The Retro Society of Reverse Engineering and Taking Things Apart Homepage

Quite some time ago, I stumbled across a web site of some guys calling themselves the American Society of Reverse Engineering. Unfortunately they seem to have gone away. So, this page chronicles the things that I have reverse engineered, sometimes for fun, sometimes to fix it, and sometimes to redesign it so that it would actually work.


  • 2008-03-26: Bosch 0 227 100 142 / VW 191 905 351 A / TP-100 VW TCI module

    Diagram from VW manual The watercooled VWs (Golf / Fox / etc) use a "TCI" ignition control module, with a Hall Effect sensor in the distributor body, and a conventional-looking ignition coil.

    I received an email from Carlo W, who had managed to make this module work with conventional points on his V8 Land Rover, so I decided to investigate (I have a complete distributor / coil / TCI / loom lying around from a 1600 Fox we stripped).

    I broke the top off the TCI module and partially traced the schematic (it's a thick film hybrid module covered in a transparent sticky gel [429k picture]). It basically consists of what looks like a zener based voltage regulator for the Hall Effect sensor, a chip which does all the clever stuff, and a driver transistor for the coil. So yes, feeding a pulse similar to that coming from the Hall Effect sender into pin 6 will work.

    Now the question : Is the signal from a standard set of mechanical points close enough to that from the Hall Effect sensor? Carlo W said that his setup was giving too high a voltage (he claims a 5cm (that's 2&) spark), leading to arcing all over the place. He suspects this is because of the dwell time of the mechanical points.

    Question-du-jour : does the Hall Effect sender pulse duration vary with engine speed, like points, or is it a fixed-time pulse? If fixed-time, one should be able to build something with a 555 to make everything happy.

    How to test a Hall sensor (google translate is your friend)

  • 2011-11-02: Little LogBook GPS trip logger

    This is the same unit as the GT-730F(L), but presumably with different firmware (The Venus chip contains on-chip FLASH program memory that can be user programmed. The serial FLASH is for data logging).

    Serial to USB bridgePL-2303Hx
    16Mbit CMOS serial FLASHMX25L1605DM2I
    GPS Chipset: Baseband ProcessorSkytraq Venus 621dLP
    GPS Chipset: GPS ReceiverSiGe 4150L

    Go to Control Panel / System (icon) / Hardware (tab) / Device Manager (button) / Ports and find the "Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port". Point your terminal program (I use Hercules) at this comm port at 115200 bps. You'll see the NMEA datastream from the unit.

    There's obviously a control interface but that's a reverse-engineering job for another day.

  • 2017-06-28: VW Volksiebus Factory Immobiliser

  • 2017-10-04: 191 919 376A Coolant Level Warning Lamp Control Module

  • 2017-10-10: 443 955 532C 91 919 376A Time Control Relay

  • 2018-01-02: Homebrew AM Transmitter

  • 2018-02-08: Brüel & Kjær Model 2301 Level Recorder

  • 2024-04-08: Some kind of a magstripe reader



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