Is the Amazon Echo Flex mute button real or fake? #IoT #InternetOfThings #Alexa #DieShot @electronupdate1
It is always on the privacy-minded person’s mind: can I REALLY turn the microphone off on my Alexa or other Internet of Things device? The Amazon Echo Flex has a “Mute Microphone” button. Does it really do that???
The electronupdate blog finds out!
Let’s do a bit of reverse engineering to sort this question.
If one traces the signal from the push button switch it seems to flow to a small SMT part marked “ICFJ” (right most part of one’s circled below). To the left of this is a part marked “VC74” which will be a package of dual “D” flip flops and on the left the golden component is the microphone.
Decapping the chips helps find out what they are:
From here a bit more of the schematic can be teased out (simplified, some resistors not shown):
And the conclusion:
The ‘mute’ button appears to be very real and functional. When the button glows ‘red’ the power is removed from the microphones.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.