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Teardown: Wonder Bible

Even essentially the most secular amongst us can perceive why any person would wish to have a virtual model of the Bible. If you’re one of these one that takes solace in studying from the “Good Book”, you’d most likely like the power to take action anywhere and every time conceivable. But because it so occurs, a lot of individuals who could be concerned with a extra with ease portable model of the Bible won’t have the technological wherewithal to function a Kindle and download a duplicate.

Which is exactly the theory in the back of the Wonder Bible, a pocket-sized digital tool that permits the person to hear the Bible learn aloud on the press of a button. Its conservative design, high-contrast LED show, and big buttons makes it simple to function even by means of customers with restricted eyesight or dexterity.

The business for the Wonder Bible presentations other folks all of every age the use of the tool, nevertheless it’s now not very tough to learn between the strains and notice who the machine is in point of fact aimed for. We catch a glimpse of a tender businessman tucking a Wonder Bible into the middle console of his dear sports activities automotive, however actually, the scenes of a retiree sitting pensively in her front room are a ways nearer to the mark.

In reality, the capability of the Wonder Bible may just simply be replicated with a smartphone application. It would arguably also be an development by means of maximum requirements. But now not everyone seems to be prepared or ready to head that course, which creates a marketplace for an inexpensive stand-alone tool. Is that marketplace big enough to place a large number of expense and engineering time into the product? Let’s Mod open one of those holy rolling private partners and in finding out.

Off-the-Shelf Salvation

Let’s be very transparent from the beginning: the Wonder Bible is solely an MP3 participant. Literally. There’s a micro SD card caught proper within the aspect with more or less 4 GB of MP3s in a hierarchical listing construction that separates the other books of the Old and New Testaments. The tracks also have correct ID3 tags, so you’ll want to simply import the lot into your media participant of selection as a substitute of the use of the Wonder Bible itself.

With that out of the way in which, it’s now not onerous to look how briefly and cost effectively you’ll want to spin-up a tool just like the Wonder Bible. A microcontroller tough sufficient to decode MP3s is hardly ever a tall order at the present time, and also you’d best want a couple of spare GPIO pins to run one of these simplistic person interface. Toss a battery and speaker into an injection molded enclosure, and all you’re lacking to make the product whole is the sprayed on crucifix.

That stated, there’s not anything mistaken with the construct high quality at the Wonder Bible. If the rest, it’s constructed like a tank. Glued in combination and with a screw insidiously hidden beneath the show bezel, I’m moderately embarrassed to confess that for the primary time on this teardown sequence I needed to bodily ruin the tool open to get in.

You’ll notice there’s no hint of the scary black epoxy blobs within the Wonder Bible, however sadly that doesn’t assist us a lot on this case. The tool is powered by means of a unmarried SQFP-48 chip categorized CCK2F9L, however I haven’t been ready to seek out any datasheet for it.

The chip does have an overly unique producer brand on it despite the fact that, so most likely one of our Constant Readers will acknowledge the producer a minimum of.

Beyond the principle chip and the 8002 amplifier up by means of the speaker, there’s now not a lot else at the board. A five pin tool by means of the battery connection is most likely the rate controller, despite the fact that it has no discernible markings to provide us a good ID.

Spared No Expense

Considering how little the Wonder Bible is bought for (maximum outlets have them for $15 – $20 USD), the standard and a spotlight to element is slightly spectacular. For instance, the speaker is a hefty unit this is loud and sounds lovely excellent for its dimension, and the micro SD slot if truth be told has a spring-loaded motion. The battery may be a pleasing detachable 18650 cellular as a substitute of a silver pouch sizzling glued into the case.

The show additionally seems to be customized manufactured, which without a doubt didn’t come reasonable. Readability was once most likely a most sensible fear when designing the Wonder Bible, and the intense LEDs mixed with a virtually mirror-finished plastic diffuser makes it simply visual from any perspective. Even in vibrant mild, the numbers and icons are colourful and sharp.

Uncovered, we will be able to see a captivating textured black end at the module in addition to the quite a lot of icons that can illuminate because the Wonder Bible operates. But we additionally see one thing of a thriller: the USB icon. The guide makes no point out of the use of the USB port at the tool for the rest however charging, so what may just it’s for?

Diving Deeper

After flipping the PCB again over, a detailed exam showed that the USB port’s information strains have been certainly attached. Naturally, I plugged it into my laptop to look what it could do. The display screen immediately lit up and stated “PC”, which appeared like a excellent signal. Even if it was once somewhat ironic that the devoted USB icon it appears isn’t used.

A couple of seconds later, the micro SD card within the tool was once fixed on my gadget and I may just see all the MP3 recordsdata. This appeared like a to hand sufficient characteristic, if moderately pointless given the tool’s serve as. After all, it’s now not just like the content material of the Bible is prone to exchange within the close to long term and require an replace.

Thinking that an exam of the guidelines the Wonder Bible was once reporting to the pc may supply some helpful clues, I ran lsusb to look what the kernel needed to say in regards to the {hardware}:

Well, that’s ordinary. According to this, the {hardware} was once now not best being picked up by means of the kernel’s USB Mass Storage driving force, nevertheless it’s additionally bobbing up as an audio and an enter tool. A handy guide a rough take a look at of my gadget’s audio settings confirmed that I may just certainly choose the Wonder Bible as an audio output, and it did a good sufficient task taking part in the ambient digital tune that serves because the de facto soundtrack of

But what about that Human Interface Device? Looking via /proc/bus/enter/units I used to be ready to look the document it was once mapped to by means of the kernel, and the evtest program let me read about it and pay attention for occasions. This confirmed that whilst the tool reviews that it’s ready to supply a regular set of media playback controls, it best chimes in while you press the Back and Forward buttons:

Now why it might probably do all of that is any person’s bet. A handy guide a rough seek on-line presentations that GEMBIRD makes quite a few MP3 taking part in devices, and those purposes may just merely be hold-overs from no matter tool initially carried this chip. It’s additionally conceivable, albeit much less most likely, that there was once some PC aspect device deliberate that may permit the person to attach their Wonder Bible to the pc to hear further content material the use of the tool’s acquainted controls.

A Bygone Era

Ultimately, the Wonder Bible was once a gorgeous attention-grabbing tool to check out. While the {hardware} is clearly fairly simplistic, it’s significantly better constructed than I believed in the beginning look. You may just most likely even argue that it’s overbuilt; there are lots of evident cost-cutting measures that may have been taken to scale back the manufacturing charge of the Wonder Bible, however the producers have made up our minds to take the excessive street. The teardown additionally proved to be a excellent workout in running with unknown USB units and figuring out what they’re in a position to.

So are you able to purchase a 2nd hand Wonder Bible and cargo it up with again episodes of the Podcast? Sure. I’ve performed it, and it really works effective. You may even navigate via them by means of typing within the episode numbers at the keypad. But it could be so much more straightforward to simply use your telephone. Which in any case is the issue with this piece of {hardware}: a pair many years in the past an incredibly neatly made tool that would take care of masses of meticulously arranged MP3 recordsdata would were an enormous deal, however in 2021 it’s little greater than a superfluous machine.