#2)


Leaving two separate pieces. The Neck and the Body (#3)




The neck opens up via 11 Torx screws on the back of the piece and easily separates to reveal the components inside. (#4)


The electronic components and connector are then easily lifted out of the housing (#5+6) and contain circuit boards for the fret buttons, the fret slide, and the neck connector.  More on these specific components later.







Access to the Body’s components necessitated prying up the printed fretboard panel (#8) to reveal the front of the injection molded piece. 16 Torx screws were removed (#9) to open the case and gain access to in innards (#10)





The interior electronics in the body consist of 7 separate circuit boards as well as the whammy bar components and a battery box. (#11)




Nearly all of the electronic components inside the guitar hero are small simple circuit boards that are connected via ribbon cables. Each board is focused on a specific task and method of interaction.

Starting from the top of the neck, the first board is the Fret Button Board (#12). It is a simple circuit closing board where the backs of the fret buttons touch down on the board to close a circuit.



The next board down the neck is the Fret Slider. (#13) and contains the not only the touch pad element but an IC chip as well (#14).




The Neck and body connect with two boards, one on the Neck (#15) and one in the Body (#16). The physical connection is done with a roughly USB sized plug (#17+18)






The Strumming Plate (#19+20) is next traveling down the guitar and is comprised of a circuit board containing just two spring loaded buttons which are pressed with strumming up or down on the guitars interface (#21+22).






The Start/Select controller, much like the Fret Buttons is an assembly of a circuit boar and contact buttons (#23+24)




A direct connection with the XBox is facilitated by the Controller Connector (#25+26+27)





A button to activate the wireless connection and an expansion port are contained on the Power Switch board (#28+29+30) The expansion port uses the R45 connector – similar to a standard telephone terminator.




The Whammy Bar mechanism is a dual-direction spring-loaded assembly that drives a potentiometer (#31+32+33)



The D-Pad controller, much like the fret buttons, is another simple circuit board (#34+35) with contact points which has a silicone contact pad and the physical d-pad interface laid on top of it (#36+37).






The Main Board contains the meat of the processing components (#38+39) and is the hub connecting all of the other boards within the entire controller (#40+41).






The Majority of the Integrated Circuits on this board appear to be microsoft / xbox custom chips (#42+43+44) but also includes a 7318 KRAAC (#45)





Thank You.

Robo Battle Dragon Teardown




This is a teardown of the Sharper Image Electronic Action Robo Battle Dragon. It drew my eye because it’s super rad but also has a nice cute factor. I also thought that it had much more cool features like sounds and the ability to battle other robots, but the only electronic things it does is walk and have a red light on its chest. Other than that it has a spring loaded mouth to hold things, segmented tail that swings while it walks and a head that turns slightly from side to side


Step 1

Make sure our small friend is turned off. Remove screw then, battery cover and batteries from underside.

Step 2

Remove two screws from cover on bottom of head, that will allow the jaw and spring to come off as well as the top of the head to pop off. Two screws on the underside of the top piece hold on the piece with the rubber teeth.

Step 3

Find the two white plugs on the side and pop them out. Remove these two screws and pop the white cover off over the wings.  You can also yank the arms out with a little bit of effort.

Step 4

Remove the three screws from the tail.  This should allow the tip and smallest segment to come out.

Step 5

Pop the plug out on the side of the tail and remove that screw. Then remove any other screws from the side of the body.  This will allow the other sections of the tail to come out.  It will also release the neck portion and allow the body to split in half.


Step 6

Notice in the center of the body where the leg is mounted.  It has a boss that fits to the side of the motor.  The motor provides a spinning motion to both legs and creates the walking action. We can remove the one screw within the boss and the leg will come out. Removing the rest of the screws on the leg allows it to split apart.


Motor GIF

Step 7

Remove the two screws at the base of the fin.  Grab a pair of pliers and the pin that is part of the walking mechanism will come out easily.

Step 8

Pull the electronic assembly out, we’ll analyze this later.  This side of the body will come apart the same as the other.  Note the two extra longer pins that hold the motor in place and be sure to pull those out too.

Step 9

Examine the electronic assembly.  This is where the grand disappointment is—no sound chips, no speakers, no sensors to allow it to actually fight other robots, just two AAAs, an LED wired in parallel with a motor, and a slide switch to control on/off.



I had high hopes for the Robo Battle Dragon, but it turned out to be much simpler than I thought. but two things I found interesting were:

  1. The tail.  The method they used to segment the tail was pretty cool.  I’ve never seen injection molded pieces used with a pin like that before to create a series of hinges.
  2. The white side panels.  These were fairly cleverly constructed to hide a majority of the screw holes on the body.  I was surprised that the two plugs covering the screws were only held in via a pressure fit and no adhesive was used.  It’s interesting that they also used a series of clips along where the spine would be.


iHome Teardown

For this tear down project I found an old iHome iPL8 Charging Stereo FM Clock Radio with Lightning Dock.


