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In this episode of Atomic14 TV, we explore a cool gadget from Kickstarter - a tiny TV! Not only do we do an unboxing, but we venture inside its intriguing interior, with a circuit board, knobs and super-tiny battery. Included is a mini remote control, SD card, speaker, and audio amplifier. The tiny TV also has an IR receiver and even a Low Dropout Regulator! Stay tuned for a hands-on approach as we aim to recreate this tiny TV with an ESP32!

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[0:00] Welcome to the atomic14 TV Show! Have we got an episode for you? And if you like this,
[0:06] don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe.
[0:16] Well this is very exciting. I get lots of packages from China, but this one is from
[0:21] the good old USA. I’ve already opened it, let’s have a look what’s inside. We have
[0:27] a box. This is something from Kickstarter. I backed this, I can’t remember when I backed
[0:35] this - it’s a very long time ago, but it’s a very, very tiny TV. So now look at that, not bad.
[0:48] We’ve got some knobs, this is like a volume knob. And we’ve got the channel selector.
[0:59] That’s fantastic. Nice. And there’s even a little remote control. Volume control works.
[1:25] And the channel selector works. This is very, very cool. It’s very cool. Let’s take it
[1:30] apart and see what’s inside. Now I think if you just push here, the circuit board will
[1:50] pop out. So we have a very, very tiny battery. 3.7 volts, 150mAh. It seems to be just stuck
[2:01] on with a bit of gloop. Let’s detach that. Very sticky. Aha, interesting. It looks like
[2:15] we have an SD card. Let’s take the buttons off the front. So these seem to just pop off,
[2:26] hopefully. Yep, there’s one. And there’s the other. I can see a couple of screws here.
[2:40] We should disconnect the battery first. Let’s do that. That’s the battery removed. OK, cool.
[2:58] So this one looks like the speaker. So we’ll just pop that off. So there’s the front of
[3:08] the TV with its little tiny speaker. The display with its little connecting ribbon. We’ll take
[3:24] some photos of this and see what it’s made up of. In the words of the great man himself,
[3:31] “One moment please”. So let’s start off with the simple bits. We’ve got our cute little
[3:36] battery of 150mAh. It’s got a nice battery protection PCB built in. And we’ve got a
[3:42] very generous 8GB SD card for storing videos. If we look at the contents of this on our
[3:47] computer we can see a bunch of AVI files. The video files all play without any problem
[3:53] so they are standard movie files. We can use one of the FFMPEG suite of tools to have a
[3:57] look at the format and as you’d expect it’s pretty simple. It’s a motion JPEG which means
[4:02] it’s just a sequence of JPEG images. And the audio is just 8bit PCM. This is quite
[4:07] a common approach to playing videos on microcontrollers. Decoding a JPEG is considerably simpler than
[4:13] decoding a full video stream. The settings file contains a few interesting things such
[4:17] as the current volume, channel and a few other bits and pieces. The remote control is pretty
[4:22] simple. We’ve got an ATtiny441 doing all the hard work along with a transistor for
[4:27] driving the infrared LED. The main board is a lot more interesting. It’s all based around
[4:33] an RP2040. These have got really popular over the past couple of years and I really need
[4:38] to have a proper play with one myself. We’ve got the crystal down here for its clock and
[4:42] here’s the flash memory for the firmware. Over here we’ve got the audio amplifier for
[4:47] driving the speaker along with its supporting passive components. And we’ve got the IR
[4:52] receiver which matches up to this little window on the front of the TV box. That’s pretty
[4:57] much everything of interest on this side of the board. On the other side we’ve got
[5:01] the 5 pin battery charger IC. And this tiny little chip here is the Low Dropout Regulator.
[5:07] You can barely see it. Amazing. All this stuff up here is for the soft power switch and power
[5:13] path. These two rotary encoders handle the volume and channel switching. All in all it’s
[5:18] a really nicely put together bit of kit. I like it. I got my tiny TV2 from Kickstarter.
[5:23] But it’s now available on Indiegogo. I’ve put a link in the description. I’m going
[5:28] to try and recreate my own version of this using an ESP32. I’ve got a PCB currently
[5:33] being manufactured by the guys at PCBWay. It’s got an audio amplifier and I’ve got
[5:37] a bunch of bits on order from AliExpress. So now you know why I’ve been playing around
[5:41] with very minimal ESP32 boards. I want something really tiny. You can watch a video on my experiment
[5:47] so far which should be showing up somewhere on the screen now.

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Chris Greening

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A collection of slightly mad projects, instructive/educational videos, and generally interesting stuff. Building projects around the Arduino and ESP32 platforms - we'll be exploring AI, Computer Vision, Audio, 3D Printing - it may get a bit eclectic...

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