CSE390E: Electronics Disassembly Seminar

Course Information

Seminar Description

You probably interact with a wide variety of electronics - cell phones, laptop computers, monitors, video game consoles - but have you ever stopped to take a look at what’s inside of these complicated devices that power your every day life? The purpose of this seminar is to literally tear apart and disassemble electronic devices that we work with every day. We’ll break apart and look at a different device each week to explore what goes into your typical game consoles, laptop computers, and hard drives. The best part is we will NOT put them back together because we’ll probably lose all the screws.

Course Schedule

Seminar Format

Presentation Format

Each person will be responsible for presenting an overview of what we’re taking apart for one of the weeks in the seminar. In general the presentation should include the following and take roughly 10-15 minutes:

Disassembly Format

Go to town and take out every last screw or bolt. You are free to take home any leftover parts after the entire device has been completely taken apart.


The course is 1 unit Credit/No Credit. You will be required to choose one week and give a short presentation about one of the items we’re going to take apart. Showing up each week and giving the pre)sentation during the week you’re assigned is required.

Missing more than one session or neglecting to show during the session you’re responsible for presenting at will constitute grounds for a No Credit grade.

Course Grand Challenge

Everything we take apart is already broken or non-functional is some way shape or form. Over the course of the seminar, there may be opportunities to take apart devices which can be salvaged by putting them back together with parts from duplicate devices. If you’d like to stay after and try to put the device back together and get it to work, you can take it home as long as it doesn’t have a CSE asset tag. This is not officially part of the course because it is generally more time consuming because fighting entropy can be tedious.