We previously torn down several Amazon Echo devices including the 3rd gen Dot, 3rd gen Dot with Clock, the Flex, Echo Dot 4th Gen and the Echo Input. In this teardown we will look at the new Echo Show 5, 2nd , 2021 release, smart display with Amazon Alexa and 2 MP camera.
The Echo Show differs from the previous Echo devices that we have torn down as this has a large display and camera in addition to the microphones and speaker on the smaller models.
In the Box
- The Echo Show 5
- 240V UK power supply
- Setup instructions
The Echo Show 5 (2nd generation) has the following specifications:
- Screen: 5.5 inch with 960 x 480 resolution
- Speaker 1 x 1.6 inch
- Camera: 2 megapixels
- Camera Controls: Built-in camera cover and Microphone/Camera Off button
- Dimensions: 148 x 86 x 73 mm (W x H x D)
- Weight: 410g
- Wi-Fi: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi networks.
- Processor: MediaTek MT 8163
Top of the Echo Show
The top of the echo has three push buttons, two microphones and a slide switch. The + and – buttons control the volume and the circle with a line through it enables or disables the microphones. The slide switch moves a white shield cover over the camera.
Front of the Echo Show
The front panel contains the LCD touch screen and a camera in the top right corner.
Back of the Echo Show
The back contains a power socket and a USB connector. The USB connector allows connection to a computer where the Echo Show appears as a file device.
Opening the Case
To open the case first you need to remove the non-slip aluminium/rubber cover on the base of the echo show, using a thin knife or some other flat bladed tool. Slide the knife around the central piece of plastic to release the adhesive tape. If you try to lift the cover from one end without first releasing the tape you will crease the aluminium which may make it difficult to fit back down later.
Under the cover you will find three T6 torx bolts which need to be removed.
The two halves of the case are separated by prising the front away from the back with a thin blade inserted into the gap around the edge between the material and plastic front.
Remove J1 ribbon cable and J2 speaker cable to separate the screen and front panel from rear section of the case.
Back section Disassembly
Remove four screws from speaker assembly and two pieces of conductive tape.
Slide the speaker out of the rear enclosure.
Front section Disassembly
Remove the four ribbon cables, 5 screws and conductive tape to remove the main PCB.
Remove the 4 screws from the button PCB and the two screws from the metal bracket holding the camera down.
Upper side of the Processor PCB
The upper side of the processor PCB contains the main components for the device.
Around the outside edge are connectors for the touch screen, LCD, camera, power, USB and speaker.
The main processor is a MediaTek MT8163. The MT8163 is a highly integrated SOC with a 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 MPCore, 3D graphics (OpenGL ES 3.1), 13-megapixel camera interface, DDR3/L up to 800MHz and high-definition 1080p video decoder.
A MediaTek MT6323 performs the power management on the device.
Communication with the outside world is done using a MediaTek MT7668 dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO and Bluetooth 5.0 controller.
There is a large metal shield soldered to the PCB. This covers up the DDR3 memory and flash memory chips. We have had mixed success removing these shields in the past and on one previous Echo model the flash memory came off with the shield. As we don’t want to destroy the Echo until we have done some more experiments we decided to leave the shield in place.
Alongside the main chips are several smaller power regulators, inductors and capacitors.
Lower side of the Processor PCB
The lower side contains two ICs and several voltage regulators.
Audio input is controlled with a Texas Instruments TLV320ADC3101 low-power Stereo ADC With Embedded miniDSP.
Audio output is provided using a Texas Instruments TAS5805M 23-W, Class-D Audio Amplifier.
There is an unpopulated set of 10 pads in the middle of the PCB which looks like space for a connector. This is underneath the processor so it could be a debug or JTAG header and may be worth further investigation.
The lower side is covered in test points. These are not accessible when the device is powered and connected to the LCD, touch screen and camera so we will have to try and find a way of accessing them before we can discover what each test point does.
Power and USB PCB
A small PCB is fitted to the rear of the enclosure behind the speaker. This PCB contains the power socket, a USB micro socket and several discreet components.
At the top of the device is a narrow PCB containing the three push buttons and two MEMS microphones. It was not possible to remove the camera without first removing this PCB.
LCD and Touch Screen
We could not find the part numbers for the LCD and touch screen without removing them from the front of the plastic case. As they are glued in, and we don’t want to risk damaging the screen we decided against trying to disassemble that part of the device.
The LCD is a 5.5 inch display with a 33 pin flat flex cable.
After searching around the internet the closest model we could find was a KD055M39-33TH-A001 which has an MIPI interface. The display is advertised as a replacement for the Echo Show 5 so it is either the same display or one that is compatible. The specifications for this display are as follows.
- Size (inch): 5.5
- Resolution: 480*960
- Panel type Display mode: IPS
- Interface support Interface: MIPI (33pin)
- Outline (mm): 82.82(H)*144.56(V)*3.24(T)
- Display area size Active area(mm): 61.88(H)*123.75(V)
- Brightness (nits): 350TYP
The touch screen has a part number of E517389 which we could not find on google but it does have the pinout printed on the cable. It appears to be an I2C based device with the touch controller built into the flat flex cable. The pinout is as follows.
- Not Connected
We took the following power measurements using our HOPI energy meter.
