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Old 11th May 2011, 05:31 PM   #21
glt is offline glt  United States
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Tamago, good work!

The data sheet for the Ali part shows an i2c interface. Could that be available for external uC control? For example for play/FF/RW, etc. If that is not available then access to the GPIO lines used for the buttons can also be used for external uC control (for example, directly accessing the GPIO lines or through an i2c I/O expander).

Thanks.
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Old 13th May 2011, 01:43 PM   #22
Tamago is offline Tamago  South Africa
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Hi there

The I2C bus is a peripheral attached to the Intel 8051 core. So while I am still waiting for the Taiwanese to respond to me I am willing to bet it is pretty much identical in operation to that of any Philips' derivative such as the Intel 80C552 and others... That can easily be made available yes, for any form of control, you name it.

I can't believe this but there's just one thing holding me back, and that's getting the NDA to sign and then the documents. Does anyone know what's going on in Taiwan at present? The earthquake in Japan maybe?

If all else fails I am giving them a call directly on Monday morning - an exercise I hate because of the language barrier but I have no other choice, their website is clearly broken.
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Old 16th May 2011, 08:56 AM   #23
Tamago is offline Tamago  South Africa
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Progress Update: 16 May 2011
I have eventually gotten hold of someone at ALi Corporation. It cost me to hire a translator to write my e-mails into Chinese. They've FINALLY acknowledged me...Now we wait for them to get back with the NDA and then hopefully the user manual.
I have avoided making a phone call leaving that as a last resort, because of the language barrier.

I spent yesterday poking and prodding my boombox. In this particular configuration, the ALi is driving a LCD controller IC via regular SPI to a common Holtek chip designed for this purpose. I forget the IC number, but the datasheet is on my desk at home, and is a real no-brainer. This boombox is clearly a piece of JUNK! The optical pick-up is also, accordingly cheap and nasty. No matter, I get all the valuable info I need out of this!
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Old 20th May 2011, 11:25 AM   #24
Tamago is offline Tamago  South Africa
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Progress Update: 20 May 2011
Due to illness I haven't been doing much about this. I eventually got an official datasheet for the ALi M5671 via a Chinese distributor who is dealing with my case, because, no surprise, ALi do not respond. The lady who is helping me from the 3rd party company told me matter-of-factly that these companies do not want to deal with foreigners. I could post a rant here about xenophobia and why I hate the Chinese but I'll save that for another forum elsewhere on the 'net.

Anyway, there was a misunderstanding she thought I meant datasheet, now she went and phoned them this afternoon and got them to furnish me the USER MANUAL, I will have that tomorrow apparently.

What ALi (or the 3rd party semiconductor broker) doesn't know is that I have the official source code for the development board which I got from a Chinese hacker... nor do they know I don't need to actually purchase samples from them, but to be fair if they come to light with the user manual I'll buy a few samples from them.

The price of the IC is USD 4.10 complete with duties and taxes. I can get huge numbers of them easily without effort.

This was an incredible effort running in circles and being stonewalled, I just hope the effort is worth it in the end.
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Old 27th May 2011, 09:07 AM   #25
Tamago is offline Tamago  South Africa
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Update: 27 May 2011
ALi Corporation are spinning me what can be called in street English a bull---- story. Anyway I've put an end to this. ALi Corporation think I am a joke, will not send me the user manual, and will not engage with me. I also received an insult or two. No matter!

I've now contacted NXP (Philips), and propose the SAF784x. It does exactly the same thing, has I2C (as you folks required) and uses an ARM7 processor instead of a poxy little 8051 core. The advantage is I can play back any compressed audio format, not just MP3 if need be.

Enough is enough now! The Chinese have rather poor attitudes when it comes to these sorts of products it seems, yet they want to dump their crap in my country in huge quantities.

I don't foresee any problems with the SAF784x, as I already am a client. Samples of the device are on the way, as is the obligatory NDA. Should have it all by Monday morning on my desk!
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Old 20th May 2012, 12:30 AM   #26
Tamago is offline Tamago  South Africa
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Update: 19 May 2012
SAF784x - Philips declined to disclose info to me, forgot about this project because I changed careers inadvertently and real life became an issue.

The ALi chip seemed an elegant solution because no need to program the complex PID constants.. apparently this is take care of in hardware. Also seemed easy because it has an 8051 core, I was willing to live with the use of the Keil uVision compiler.

I have spent the months reverse-engineering SONY portable boom boxes and mini-hifi sets. In each case I scoured the internet for info.

The SONY CXD3068 is the best bet. I have source code to control this chip now. So no guessing or extensive and expensive reverse engineering/hacking sessions. Because I have the source code, I can program the PID constants of the servo correctly, because, if you look at the datasheet it explains NOTHING of what the values should be, or how on earth this thing is to be sequenced to play a disk. I have source code for that, and one of the greatest mysteries in life has been solved, I finally *know* how the hell it works.

I have secured a cheap CD transport complete with laser pickup for less than US$ 5 in South Africa, its a legit SONY unit. I bought all the stock they had, more is on the way.

The project will be covered on my website hackstuff 1.0. Doing it there makes it easier to update then I don't have to visit this forum aswell and update here. For the moment the ALi M5671 stuff is still there, as a dead link, to be removed soon.

Last edited by Tamago; 20th May 2012 at 12:34 AM.
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Old 21st December 2012, 12:39 PM   #27
Tamago is offline Tamago  South Africa
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Update: 21 December 2012
Finally..CXD3068 I can get and they arrived today. Cost is $10.
I have worked out how the servos operate. If you use an end-to-end Sony system i.e. your transport is Sony and you follow the datasheet, the default PID constants loaded at reset should work and then only if you use another laser, or perhaps change the motors, would you need to re-tune the PID constants.

I have worked out what steps to take to go from spinning up the disc to playback. The next logical step is to build hardware, and then to begin software development. The code that was leaked to the internet is a mess, so I didn't bother reading it. As it would turn out, my idea of how to get the disc playing was right when I sat the last three days cleaning up the code.

I am also documenting my experience here, which will be part of my forthcoming book.

Last edited by Tamago; 21st December 2012 at 12:44 PM.
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