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Beosound 9000 – IR receiver repair May 29, 2016

Posted by Florian in Audio, Devices, Repair, World.

I really like the design of most classic Bang & Olufsen stuff – but my favorite one is the Beosound 9000. Since I pretty much like to understand how all these technical devices we are surrounded with work, I usually take apart more or less everything in order to find out how it works and how to fix it… I decided to buy one to fix instead of getting a working one I might break. I did some “training” with other classic CD players before I bought an old and not working Beosound 9000 in order to see if I can fix it. I really admire the design, bit it did not take long till I started to admire the engineers even more… it must have been quite a tough job not only to make it work at all bit to make it possible to produce it in quantities.

First of all: There is a service manual for it which helps a lot with common issues and how to disassemble the device without breaking anything. B&O generally does a good job releasing service manuals for its devices. One important information from the manual is that without speakers or headphones connected the 9000 enters ‘mode 0’ which means that it does not take any input from the remote control. So I connected speakers and tried to enter service mode and change audio mode without success… from some forum posts I learned that the IR receiver PCB14 fails in some cases. Since I did not what to find a replacement I tried to fix it… and I had a lot of fun:

First I found out that PCB14 really does not supply any data to the controller board – it is connected with just three pins (ground, +5V and data) and there was no traffic on the data line at all. Unluckily the service manual does not contain a schematic of PCB14. So I started to find out how it is supposed to work… the receiver is built around a Vishay U2506B IR receiver – so I thought it would be easy to find out more using the data sheet of that one but even Vishay and its distributors do not seem to have one.  In the end I used a broken Beolink 5000 two-way infrared remote control to find out about the signals on the PCB. It uses a similar design and the same controller.

It turned out that it was only a single broken 22µF capacitor – it is marked in the image below.beosound-9000-ir-fix1


This shows the PCB with the replacement capacitor. It is a good idea to use a mechanically smaller replacement than I did because a long capacitor case has some potential to hit the CD drive sledge when entering position 6.

After replacing the capacitor the IR receiver started work again. It was necessary to change to mode 1 manually before I was able to enter service mode. The easiest way is to use a Beolink 1000 since it has a ‘Sound’ button for this purpose. Just press <Sound> <1> <Store>.

I have some more information about repairing this magnificent Beosound 9000… but that’s something for the next post.

Note to my readers: Please remind me to blog a little bit more frequently :-)

Fixing the NCDC 2015 0khz failure April 10, 2013

Posted by Florian in World.
Tags: , , , ,

It took me a while to find out, but it is possible to fix a Siemens NCDC 2015 car radio (ok they call it “entertainment system”) suffering from the “0khz” problem quite easy.

The story: I usually drive old cars… my current one is an Opel Omega from 2001 and that one came with the NCDC 2015. Actually its the kind of retro technology I like: No iPod connector, no USB and similar interfaces but two CD drives for five CDs in total and in combination with the Bose speaker system the sound is quite good… the usability has some limits: Using it I tend to ask myself questions like these: Why do I have a way to display the balance settings but not for the volume setting?

Anyway, one common failure of this device is that they have a problem with power loss (e.g. flat battery or removal from the car without removing fuses before. The symptoms in most cases are that you see “0 khz” in all station entries and no sound at all (neither from tuner, navigation or CD). I found a hint how to fix it in a Polish electronics forum (elektroda.pl). Obviously the device ends up with data in an 24LC16 EEPROM it is not able to handle and the firmware does not know how to recover from. I have seen some hints that the successor of the 2015 has a maintenance mode with an option to reset the EEPROM.

The most simple solution seems to be to replace the EEPROM with a new and empty one. Its quite easy to do and a replacement EEPROM is cheap, less than EUR 1 if you are lucky. I made a little bit more detailed description in the hope it might be useful for someone else.

So what do we need?

  • Tools for removing the device from the car
  • T8 Torx crewdriver
  • Soldering equipment
  • 24LC16 EEPROM (SMD, SO8 case)

The hardest part is to remove the device from the car… there is no way to do it without cursing ;) Important: Disconnect power before removing it, it is reported that removing these with the battery connected caused

There are two screws that hold the upper cover which are easy to find. Just remove the cover and you will see something like this:


Now remove the four marked screws in order to remove the CD drive. Take care of the FCC cables below. Remove the cables after unlocking them by moving the black mount of the socket in the direction of the cables (not by lifting them!).

