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  • NXP TEF6686 chip receiver

    Apologies if this has already been discussed but has anyone been able to build a TEF6686 chip receiver? If yes, can you share some experience. By all accounts performance is better than the 15 yr old Sony chips used in the XDR series.

  • #2
    I've built four so far and construction has been straight forward. Make sure you get a module that is known to work, has the correct frequency crystal and supports RDS. The module I'm using at the moment is this one.
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001844726524.html

    While you're ordering from Aliexpress I can recommend getting the board from PCBWay, it's so cheap it's hardly worth stringing something together on vero or making your own PCB and as new account they offer a voucher, I think it cost me a fiver to get 5 PCBs to the UK including delivery.

    This the revised board that uses an F type for the antenna input as well as caps on the audio outputs.
    https://www.pcbway.com/project/share..._Nano__2_.html

    The Nano was also purchased from Aliexpress, I went for the soldered version as I'm lazy.
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32263477572.html

    The latest sketch from Marsel90 who was instrumental (along with Stailus) in developing the original eggplant idea is here
    https://github.com/marsel90-1/NXP-TEF6686_Arduino_Radio

    Performance is excellent, easily on a par and usually better selectivity than the Sony XDR-F1. Up until I built my first one I was looking out for a used F1 in case mine died but no need now. The 6686 is a fraction of the cost and Konrad has released a modified version of GTK to use the enhanced features of the 6686. All the original features of GTK have been retained so it's fully compatible with SRCP and Stationlist.

    Paul

    RX-888 MKII, Elad FDM-S3, RTLSDR820.
    Icom ICR8500, SDRPlay RSP1A, A*rspy.
    HS Publications D100 TV-DX receiver.
    Sony XDR F1, TEF6686 tuner, XDR-GTK.
    LNA4ALL, SV1AFN & CCW Multicouplers.
    W4KMA 18-100MHz custom Log Periodic.
    Wellbrook ALA1530AL1 active HF loop.
    Korner 19ele BII, Korner 19ele BIII.

    www.youtube.com/Aceblaggard

    24 hour digimode log
    https://bit.ly/3xxUQA2
    Last edited by UKDX; 07-17-2021, 05:25 AM.

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    • #3
      Thank you, I have the components on order, I may contact you for some help if you don't mind once I get the chip. It also occurred to me to just order a car radio with the chip already built in and and use the car radio as table top receiver. I am also interested in tuning the chip into the Medium Wave and Short Wave bands so that narrows down my options to chip+arduino+TEF-GTK.

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      • #4
        Yes of course, happy to offer any advice I can. Other than boxing it up the construction will probably take less than hour from start to having it up and running, it really is quite a simple design.

        It's not shown on the diagram but you can link the 5V pin on the USB socket to the +ve supply pin on the 6686 module, it runs fine and does away with the need for an external supply. Just place C7, C9 and link the two pins. I boxed mine using copper clad board to keep it as small as possible and with the USB power means I can use it portable with a laptop.

        If you search my Youtube channel you'll find some using the 6686 tuner including this one on SW and MW.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXOK6iEED-U

        Paul

        RX-888 MKII, Elad FDM-S3, RTLSDR820.
        Icom ICR8500, SDRPlay RSP1A, A*rspy.
        HS Publications D100 TV-DX receiver.
        Sony XDR F1, TEF6686 tuner, XDR-GTK.
        LNA4ALL, SV1AFN & CCW Multicouplers.
        W4KMA 18-100MHz custom Log Periodic.
        Wellbrook ALA1530AL1 active HF loop.
        Korner 19ele BII, Korner 19ele BIII.

        www.youtube.com/Aceblaggard

        24 hour digimode log
        https://bit.ly/3xxUQA2

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by NO2CW View Post
          Thank you, I have the components on order, I may contact you for some help if you don't mind once I get the chip. It also occurred to me to just order a car radio with the chip already built in and and use the car radio as table top receiver. I am also interested in tuning the chip into the Medium Wave and Short Wave bands so that narrows down my options to chip+arduino+TEF-GTK.
          Just saw this project and found it interesting. Any info on whay car radios might have this chip? I have actually done exactly that in the past and used a headunit as a desktop radio. Works surprisingly well honestly.

