The Nostromo SpeedPad n52 is a gamepad-keyboard hybrid designed to minimize wrist strain while maximizing PC game play. The Nostromo SpeedPad n52 comfortably cradles the left hand and features one-hand keyboard and directional pad control, leaving your right hand free to control the mouse.
A step-up from from the n50, the SpeedPad n52 boasts a 360 degree rotating wheel and over 100-function programmability. The USB plug-and-play feature allows a computer to immediately detect the n52, permitting immediate use. The included software is necessary in order to program the SpeedPad.
With Editors' Choice awards from both MacAddict and PC Upgrade, the Nostromo SpeedPad n52 is a gamepad-keyboard hybrid designed to minimize wrist strain while optimizing PC game play. Learn how it's put together by watching us take it apart.
The SpeedPad n52 boasts a 360 degree rotating wheel, a thumb-driven directional pad, keyboard, and over 100 function-programmability.
The SpeedPad n52 requires Windows 98 or later; or Mac OS 9.04 or Mac OS X v10.1.2 or later. The n52 connects via USB.
All included components
The packaging is easy to open and includes the n52, an instruction manual, and an installation CD. The software is necessary for function programming.
Underside of the SpeedPad
A nice feature of the n52 is the rubber backing that helps keep the SpeedPad in place.
Rubber grip backing
The rubber grip is adhered to the SpeedPad case with double-sided tape. This may wear out fairly quickly, but is easily replaced. The white arrow highlights the tape.
Removing the rubber grip exposes the nine screws that must be removed in order to open the n52.
In order to expose the interior, nine screws must be removed and a bit of gentle prying is necessary in order to release the two connector points. Removing the underside of the case exposes most of the circuitry.
Close-up of exposed interior
The main circuit board is located in the center. An interior metal plate protects the keyboard circuitry.
Keyboard components exposed
Removal of the internal keyboard protector requires a simple removal of screws. Removing the plate exposes the keyboard's circuitry panel.
Keyboard components removed
The keyboard's circuitry film connects to the main circuit board via a ribbon. Between the circuitry film and keys is a rubber pad. Pushing a key causes a specific button on the rubber pad to connect with the circuitry film, thus closing a circuit.
Circuitry removed from case
Once the keyboard circuit ribbon is detached from the main circuit board, the entire circuitry system can be removed via screws.
Backside of circuitry
This is the side of the circuit boards that faces upward when the SpeedPad is fully intact. From a disassembling perspective, it is the backside of the circuit boards.
Main board, rear, close-up
A close-up image of the main circuit board, backside.
Thumb key and LED circuitry board, rear, close-up
The yellow rubber is the interior of the thumb key. The rubber gives the key its springy-ness.
Directional pad circuitry board, rear, close-up
The interior of the directional pad. The rubber here works in much the same way as the keyboard-- a key push causes the rubber underneath to complete a circuit on the board.
Wheel control circuitry board, rear view, close-up
The wheel is actually mounted on its corresponding circuitry board.
Main circuitry board, front, close-up
The major parts of the main circuitry board face the bottom of the SpeedPad when fully assembled in working order. This is opposite of the other circuit boards.
Thumb key and LED circuitry board, front, close-up
The thumb key/LED circuit board's ribbon attachment is on the front from a disassembling perspective.
Directional pad circuitry board, front, close-up
The directional pad's circuit board is quite similar to that of the thumb key's circuit board.
Wheel circuitry board, front, close-up
The circuit board for the wheel has a hole for the wheel to spin in. It also uses this side for ribbon attachment.
Directional pad; interior components
To disassemble the directional pad, a screw was removed from the interior center of the pad. Pressure also had to be used to pry the pad apart. The quarter offers size perspective.
Directional pad; exterior view
The spring fits under the red button, between the button and interior plate.
Wheel removed from wheel circuitry board
On the left, you can see the single axle that the wheel snaps into. On the right of the circuit board is a white button. When depressed, the wheel makes contact with this button, acting a third mouse button.
Interior wheel components
The white arrow is highlighting a tiny, springy bump that resides under the mounted wheel. This creates the wheel "ticks" when the wheel is turned.
Keyboard with key removed
The keyboard assembly is fairly standard. The keys are easily removed from the inside by gently squeezing the sides and tugging. The keys are amply sized for easy keyboarding.
Circuit boards with membranes removed
The yellow thumb key and opaque direction pad membranes are held in place by threading rubber nubs through holes in the circuit boards.
Compilation of removed components
The SpeedPad n52 in all its disassembled glory. The electronics are fairly basic and the structure is intuitive.
One of the more difficult tasks of reconstructing the SpeedPad is reattaching the button membranes to the circuit boards. After a bit of negotiating the rubber nubs back into the holes, it's surprising that the circuit boards still work. The white arrow highlights the rubber going through a hole.
Reconstituted, fully functional SpeedPad n52
The SpeedPad n52 is surely rugged enough for the serious gamer. This cracked and rebuilt n52 is once again fully functional.
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By Nicole Nash
Nicole Bremer Nash is Director of Content and Social Media for HuTerra, where she uses SEO and social media to promote charitable organizations in their community-building and fundraising efforts. She enjoys volunteering, arts and crafts, and conduct...