HDMI splitters are used to allow, for example, allow a single HDMI output to connect to multiple displays. Today, we'll rip one open and see what's inside.
The Packaging and What's Inside
Arriving in a flashy yet simple package, the device came with easy-to-follow directions and an AC/DC power adapter (output of 5V at 1000mA).
The UHD splitter arrived in a simple package, but one with some glitz.
Included with the splitter is an AC/DC power supply and simple connection instructions.
Removing the Enclosure
The enclosure is a very simple, yet sturdy, design with clearly labeled connectors (see figure below). These easy-to-understand labels will prove helpful during the installation process. What's missing, surprisingly, from the enclosure is any reference to the manufacturer. Strange.
The enclosure is simple and straightforward, but is missing the manufacturer's name.
The electronics of this UHD (ultra-high-definition) HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) splitter are well protected as they reside inside a professional-looking and all-metal enclosure. Given the low price of the device (less than $25 at the time of purchase), I would've expected a more inexpensive enclosure, such as one made from plastic.
The electronics of this splitter were easy to access since only six screws hold the device together: four screws are used to keep the two-piece enclosure intact and two screws to secure the PCB to the enclosure's bottom piece.
The UHD splitter disassembled. Only six screws are used to keep everything together.
Perhaps Some Afterthought Cost Savings?
As can be seen in the figure above, while the PCB has four holes intended for mounting the PCB to the enclosure, the enclosure itself only has two swage nuts for securing the PCB. I image that, during the initial build, it was discovered that only two screws, not four, were needed to keep the PCB in place. Removing two of the swage nuts from the design most likely saved parts and labor costs, thus reducing the selling price.
The Solitary PCB
The double-layer, single-sided PCB is home for the three HDMI connectors, the power connector, four through-hole LEDs, and seven ICs.
As can be observed in the figure below, when the PCB is held against a bright light it's easy to see the difference between where copper resides (either on the top-side or the bottom-side) and where no copper has been placed (i.e., the light dimly shines through). This "light shining through" concept is an indication of the PCB being a two-layer (or double-layer) design; fewer layers usually equate to lower product costs.
The PCB held against a bright light reveals that the PCB has no internal layers.
PCB Top Side
As mentioned earlier, this PCB is a single-sided design, meaning that components are mounted on only one side. The figure below identifies the major electrical components of this design.
The PCB top-side: components.
- NPN transistor: Part marking 1AM
- Schottky rectifier: Part marking SS14
- Switching voltage regulator: Part marking A17F (no datasheet could be found). Note: Although no datasheet could be located for this part, it can be assumed that this IC is a switching voltage regulator because of its connection to the inductor (labeled 4R7) as well as its connection to the adjacent resistors and capacitors.
- LDO voltage regulator (3.3V): Part marking AMS1117 3.3
- Memory (serial EEPROM): Part marking ATMHK218 24C08N
- Processor: Part marking 8S003F3P6
- 2-port HDMI/DVI splitter: Part marking LT86102SX
PCB Top-Side: A Small Misalignment
During my close-up inspection of this PCB, I noticed that only two of the three HDMI connectors looked to be perfectly aligned when soldered to the PCB with regards to their pins. The third connector's pins, however, were slightly misaligned. This misalignment is most likely not a big deal, but it may not pass a Class-3 inspection of the IPC Standards if subjected to one. The figure below shows both a good connector alignment and the misaligned connector.
Two HDMI connectors: one connector's pins are misaligned.
As noted earlier, the PCB's bottom-side is absent of all components. It does, however, have plenty of copper which is stitched to the PCB's top side, especially on the PCB's perimeter, which may help with reducing EMI.
The PCB bottom-side: no components.
This ultra-high-definition HDMI splitter from Amuoc is a simple, small, and what appears to be well-designed and professionally-manufactured device, even given the connector's minor pin misalignment. It is a little mysterious, however, that Amuoc chose not to place its name anywhere on the device, on the packaging material, or on the installation instructions.
Featured image used courtesy of Amazon.
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Note: This article was updated on 2/2/2018 to better reflect what this device is intended to accomplish.