In the black Friday sale at Amazon, we purchased an Amazon Echo Input which is a small voice-controlled device that requires an external speaker and uses the Amazon Alexa voice command service.
As this is the second Amazon echo device we have purchased, we decided to take it apart to see what you get for your £15.00.
In the Box
- The echo input
- 240V UK power supply
- USB Power cable
- 5mm Audio cable
- Things to try leaflet
- Setup instructions
Top of the Echo
The top of the echo input has two buttons, four microphone holes and LED.
The base has the serial number, product logos and certification marks.
On the side are a power input socket and headphone/audio out 3.5mm stereo socket.
To open the case first you need to remove the rubber non-slip cover on the base of the echo input, using a thin knife or some other flat-bladed tool.
Under the cover, you will find four Torx bolts. Removing the bolts allows you to remove the plastic base which has a metal shield and an RFID tag.
Inside the top half of the case is another metal shield. Removing this reveals the main PCB and the top half of the plastic case which has additional metal shielding and the control buttons.
The top of the PCB has two buttons with an RGB LED in the centre.
Next to the left button on the photo below is what appears to be a light sensor IC and there is an LVC74A by Texas Instruments which is a Dual Positive-Edge-Triggered D-Type Flip-Flop.
The sides of the PCB have cut-outs that house the 3.5mm audio port and the USB power socket.
There is a small metal shield which covers the 4Gb KLM4G1FETE Samsung eMMC that contains the operating system and other software.
On the underside of the PCB is a large metal shield with conductive pads. Each side has a metal housing which appears to be related to the antennas and a smaller metal shield which houses the Wifi IC.
There are four microphones marked M2270 0975.
The large metal shield is removed by unclipping it around the edges. It is also held to the main processor via a heat transfer pad.
The main CPU is a Mediatek MT8516BAAA ARM 64-bit ARM Cortex-A35 processor which is the same chip used on the Echo dot.
Memory is provided using two Skyunix H5TC2G63GFR 2Gb low power Double Data Rate III (DDR3L) Synchronous DRAM ICs.
The four microphones feed into two TLV320ADC3101 chips from Texas Instruments. The TLV320ADC3101 is a Stereo ADC with an embedded mini digital signal processor. The Echo input uses the four microphones to locate the direction the voice is coming from and filter out background noise.
Above one of the ADC, chips is a small 8-pin IC marked ES33 868 A7Z6.
The smaller metal shield is removed by melting the solder around its edges.
The metal shield houses the MediaTek MT7658CSN dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth controller with an ARM Cortex-R4 CPU. The MT7658CSN manages communication to wi-fi and Bluetooth devices and connects to two PCB antennas located on the outer edges of the board.
The eMMC Chip
Whilst removing the metal shield which covers the eMMC storage chip, using our hot air reflow station, the chip accidentally came off with the metal. As we don’t have any way to re-ball a BGA chip we thought we would try to connect to the chip to try to access the data on it and see if the content is encrypted or not.
We found several commercially available BGA sockets but these are very expensive and so we looked for an alternative way to access the contents of the chip.
eMMC uses the same communication protocols as SD Memory cards, so we found a pinout for the Micro SD card standard and using a MicroSD to SD card adapter we matched the pins on the Micro SD adapter with the corresponding pins on the eMMC IC. Using some 0.1mm enamelled wire, a new extra fine soldering iron tip and a lot of flux we carefully soldered wires between the SD card adapter and the IC. The eMMC IC is 11mm x 10mm x 0.8mm. 153 pins, 0.5mm ball pitch.
The SD card adapter was then plugged into a USB card reader and connected to one of our Linux computers. Linux automatically mounted several ext4 partitions which indicated that the adapter was working successfully. We then used the Linux tool dd to make a copy of the entire drive to an image file that we could then inspect without risking the original version.
A quick look through the partition structure of the drive indicated that it was an android-based system and after some research online we found that it was based on Amazon's Fire OS. We don’t plan on doing anything further with what we have found at the moment as we don’t have the knowledge to try modifying the contents of the drive or have any way of fitting the chip back onto the PCB but it was a useful experiment in recovering data from eMMC memory chips.
Update 9th December 2019
I have received a lot of messages, criticism and comments on various websites regarding the operating system from the eMMC flash on the Echo Input and why I haven’t posted an image/iso of the operating system online for others to download or provided file lists and screenshots of the folder structure.
The Amazon Fire operating system is a proprietary OS and Amazon does not publish the source files in any form, as the OS is not Open Source, it would be a breach of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Millennium_Copyright_Act for me to post a copy of their proprietary operating system on my blog or other file sharing site.
I do not want my web hosts or myself to receive a DMCA request for the website to be shut down and this is why I am not prepared to share the files.
The following photos were taken using our new microscope and are of various ICs and components on the PCB.