Name that Ware October 2009

The Ware for this month is shown below. Click on the image for a much larger version.

This ware is a simple circuit board — again one that I just randomly grabbed in the Shenzhen gray markets, so I actually don’t know what phone it’s from. It should be interesting to find out based on people’s guesses. I’m sharing this one with you primarily because it’s a great example of a flex-rigid circuit board construction. In this design, four PCBs are joined together with an embedded laminate flex cable. The flex cable is sandwiched right in the middle of the PCB stack with no connectors or soldering: just the native PCB vias establish connectivity to the cables. This saves on board area and improves signal integrity. It’s a really cool technology and I wish it was a little bit cheaper and more accessible to hobbyists — it can find a lot of uses in tight spots such as those in UAVs, robots, and other mobile devices.

Things are running a little crazy this month with the release of the chumby one coming up. Been wanting to blog about designing and building this one, but I’ve had to save it up until after the device is launched… And, as usual, schematics will be shared for the device. This should be a fun one for the hackers because of its lower price (less anxiety over breaking it), microSD based firmware (no need for a ROM burner or worrying about bricking the device when hacking it, and it uses ext3 instead of cramfs so you can easily remount the rootfs read-write), and the fact that it’s screwed together instead of glued together.

15 Responses to “Name that Ware October 2009”

  1. feroze says:

    The bottom portion of the PCB looks like the device with FCC ID NM8PL, however I am not able to find in the FCC spec, the top and middle portion of the PCB.

    Will continue digging around…

  2. proudfoot says:

    Is this a take on a MTK reference design? If it is, it might belong to a phone noone has ever really heard of or used in the United States.

  3. Tim says:

    I’m not convinced this is a phone, there doesn’t seem to be enough circuit board area or components. The flex cables suggest that it all folds up into something smaller, maybe to fit the inside of a hand-held gaming device or digital camera perhaps?

    Any chance you can show us the other side of the PCB?

    • bunnie says:

      It’s not an entire phone–it’s part of a phone. I’m *pretty* sure it’s part of a phone assembly, based on where I bought it.

  4. I think that this really is a phone.
    Mainly because of the shape and that in the bottom board there is sockets for MicroSD (on the left) and SIM (on the right).
    CON2, in the center, is the connector to the mainboard of the phone.

    Because of the shape, seems to be for a cheap, small cellular.

    I also think that the flex-rigid board is an interesting technology, but only in high volume or for space restricted applications. For low volume, use to be cheaper to use connectors and cables.

    Very interesting the news about the chumby one. May be is it based on the Marvell PXA168?

  5. pj says:

    What about the length of the flex cable ? If the PCBs have to be so far apart, I’d guess the device is quite thick – almost a cube ?

    • Wang-Lo says:

      I think the board is for a “slider” style phone, optimized for lots of texting with a full QWERTY keyboard. Every major brand has at least one of these models.

      That flex ribbon is designed to be folded over into a “J” shape and connected to a sliding keyboard cover with the main display.


  6. I’d say Dopod C730. Will dig some more…

  7. It is the flex cable for Dopod C500(HTC S710VOX/Orange SPV E650/Vodafone V1415/VDA V) models.

    The photograph in the following links:

  8. mangel says:


    The real manufacturer of the phone is HTC.
    Orange, Dopod, Vodafone, etc are rebrands as you could see in the following link:

    Then, the phone is really the HTC S710.

    Info of the phone:

    More photos of the flex board of the s710:

    When I saw that the flex board comes from a mobile phone, I think possible to find spare parts for the flex board. Looking for flex board spare parts I found the photos of the HTC S710 flex board.

    And yes, as another reader guessed, it is a slider style phone.

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