Opening the lid of the box reveals the n52te encased in a plastic bubble. Belkin wants the buyer to test out the comfortable grip.
The back of the box gives a few bullet points of information on the device as well as a preview of the configuration software.
The n52te unboxed.
A Closer Look
Here's a closer look at the Nostromo.
On the bottom are nine visible screws and a switch. The switch must power the LEDs. We'll try that out later. Let's take those screws out and see what happens.
After removing the nine screws and attempting to open the case, I found two more screws hidden under the non-slip pads.
Finally, I've got it open. All that is visible is a few circuit boards. Let's set that bottom piece aside, as it is no longer interesting.
One of the screws that we removed from the bottom was all that was securely holding the thumb section in place.
Disassembling the thumb section amounted to the removal of six more screws.
All that this circuit board consisted of was some diodes, resistors, and contacts for the 8-way joypad and the small button above it. The n52te uses now-standard silicon touch buttons.
The Rest of the Thumb Section
Button "15", also in the thumb section, has its own circuit board. Yet another silicon contact button, as well as diodes and resistors, but this board also contains three small LEDs to power the indicator lights.
Next, I removed the Wheel circuit board. Once again, small diodes and resistors were scattered on this board and there is a larger LED which lights up the wheel. The wheel is a standard mouse wheel with scroll and click abilities. There is no side-scroll ability.
The keypad circuit board was once again smattered with resistors and diodes on the back side and, on the front, contacts for the silicon keys as well as LEDs. This thing must really light up when it's powered on.
Here we can see the three pieces of the keypad: the circuit board, the silicon touch keys, and the keypad itself.
Here we have the bottom side of the main board. This must be where all of the interesting stuff is, because all we've seen so far is diodes and resistors.
Here we can see where the switch from the back plate comes through.
Also shown are some chips marked C475 and what must be a relay marked "AA20PF" or "AA2OPF". The C475 chips are resin mold capacitors capable of handling 4.7 microFarads at 16 volts. I was unable to find any thing on the AA20PF with either spelling.
Main Board - Front
Shown here is the front-facing side of the main circuit board. The only thing of note here other than more C475's is the large chip that is just off center. This chip must be the main processor for the device. It has three markings on it: "MC98JW32", "FC6L41Y", and "CTA0730". I am unable to find anything about those three markings.
The Belkin Nostromo n52te fully disassembled. Other than a large number of screws, there is nothing impressive about the construction of the device. Other than three marked components, all it contained were resistors, diodes, LEDs, and contacts for the various buttons.
After putting the n52te back together again, I plugged it into my computer. Sure enough, the keys, scroll wheel, and indicator are lit up. I also tried the switch on the back. It controls the backlighting on the keys and scroll wheel, but not the indicator lights in the thumb area.
Stay tuned for a review of how well the n52te works!
The Belkin Nostromo n52te (Tournament Edition) SpeedPad controller box.