Now you can see the cause of the “brain damage”:Image

Unsoldering the EEPROM is a little bit tricky. If you have access to hot air soldering equimpment it is going to be easier. Take care about orientation and not to damage the pads replacing the IC.

Put the pieces together and the NCDC 2015 back to the car.

For me this procedure worked pretty well. I still see some strange effects like that the tuner did not fill the station list completely and maybe the sound has changed a little bit. Maybe some input sensitivity setting was hardcoded in the EEPROM. Is there any one out there who knows some details about what gets stored in there?

Summer Holidays December 2, 2011

Posted by Florian in Uncategorized, World.
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Now that its autumn in Europe it is a good time to blog about the summer vacations :) The Chaos Communication Camp was a real highlight – just a perfect environment for Hacker’s and their fork()^h^h^h offsprings summer vacations. I do not want to write too much… saving some words for more technical posts, but maybe someone likes the photos I took:

Quadcopter Nightflight

Quadcopter Nightflight

Camp at Night

Camp at Night

Antonov AN-2

Antonov AN-2

This nice machine was parked next to our caravan… it’s a little bit larger than you might guess from the photo. I have placed some more photos here.

FOSDEM 2010 February 9, 2010

Posted by Florian in Devices, Linux, OpenEmbedded, Source, World.
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Something was wrong with FOSDEM this year: The weather – it was (comparably) warm and the sun was shining all the time!  Apart from this it was a great event like always. I attended it representing the OpenEmbedded project with a small booth. From the OE project perspective FOSDEM was a great success. Apart from meeting people working on other projects that do use or could use OE we had a lot of interest from various other visitors at the booth.

Visitors at the OE booth

Visitors at the OE booth

Some things I noticed during my time at the booth is that we have to improve the presentation of the project a little bit. For many visitors even on a developer event like FOSDEM OpenEmbedded is a quite uncommon project and hard to present. We showed a set of different devices at FOSDEM but we always need to explain that these devices are just samples for possible OE target devices. It’s not really obvious how to communicate this… One improvement could be to add sheets with OE information to the devices we show. We should list things like this:

  • Name
  • CPU Architecture
  • Useful OE targets

Another thing I miss is a kind of poster or info sheet that summarizes OE achievements in some lists and numbers. But anyway I think we are getting better and become more and more popular.

Device collection

Device collection

We have to thank all the project members who helped with our booth – most notably Alessandro, Robert, Marcin and Henning for spending a lot of time at the booth. Special thanks should go to Ulf (from Atmel) and Vladimir (from Archos) who made it possible to have some more interesting devices to show. I think this is the first time we didn’t have a single Zaurus at the booth… :-)

One more project / booth I think is worth to mention is Rep Rap / Makerbot. The bots for turning 3D models into real things you can touch and use gained quite some attraction.

Bots at the booth

Bots at the booth

Bot detail

Bot detail

Did you notice? You can even use these bots make parts for another one… I think it is worth following these projects. They might become quite important to us in near future.

A working Makerbot - just finished a job

I would have some more things to write about – there were a lot of interesting things going on at FOSDEM but like always time is lacking. More as soon as I manage to write some more lines…

Small and Cute May 21, 2008

Posted by Florian in World.

It seems to be a kind of tradition now to announce the next generation of hackers here. :-) I finally managed to write a few lines about my little daughter Jana Marie born about three weeks ago. Isn’t she a cute little baby?


I guess that explains why I have been a little bit quiet lately. :-)

The next challenge will be LinuxTag – There is still a lot of work to do preparing the OpenEmbedded booth and some words about GPE applications for Maemo.

Cardman 4000 with GnuPG October 23, 2007

Posted by Florian in Cryptography, kernel concepts, Linux, Source, World.

I just received my FSFE Fellowship Smartcard and it took me a while to find out how GnuPG and the Omnikey Cardman 4000 PCMCIA smartcard reader can play together. It looks like there quite some more of thease cheap devices around… so lets write down some lines about how to make it work. The procedure was tested on Ubunty Gutsy but should work on any more or less up to date Debian based system.

