Reverse Engineering Your Own Bluetooth Audio Module

There was a time when we would start our electronic projects with integrated circuits and other components, mounted on stripboard, or maybe on a custom PCB. This is still the case for many devices, but it has become increasingly common for an inexpensive ready-built module to be treated as a component where once it would have been a project in its own right. We’re pleased then to see the work of [ElectroBoy], who has combined something of both approaches by reverse engineering the pinout of a Chinese Bluetooth audio chip with minimal datasheet, and making his own take on an off-the-shelf Bluetooth audio module.

The JL_AC6939B comes in an SOIC16 package and requires a minimum number of components. The PCB is therefore a relatively simple proposition and indeed he’s fitted all parts and traces on one side with the other being a copper ground plane. It’s dangerous to assume that’s all there is to a board like this one though, because many an engineer has come unstuck trying to design a PCB antenna. We’d hazard a guess that the antenna here is simply a wavy PCB line rather than an antenna with a known impedance and bandwidth, at the very least it looks to have much thicker traces than the one it’s copying.

It’s possible that it’s not really worth the effort of making a module that can be bought for relative pennies ready-made, but to dismiss it is to miss the point. We make things because we can, and not merely because we should.