- * ST/Stealth Tented Frame Dissasembly: The first step is to separate the sensor boards and their plastic frame from the tented metal frame. The boards are attached to the metal frame with silicone rubber. To safely detach, slide a wide, thin piece of sheet metal or fiberboard between the plastic pieces and metal frame, gradually sawing through the silicone rubber with the wide sheet. WARNING: Using a narrow screwdriver, putty knife or pick will likely scratch the underside of the circuit boards in the process and cut the circuitry!
* ST/LP Black Plastic Frames: The top and bottom frame pieces are snapped together (with a bit of acetone or superglue near the center cable and USB cable). A small screwdriver can unlock the bottom snaps, and can then inserted between top and bottom to GENTLY pry apart. A couple snaps usually break off even when super-careful, but as long as the top frame is not ripped it can be glued back down as necessary with acetone or superglue.
* Parlex Center Cable on LPs: A ripped or worn center cable is one possible cause of left half sensor block failures (usually either 320 or 640 bad sensors) that is particularly easy to fix. The FingerWorks forum posts on long cable extensions had the exact part # and ordering instructions from DigiKey.
* Circuit Boards: There were a couple generations of TouchStream circuit boards. In the first (2002?) generation, all four boards were the same size, sandwiched as pairs. These were much harder to repair 'cause the boards must be de-sandwiched before doing ANY chip/circuitry repairs. If NOT de-sandwiched by an experienced electronics technician with proper desoldering equipment, they probably won't work after soldering everything back together. In the second generation (2003-2004?), only the sensor boards were full size, and the processor boards were 1/3 width stubs (with plastic or aluminum plate filling out the sandwich). The second generation are considerably easier to repair ... sometimes you get lucky and the stuff needing repair is accessible without desoldering the sandwich.
* FWSEN16A Chips: Though someone seems to have found some floating around China, these rarely fail in the field, and the ones in China might not be in the correct chip package. Sensor chips are more likely to come unsoldered than fail in the field. Each handles an 8x2 block of electrodes and daisy chains down a row pair. So if diagnostics show some bad sensors in one or two adjacent rows, it's worth resoldering the FWSEN16A chips in that row, or if that fails replacing the chip directly underneath or down-row of the ioslated failures. A BAD SENSOR CHIP CANNOT CAUSE FAILURE OF LARGE BLOCKS OF 4-16 SENSOR ROWS. Look elsewhere (Parlex cable, Xilinx, loose connections) in those cases.
Probably if the community can round up a completely dead iGesture pad or two to sacrifice, someone with a desoldering gun could harvest the 40 chips off the dead pad to supply all the spares the community would ever need.
* Xilinx FPGA Chips: According to the mystery manufacturer who used to do repairs, one of the two Xilinx FPGA chips located on the RIGHT half processor board is the next most likely cause of LEFT half sensor block (i.e. 320 or 640) failures (if not the Parlex cable). The Xilinx's are also the weak link most likely to fail during extremely strong static discharges. One of the Xilinx's feeds the left half sensors, the other the right half sensors. The one feeding the LEFT half sensor should have lots of direct connections to the Parlex center cable connector (discoverable with a continuity checker). Each Xilinx has its own EEPROM program. It should be possible for someone with access to a Xilinx universal programmer to desolder the Xilinx from a sacrificed TouchStream, read it's program off the EEPROM, and propagate this program to a set of spare Xilinx's procurable from Digikey or other chip supplier. Or for the truly clever reverse-engineer, there is a single row of (6?) thru-holes on the processor board that, when custom-wired to the proper pins of a Xilinx programmer, should be able to talk to (read/write) the Xilinx chip(s) serially without desoldering them?
Also, the first and second generation circuit boards had different Xilinx's with different programming. The first generation Xilinx's probably aren't worth attempting to repair or stock, since not that many shipped.
* Other Chips: The bullets above likely account for the majority of failures and common repairs. If some other random chip or solder connection is unlucky enough to fail, sometimes it'll be lucky enough to visibly pop out. On some processor boards there was a tiny inductor feeding from the USB Cable +5V wire to the voltage regulator that could get zapped by a power surge, and stick out like a burnt bloated flea. Replacing this inductor (or just short-circuiting across it) gets power flowing again. A good tech. should be able to fix the USB cable connections and replace the voltage regulator on units whose power busses are obviously dead, and be glad to do it for less than $1500!
*Making TouchStreams out of 2 iGesture Pads: Sorry this will never work. The iGesture Pad processor boards don't have enough memory, or the right firmware.
* iGesture repair: Same principles, but no left half to complicate things.
Despite appearances, some of us fought hard behind the scenes for a smoother FingerWorks ending, but, if anything, probably made it worse. Even with the benefit of hindsight, we might not manage to thread the chaos of cash, investors, legal and production constraints to shutdown smoothly in such a brief time frame. But FingerWorks took a fork in the road in the hopes of a greater good in the long term. So buck up, try to keep your TouchStreams working, and give up the gloomy talk about history being stopped. It's just on pause ... for a long while ...