You need an up to date kernel 2.6 with the cardman4000_cs driver. Make sure not to have the reader in the PCMCIA slot during boot or suspend – this caused some oopses here.

PC/SC-Lite used by GnuPG does not know how handle the CM4000 directly, but you can use OpenCT as a driver for PC/SC-Lite. So first get root and install the necessary software packges:
apt-get install pcscd pcsc-tools openct
In /etc/openct.conf you need to activate the cm4000 driver – comment in the cm4000 lines to read:
reader cm4000 {
driver = cm4000;
device = pcmcia:/dev/cmm0;

After this edit the PC/SC-Lite configuration file /etc/reader.conf.d/openct and activate the OpenCT driver:

DEVICENAME /dev/cmm0
LIBPATH /usr/lib/openct-ifd.so

Start both services:

/etc/init.d/openct start
/etc/init.d/pcscd start

If you insert the reader and a Smartcard pcsc_scan should list a reader and card like this:

fuchs@gibson:~$ pcsc_scan
PC/SC device scanner
V 1.4.9 (c) 2001-2006, Ludovic Rousseau
Compiled with PC/SC lite version: 1.4.2
Scanning present readers
0: OpenCT 00 00

Tue Oct 23 16:35:02 2007
Reader 0: OpenCT 00 00
Card state: Card inserted,
ATR: 3B FA 13 00 FF 81 31 80 45...

Now make it usable as user:

We create a group scard and add the users that should be able to use the card to it.
# addgroup scard
# addgroup <username> scard

Now create a set of udev rules to create the device node with the correct owner and permission settings:

Edit /etc/udev/rules.d/99-gnupg.rules to read:
SUBSYSTEM=="cardman_4000", ACTION=="add", GROUP="scard", MODE="0660"
ACTION=="add", SUBSYSTEM=="usb_device", SYSFS{idVendor}=="04e6", SYSFS{idProduct}=="e003", GROUP="scard", MODE="0660"
ACTION=="add", SUBSYSTEM=="usb_device", SYSFS{idVendor}=="04e6", SYSFS{idProduct}=="5115", GROUP="scard", MODE="0660"

This should cover the permissions for USB CCID readers as well.

If you insert the reader again you should get a device like this:

crw-rw---- 1 root scard 252, 0 2007-10-23 15:43 /dev/cmm0
Finally log out your user, log in again to make the group changes become active and check if it works. gpg should print out some lcard inflormation like this:
fuchs@gibson:~$ gpg --card-status
gpg: detected reader `OpenCT 00 00'
Application ID ...: D276000124010101000100000D0E0000
Version ..........: 1.1
Manufacturer .....: PPC Card Systems
Serial number ....: 00000D0E
Name of cardholder: Florian Boor

If this doesn’t work confgure gpg not to use gpg-agent, I have read some reports that this might cause trouble in combination with Smartcards. This whole text was written from memory, I might have missed some important step – bug reports and additions are very welcome.



[1] FSFE Cardreader Howto: http://www.fsfe.org/en/card/howto/card_reader_howto_udev

[2] OpenCT Wiki: http://www.opensc-project.org/openct/wiki/cardman

Releases and getting rid of a monster July 30, 2007

Posted by Florian in GPE, Maemo, Source, World.
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Its quite some time ago since I managed to write down some lines about what’s going on here… so here a few bits that might be interesting in a few lines:

My open source activities are currently focused on getting some releases out in order to prepare new releases of GPE and GPE Phone edition. Today I released gpe-applauncher 0.9 which comes with one important new feature: Easy to use hotkey management. You can define applications to be launched on a certain keypress or internal functions to be triggered in a simple ini-like configuration file. That makes it much easier to adapt gpe-applauncher to various devices with all different button layouts.

gpe-applauncher screenshot

Another activity is playing around with different UIs for gpe-applauncher – I hacked a widget for an extremely simple list-based launcher, but I’m not yet happy with it. You should be able to guess from the screenshot how it is intended to work:

experimental ui

Sorry no BLING yet, but maybe some time in future… ;-)

Another one of todays releases is machined which supplies device specific data (currently only battery and charger information) via DBus to applications. I guess I’ll add some more features… but it is not intended to replace HAL – its meant to be a specialized tool for G(PE)² and maybe GPE too. The main focus of machined is to keep it small and simple.