Features include:

  • USB Port
  • AUX line
  • Alarm “Wake/Sleep” function with iPhone/iPod music or FM radio
  • iPhone charging doc
  • Digital time display
  • Speakers (Reason8 Speaker Chambers)
  • Materials
    • Plastic Injection mold
    • Matte Metallic Mesh
    • Foot pads
    • Screws

Part 1

I approached the iHome from the underside, removing the Lithium Watch battery first and proceeding with the 4 visible and accessible screws. After those were removed I discovered there where two more screws hidden beneath the foot pads. Removing those allowed me to open the case.


Part 2

From there I encountered a layering of circuit boards and electronic components; separated by injection mold casings or foam padding.  All of these were well-organized and neatly packed into the case. Each part was easily broken down with a tiny Phillips head screw driver.



All interior components

Part 3

At this phase you can clearly begin to see the different parts of the iHome (i.e. Digital clock, speakers, iPhone port) and how they connect to the main circuit board so I started breaking them down one by one.



  • Materials:
    • Speakers – SRS TrueBass expanded bass circuitry. sealed speaker, magnetic and glued shut. ( YDF4304-A122M1-131)
    • Rubber
    • Injection mold plastic
    • Wiring
    • Foam
    • Screws

iPhone Port:


  • Materials
    • Injection Mold Plastic
    • Circuit board
    • Screws
    • Springs
    • iPod jack

Digital Clock Display Components:

Clock/Music control Board
Digital Clock Display components
Digital Clock Screen Display components
  • Materials:
    • Printed circuit board RoHS, including solder-stop and marking print.

    • Flexible Flat Cable Tape

    • Clear Plastic Screen
    • Textured Plastic plate with silver foil taping, sandwiched in paper.
    • Tinted Glass plate with injection mold plastic casing and framing
    • Circuit Display board.

The main circuit board with microchips:


All Parts

Materials in total:

  • Injection Mold Plastic
  • Electric wiring/cables
  • Lithium Battery
  • Circuit Boards (with soldering)
  • Flexible Flat Cable tape
  • Speakers – YDF4304-A122M1-131 (magnets?)
  • Foam
  • Glue
  • Screws

Tools Used to Teardown:

  • Tiny Phillips Screw
  • Pliers
  • Wire cutters

Parts/Chip info:

  • STA369BWS – From STMicroelectronics – Audio Amplifiers /Audio Subsystems.

  • AP918 – Flash Micro controller with LCD drive for USD audio application.

  • SS32 – S310 Schottky Rectifier – electrical resistance

One Design element I think it interesting is the speaker design. As a consumer who doesn’t understand really much about how speakers or electronics are made, the exterior design of the speaker mesh gives me the feeling that there is this giant, “surround sound” speaker affect inside my iHome. In reality there is just a L and a R speaker. It’s a bit of smoke and mirrors but I think it’s a good visual trick.

A second design element I think works really well is that the iPhone jack is set into “pins” so that the device can rock front and back when it’s connected to its port. I think this is a fairly simple thing to add into a design but it smart because probably means the components aren’t snapping or breaking when the device is put on or taken of.

Thanks I hope you enjoyed my teardown!


Samsung Intensity II Teardown

Project 1 Knolling_back_labelled

Project 1 Knolling_front labelled.jpg


  • A. Back casing with camera cover – injection mold plastic
  • B. Slider mechanism plate – metal and plastic
  • C. Back casing/battery cover – injection molded plastic
  • D. Screws – metal
  • E. 3.7 volt Lithium ion battery
  • F. Front Speaker and flex cable
  • G. Front side buttons – injection molded plastic
  • H. Front cover and LCD protector
  • I. LCD connector and flex cable
  • J. Front number keyboard circuit board
  • K. Front number keyboard buttons – plastic
  • L. Back speaker and camera module, also housing audio jack – IMP for module case
  • M. Slider mechanism base plate – metal
  • N. Screws – metal
  • O. Screws – metal
  • P. Screws – metal
  • Q. EMI Shield – metal
  • R. Screws – metal
  • S. Back Plate of front half – IMP
  • T. QWERTY keyboard circuit
  • U. QWERTY keyboard buttons – plastic
  • V. “Front” casing for back half housing QWERTY keyboard
  • W. LCD display
  • X. Rear camera
  • Y. Sim card space?

How to breakdown:

Tools Used: screw driver, tweezers, x-acto knife, hair dryer, phillips head, my nails 😛

Techniques: unscrewing, heating up, and prying, lots of prying

Step 1:Remove back casing and detach logic board


IMG_5840.jpgIMG_5843 IMG_5844

Step 2: Open up the front half of the phone, starting with the sliding mechanism side, and remove LCD panel and front keyboard circuit from front casing.

