Understanding Robots: dissection

I’ll start with the good news: I got my Schengen visa a couple days ago! that means I’ll be traveling to the Netherland and get to check out the Dutch Design Week and collaborate with students at WDKA!!

So I managed to consult about my project to Ryan, Annet, Alan, and Margaret. I got great feedback and now I know which direction I can I should take. I will be running into a lot of trouble shooting with the wiring and programming, but there’s nothing stopping me from building robots, something I’ve always wanted to built.

However, I’m still nowhere remotely close to confident with electronics. Alan told me to just write down what I need to do and go at it. Today in thesis my GTI told me the same thing. But I personally can’t just ‘go at it’ without a general understanding of what does what! so today I decided to open an old casette recorder player (found from erecycling bin) that’s only half working to see if I could fix it or if I could harvest some parts from it.


I did practice on how to harvest parts from broken electronics in my intro to robotics class, but it was pretty hard to understand what parts I could use because most of the electronics I found use more modern sensors instead of simple buttons, motor, and gears here and there. so opening an old familiar cassette player was helpful.

So everything was working fine except the assembly of the motor for the casette player.


the rubber band that was there to move the gears was becoming loose and wouldn’t stay in place and the rewind button doesn’t switch the slot smoothly to change the direction of the gears. I figured they might sell these rubber bands online but finding a replacement for this is not worth the time. but the speakers are working just fine.


from the front part, I harvested two healthy stereo speaker and a board with small amplifiers and potentiometer that I might desolder later. from the back, I got multiple gears, a motor, and a might working or might not tape head.


this main chipboard that bunch of microcontrollers are things that I’m not familiar with yet. but it’s amazing how everything is packed neatly in here, creating a functional device to play and record music.


so in the end there were my harvests:

  • two healthy stereo speakers
  • a dc motor
  • multiple gears and rods
  • small potentiometer (on chipboard)
  • two 2073b JRC amplifiers (on chipboard)
  • a tape head (working or not???)
  • empty player shell for repurpose!

I’m very happy with the harvest result and more understanding on how simple robots work!

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