Reverse Engineering An Apollo-Era Module with X-Ray

The tools that helped us stroll at the Moon just about 60 years in the past remains to be giving up its mysteries nowadays, with some apparatus from the Apollo technology taking just a little bit extra effort to opposite engineer than others. A living proof is this radiographic opposite engineering of a few Apollo take a look at tools, pulled off via [Ken Shirriff] with lend a hand from his standard merry band of Apollo aficionados.

The object in query is a take a look at set used for floor checking out of the Up-Information Hyperlink, which won virtual instructions from undertaking controllers. Opposite to the extremely built-in development utilized in Apollo flight {hardware}, the take a look at set, which was once stored from a scrapyard, used extra advert hoc development, together with playing cards populated via mysterious modules. The pluggable modules endure Motorola branding, and whilst they endure some resemblance to ICs, they’re obviously no longer.

[Ken] was once in a position to perform a little initial reverse-engineering the use of strategies we’ve observed him make use of sooner than, however ran right into a lifeless finish together with his scope and meter with out documentation. So the modules went beneath [John McMaster]’s X-ray beam for a peek inside of. They found out that the 13-pin modules are miniature analog circuits the use of cordwood development, with commonplace discrete passives stacked vertically between parallel PCBs. The module they imaged confirmed transparent shadows of carbon composition resistors, metal-film capacitors, and a few glass-body diodes. Other angles let [Ken] determine the circuit, which seems to be a part of a sq. wave to sine wave converter.

The larger thriller this is why the unique clothier selected this technique of development. There will have to nonetheless be engineers available in the market who labored on stuff like this, so right here’s hoping they chime in in this cutting edge means.