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Reverse Engineering Radios

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Mikebits

Well-Known Member
Try reverse engineering an LED flashlight. If that gives you trouble, then forget about it.
 

BrownOut

Banned
IMO, if you want to learn radio design, best to study schematics of working units. I've seen lots of those posted here. If you don't understand anything on the drawings, just ask :)
 

smanches

New Member
Why do you want to reverse engineer them?
 

audioguru

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
They might use ICs that are specially made for them but you can't buy the ICs.
 

Chippie

Member
Some receivers have pic micros in them for dsp :)

The code may be protected........
 

Triode

Active Member
We can't be negative about the idea without knowing what he means. Reverse engineering implies that you are making a design off of the machine, which in this case is pointless because you can more easily find a design that uses more readily availible components. But if he means taking out the board that (usually in one piece) Recives the radio signal, decodes it and controlls the motors, and hooking it up into his own project, that can be done, and is often fun to do.
 
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Chippie

Member
They might use ICs that are specially made for them but you can't buy the ICs.
Quite right AG, I've come across some that have very obscure numbers which led me to that conclusion when trying to make 2 receivers work that I bought from Ebay....

Suffice to say, I did succeed in getting them to work :) Required the addition of a couple of smt components which is a challenge in itself given my eyesight
 

wings_of_fire

New Member
Of course it is, but is it worth it?,
I guess you are pointing out that the cost of reverse engineering would be exorbitant.

I wish to start my own toy manufacturing company. I want to manufacture toys that have technology & are affordable to everyone. I plan to manufacture a 2.2 RC Rock crawler which will retail for $35 here & a bit more abroad.

Coming back to the radio, I feel that is the main problem since if I got to buy readymade radio sets, then its gonna cost me more than my product price.
It will be impossible to even think of manufacturing the product at $35. The only way to solve this problem is that I manufacture the radio inhouse.
 
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Triode

Active Member
If you are planning on doing this for buisness, then the ethical thing to do would be to design your own. If you get together with a manufacturer, which you will have to do to mass produce the component boards, they may be able to help you. Even if you don't care about copying a design, you will work harder to replicate their chip than you would have to to make your own design.

On a side note, I have been working on learning how to make RCs and as I make the project and learn I am developing a tutorial walk through of it at the same time, when its done and refined I will make it availible in the projects section here and you are free to use it.
 
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Triode

Active Member
THose radios in particular run on protected frequencies so you can't legally DIY one.
oh, mine does use purchased radios, I guess that is what he asked how to build. I may dabble in using a transmitter and reciever module sets to do it. But for now buying the radio and just building the motor control circuitry seems like the practical way to go. And I'm not going to actually build the transmitter itself at home in either case.
 
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wings_of_fire

New Member
Some receivers have pic micros in them for dsp :)

The code may be protected........
I am from mechanical eng. I do have interest in electronics & have basic knowledge about it.


Is the IC or micro controller the only tough nut to krack in this? If so then, how hard can it be to just change the microcontroller with our own programmed version ?

pardon me as my questions may be silly due to lack of specialised knowledge on the subject.
 

dknguyen

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
No point in reverse engineering one- it'd be more work than to just learn how to do it from scratch. Just learn the basics of PPM radio system and build one of those. From my understanding it is almost as simple as you can get for RF. If you are trying to save money, then no need to go PCM or spread spectrum or anything like that.
http://www.electro-tech-online.com/custompdfs/2009/06/mectn004.pdf

Is the radio supposed to be $35? Or is the whole rock crawler+radio supposed to be $35? Because you probably could get the radio to be $35 to produce, but I doubt you could get the whole kit to be that much.

But can you beat this one?
Hobbycity Online R/C Hobby Store : Hobby King 2.4Ghz 4Ch Tx & Rx (Mode 1) $29.99)

It's not hard to replace the MCU if you know where all the pins go- but you don't know where all the pins go and chances are you won't be able to find out on their multi-layer board without schematics even if you had the board in front of you. Also...don't forget you have to do the same thing with the receiver. You'd have to reverse engineer both. Not worth it especially since you are trying to go for cost, and those guys are usually more feature oriented. You'd have to slice through a lot of the fat to find what you want.

You don't seem to have the proper knowledge to design your own radio system, let alone reverse engineer it (which is harder and more frustrating). You're going to have to learn the material or hire someone who knows it, and in both cases once you know what's going on it would be easier to just design it from scratch.
 
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Triode

Active Member
^ sweet, I hadent seen those. I don't know about him but it should work for what I'm doing. It would cost less than the parts to build anything similar. I'm sure its not the best, but I'm not building a long range thing anyway.
 

Chippie

Member
I guess you are pointing out that the cost of reverse engineering would be exorbitant.


It will be impossible to even think of manufacturing the product at $35. The only way to solve this problem is that I manufacture the radio inhouse.
what about the cost of getting type approval?

Here in the UK, the cottage industry was killed off becuase of government red tape and having to meet all kinds of approval/certification.

Looking ahead, if you plan to export, again you will need to meet certain standards...

So have you considered all of this as part of your business plan?

Assuming you have one.....
 

wings_of_fire

New Member
If you are planning on doing this for buisness, then the ethical thing to do would be to design your own. If you get together with a manufacturer, which you will have to do to mass produce the component boards, they may be able to help you. Even if you don't care about copying a design, you will work harder to replicate their chip than you would have to to make your own design.

On a side note, I have been working on learning how to make RCs and as I make the project and learn I am developing a tutorial walk through of it at the same time, when its done and refined I will make it availible in the projects section here and you are free to use it.
I think your point on designing my own radio is more practical & also considering everyones guidance on this thread.

Its intresting to know that you are working on how to make RCs. I will definately look forward to the tutorial. Thanks a lot!
 
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