Intro: Taking Apart Amazon Echo
If you're like me, you can't NOT take stuff apart and tinker with it. My aim is to make the most informative guide on the internet to safely disassembling your Amazon Echo. When I took mine apart for the first time I had almost no instructions or even tips to work off of, so let's change that!
Step 1: Remove Rubber Base and Screws
Before anything, unplug the Echo from the wall. Do not plug any part of it back into the wall until it is completely reassembled or there will be the risk of a short or a shock.
After unplugging, remove the rubber base of the Echo. It is attached only with adhesive, but be careful not to tear it. It should come off fairly easy if you are careful.
Underneath are four extra-long machine screws that basically hold the majority of the exterior together. You will need an A10 Torx screwdriver to remove these. I recommend you purchase a set if you do not have them available because you will need the T9 later.
Step 2: Unplug Wires and Ribbon Cable
After gently lifting the black end-piece about a quarter of an inch, you will see that there are two plugs with black and red wires (the speaker wires) and one ribbon cable. These components are required to be gently unplugged before the black plastic end-piece can be lifted off of the board.
I was unable to unplug the first two plugs with my fingernails, so I very gently grabbed them with needle-nose pliers and unplugged them from their sockets. This would have damaged the board or the plugs if done too rough, so being careful is important.
The ribbon cable is the harder part. If you have not inspected a device like this before, you might assume the ribbon has a bulky plug at the end which attaches to the board (like the speaker wires). This is not the case. behind the ribbon cable is a small hinged plate that must be flipped towards the cable in order to release its pressure. Simply get a fingernail or other small tool under the hinged plastic flap and flip it upwards. The ribbon cord will be released.
Note there are arrows printed in white on both the cord itself and the board. This is the same for the other ribbon cable you will encounter. Make sure these arrows always line up when you are plugging the ribbon cables back in.
Step 3: Remove Siding and Second Board
Now that the bottom of the echo has been removed, the white siding slides right off. Set it aside. You can now remove the fabric wrapped around the speakers. This will give you access to all the machine screws holding the second board on to the body of the Echo. Unplug the second Ribbon cable, and then proceed to remove the board by removing the screws.
The extra long ribbon cable sticking out of the bottom of the speaker is stuck down with double-sided adhesive under the fabric, but it can easily be peeled up and set aside along with this second board.
Step 4: Remove Top of Echo
Now the top of the echo can be removed. This is where the seven microphones, many LEDs, and audio processing chips are stored as well as the gear movement and knob that determine the echo's volume manually.
The next machine screw is also a T10. I am using the piece of rubber from the bottom of the echo to store all of the machine screws I remove.
Remove the machine screw opposite of the second board you removed, and the top of the Echo will basically pop right off. It is attached only by this screw and adhesive, so if you've already removed the machine screw (and the ribbon cable from the second board is unplugged!!) the top of the echo can be pulled off using force without damaging it.
Step 5: Open Top of Echo
The top of the echo must be opened by removing the T9 Torx screws holding it together. It will then separate into four parts. The exterior top which has the buttons, the gearbox which also contains the third board (space saver!), the top circumference exterior (the white bangle-shaped piece in the first picture with the gear teeth inside) and the black plastic piece that the machine screws you just removed stuck out from.
All of these except for the gearbox must be set aside for now. The gearbox is also held together with machine screws. Once opened, you will see that it contains a knob with a pressure-fit gear attached that interacts with the circumference exterior piece to manually change the speaker volume. In the second picture, the gear is removed.
Step 6: All Done!
And that's pretty much it for separating each component of the Amazon Alexa. From this point, it is possible to put the Echo back together in the original configuration, in a new container, or even just plug it in without a container if you really want.
The tweeter and deep bass woofer speakers appear to be able to separate from each other very easily, but for my purposes, I left them connected to conserve space. I also re-attached the top exterior of the Echo to the third board in order to have working buttons.
Enjoy your speaker! I sincerely hope I could provide insight that other's have not.