RTL-SDR Blog V3 X-Rayed

Over on Reddit user u/isysopi201 has put up a fun post showing what an RTL-SDR Blog V3 looks like under an X-Ray machine. With the full resolution images, it is possible to see the PCB traces in internal planes, the windings on the electrolytic capacitor, inductors, USB choke and direct sampling matching transformer, as well as the bond wires on the RTL2832U and R820T2 silicon chips that connect the pins to the silicon.

The clearest image appears to be this contrast enhanced image. A short video of the V3 rotating in X-ray vision has also been uploaded to YouTube.

X-Ray Zoom In on the RTL2832U Silicon Chip.
X-Ray Zoom In on the RTL2832U Silicon Chip.
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Bob Collins

I’m surprised that no one has reverse-engineered the RTL chip at this point. That I know of.


Have you looked at what the chip actually provides, there is a lot in it:
And there is a number of active patents on some of its functions, the ones explicitly listed are, but there could be others:
superior channel estimation, (maybe: US7822156B2)
co-channel interface rejection, (maybe: US7460147B2 or possibly US20070053453A1)
long echo channel reception,
impulse noise cancellation (maybe US8285772B2)

But if someone dedicated a very large amount of time and some money they could probably do it, and then be sued by Reltek if they ever published that information before the patents had expired. I do not think you are going to see a reverse-engineered the RTL chip for a good few years yet.