Subscribe via RSS

Replacing the ear microphones on a Sony Aibo ERS-7

He'd arrived a few weeks back and gets energised a few hours per week... but he's a bad dog! He says "Good bye" in repsonse to me saying "Hello Aibo" and I'm going to blame him first... it can't be my mumbling? Can it? Just to be certain, I browsed around and found a DIY Repair Guide on Aibo Doctor. I quickly ordered a selection of microphones from element14 and got to work. Canine surgery is daunting!

The Microphones

As I always manage to get my orders wrong, I went ahead and ordered a selection of Microphones.


Note that an ERS-7 Aibo needs 6mm microphones, so you can see that one set is already incorrect. Next, there's directional and omni-directional. The microphones in Aibo are omni*, so I settled with the KECG2742TBL-A units.

Disassembling Aibo's Visor

Following the instructions here, one can disassemble Aibo's head to get to his ears. First step, remove the rubber earlobes by stretching them over the silver joint. Next, open his mouth and remove the two screws.


With these two removed, you can un-hook the rear of the bottom half of his head. This shell is not directly connected to his bottom jaw, so open his mouth fully and then push the whole lower-half back. With it unhooked, you can then bring it forward again and bring it over his jaw. With this piece out of the way, it's back to the front of his head where we need to remove the two outside screws on the metal plate inside his nose.


With those two out, you then need a longer screwdriver to get to the two screws deeper inside his skull. They're on either side of where his jaw would attach near his ears. See the image below, one screw on one side is in focus.


Finally, there's a clip on each side just in front of his ears, holding the visor on.


Very gently pry this open and the visor should lift up. You now have the option to disconnect all the cabling, but instead I just let it rest forward. Make sure it doesn't put undue pressure on the ribbon cables inside.


You now have access to the ear joints.

Disassembling Aibo's Ear Joints

Ok, this isn't the actual ear/microphone yet... before we get to that, there's a bit of fidgeting required to get the ear joints disassembled. When following the next steps, at no time will you need to apply excessive force! Doing so will most-probably damage poor Aibo. The ear joints are a two-part component and are built to be assembled/disassembled with ease. If you look at either side of Aibo's ears, you'll see that one side has a fixed arm and the other has an arm that slides backwards. The fixed arm is at the front and also has a little actuator (metal bar with notch) that is the mechanism that flaps Aibo's ears around when he's playing.

So, back to the joints: two pieces, first is removed by sliding the rear arm further to the rear. From there, you can grab the whole circular joint and unhook it from both front lugs. There's a lug in the actual main arm and a lug in the little black actuator arm.


The image above doesn't really help to explain how to undo it. The movement is one-shot and you can see in the photo above that the black actuator is on the left. This means that you're looking at Aibo's right ear and that you'd grab the top silver circle and slide it gently to the right (rear of his head) until both lugs are clear on the left. Once done, you can then slide off the rear shield.


From here, it's a single screw and the microphone + housing is free. Make sure you also unhook the cable!

Replacing Aibo's Inner-Ear

With the microphone unhooked and unscrewed, the silver shell can be lifted off (gently) by applying pressure to the joints that hold it on. With this off, you can really see what condition Aibo's ears are in!


From here, you can slide the microphone out, just enough, to be able to de-solder and solder a new component.

DSC00767 DSC00768 DSC00776

As you can see, I cheated and used the phone the new microphones came in to hold them in-place whilst soldering. I used the datasheet to make sure I got the polarity the correct way around, assuming that red was positive.

With everything wired up, the microphone was pushed back into the housing and re-assembled. Make sure that you have the wires in the correct groove according to the side the ear has been removed from!

Finally, as per above, there is absolutely no need for excessive force on any part of this assembly. I found that, once trying to re-fit the visor, it wouldn't sit flat! Turns out that I'd assembled the rear part of the ear-joint incorrectly and only one side of the guides was actually in the right spot!


If you look above, you can see that the left guide is sitting above the plastic strip that it was meant to slide onto! This meant totally dismantling that ear again to pull that part back and slide it back on again! Painful, but required.

Can Aibo hear me now?

Nope, same as before! Turns out you can just use Clinic Mode to determine if his microphones actually really need replacing! I should've done this first, but I also sorta wanted to play doctor and see what his insides looked like!

Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)

No comments yet.

Leave a comment


No trackbacks yet.