On fixing Wacom tablets..

Last week, for the second time in several months, I found myself soldering a Wacom tablet. They’ve very nicely made items, but I suppose it’s no surprises the only parts that wear out are the mechanical ones. In these cases, the USB cables.

Perhaps I’m missing something, but the cable Wacom use seems rather cheap. It’s very thin and tightly bound inside. And it always breaks internally right at the point where it enters the tablet casing. There is some strain relief there, but it doesn’t seem to be enough.

The fix is fairly simple: Cut off a few inches of the cable and solder it back together. Or if you can fit a heavier duty cable in, replace the cable entirely. I also hot-glue it in place as much as possible to provide extra strain relief to the cable.

I feel I should let everyone know about a design quirk that almost scuppered the last repair however.

It was a repair as a favour for a friend on a big Intuos 1, GD model. The cable connects conveniently close to where it leave the casing so there was no awkward snaking of wires through it to deal with, unlike the Graphire 3 I fixed last time.
The point of note though is the foil flap stuck to the inside of the upper surface. It’s there as a shield.
After the fix and it was all reassembled, the tablet wouldn’t work. At one point it tripped the safety on my 2.5Amp powered hub!
Wires were re-soldered several times, until we finally took to plugging it in and re-assembling it “live”. The moment the upper surface went in place it stopped responding. It’s about then we realised the foil flap doesn’t just sit on top of the electronics, it wraps around behind it too! The inner surface of the flap is insulated, the outside is not. We were lucky not to fry it.
Slipped it under the board, holding the upper surface open before easing it all into place, and it all worked fine. Phew!

So for anyone else repairing a Wacom tablet; watch where you put your foil flaps.