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10/11/2006


Disassembling the Tao XM2Go

Filed under: General, Radio Today, Electronics Disassemblies — Charlie Summers @ 11:12 pm

Ok, most of my faithful readers will probably not be interested in this posting. But you can bet down-the-road someone is going to want this information (I looked for it and couldn’t find an exact match, although I got close enough to work the rest out), so I’m posting it here for posterity, whoever she is.

I do not even want to explain why it was necessary for me to disassemble my favorite XM Satellite Radio, the Tao XM2Go, but it was (and I want to thank the folks at Giant, the makers of the device, and specifically Terry Uhrich, Vice President, Supply Chain Operations and Office Manager Patricia Biazzo for being so helpful in reparing my screw-up - talk about going above-and-beyond!). Anyway, since I was being crazy enough to rip the thing apart, I thought I’d take some photos so if there was anyone else out there who needed to take apart the Tao XM2Go, they could find this using whatever search engine and maybe save a little time.

Before we get out our tools, remember that this will void your warranty, so make sure your unit is at least a year old. Largish PNG photos are to follow, so for those on the front page, click the “More” to continue…

First off, the Tao XM2Go; you’ll note I have a screen protector on it (ok, ok, it was actually a screen protector for an old PDA cut down…but it works, and I got the things for a song at a local closeouts store). Flip the puppy over, open the battery cover, and remove the battery (in my case a replacement battery received after a recall of the older black ones). So far, we haven’t done anything that could harm the device. That is about to change, however…


Note on the left the four screw positions; remove them using a Torx 6 driver (this is a handy little tool - it also came in really handy for a repair job on my wife’s Nokia cell phone). But don’t get crazy and try to rip the thing apart yet…there are two “hidden” screws you need to remove, and the coverplate over those screws is not designed the same as the Delphi MyFi radio; in the Tao, there are three clips (marked in grey) not one holding it down, so you really need a little caution getting under the coverplate and gently stressing those clips so as not to break them…a fine jeweler’s screwdriver works peachie here. Once the coverplate is carefully removed, remove the two screws underneath with your T6.

Gently remove the radio back, leaving the four side pieces with the front of the unit. You can easily remove any of them you need to remove, or remove all four then gently take out the circuit board (be really careful to bring the button pad along with it). Assembly is simply reversing the process, of course.

Edit 10/12/06, 1:22 PM: Before you ask, yes, it survived being exposed, and works fine. Spent some time this morning walking downtown (where there’s a terrestrial repeater) in high-seventy-degree temperatures with a brilliant sun and cool dry breezes listening to The Bob Edwards Show while stopping at Central Market to pick up a cappuchino at Take Five Espresso Bar. Now that’s a good morning…

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6 Responses to “Disassembling the Tao XM2Go” »

     

  1. ctopher Says:

    Is your Tao still working? I got a great deal on a new Tao a few years ago and just when I’m ready to re-up for another year of on-the-go listening, my Tao no longer starts up. I’ve read the symptoms on XMFan and they all say, it’s a dead unit. Bummer. The XM2Go logo is mostly gray and after a few minutes (if it’s plugged into the power adapter) the “XM” will go bold, then the “Go” but the radio does not start up.

    Of course I’ve abused the reset button, tried it with and without the battery, no love.

    So why did you take apart your Tao? Was it to fix it? I imagine that my problem is corrupted firmware and while I might be able to re-flash it, or replace a flash-chip, I’ve no idea where I might get the code.

    I’m really curious as to why you cracked your case.

    Thanks,

    Chris

  2.  

  3. Charlie Summers Says:

    ctopher Says:

    Is your Tao still working?

    He, he…yep, it’s still among the living although no longer registered. (Don’t tell anyone at XM, but I still occasionally use it to listen to Potus 08 when the other radios are busy recording something.)

    I’ve read the symptoms on XMFan

    You’re on the wrong board for digging into the guts of the hardware; see xm411.com. (It’s there you can find disassembly photos of various radios and cradles.)

    So why did you take apart your Tao? Was it to fix it?

    Yes, but the problem was not electronic, rather cosmetic.

    I imagine that my problem is corrupted firmware

    Not sure I’d agree.

    and while I might be able to re-flash it, or replace a flash-chip, I’ve no idea where I might get the code.

