M+ computer internals + info

D-One
D-One Moderator Posts: 2,731 mod
edited January 8 in Maschine

There was a thread in the old forum with some pics but not here so I am making one. This is probably of no interest to most users, it's just for curious nerdy ones I guess. Obviously, I do not advise anyone to go opening their 1200$ device, if you do and screw it up it's on you! I lost a screw in the process as I always do 😜

The forum shrinks pics so I'll upload them to Dropbox in case someone wants to view them in higher resolution: Link.

Internally it's almost the same as the MK3 but with a tiny computer attached in the top-right corner:

It's kind of cool how tiny the computer is (SD and flash drive for scale)

The back

Angled heat sink to make contact with the aluminum back plate, no fins, no fans, all passive cooling.

I was expecting paste but it has a thermal pad for heat transfer:

CPU:

Where the computer connects to:

All screws on the back are the same length except 3, 2 that hold the heat sink against the backplate (for better contact I assume), and another that is connected to a blunt stand-off, the standoff one doesn't need to be unscrewed for the backplate to come off.

Interestingly if I remove the computer from the M+ still works fine as an MK3 / Controller and Audio interface, it connects to Maschine SW on the desktop/laptop. Shout out to @reffahcs for discovering this. So if the internal computer ever dies it can just live on as an MK3 😁


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Comments

  • reffahcs
    reffahcs Member Posts: 775 Pro

    Thanks for the shout out boss. And you mentioned a good point worth sharing in one of your DM's.

    To those thinking they can buy the Congatec single board computer (SBC) and slap it in their MK3, unfortunately that's not going to work.

    If you google the MK3 and M+, you will see the M+ has 2 extra USB connectors. Those connectors are part of the carrier board which the SBC attaches to. Meaning that the board in the MK3 and the M+ are completely different, there is no slot in the MK3 to plug the SBC into.

    Thanks for the pics @D-One. I'll have to look at the ones I took and see if I have anything additional to add. Your photos are pretty good though and you def covered all the basis!

  • Vic Angelo
    Vic Angelo Member Posts: 103 Advisor

    This is great info

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,756 Expert

    Has anyone tried to replace computer board with stronger one? I know it has been discussed it would not most probably work without modifying M+ firmware. Drivers and so, on....

  • reffahcs
    reffahcs Member Posts: 775 Pro
    edited January 8

    An excellent point, that's how this thread came to be. We kinda hijacked another Maschine thread and decided it best to start a new one.

    So among the contending issues as I see are:

    Power - The Maschine+ has a (max?) input power of 40 Watts. 15 Volts @ 2.66 Amps. This is per the label near the power connector. The current Congatec SBC takes 6.5 Watts. It's unknown how much voltage the main power rail of the carrier board can handle, but logic implies it should to be slightly more than 40 watts.

    Firmware - It's believed that the firmware exists on the eMMC that is onboard the Congatec SBC. eMMC usually consists of 4 partitions (https://pengutronix.de/en/blog/2020-10-15-anpassen-einer-emmc.html) Two boot partitions, a "special" partition" and the user data partition. Cheap eMMC readers from Amazon (the ones that plug into an SDcard reader) are usually only capable of reading the user partition. Thus a more expensive flash reader is required.

    Device drivers - As @Kubrak mentioned, if the newer replacement SBC differs too much from the original SBC the new board might not boot. It would be ideal to keep the new board as similar as possible to the current one with the exception of the CPU speed/core count. It would be possible to compile new drivers for a new board bit it would require a fair amount of effort to compile and then integrate them into an existing Linux distribution.

    Heat - Any increase in performance is going to also come at the cost of more heat. This is a concern, but my initial thoughts after seeing the inside of the M+ is that there is some amount of room to increase the size of the heat sink and/or add a fan etc...

    (edited for spelling/grammar)

  • reffahcs
    reffahcs Member Posts: 775 Pro

    Bottom side of carrier board.

    Items of note:

    M2 PCIe X1 slot

    Unpopulated M2 SATA pads - unknown if the pads are routed?

    Unpopulated USB UART connector - is this routed? does it connect to a serial port? does the serial port give you console access to the M+?

    3 unlabeled pads - Possibly 3.3V UART? Square one is ground, other two possibly RX and TX. Need to test with scope while device is booting up.


  • D-One
    D-One Moderator Posts: 2,731 mod

    Unpopulated M2 SATA pads - unknown if the pads are routed?

    I don't see traces on either side but the PCB could be one of those fancy ones with more than 2 layers, maybe a flashlight behind could answer that?

  • reffahcs
    reffahcs Member Posts: 775 Pro

    Oh I'm sure there's probably 8 or 12 layers, maybe more? Flashlight would be a good idea!

    I did look at Digikey the other day and SMT SATA connectors were only like $1.50 or something, so even if you melted a few, you still good lol.

    Also, closeup of the eMMC chip:

    It's a Kingston EMMC32G-TA29. Link to the datasheet here: https://pdf1.alldatasheet.com/datasheet-pdf/download/1253205/KINGSTON/EMMC32G-TA29-PZ90.html

  • ozon
    ozon Member Posts: 1,237 Expert

    Yeah, it wouldn’t make sense to leave the space and pads and silkscreen but remocve the traces. I‘d guess those small highly integrated computer boards have most probably four layers.

    Brave move, BTW! It shows you’re not very attached to your M+… 😅

  • reffahcs
    reffahcs Member Posts: 775 Pro
    edited January 8

    I'm used to taking things apart... it's pretty much my job. If you mean the warranty well then, I suppose they should have put a warranty void sticker on it 🙈

    In all seriousness, I'm not worried about the warranty, if it breaks it breaks. That's just kinda how these things go.

  • ozon
    ozon Member Posts: 1,237 Expert
  • reffahcs
    reffahcs Member Posts: 775 Pro

    We both did lol 😂

  • Alexios
    Alexios Member Posts: 92 Advisor
    edited January 8

    I took it apart a long time ago and replaced the gasket with a metal plate with thermal paste.😂

  • ozon
    ozon Member Posts: 1,237 Expert

    Ah, now we know the real reason why your 1.5 update didn’t work properly: You broke the secret software seal! 🤪

  • D-One
    D-One Moderator Posts: 2,731 mod
    edited January 8

    Well for me it's not remotely my job but I still I take everything apart, always... It's fun for me, the M+ was the only NI gear I had not opened before today. For anyone used to building desktop PC's it should be easy work. The only thing I ever broke was KA2, so yeah 💩 can happen.... :D

    Dang... Thats motherboard level of trace layers, hum.. it looks so simple with so few components.

    What are those round exposed Pads? are those for probing?

  • Alexios
    Alexios Member Posts: 92 Advisor

    No, no, I love my maschine, I did everything very carefully. The programmers are to blame...

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