Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wacom Intuos Pen GP300E Disassembly

I went to use my Intuos tablet and found out that my Wacom pen is f'd up, it acts like it is always in the "clicked" position, the tip sensitivity still worked but it couldn't detect if the tip was being "clicked". The utility said that Button 1 was constantly ON, and only when I rapped it on the side would it flicker off just to come back on. So... $50 bucks for a replacement? I might as well try to fix it myself...

Sooo I wrangled and pushed and pried to no avail, then... I bent more and more and more and... Snap!

Damn, there was a long circuit board in there that snapped with the plastic housing.

Anyway, this is how it should have slid apart, maybe if you pushed on the eraser end to help a bit it may come out easier. I really did try pulling the thing apart, just not hard enough I guess.

Update from commenter [alcomposer]:  "When I took mine apart, I simply held it with both hands, and pushed my thumbs together and slowly pulled it apart."



My hope is that somebody will stumble on this page if they are trying to get their stylus pen apart and do it the right way.



Update from commenter [Chad von Nau]:

Thanks to everyone on here who posted tips, I wouldn't have been able to take my pen apart otherwise. Here's what it looks like disassembled with the circuit board in one piece:


I had the same problem where the pen was always registering a click. Thwacking it on my palm would fix it temporarily and eraser side still worked fine, so I knew it had to be something with the pen. It took me a few hours to get it apart. I started with full strength two handed pulling. I also tried pressing my thumbs against each other like alcomposer suggested. What seemed to work best was moderate strength pulling while _gently_ rocking back and forth. While I was doing this, I kept hearing worrisome clicking/cracking noises, but it was OK in the end.

Once I got it open, I pulled the nib out and gently took the magnet out of its cradle. I swabbed the inside with rubbing alcohol on the tip of a paper towel. Then I put the nib in without the magnet and spun it around so that its receiver assembly also spun around. There was less resistance after a few rotations, so I think I was able to unstick something with that.

Putting it back together was easy enough except for the eraser spring. You can see how small it is in the top right of the photo. Searching for that on my carpeted floor added an hour to the process.

The pen seems OK now. If the problem returns, I have one last idea. The pen has two nib receiver assemblies, one for the pen and one for the eraser. They are the yellow parts in the photo. I suspect that swapping these would move the perma-click problem to the eraser end, which is less critical for me. I was unable to get them out when I tried this time, and they have what look like rather breakable plastic clips, so I hope I don't have to try it.

---

So my first repair attempt (see previous comment) was unsuccessful. The pen reverted to it's perma-click behavior within a day. I made another repair attempt, this time I swapped the parts that I'm calling the receiver assemblies. Opening the pen only took a minute this time, a combination of confidence and loosening caused by the original repair.

Swapping the receiver assemblies wasn't as difficult as I thought, the trick was using point tipped tweezers (I used this one http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0006SIPIK). I started with the pen tip assembly first. If you place the tweezer tips in the corners where the ends of white clip meet the lip of the yellow receiver assembly, farthest from the circuit board, you can apply pressure outward and up which will release one side of the clip. Repeat this on the rear side of the same clip. Once you release the clip, the yellow assembly should slide out easily. Underneath the assembly, there are three small disks. The top one is rubbery and will probably have an inward indentation if your pen is as used as mine. The middle disk is a washer made out some kind of brown mylar material. The bottom disk is thick and metallic. It has a smaller inset piece of metal on it's bottom side. Carefully remove these and place them aside. It's handy to have a Q-tip around and this point so you can clean off any debris from the disks and so you can move them around without getting your finger oils on them. I repeated this process on the eraser side. Here's a photo of everything disassembled:


Finally, each piece I removed from the pen tip side was installed on the eraser side, and vice versa, being careful to orient the disks in the way that they had originally been installed. Put the pen back together and done.

So far so good. My hope is that whatever wear that causes the perma-click behavior is now isolated to the eraser side. I will report back if it goes south again.
---

Thanks for letting me copy your info to the main portion of the post Chad, stuff seems to live longer on the internet when it's in a few different places :)

12 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your warning that other people might not make the same mistake. You must have incredible hulk like hand strength.Imagining this made me laugh. I am very sorry for the loss of your wacom.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks also...

    (for the record, I was able to take mine apart today... for me, pulling with both hands is a bit dangerous, as there is the long circuit board that can easily snap.)

    When I took mine apart, I simply held it with both hands, and pushed my thumbs together and slowly pull it apart.

    If anyone is going to do this in the future- simply do this, and don't worry- it will come out, it is just a bit hard.