IMG_5847  IMG_5849 IMG_5849 3

Step 3: Detach LCD connector and remove EMI shield and speaker module with camera/audio jack from logic board.


Two design elements I found interesting:

  1. The slider, the sliding mechanism, and the holes in parts of the casing are positioned in such a way to accommodate the LCD connection. Prior to taking it apart, I had no idea how that worked, so it was exciting to discover during the teardown!
  2. I like the difference in texture between the back plate covering the battery and the rest of the phone. While the rest of the purple plastic in the case is smooth, the back has a more raised texture. I think this was done for better grip when the user is holding the phone and to distinguish the part that can be removed to access the battery.

Mattel Gas Out Teardown


I deconstructed Mattel’s Gas Out, which is a toy that makes farting sound when pressed(It even has two different kinds of farting sound). This toy was designed for a card game, which was also designed by Mattel. I chose to deconstruct this product because of its small size( I was curious how all the features were included in this small product) and the sound making feature. For clarification, I will call the whole product as ‘body part’ and the top part of the product as ‘head part’.

Tool I used to tear it down: Screw driver

Step 1. Unscrew the screws

-Take the batteries out (Batteries were not able to be removed by hands)

-Open the body


Step 2. Pull the back of the head out and open it

Step 3. Pull the buttons out

Dismantled parts

-sound buttons, speaker, speaker wire(blue), DHW 40 chipboard, 2 AA batteries, springs, screws, on/off buttons

Interesting Findings

  1. It was interesting to see all the features(on/off button, speaker, sound buttons) are all connected to one small chipboard.
  2. The space of the product was very efficiently used. The product had its speaker inside the head part since the head was narrow and had its chipboard inside the body part since the body had wider space.
  3. By analyzing the inner part of the product, I learned how button is made and how to make a product bounce.
  4. VCC and GND were glued to the chipboard and was connected to the battery compartment. Except for that, other parts were jointed by screws.

Rice Cooker Teardown


I bought a rice cooker from the thrift store. And this is a brief introduction:


A Glass Lid (Lost)
B Inner Pot
C Heating Body
D Panel
E Cook Switch

This rice cooker is very easy to use. Just connect the plug into a outlet and switch the rice cooker ON. It will start cooking and the cook light will illuminate. After cooking, the rice cooker will keep warm automatically and the keep warm light will illuminate.

Teardown steps


Step 1 Remove the Bottom Plate
1.1 Remove the spanning screw
1.2 Remove the rubber cushions
1.3 Unscrew the legs
1.4 Remove the bottom plate


Step 2 Remove the Hotplate
2.1 Unscrew the screw of wire groups
2.2 Bend & unlock the spring latch
2.3 Unscrew the surrounding screws
2.4 Remove the hotplate


Step 3 Tear down the inner parts
2.1 Push the plates together to unlock the hotplate.
2.2 Find the spring inside the hotplate
2.3 Find & unlock the heating piece
2.4 Cut the wire groups
2.5 Drag out the panel
2.6 Unscrew the panel


Reassembly & Conclusion
What makes me really surprised is its working style. The rice cooker uses its wonderful structure to achieve the cooking and keeping warm function. The most interesting thing is the spring inside the hotplate. I reassemble some parts of the rice cooker and realize the fact that, the spring is compressed in the cooking mode to let the inner pot keep close to the heating body, while it extends in the keep warm so that the inner pot can keep away from the heating body. And it is really excited to find out how it works with the cook switch on the panel. I realize that some ingenious designs are very simple but really useful!

D-Link Router Teardown

I teared down a D-Link Router, and here is what I found:

Frame was attached together with two screws that were hidden in the bottom and behind two plastic covers. I broke the antenna and there was a wire inside it. There was a boardband inside the case which has these components:

  • LAN and WAN ports which we can see from the outside and that’s where we plug it in. There was also a tiny switch that was the reset button. They were attached to the board and I couldn’t separate them.
  • Three Isolation transformers. I found out that they are used to transfer the electrical power from the source to the device in a way that protect us from electrical shock.
  • There are multiple elements that are responsible for power supply.
  • Chip AR7240 which is a Network Processor
  • Chip A3560ETP Which is a SDRAM

*Figure 4 and 5 were under a metal cover.

IMG_4472 copy


  • Chip AR9285 which is a wireless adapter and it’s under a metal cover
  • ON/OFF switch which is next to a LED
  • 7 activity LEDs

IMG_4491 copy

What I found Interesting:

LAN and WAN ports were attached to the board by two plastic parts that were very small but the way they were designed made the ports very secure on the board.

Also, it was interesting how the actual switch was very small and simple but had a more complicated or more aesthetic figure on the exterior.

The whole exterior looked like it was made from three parts, I think they designed it like this to make it look less boxy, but it was actually only two piece that were attached together by screws and ridges that went together like a puzzle.