    Er, no, that’s not going to happen, I’m afraid. And even if you did somehow manage to break into XM’s programmers lair and steal the code, exactly how would you re-flash the chip? (I’d wager there’s no flash-ROM in there anyway, instead a straight ROM containing the code, which is why I’d bet your issue isn’t with the ROM but rather with the flash-RAM not properly initializing.) The first-generation XM2Go units were never designed for upgrading the firmware.

    Better to find a Nexus, which is currently available at cut-rate discount discontinued prices, or maybe a Helix (also discontinued) or even a refurb Inno (there are Delphi XM2Go units now available again, but I never liked the cheaper case of the Delphi compared to the Tao). And if you need advice on the arts-and-crafts to make a Nexus home cradle mount in the car, see this post.

  4.  

  5. ctopher Says:

    I would flash the ROM with a burner. I’ve done that with surface mount chips before if I have the right adapter and my hand is steady with the soldering iron!

    BUT, if it’s as you say, perhaps the RAM chip is bad and needs to be replaced… I’ll check the xm411 site and see what they might say about it.

    But I think I’ll go down the Inno route. I like to use the radio as I mow and do other yard work. Know of anyone who’s made the Nexus work live while walking around? I’ll check those sites and see.

    Thanks for the fast response! I found your site on a google search and I’ve enjoyed reading your posts. I’ll keep reading!

    Chris

  6.  

  7. Charlie Summers Says:

    ctopher Says:

    I would flash the ROM with a burner.

    That assumes it’s a flash or eeprom, an assumption I’m not prepared to make. There would have been no reason for them to spend the extra money on an updatable chip when they had no intention of updating the firmware.

    BUT, if it’s as you say, perhaps the RAM chip is bad

    I never looked, but I’d wager there’s no RAM in there; it almost certainly uses flash memory. Of that I am quite comfortable, since my Tao was stored for months without a battery without losing the recordings in it (oddly, the teleconference where the merger was announced). RAM would have died long before that, as soon as any small caps discharged completely.

    Know of anyone who’s made the Nexus work live while walking around?

    Er…no. I began a posting on xmfan.com about that very subject the other day the same way:

    Er…no, that’s not a real viable option, as you’d need to sling around the entire cradle (remember, the Nexus requires the Passport as the XM radio tuner, as the Nexus device itself doesn’t have a tuner built-in). I suppose one could create a “portable” unit carrying around the cradle, the Passport, the Nexus, a car antenna, and a battery, but I sure as heck wouldn’t want to carry all that junk around, and this comes from someone who has a working Roady2 PAS sitting in my office…

    I suppose you could make the unit a little smaller by removing the cradle and making your own smaller connection unit. If you look at the last photo on the Home-to-car-cradle entry, you can see the boards aren’t terribly big. But you’d still need to carry a power source, the boards in whatever rig you made, the Passport tuner, and antenna, and the radio itself. Way too much work for me, and I wasted an entire afternoon last fall turning two Nexus remote controls into a Inno/Helix remote control just to save myself five bucks. (Gotta get those pics posted…the story should be pretty funny if I play it as a “serious” howto… ;)

  8.  

  9. ctopher Says:

    Well Charles, you were the one that called it “flash-RAM” but I knew what you meant :)

    Anyway, I saw a deal on a pink Inno and since I’m comfortable in my manhood, I’m thinking I’ll get that. Seems like the best deal on a “new” Inno (not refurbished).

    But the portable nexus is not without it’s merits. Hey the Tao is pretty big, and I have one of those clip antennas from the XMFan store that I would clip to my baseball hat! (I’m either dateless or married huh? the latter :)

    I like to hear how people invest their time just to save a few bucks so I encourage you to post your remote control experience. I once wasted two evenings replacing a broken fluorescent backlight tube in my aging Apple Lombard powerbook laptop. I really didn’t need to get the computer running again, but I wanted to see if I could. What fun!

    Keep hacking Charlie!

    Chris

  10.  

  11. gobungles Says:

    The Delphi xm2go has a slightly different cover for the two hidden screws, and it uses a sticky glue along with the bottom tab to hold it on. Super easy to remove.

    Anyway, I was able to replace a broken LCD yesterday with minimal effort. I used a dead xm2go that I bought off of ebay and it works like new and I can read the display again.

    Supersweet.


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