    Good Luck

    ReplyDelete
  3. Alcomposer: hah! I thought there was some kind of levering trick that would work! Thanks so much for sharing the correct procedure.
    I still have the tablet and will use this if I ever need to take another stylus apart. :)

    Yer_man: Hahah, Hulk indeed... I cannot control my power, rarrr.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi there!
    Thanx a Lot guys!
    As soon I finished reading about your experiences, I made my stylus work again...
    You make the internet a nice place to live ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for keeping this page around! I finally discarded my (Serial) Intuos1 tablet due to the major annoyance of finding drivers for Windows 7, but I wanted to keep the pen shell to Frankenstein into a new, more comfortable pen for my Tablet PC.

    I would have certainly done a lot more damage to the barrel without knowing how everything fit together after looking at these photos.

    It wasn't as easy for me as alcomposer, but carefully alternating between bending and pulling managed to get it apart without actually breaking anything. Then a couple of hours (and two sacrificial spare stylii later) I've got it working again with the front half guts of one Penabled stylus and the eraser half of another (the Penabled line thankfully used separate boards for the pen part and the eraser part).

    The bending I noticed has an effect on the final reassembly (the parts meet at a bit of an angle now) so I'm going to have to wrap it a bit of tape or something, but I'm still pleased to have given it new life.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Leave your old pen in isopropyl alcohol for a few days. Remove and leave to dry and hey presto - one working pen.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for the instructions!

    For those wanting their serial tablets to work on Win7, check out the vtablet.com driver ($75) or the WaxBee project ($14 USB board + a fair amount of soldering) to convert your serial tablet into a USB tablet usable with regular Wacom drivers at http://forum.bongofish.co.uk/index.php?topic=1993.0

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks to everyone on here who posted tips, I wouldn't have been able to take my pen apart otherwise. Here's what it looks like disassembled with the circuit board in one piece:

    http://flic.kr/p/b1Eojx

    I had the same problem where the pen was always registering a click. Thwacking it on my palm would fix it temporarily and eraser side still worked fine, so I knew it had to be something with the pen. It took me a few hours to get it apart. I started with full strength two handed pulling. I also tried pressing my thumbs against each other like alcomposer suggested. What seemed to work best was moderate strength pulling while _gently_ rocking back and forth. While I was doing this, I kept hearing worrisome clicking/cracking noises, but it was OK in the end.

    Once I got it open, I pulled the nib out and gently took the magnet out of its cradle. I swabbed the inside with rubbing alcohol on the tip of a paper towel. Then I put the nib in without the magnet and spun it around so that its receiver assembly also spun around. There was less resistance after a few rotations, so I think I was able to unstick something with that.

    Putting it back together was easy enough except for the eraser spring. You can see how small it is in the top right of the photo. Searching for that on my carpeted floor added an hour to the process.

    The pen seems OK now. If the problem returns, I have one last idea. The pen has two nib receiver assemblies, one for the pen and one for the eraser. They are the yellow parts in the photo. I suspect that swapping these would move the perma-click problem to the eraser end, which is less critical for me. I was unable to get them out when I tried this time, and they have what look like rather breakable plastic clips, so I hope I don't have to try it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. So my first repair attempt (see previous comment) was unsuccessful. The pen reverted to it's perma-click behavior within a day. I made another repair attempt, this time I swapped the parts that I'm calling the receiver assemblies. Opening the pen only took a minute this time, a combination of confidence and loosening caused by the original repair.

    Swapping the receiver assemblies wasn't as difficult as I thought, the trick was using point tipped tweezers (I used this one http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0006SIPIK). I started with the pen tip assembly first. If you place the tweezer tips in the corners where the ends of white clip meet the lip of the yellow receiver assembly, farthest from the circuit board, you can apply pressure outward and up which will release one side of the clip. Repeat this on the rear side of the same clip. Once you release the clip, the yellow assembly should slide out easily. Underneath the assembly, there are three small disks. The top one is rubbery and will probably have an inward indentation if your pen is as used as mine. The middle disk is a washer made out some kind of brown mylar material. The bottom disk is thick and metallic. It has a smaller inset piece of metal on it's bottom side. Carefully remove these and place them aside. It's handy to have a Q-tip around and this point so you can clean off any debris from the disks and so you can move them around without getting your finger oils on them. I repeated this process on the eraser side. Here's a photo of everything disassembled:

    http://flic.kr/p/b34Gqc

    Finally, each piece I removed from the pen tip side was installed on the eraser side, and vice versa, being careful to orient the disks in the way that they had originally been installed. Put the pen back together and done.

    So far so good. My hope is that whatever wear that causes the perma-click behavior is now isolated to the eraser side. I will report back if it goes south again.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Chad, thanks so much for your detailed descriptions and pictures. I am very happy that people are being helped by this post!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hello
    I have done swap as described by Chad von Nau and can confirm it works!
    Thank you Chad von Nau.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I need help! I tried pulling it apart but it just wont come out! I have a small Ituos btw :'''(

    ReplyDelete

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