With the recent controversy about what these guys are saying, as well as theirÂ increasing marketing blitz, I figured it was a good time to look into the actual hardware a bit.
McDonald’s have a slightly checkered past in terms of delivering toys that are possible to open and reassemble (for maintenance, modification, etc). At best, they’ll at times provide some outside accessible triangle screws. They’re not quite the same as the Nintendo tri-wings if that’s the conclusion you jump to, but the same heads do work a little. This, however, isn’t one of those times – they’ve opted for pin-in-hole pressing, with some seams then melted shut.
There’s no real gentle way in, but prying apart the edges of the yellow part first and then trying to wiggle the pins underneath is probably best. You’ll likely needÂ toÂ snap or cut most of them anyway (seal with superglue or hot glue if you reassemble) but you can probably get cleaner breaks than going in blind like this. A few might even pop out.
The four pins holding the two cover parts.
The back is only attached to the front and comes off easily. Many places make clever use of the two shapes molding around each other, both to hide seams and give a considerably more complex appearance. They succeed quite well – it’s not at all obvious that the core structure only has four parts.
The two remaining halves are stuck the same way, but more melting and weaker pins. The seam goes along the sides, but veer along the base of the hair and heel of the boots to hide in natural lines.
(just pouring on the angles a bit).
Unfortunately a slightly shakey shot of the finally open black part. A yellow slider pushes a bent wire onto or off another wire/small cut metal sliver that holds the cells. No pre-made switches or connectors, just soldered in shape and pressed into the plastic. However, given the fairly sturdy plastic, it’s probably not too much of a concern. Likely to outlive the battery, and I’d hesitate to call them user replaceable (an unfortunate but not uncommon trend there days).
Speaking of the power source, they’ve (as you can see) gone with two LR41 button cells. Those are alkaline, which hampers their capacity pretty severely (usually ca 30-35mAh) but on the plus side they’re mercury free and at “worst” use some silver oxide. As you can (perhaps) see by the logo, these are from NewLeader Batteries (out of Guangdong, mainland China). They claim 41mAh – I wouldn’t count on that, but it couldÂ just beÂ that we continually get partially discharged ones (with the shipping and all..). Wouldn’t shock me if they were a bit optimistic with the specs too though – we’re not exactly in a position to complain (or give much credit).
The speaker itself is actually pretty sweet – sizable magnet, decent radius, multiple softeness materials for the mount.. Not saying you’ve found your next source of hifi equipment, but these (and quite a lot more pricey) things usually go more for piezos or other very simple tweeters. It’s also mounted against the plastic, with a x-shaped prong pushing it there and the other side pressing against the eye (made of slightly thinner plastic) to resonate and give a slight slave base effect. They obviously care a lot about the audio reproduction (in as much as you can at this level) – acoustic design and material tradeoffs seem to have gotten very generous shares compared to others.
The little sliver connecting the cells and acting as half the switch is last part out.
Full component spread.
The audio IC itself is also in an actual epoxy enclosure rather than a direct on pcb with a glob of epoxy. That could be because there’s no board anyway – going with the less dinky speaker there’s nothing else left. It’s also not a blank chip, which may be a McDonald’s first (but probably not really -Â It says PPPP VRQA, stenciled on quite clearly. That means nothing to me though and I can’t find anything like it online except an Australian agency dealing with partial workers and evaluation of their abilities. Not sure if that’s actually something involved – assembly in AU when shipping from China seems kinda odd, but it’s also a pretty distinct combination of letters.
So despite the letters, I’m not sure what it is. It has four visible pins only, and contain the amp, storage, playback and oscillator. That could be a lot of things, especially if you’re McDonald’s and big enough to press custom Si if you want. But it’s probably something like the AP89010, I’veÂ been meaning to hook it up to something sensitive and see what the output looks like (quantification levels? Apparent sample rate? Pulse width modulation (amazingly incorrectly called 1bit DA) or semi analog?) but I haven’t had time.
Well, that’s about the size of it – assemble by doing the opposite. Night.