Electronics Online Challenge Sponsored by Texas Instruments
Back by popular demand! Texas Instruments (TI) is one of the largest semiconductor design and manufacturing companies in the world. That means we make amazing technology that is inside many of the most innovative electronic products you use every day. For example, you may not have realized it but TI technology is at the heart of the VEX IQ controller and many TI components are used inside the device. We want to challenge you to look at your world with the eyes of an engineer and explore the inner-workings of an electronic device of your choice. Once you choose a product, you will deconstruct the device, catalog what you find inside, and then submit a final report with your findings on what you discovered.
TI technology is also probably inside many of the electronic products you use every day. For example, TI components are inside the VEX IQ controller, BEATS headphones, GoPro Hero 4 camera, Tesla cars, and the Samsung Galaxy. We challenge you to find a device (we recommend choosing something you don’t mind breaking apart, for example an old phone), and carefully deconstruct the device so you can find out what electronic components are inside. Most semiconductor chips are labeled with the company name and component name. Then conduct online research to discover what the component does and what its role might be within the entire system of the electronic device.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Smart phone, tablet or mobile device
- Camera, voice recorder, video camera, tv remote
- Headphones, speakers, music player
- Watch, Pedometer, GPS navigator, Garage door opener
- Computer components like mouse, monitor, keyboard
SAFETY TIPS: Before starting this challenge, make sure to have your chosen device approved by your team coach/leader/mentor/parent for safety purposes. Also note that some devices contain capacitors that hold a charge and extreme caution should be used. Any electrical device that contains a power source must be disconnected or removed before disassembly (unplug all cords and remove all batteries). You must wear safety glasses during the disassembly process.
For this project, we decided to deconstruct a Vex Transmitter and Receiver. Due to the long history of our club, we have a lot of old Vex parts lying around. We ended up taking apart this 2006 version of a controller so we can see the improvements not just visually on the outside, but also for the components on the inside.
Ever since we joined the 8059 VEX Robotics team, we have used the VEX ARM® Cortex®-based Microcontroller (Cortex) extensively and its inner workings have always intrigued us. When we first heard about the TI Challenge, we did not hesitate to use this opportunity to break down and examine the components of the Cortex. After being granted permission to break down the Cortex we got to work, starting by researching basic electronic components and functions. We took photographs of all the individual components while we were disassembling the Cortex.