Some products seem to have a part of two that’s pretty much guaranteed to end up dying on you. In the case of the 2015-vintage Wacom Cintiq Companion 2, this turns out to be the so-called Athena chip, which switches the display input between the HDMI port and internal display controller. This allows for use in both standalone mode (tablet), as well as companion mode, where it acts as a drawing tablet for a connected PC. When confronted with such a faulty device, [neutrino] found and applied a simple fix: bypassing the Athena chip altogether.
This fix is recommended by the Repair Preservation Group’s wiki page on the topic, noting that this will permanently disable its use as an external display without additional repairs to recreate the functionality of the removed chip. This STDP9320 (PDF) part by ST Microelectronics is described as a ‘Premium high resolution multimedia monitor controller with 3D video’ and contains a wide range of video scalers, a HDMI receiver, DisplayPort (including embedded DP) support. With this fix, the Cintiq Companion 2’s Intel CPU’s graphics core is directly connected to the display’s eDP input, along with a range of voltages and enable pins.
What the exact reason is for the STDP9320 dying after a few years with what appears to be some kind of internal power failure or short, but this bypass fix at least restores standalone functionality. Sourcing a replacement for this obsolete IC seems possible, but a big gamble. Sadly, it would seem that this Wacom device will no longer be a companion for much longer.
The Lenovo Yoga Book is a interesting thing, featuring a touch-surface keyboard that also doubles as a Wacom tablet. [TinLethax] sadly broke the glass of this keyboard when trying to replace a battery in their Yoga Book, but realised the Wacom digitizer was still intact. Thus began a project to salvage this part and repurpose it for the future.
The first step was to reverse engineer the hardware; as it turns out, the digitizer pad connects to a special Wacom W9013 chip which holds the company’s secret sauce (secret smoke?). As the GitHub page for [TinLethax]’s WacomRipoff driver explains, however, the chip communicates over I2C. Thus, it was a simple enough job to hook up a microcontroller, in this case an STM32 part, and then spit out USB HID data to a host.
It hasn’t all been smooth sailing, and it’s not 100% feature complete, but [TinLethax] was able to get the digitizer working as a USB HID input device. It appears the buttons and pressure sensitivity are functional, too.
If you’ve got a disused or defunct Yoga Book lying around, you might just consider the same mods yourself. We’ve seen some other great hacks in this space, too. Video after the break.
Continue reading “Rescuing A Wacom Digitizer From A Broken Lenovo Yoga Book”
[Akaki Kuumeri] had an old Wacom Intuos digitizing graphics tablet collecting dust, and figured out how to non-destructively transform it into a drawing tablet. He was inspired by an old Hackaday post of a similar hack, but it required literally hacking a big hole into your Wacom tablet. Not wanting to permanently ruin the Wacom tablet, [Akaki] instead designed a 3D printed frame which he holds in place with a pair of straps. The design files are available on Thingiverse. He names the project, incorrectly as he later points out, WacomOLED (it rhymes with guacamole, we think).
As for the screen, he buys an old third-generation iPad and removes its Retina display panel and the foil backing, which would otherwise block the stylus’s connection to the tablet. Toss in an HDMI driver board to connect the display to your computer, and presto — you have made your own a drawing tablet. Even if you don’t need a drawing tablet, [Akaki]’s hack is still interesting, if only to remind us that we can put custom HDMI displays into any project for $65 using this technique.
In the end, [Akaki] notes that unless you already have a non-graphical digitizing tablet laying around, it’s probably cheaper to just buy a iPad. This is not [Akaki]’s first go at user input devices — we wrote about his Smash Brothers game controller and flight controller yoke project last year.
Do any of you use a graphics tablet in your day to day workflow? Let us know in the comments below.
Continue reading “Improved Graphics-to-Drawing Tablet Conversion”
[Micah Elizabeth Scott], aka [scanlime], has been playing around with USB drawing tablets, and got to the point that she wanted with the firmware — to reverse engineer, see what’s going on, and who knows what else. Wacom didn’t design the devices to be user-updateable, so there aren’t copies of the ROMs floating around the web, and the tablet’s microcontroller seems to be locked down to boot.
With the easy avenues turning up dead ends, that means building some custom hardware to get it done and making a very detailed video documenting the project (embedded below). If you’re interested in chip power glitching attacks, and if you don’t suffer from short attention span, watch it, it’s a phenomenal introduction.
Continue reading “Glitching USB Firmware For Fun”
A few years ago, Wacom, the company behind all those cool graphics tablets, teamed up with Samsung to create the S Pen, a rebirth of that weird pen computing thing that happened in the 90s and a very interesting peripheral if only someone would write some software for it. [Kerry D. Wong] was wondering how the S Pen worked and wired up some hardware to take a look at how the pen communicates with the phone.
It was already known that the S Pen was powered by an RF field, and works somewhat like RFID. Listening in on the communication would require a coil of some type, so [Kerry] disassembled a small speaker and connected it to a scope.
A look at the captured waveforms from the S Pen reveled the carrier frequency appears to be in the range of 550 to 560kHz, outside the range of standard RFID. He doesn’t have the equipment to decode the complete protocol, but a few things can be deduced – the screen senses the location of the pen by detecting a dip in the RF field strength. The only information that is transferred between the pen and phone is the 11-bit pressure sensitivity and a 1-bit value that signals the button is on or off.
[Kerry] put the waveform data up on his site should anyone want to make an attempt at decoding the protocol.
Years ago, [Greg] got a Wacom Artpad II graphics tablet through Freecycle. What’s the catch, you ask? The stylus was long gone. When he found out how expensive a direct replacement would be, the tablet was laid to rest in his spare parts box. Fast forward a few years to the era of the phone-tablet hybrid and [Greg]’s subsequent realization that some of them use Wacom stylii. Eight bucks later, he’s in business, except that the tablet is serial. Wacom no longer supports serial tablets, so he had to convert it to USB.
With the help of the WaxBee project and a Teensy 2.0, he would be able to emulate an Intuous2 tablet by sniffing and re-encoding the packets. Things got a little hairy when he went under the hood to remove the ADM202 TTL-to-RS232 chip with a Dremel—he accidentally gouged some of the pads it sat on as well as a few of the traces. Feeling frustrated, [Greg] took some high-res pictures of the board and posted them to a message board. As it turns out, those pictures helped him recreate the traces and get the tablet running. A little big of glue and tape later, he was in business. [Greg] even gave himself access to reprogram the Teensy.
Wacom, purveyors of fine pen tablets for digital artists, basically have two product lines of pen tablets. The first, Intuos, is a great pen tablet that give an artist the ability to turn a computer into a virtual dead tree notebook. The second product line, the Cintiq, takes the same technology and adds an LCD to the mix, effectively turning a drawing tablet into a second display. [Bumhee] wanted a Cintiq, but didn’t want to pay the Cintiq price, leading him to install a display in his old Intuos tablet. It’s an amazingly simple build, making us think we’ll be seeing a few derivatives of his work in the future.
The display [Bumhee] used for this modification is a Retina display from an iPad. With the right adapter, you can easily connect one of these displays to a computer, giving you a very thin 2048×1536 9.7″ display. The initial tests to see if this mod would work on his tablet – removing the metal shield on the display, placing it on the tablet, and drawing – were a success, giving [Bumhee] the confidence to irreparably modify his tablet.
From there, the modification was a simple matter of cutting up the enclosure of the tablet, installing the display with a few screws, and installing a piece of glass over the display. Very easy, and it’s just about the only way you’re going to get a pen tablet with a small, high-resolution display for less than a thousand dollars.
Thanks [David] for sending this one in.