Apart from these releases I’m trying to get rid of a real monster: A DEC LPS20 turbo printserver… if someone is interested in spare parts for such a machine, please let me know before Wednesday. And no, there is no chance that I ship this one anywhere:-)

dec monster

Some more nice things that happened lately:

Graham built up to date Maemo (770 and N800) packages from GPE SVN. They can be found here. These include gpe-filemanager and Starling (the GPE audio player) now as well as latest libmimedir.

Goxboxlive published an experimental G(PE)² image for the HTC Universal which is available here together with quite al

Threatened – update May 23, 2007

Posted by Florian in GPE, Maemo, Source, World.

Just a small update:

The handhelds.org mailinglist archive has the initial thread about GPE wich gives us quite some interesting information:

  • The term GPE was not used by George France first.
  • GPE was not even started at handhelds.org
  • The first GPE website ever made is still there – of course now pointing to gpe.linuxtogo.org

I might happen some accident to that archive in near future… but well, there are quite some copies around. :)
We heared the argument that hh.org was a big product and GPE was just a part from it… well, the handhelds.org website does say something different. It lists GPE among the projects:


Threatened – how do we protect our projects? May 22, 2007

Posted by Florian in GPE, Maemo, Source, World.

Some days ago a friendly colleague notified me that Mr. France registered trademarks for some community projects. At least GPE, Opie and IPKG are affected. It looks like some handhelds.org administrators believe that they personally own the projects that are or were hosted there.

Unluckily Mr. France started to work with these trademarks already even if they are not assigned yet:

  • The OpieII project had to change its name.
  • Contributors were threatened and urged to give up the name GPE
  • The GPE IRC channel (#gpe) at freenode.net was hijacked
  • Freenode staff members were threatened when they decided to give #gpe back

I just wonder what they intend to do with the distributions using IPKG (like Ångström and OpenZaurus).

Here are links to the trademark entries for Opie and GPE on the USPTO website.

One fact that raised my attention is that the entries at the USPTO server says that George France was the owner of these trademarks but http://handhelds.org/legal differs from that.

There is a thread about this topic at the Opie mailinglist starting with this message.
Finally the really interesting question: How do we get the affected projects out of this situation? Or maybe even more important: How can we reduce the risk for something like this happening again?

One idea might be to object the trademark – everyone who wants to help could send an email to the USPTO trademark assistance center (that is at TrademarkAssistanceCenter@uspto.gov) Or just send them a postcard – the snailmail address is here.Google is quite useful if you want to show up that the name GPE was used before the date mentioned in the file. For the history of the name ‘Opie’ just refer to the linked mailinglist thread above.

Locked out! November 16, 2006

Posted by Florian in GPE, World.

Sorry… i have to complain a little bit again.

It sounds unbelievable, but i was locked out from the handhelds.org open source platform one week ago. So how did that happen?

After GPE finally moved to its new hosting location (see http://gpe.linuxtogo.org) i published a short story about this and to say “thank you” to all the people who worked on handhelds.org in the last few years. Obviously George (who is the current boss of handhelds.org Inc.) doesn’t seem to be able to appreciate this. He deleted my message from the website and disabled my accounts. For “investigations” he told me… eh us he disabled Nils’ account too for no reason. Well… i can live with the fact that he did not like we moved away with GPE and its ok for me if he does not appreciate if i thank him, but censoring my message and locking out people bindly is a little bit violent. But before i get really annoyed i just stop this and publish my announcement from hh.org here again:

GPE finally moved to its new hosting location at linuxtogo.org. We have several new services and improvements to make it easier to get in touch with GPE, to use and to join the project. Just visit us at http://gpe.linuxtogo.org and the GForge project page located here.

Even after quite some bad words related to this move we would like to say “thank you” for hosting and support in the last five years.

Without handhelds.org GPE simply would not exist and i guess that there are quite some more project members who can say the same about their projects and even more in future.

Well… Nils found some better words: