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Reuse Fingerprint Scanner from Lenovo W510 Laptop Answered

I have a Fingerprint reader from a Lenovo W510.  The model number of the circuit board is 48.4CU13.011, which seems to be shared by both my Lenovo and another Fujitsu laptop.  The fingerprint reader is a spare part, and I thought it could be cool if I could hook it up to a PC by USB.  When connected to the laptop in question, it shows up as a USB device: UPEK Touchstrip TCRD4C - USB ID 147e:2016

The chip is connected by an 8 pin ribbon cable to a larger ribbon cable which also connects to the touchpad.  Looking at the board under a magnifying glass, it looks like there may only be 4 of 8 pins connected to the ribbon cable connector.  The chip on the circuit board appears to be a TCD50 fingerprint reader controller, made by UPEK or possibly Authentec (did Authentic take over UPEK?)

I was hoping someone might have some experience wiring this board up to USB, or could point me in the right direction to figure out what pins go where.  I looked for datasheets, schematics, and pinouts without success, but I don't have much experience searching for this type of stuff.  I'm pretty handy with a soldering iron, so I feel confident that if I knew which pins went where, I could get a cable hooked up. 

3 Replies

fduraibi (author)2015-09-17

I know this is an old question, but I wanted to share my finding with people still interested like me. Based on what I found it seems that the chip has a USB interface not serial, so no need for any converters. While the chip runs on 3.3v but from the posted pictures it seems like there is a voltage regulator and that makes it easy to trace the Vcc and GND. So Assuming you are sure that only 4 pins are being used (some boards have inner layers with vias that get covered by the connector or even the solder and I can see some of these vias on the side with the scanner) so if 4 are used then find the vcc and GND from the voltage regulator and then wire the other two to USB D+ & D-, test it and swap D+ & D- if it didn't work. Swapping the USB data lines should not harm your devices AFAIK.
Here is a link to a similar stand alone board (runs on 3.3v): http://www.bromba.com/tdfsmu4e.htm

The modules can directly be connected to USB
USB 2.0 interface (Full-speed)

USB power management compliant
with ACPI
TCD50 with 32-bit / 144
MIPS RISC processor

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blkhawk (author)2013-09-11

One possibility for you is to buy an USB Fingerprint Scanner from MPJA.com. It is only $14.95 (€ 11.25 or £ 9.48).

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mpilchfamily (author)2013-09-07

You won't be able to wire it up to USB. Unless you can trance the contacts from the ribbon cable through the main board of the laptop to the chip it's interfacing with there. There is likely a serial to USB interface between that board and the laptop's main board. But without data on the board itself or some really nice test equipment you won't be able to figure out how to connect it to USB.

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