Repair hints for TouchStream LP

Comments specifically about the keyboard devices.

Moderator: The00Dustin

Repair hints for TouchStream LP

Postby jwr » 09 Aug 2005, 11:09

I have two FingerWorks TouchStream keyboards that are broken and I am seeking advice on how to repair them, now that FingerWorks has gone out of business.

On one of the keyboards the upper left quarter is dead, killed by static. It was very obviously caused by a static discharge, it seems I wasn't careful enough. Diagnostics show 320 bad sensors. Does anybody know if it's the actual sensors that get damaged, or is it the chips behind? Perhaps one of the chips could be replaced?

The other keyboard has a different problem: it powers up on only one of every 10 tries (or so). Usually, when I plug it in, there is no reaction at all, and the USB device does not get detected. However, once every several tries it will power up correctly and will work flawlessly until powered down.

Any suggestions?
--J.
jwr
Familiar
 
Posts: 18
Joined: 09 Aug 2005, 11:06

Postby ivanw » 09 Aug 2005, 11:45

I found something relevant in this FWSF thread:
DoctorJack wrote::!: LARGE blocks of 'bad sensors' always requires repair!

In general, if the diagnostics EVER reports exactly 16, 32, 48, 64, 80, 160, 320, 640 or 1280 bad sensors, this suggests that your TouchStream/iGesture surface has a loose solder connection and must be returned for repair.

Please contact support@fingerworks.com to arrange for a replacement.

Usually when the diagnostics reports just one or a few bad sensors, this is a temporary condition caused by excess surface cleaning fluid that hasn't dried, or a finger touching during the diagnostic test. Try to determine whether the few sensors persistently report bad before contacting us.

Also, to compensate for excess static you only need to touch your palm on either surface once. Doing so should cause your pointer to draw out a diamond pattern indicating that it successfully compensated for the static charge on the surface.

Touching your palm 5 times in quick succession will cause the TouchStream to disconnect from the host, reboot, and re-connect. It's equivalent to unplugging and replugging the USB cable. This procedure should only be needed in extreme cases.
User avatar
ivanw
Zealot
 
Posts: 390
Joined: 29 Jul 2005, 12:32
Location: Paris, France

I'm trying to find out how serious it is...

Postby jwr » 09 Aug 2005, 12:46

Thanks for your reply. I know that the problem with one of my TouchStream keyboards is definitely a serious one. I'm just trying to figure out whether repairing the keyboard involves replacing just a single chip or whether I need really expensive and hard to get parts, possibly custom manufactured for FingerWorks.
--J.
jwr
Familiar
 
Posts: 18
Joined: 09 Aug 2005, 11:06

Postby Rqyteqto » 09 Aug 2005, 20:14

One thing ivanw's post points out, there's a heck of a lot more than meets the eye with these boards. I doubt if anyone knows everything that's in there. Its like AutoCAD, the more you find out what it can do, the more you realize how much you don't know about. Sort of an analogy for life I guess.
Invent the Future
Rqyteqto
Grizzled Veteran
 
Posts: 201
Joined: 13 Jun 2005, 01:40
Location: Kahalu'u, Oahu, Hawaii

Postby Rqyteqto » 09 Aug 2005, 20:15

jwr, you may want to communicate with Dr. Leviathan. He's looking for fubarred boards to investigate how they work.
Invent the Future
Rqyteqto
Grizzled Veteran
 
Posts: 201
Joined: 13 Jun 2005, 01:40
Location: Kahalu'u, Oahu, Hawaii

Perhaps in the future...

Postby jwr » 10 Aug 2005, 09:43

Yes, I have seen his posting. But I'm reluctant to part with any of my TouchStream keyboards because of the FingerWorks demise -- I'm still hoping that I will be able to repair the one that is one quarter dead and I can somewhat live with the other one, it just takes a couple of tries before it starts working.
--J.
jwr
Familiar
 
Posts: 18
Joined: 09 Aug 2005, 11:06

Opening up a TouchStream...

Postby jwr » 11 Aug 2005, 15:44

Given that I lost all hope of hearing back from FingerWorks support regarding my broken TouchStream keyboard, I decided to take things into my own hands and at least take a look inside.