4.3W with screen wallpaper
4.8W when playing music on Spotify
4.9W when playing full screen YouTube video
USB interface and Boot Modes
Connecting the USB socket on the rear of the device to a PC allows the Echo to mount on host computer as a disk drive. The USB socket can also be used for flashing the firmware and other software operations.
The following boot modes are available when powering on the device:
- Holding down - button boots into safe mode.
- Holding down + and - on boot loads fastboot mode.
- Holding down mute and - on boot loads factory reset mode.
Running the linux command "lsusb -v" gave us a list of USB devices connected to the PC and in the list was a Amazon Alexa device with the following details.
Bus 005 Device 009: ID 1949:01e1 Lab126, Inc. Alexa
idVendor 0x1949 Lab126, Inc.
iManufacturer 1 Amazon
iProduct 2 Alexa
iSerial 3 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
bInterfaceClass 255 Vendor Specific Class
bInterfaceSubClass 255 Vendor Specific Subclass
iInterface 17 MTP
bEndpointAddress 0x81 EP 1 IN
Transfer Type Bulk
Synch Type None
Usage Type Data
wMaxPacketSize 0x0200 1x 512 bytes
bEndpointAddress 0x01 EP 1 OUT
Transfer Type Bulk
Synch Type None
Usage Type Data
wMaxPacketSize 0x0200 1x 512 bytes
bEndpointAddress 0x82 EP 2 IN
Transfer Type Interrupt
Synch Type None
Usage Type Data
wMaxPacketSize 0x001c 1x 28 bytes
Device Qualifier (for other device speed):
can't get debug descriptor: Resource temporarily unavailable
Device Status: 0x0001
The Lab126 in the device description relates to Amazon Lab126 (sometimes known as Lab126) which is an American research and development and computer hardware company owned by Amazon.com
Holding down + and - while turning on the device boots the Echo Show into fastboot mode.
Running the command "fastboot getvar all" returned the following:
(bootloader) antirback_tee_version: 0x0104
(bootloader) antirback_lk_version: 0x0103
(bootloader) antirback_pl_version: 0x0103
(bootloader) rpmb_state: 1
(bootloader) lk_build_desc: 7b1780d-20210416_071610
(bootloader) pl_build_desc: 29ba1b5-20210311_160043
(bootloader) secure: yes
(bootloader) prod: 1
(bootloader) otu_code: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
(bootloader) unlock_status: false
(bootloader) unlock_code: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
(bootloader) serialno: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
(bootloader) max-download-size: 0x6d00000
(bootloader) off-mode-charge: 1
(bootloader) warranty: no
(bootloader) kernel: lk
(bootloader) product: CRONOS
(bootloader) version-preloader: 0.1.00
(bootloader) version: 0.5
Fastboot can see the device but as the bootloader is locked we can not extract or update the firmware image.
So far, we have disassembled the Echo Show 5 and found the main components. We have not decided what the next steps will be, but we have a couple options.
First, we can reverse engineer the main PCB to find out what the test points and unpopulated connectors are for. If we can find a way of interfacing with the header on the underside of the PCB or removing the shield without damaging the components underneath, we may be able to extract the firmware. We have done this previously on two other Echo devices, one with an emmc flash memory and another with a SPI NAND flash chip.
Once we have the firmware, we can figure out how it works and look for ways to modify it to run our own software.
The second option is to scrap the existing CPU PCB and build a new board with a Raspberry Pi 4 compute module. We will need to find a way of interfacing the LCD and touch screen, add an audio ADC and DAC for the microphone and speaker and write some software to run on it but this would allow us to use other voice assistants like Mycroft. The biggest difficultly with this option at the present time is getting hold of a Raspberry Pi 4 compute module as nobody has them in stock.
10 January 2022 at 10:18 pm
How do you fix a Alexa echo 5 as I have tried holding the mute and minus down for 15 seconds and it stil won’t come on thx
12 January 2022 at 7:49 am
Very interesting! Do you think it would be possible to connect the screen (& touch screen) to the motherboard of another android device, so that the other device could use the Echo Show's screen? The reason I ask is that I have found that the echo show 5 fits perfectly into the recess of my 2003 car's old satnav! But the Echo Show doesn't do a great job as a replacement. So ideally I'd have an android tablet or phone there, but the dimensions just don't work.
11 February 2022 at 9:53 pm
I came across your post while looking for a teardown after unsuccessfully trying to replace Fire OS with a standard Android install. I was hoping someone would have some pointers on connecting speaker, microphone and LCD to a Pi Zero as it's small enough to hide inside the casing. Looking forward to future posts!
20 March 2022 at 5:48 pm
Nice job! Thanks for sharing.
As a next step, what about soldering an audio cable to the "Power and USB PCB" board in order to make available an line-out-audio that was removed from 1st generation? It looks like the PCB haven't changed from previous version, so I guess the audio signal should be available there? Nearby R231, R234, R235, R236, C15 & C17, perhaps?
03 April 2022 at 1:40 am
I am attempting to do your second option for next steps. Have you attempted it yet yourself? Additionally, I am having difficulty disconnecting the touch screen ribbon cable from the processor PCB; it appears to be adhered. Do you have any recommendations for removal or was yours not glued down?
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