Machine Design

Sphero BB-8 Teardown

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There will be no reason for anyone to do this, ever. I thought I would cut open the Sphero BB-8 and do a complete teardown.

S1 Precision is key. I cut BB-8 on a lathe. Held it center using wide open jaws and a center in the tailstock. I then turned BB-8 at the lowest speed. I didn’t want it to pop out and hit me!
S2 I used the thinnest parting tool I had, lined it up just to the right of the seam. (I suspect that the BB-8 shells are “spun welded” together. I should ask…)
S3 Worked great!
S4 Inside the shell is that dense piece of high-techery.
S5 My cut was pretty precise!
S6 The magnet head is a spring loaded piece that sits on top of the Sphero drive system. (I thought it was an independent moving item.)
S7 The magnet head piece is all glued together. I could take it apart… but magnets do not fail.
S8 Two screws hold down the motherboard PCB. Remove.
S9 Gently lift up on the PCB, it is connected into a could sockets for the peripherals (IE: motors, charging coil)
S10 From the bottom there are two claws used to snap-in the plastic shim/insulator on top. Squeeze the claws together with plyers and remove.
S11 Do the same on both sides and remove the shim/insulator.
S12 The two lithium battery packs (3.7 V each) are then exposed. Remove those out of their pockets.
S13 From the bottom, two screws retain the coil housing. Remove those two screws.
S14 The bottom coil housing is also snapped in on either side of the core. Use something flat and gently pry away. Then remove the bottom coil housing.

The changing coil then lifts away, exposing the motors. The motors are marked:

Standard Motor
SMBN0 15623

S16 Pull the motors apart slightly and lift the main drive axle out. Careful, they are not glued together.
S17 The motors can then be pulled out. Careful, the wires are wedged in pretty tight. The motors have a small gear with a diameter of 0.2" locked directly with a gear on the wheel axle at a diameter of approximately 0.8" - a 4 to 1 ratio it seems.
S18 Do both sides.
S19 The battery socket is clamped in a plastic holder, snapped into the core. Use something flat to stick into the core and un-do the snaps. Pull out the batteries.
S20 The charging coil is also connected to the core in the same way as the battery. Do the same operation to unhook the holder form the core.
S21 The axle can also be taken apart. It’s not glued together, it will practically fall apart.
S22 There you have it, BB-8 is taken apart. All the parts splayed out for gawking. It’s simpler than the Hasbro counterpart, but higher complexity per part.
S23 The Sphero BB-8 charging stand could use a teardown too.
S24 On the bottom remove the rubber feel covers from four spots. This exposes four screws holding it all together. Remove those too.
S25 Remove the four screws and pry open the two sections.
S26 From the bottom, gray piece, remove the weights. Like gaming mouse weights. It gives the plate that heavy, expensive feel.
S27 On the top is a white sticker covering a single screw. Remove the sticker and screw.
S28 Pry open the middle and top pieces.
S29 This exposed the charging circuit.
S30 Remove the gray decoration pieces.
S31 Unscrew the two screws holding down Micro-USB plug PCB.
S32 Gently lift the LED PCB off of the pegs it’s on.
S33 Pull the reset switch PCB out.
S34 Also take out the reset switch button.
S35 Pry up the charging coil base PCB. It is on top of two pegs.
S36 Gently remove the PCBs from their respective plugs. Color coded!
S37 The charging base, disassembled for your pursuing pleasure.
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