God...dammit

# Background

It's hard to see a child outside today without some kind of iDevice pumping high fidelity 192kbps stereo lossless audio into their shiny white headphones, but BACK IN MY DAY, the iPod hadn't been invented yet.  Pickings were slim.  Walkmen were outdated, CD players were pricey and would skip if bumped around despite their ESP features, MiniDisk was another stillborn Sony format, and MP3 players were still ugly and ridiculously expensive (at least Apple fixed the ugly part).

Thus, Tiger Electronics, pioneers in the high tech market of McDonald's Happy Meal toys, invented "Hit Clips"

Hit Clips were small cheap digital audio players that could play music off of little plastic cartridges.  The audio was mono, sounded terrible, and only included a 60 second sample of a song.

Better hold on to that patent Tiger...

Still, the songs were officially licensed and included bands like The Backstreet Boys, Aaron Carter, Sugar Ray, and ...Dreamstreet

The 00s were a very strange time for all of us...

Anywho, while helping my 17 year old cousin move some furniture, we came across a large collection of hit clip cartridges, but no player.  Struck with a wave of nostalgia, I asked if I could take one to do a tear down.

Thus this post.

# Teardown

The hit clip cartridge has 8 metal contacts on the back:

Taking it apart, I was hoping to find some identifiable piece of hardware, but instead found the chip-on-board construction that is so popular with super-low-cost low-power electronics along with a few discrete components.

Under this blob of epoxy is a wire-bonded chip of silicon.  The song is likely hard coded directly into the silicon wafer rather than being programmed there after the fact using flash or OTP memory.  It's cheaper that way if you make enough units.

This didn't give me a whole lot to work from, but assuming the capacitor is a bypass capacitor (decent assumption), I at least had some idea of how to power the thing.  Poking around for a bit gave me this schematic:

I'm not sure what the two No Connect pins do, but apparently there was a version of the Hit Clip that allowed music to be recorded to special cartridges, so I'm guessing they have something to do with that.

I wasn't sure how much voltage the part needed, but a quick search on Ebay gave me some idea: