Subwoofer Gets Arduino Brain Transplant

The Samsung PS-WTX500 subwoofer is designed to be used as part of a 5.1 channel home theater system, but not just any system. It contains the amplifiers for all the channels, but they’ll only function when the subwoofer is connected to the matching receiver. [Alejandro Zarate] figured there must be some way to unlock the system’s full functionality without being limited to the original receiver, he just needed to reverse engineer how the subwoofer worked.

All the wires tuck underneath the Arduino

The result is a fantastically well documented write-up that covers the whole process, starting with how [Alejandro] identified and researched the Pulsus PS9829B Digital Audio Processor (DAP). Documentation for this particular chip seems hard to come by, but he was able to find a similar chip from the same manufacturer that was close enough to put him on the right track. From there, he started studying the SPI communications between the DAP and the subwoofer’s S3P70F4 microcontroller.

After analyzing the communication between the two chips, [Alejandro] pulled the S3P70F4 off the board and wired an Arduino Pro Mini 328 in its place. The Arduino was quite a bit larger than the original microcontroller, but with some careful wiring, he manged a very professional looking installation. Short of coming up with a custom PCB adapter, we don’t think it could look much better.

With some relatively straightforward code and a listing of the captured byte sequences, the Arduino was able to power up the PS-WTX500’s amplifiers and handle the incoming audio signal as a stand-alone device.

In the past we’ve seen a similar trick done with the ESP8266, which had the added benefit of enabling WiFi control of the speakers. We’re all for adding modern functionality to older hardware, even if you’ve got to hang it off the back as an external module.

15 thoughts on “Subwoofer Gets Arduino Brain Transplant

    1. Also keep in mind: if you can afford to be bored right now, you are very fortunate. Be grateful for your place in the world. Got lots of friends who are already homeless now.

  1. Logitech had a decent 5.1 system ca 2005 with a setup just like this (Z-680). The soft on/off was just that, a software button. Having acquired a more modern receiver I wanted to keep the sub so hacked I think a NOT and AND gate into the Z-680 controller to respond to the modern receivers HIGH/LOW external amp power signal, allowing it to turn on and off as the modern receiver commanded.

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