          On the arduino build side, it is possible to run standalone with an LCD display and some buttons or something off the shelf? If not I might take a look at the sketch and see if i cant pair it up with something like a Teensy and audio board as a DIY portable.

          Also curious if any of the other tuner modules that are available on Aliexpress and seem to share the same footprint/pinout are compatible, or if they are even worthwhile.

          Seems to be TDA7703 and TDQ-230V/H available as well. Havent dug into datasheets on any of these yet, but curious if any of you guys have experience.

          Comment


          • #6
            This post on DXing.org should answer a few questions, here's the link via google translate although the thread is multi language. https://www-dxing-org.translate.goog..._pto=ajax,elem but yes there is a standalone version.

            Car radios do make excellent DX machines but given the ease of construction of these tuners it makese sense to build one to use via a latop or PC. The initial designs incorporated an external audio amp but the modules output is enough to run directly into line inputs on an amp or laptop.

            What I can say is no, not all similar looking modules with similar codes will work. I bought a couple of low cost alternatives that look and sound like they will work but don't even after changing the reference crystal for the correct frequency for the software. Fortunately all these modules are cheap enough that it's worth the risk of trying them even if they don't work.

            Comment


            • #7
              This is a fascinating thread--especially the Google translated thread on DXing.org. I'd love to try a chip+arduino+TEF-GTK combination, but afraid my soldering days are a bit behind me. Is anyone selling completed units at this point? I'd be happy to pay for the labor, parts, and shipping if someone is thinking about marketing them. As an alternative, is there a list of car audio receivers that utilize the chip? 73 Les Rayburn, N1LF

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by N1LF View Post
                This is a fascinating thread--especially the Google translated thread on DXing.org. I'd love to try a chip+arduino+TEF-GTK combination, but afraid my soldering days are a bit behind me. Is anyone selling completed units at this point? I'd be happy to pay for the labor, parts, and shipping if someone is thinking about marketing them. As an alternative, is there a list of car audio receivers that utilize the chip? 73 Les Rayburn, N1LF
                Popular radios that use this TEF6686 chip are under the brands Pioneer, Pumpkin (for around $250) , Joying, etc. I think the cheapest one I've seen unbranded was $188. You would need a good power supply as car radios are power hungry, speakers and an antenna adapter. Using a car radio in desktop mode is pretty straightforward, there are a bunch of youtube videos that show you the power connector cables and the "control" ignition cable. These radios use custom Android builds. It is not clear if they take full advantage of the TEF6686 chip. From forums I have read, there is also an entire cottage industry in Russia where you take your car to a shop and they exchange the older but compatible chip with a new TEF6686. The swap also involves re routing some of the pin commands so it is not a simple mechanical swap. It would be interesting to hear if anyone experimented with a car radio, especially if it is connected to an outside antenna.

                Building from scratch, there are two popular builds:
                (1) chip+mini arduino+TEF-GTK and (2) chip + ESP32 control board.
                Option (1) is the most flexible as the the software has gotten more and more features built into it to take advantage of the chip's capabilities. See http://nicuflorica.blogspot.com/2020...u-tef6686.html
                (2) was offered as a kit you could buy but for a while it has been showing out of stock.- see https://translate.google.com/transla...vb.nl/tef6686/

                There are no portable radios with this chip built in. However, as an example the older and not to capable SI4732 chip has created large following with commercial and homebuilt kits so I don;t know why this can't be done with the TEF6686.
                Last edited by NO2CW; 07-25-2021, 03:25 PM.

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                • #9
                  Ive got a Clarion CX505 sitting around, it is HD Radio compatible, but not sure what tuner chips. Will have to pull it apart one day. I also have an old Pioneer Avic D3 with the Supertuner IIID which is supposed to be pretty good. Need to get a power supply setup to try them.

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                  • #10
                    The basic circuit based around the 6686 is self contained for power and has audio output good enough for line input on a latop, PC or aux in on a car system.

                    Connected to a laptop or desktop PC GTK gives you many more features that will ever be available to a car head unit and takes less than an hour to construct, shoe horning the 6686 into an existing radio that isn't in a car seems more hassle than it's worth?

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