Opening the keyboard isn't very difficult, but requires a lot of care. I did it with two screwdrivers, using one to put pressure on the pegs and another one to gently pry the two case halves apart. I started from the edge away from the connector ribbon and worked from there.

The case seems to be glued together around the ribbon connector, approximately 2-3 cm on each side. You can use an exacto knife to cut the glue, and a little extra force seems to be necessary.

After opening the case you will see two boards: one of them is the main sensor board, with the touch surface on one side and the sensor chips on the other side. The other one contains some extra circuitry and the ribbon connector socket. The boards are soldered together using connectors, so you can't easily separate them without using a soldering iron.

There are 40 chips on the sensor board. They seem to be custom-made for FingerWorks, as each one is marked FingerWorks FWSEN16A. Interestingly enough, a quick search on the Web shows that a number of resellers have it in stock.

I hope to be able to post some pictures soon and create a proper wiki page as I go along.
--J.
jwr
Familiar
 
Posts: 18
Joined: 09 Aug 2005, 11:06

:idea:

Postby ivanw » 11 Aug 2005, 17:06

Although I can't help you, I thought it could bring some good feeling to know that some are looking over you shoulders. I think that in the near future, chances are that you won't be the only one who has to do that.

I'm wondering about how far you can go. As a former electronics tech, I have always been afraid of repair attempts with no schematics. However, I think that you won't be alone on the road and that someone from this forum will have a good advice when needed.

So far, so good. You seem to proceed wisely, just carry on and make sure to pause and post when in doubt... :roll:

And your pictures will prove to be a good mean to follow as well as a satisfaction for the curious around here :wink:
User avatar
ivanw
Zealot
 
Posts: 390
Joined: 29 Jul 2005, 12:32
Location: Paris, France

Postby Rqyteqto » 12 Aug 2005, 03:31

Hey jwr - cheers and the best for you. ivanw has it right about there being more than a few folks looking over your shoulder. I can't imagine what it took to actually come to the decision to crack open the casings but I can also understand your desperation.

Please proceed with the knowledge there is a lot of support behind you. we are all rooting for ya. And yes, please, take lots and lots of pictures. When you feel you've taken too many, that's when you should get serious about taking a lot more.

I do note Human Solution (http://www.thehumansolution.com/pad.html) has a bunch of the iGesture boards on EBay with a minimum bid of $150 (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... RK:MEWA:IT). They are also selling them off their website at $199. I wonder if its possible to reprogram two of those to act like a single TouchStream? If so, $300 for a new Touchstream wouldn't be so bad compared to the $600 the real ones are going for at auction.

Any ideas or comments?

jwr, is there anything any of us can help with?
Invent the Future
Rqyteqto
Grizzled Veteran
 
Posts: 201
Joined: 13 Jun 2005, 01:40
Location: Kahalu'u, Oahu, Hawaii

Thanks...

Postby jwr » 12 Aug 2005, 12:19

Another brief update: even though it is the left half of one of my TouchStreams that is malfunctioning, the defect seems to be in the right half. I swapped in the left half from a keyboard that works, but powers up only once every several tries. The resulting keyboard had exactly the same problem: the upper left quarter was completely dead.

Unfortunately, this means that I have two TouchStreams with defective right halves. Not good.

More to come when I find some more time to work on this.
--J.
jwr
Familiar
 
Posts: 18
Joined: 09 Aug 2005, 11:06

Re: Thanks...

Postby -jeffB » 12 Aug 2005, 14:04

jwr wrote:Another brief update: even though it is the left half of one of my TouchStreams that is malfunctioning, the defect seems to be in the right half. I swapped in the left half from a keyboard that works, but powers up only once every several tries. The resulting keyboard had exactly the same problem: the upper left quarter was completely dead.

Unfortunately, this means that I have two TouchStreams with defective right halves. Not good.

More to come when I find some more time to work on this.


The right half contains more "stuff" than the left half -- at the very least, it includes the USB interface, since the USB cord comes out of the right side. I would expect that that's where the main controller for the keyboard-as-a-whole resides as well.

