After waiting for an eternity for the computer retailer to get its act together, my Wacom Intuos3 has finally arrived! This is a beautiful piece of equipment:
The Dell 1503fp that I stripped before (see previous posts) had been sitting in the corner collecting dust and now it was time to fire it up again to see if it would work with the new tablet. As I mentioned before the 1503fp was working with the Wacom Intuos2 6×8 with a little bit of jittering but since this tablet is smaller than the screen area for the project to be usable I really needed 9×12 tablet since I am using a 15″ display.
I placed the new Wacom still in the case under the stripped monitor and after checking that there was nothing touching or shorting any part of the monitor circuits, I plugged everything in, and IT WORKS!! Even better than the smaller Intuos2, there seems to be no jitter!
Next step was to strip the new Wacom and place the LCD directly onto the sensor and calculate how much room I have to play with when deciding on a protective glass or acrylic layer for the LCD.
There are some screws on the back of the Wacom and a single plastic tab which needs to be pressed before the back will work free a little then I had to carefully peel off the metallic ground tape that was stuck to the back cover and then I could move the back cover away, the USB lead still goes through it so it can not yet be completely removed.
With the back cover out of the way I started pulling at the actual sensor but it is stuck with a seriously strong double-sided tape. This tape it just too strong I think, I was bending the circuit board and it still wouldn’t budge, I would probably break the board or maybe damage the components if I kept bending it. So first I pulled back the circuit board a little bit until I could see the FFC cables which connect the sensor board to the touch strip which is a new feature of the Intuos3 tablet. I open the ZIF socket and pulled the tiny FFC cable out of the socket using a pair of tweezers. I couldn’t do the same for the other side because the ZIF socket is out of reach.
I grabbed the ever handy Utility Knife and extended the blade to maximum, then as I pushed the circuit board away from the plastic casing, I slid the blade of the knife in and carefully cut the foam-double-sided tape. And then the other side but this time being even more careful because the FFC was still connected to it’s socket on this side.
That was the most painful part of the whole process, finally everything came apart.
Testing the LCD with the stripped Wacom showed a little bit of interference on the LCD. So I put the LCD back into its plastic cage which increases the thickness but it is very convenient because it holds all the guts of the LCD together and also compensates for the tapering of the backlight slab. I tested the unit again this time with a thick stack of paper on top of it. I kept removing paper until the pen started to be read by the sensor again. The thickness of the paper was 10mm so if I use a 2mm piece of glass to protect the LCD from pressure and straches, I still have 8mm of space before the pen stops being read.
The intuos3 tablets have a number of customizable buttons and 1 touchstrip on each side. The first problem is that the row column drivers get in the way of these buttons a little bit, the solution for me was to turn the table sensor 180 degrees and then use the drivers to flip the orientation. This works very well and helps put the row column drivers away from most of the Wacom logic.
The next problem is with the buttons, after placing the LCD on top of the Wacom and building an enclosure around it, plastic buttons will not reach the circuit board and whats more these plastic buttons seems to be partly build into the Wacom case which would mean that I would have to damage the Wacom case to get them. It might be better if I could find different button to replace the Wacom ones.
Now that I have proof of concept, I have started to think about building the enclosure.