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Prying Eyes: MoCA adapter's death by lightning strike

04 Mar 2016  | Brian Dipert

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Unlike some of the hardware I've dissected of late, the ECB2200 was very easy to disassemble. I simply needed to remove the four screws on the underside, one in each corner, and the top and bottom halves of the chassis separated from each other and from the PCB inside.

Here's the topside of the PCB:

Notable contents include a Pulse Electronics C8015NL 75Ω diplexer in the lower left corner, an Entropic Communcations c.LINK EN2210 coaxial network controller in the lower right quadrant, an Atmel atMEGA168 8bit AVR microcontroller in the upper right quadrant, and a Magcom HS9001 transformer directly below the Ethernet connector. Along the upper left edge you can see (left to right) the configuration mode (versus normal operation) two-position switch, the DC power input connector, and the reset button.

What's underneath the Faraday Cage in between the C8015NL and the EN2201? Pry off the top, peer closely, and here's what you'll see:

Unsurprisingly, the dominant chip is also from MoCA technology champion Entropic, the EN1010 Coaxial Network Interface IC.

The PCB backside is much less exciting, as is often the case with highly integrated consumer electronics devices:

Disregard the background's pink tint, which was caused by my camera's lame attempt to correct for the green-dominant image (from other photos in this series, you already know that my desk topside is light grey in colour). Instead, feast your eyes on the singed solder joint near the centre of the PCB. I can't say for sure that it wasn't there before the lightning strike, but I'm guessing it's associated with whatever circuitry on the other side buckled when the EMP hit. Sound off with your observations and theories in the comments.

About the author
Brian Dipert is Editor-in-Chief of the Embedded Vision Alliance. He is also a Senior Analyst at BDTI and Editor-in-Chief of InsideDSP, the company's online newsletter. And he's an off-hours freelancer as the Principal at Sierra Media, where he contributes to (among other things) the Brian's Brain blog at EDN Magazine. Brian has a BSEE from Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN. His professional career began at Magnavox Electronics Systems in Fort Wayne, IN, where he worked for an aggregate 2.5 years as a co-op engineer. Brian subsequently spent eight years at Intel Corporation in Folsom, CA, holding a variety of roles in the company's nonvolatile memory group.

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