However, I think this may actually be a good sign for you. It's possible that you simply have a bad solder connection on one of the lines that leads to the left half. It's also possible that a chip might have gone out instead, of course, but it might be worthwhile to examine the right-hand side's main board very carefully with a magnifier or stereomicroscope.
-jeffB (Jeff Brandenburg, Durham, NC, USA)
-jeffB
Regular
 
Posts: 41
Joined: 26 Apr 2005, 17:46
Location: Durham, NC, USA

Postby jwr » 12 Aug 2005, 14:13

Well, here is how the diagnostics describe it:

Code: Select all
ERROR: Left Sensor Row Pairs Shorted:  0 2 4 6
ERROR: Found 320 bad sensors
ERROR:  Run Diagnostics again, keeping surface free of hands and liquids.
ERROR:  If sensor ERRORs persist, contact support@fingerworks.com
  Sometimes cleaning fluids or hands on surface can temporarily
        cause a few false-positive High/Low/Noisy sensor readings below.
  However, blocks of 16 or more H/L/N sensors indicate
        hardware failure that must be repaired at the factory.
  |0      |8      |16     |24     |32     |40     |48     |56     |64     |72     |80     
0 HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH------------------------------------------
1 HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH------------------------------------------
2 HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH------------------------------------------
3 HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH------------------------------------------
4 HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH------------------------------------------
5 HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH------------------------------------------
6 HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH------------------------------------------
7 HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH------------------------------------------
8 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
9 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
a ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
b ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
c ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
d ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
e ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
f ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Loaded 1263 Key/Gesture Mappings SUCCESFULLY
    Keymatrix#: 34


I am afraid it might not be as simple as a faulty solder connection -- it was very clearly caused by a static discharge.
--J.
jwr
Familiar
 
Posts: 18
Joined: 09 Aug 2005, 11:06

Re: Thanks...

Postby ivanw » 12 Aug 2005, 14:52

jwr wrote:Unfortunately, this means that I have two TouchStreams with defective right halves. Not good.
I don't think so, odds you had bad luck twice the same way are very unlikely, I feel that more has to be considered for a conclusion.

I am afraid it might not be as simple as a faulty solder connection -- it was very clearly caused by a static discharge.
How sure is that? Are you confident that the failure occurred right after an obvious static discharge?
Is there no chance that some handling incident could have resulted in some mechanical damage?
User avatar
ivanw
Zealot
 
Posts: 390
Joined: 29 Jul 2005, 12:32
Location: Paris, France

Postby The00Dustin » 12 Aug 2005, 18:37

Also important, if you attach the left half that you thought was damaged by static discharge to the keyboard you have to keep replugging, does all work when it finally connects? Finally, which half was the obvious static discharge on?
The00Dustin
Grizzled Veteran
 
Posts: 183
Joined: 28 Apr 2005, 22:07

Pictures, finally

Postby jwr » 04 Feb 2006, 16:19

Ah, well, it took a while. I've been busy with lots of other things with no time left to take the pictures. But now, in case you're interested, you can see how a TouchStream LP looks inside.
--J.
jwr
Familiar
 
Posts: 18
Joined: 09 Aug 2005, 11:06

Postby ivanw » 04 Feb 2006, 17:15

Thanks for this instructive documentary. 8)

I know of someone who will be pleased a lot with these clean photos and precise technical intrinsic. :wink: I think he is still asleep -- 6am at his place... I won't miss what you come up with next.

I did not get the whole story about your juggling with kb halfs but I think that some more repair attempts may be suggested by some genious from FF headquater...

- Ivan
User avatar
ivanw
Zealot
 
Posts: 390
Joined: 29 Jul 2005, 12:32
Location: Paris, France

Postby Rqyteqto » 04 Feb 2006, 22:07

Hi jwr, I made the offer of $100 to anybody that does an autopsy of a TS or other FW product and posts the pictures and commentary. You have done it, well, you have started to do it. I commend you. If you will PM me with your contact details, I will forward you the prize.

However folks, I am not independently wealthy, so if GT-Force follows through, that will have to be the end of it. Sorry.
Invent the Future
Rqyteqto
Grizzled Veteran
 
Posts: 201
Joined: 13 Jun 2005, 01:40
Location: Kahalu'u, Oahu, Hawaii


Return to Keyboards: TouchStream, MacNTouch, Digitouch, Mini

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron