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Author Topic: Using a tablet laptop and digitizer?  (Read 62596 times)
random-jimmy
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« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2010, 12:53:34 PM »

The TC1000's are finepoint and the TC1100's are wacom: I had it the other way round. I honestly do not know which one my mate has, and that's if he really is giving it to me, but fingers crossed for wacom   Cheesy

If it is wacom, I should be able to tell really easily whether it uses wacom chips or not on the mainboard: serial or USB should carry at most 5 data lines I think: 2xdata, GND, +5V and finally: shield for USB or +12V for serial - something along those lines.
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bernard
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« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2010, 04:09:21 PM »

I just checked a friend's Table PC lenovo X60 running Windows 7. It is Wacom, it is serial. It uses an I/O port (0x200-0x207 if I recall correctly) and IRQ5.  I think it has BOTH a touch screen in front and the more common RF digitizer.  I could only lookup from device manager, I could not open the caset of course.

btw, I just found this sample -- it is a Wacom serial HID minidriver microsoft sample!
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff553742(v=VS.85).aspx
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Wilcorp70
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« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2010, 09:23:39 PM »

So after a morning of wasted time searching the internet for information, I have found the following jewels in the rough.  First I looked for information regarding the modbook, apparently like apple they like to be frustratingly secretive about their stuff, but I found some useful pictures from someone who upgraded theirs.  The pictures are on this page:
http://forums.applecentral.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/477119/Modbook_Nvidia_Upgrade_DIY_Gui especially, this one:

They shielded everything, I think they may have done that for both interference and secrecy reasons (but maybe I just have trust issues).  Its a lot busier than I expected/hoped it to be.  Toward the upper left there is a large axiotron branded circuit board, possibly housing lvds components for the different screen they place inside among other things and next to that I believe is the GPS module they add.  Its really difficult to see where all the wires are going with the shielding.

The next search yielded another forum thread right along the lines of this one.  Eerily, it lists almost identical conclusions to our thread and took place about a month ago.  The guy even links to bongofish!  The thread is here: http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/hardware/30930-adding-tablets-digitizer-screen-my-laptop-2.html.  He gives some good rough data about the pinout on the digitizer connector, and after looking at some more motherboard pictures, I really believe it might just be as simple as finding the serial connector to wire it to and find the correct order for the wires.  He mentions using a particular serial to usb connector which if it works would make this hack, a lot simpler.  I think it could even be driven using the original drivers for the tablet pc, or the HID ones Bernard has been talking about.

So to the guy who started this post, I would say, try wiring it up, if it works you WIN!  Although the trial and error of getting the right pin order, might not be that fun. Could it end up being the same as the pinout for the other UD series tablets on the forum?

~Will
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bernard
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« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2010, 06:16:42 AM »

Guess what, that guy giving out all the hardware details and linking to bongofish is... "Ambidextrose" -- one of our beloved (and electronic-savvy) member! Grin 

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random-jimmy
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« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2010, 11:59:06 AM »

Just an update: (the first time i've been on in ages because of uni work)

I am still waiting for my friend's laptop to go through all the insurance checks and stuff. Apparently it is a dual-core AMD processor, so fingers crossed it will be a wacom digitiser
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UnderSampled
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« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2010, 09:13:44 PM »

Hello.

I have for some time held a dead Toshiba Tecra M7. It always had issues with overheating and battery life (it didn't know when to stop charging). When this caused a video chip to die, it was sent to a company that specializes in replacing individual pieces on laptop motherboards. This worked for a while, and during this time I used it as a separate laptop, but I also used it with a program called synergy to use it along the side of my desktop, using only one keyboard and one mouse. I also looked into using a software setup to use it as an additional monitor, connected over the network--similar to a cintiq.1 Unfortunately, however, the same issues of overheating still existed. This led to in-operability within a month, with symptoms being that the power lights and fans being on while nothing else happened (not even BIOS). This left me with three choices, of which I have not chosen:

  • Buy an entirely new motherboard (probably from a model that did not include the more powerful--and heat using--graphics chip. so as to avoid the issues with the model which I currently have in pieces. Because of the symptoms, there is also the great probability that I will have to replace the CPU also. this would cost around $200 presuming that I would need to replace both the motherboard and CPU.
  • Sell the parts, and look into other ways of making a screen tablet.
  • Convert the screen into a cintiq-like device for the desktop.

Since the only parts left working are the screen/tablet, keyboard, and trackpad, The only real reason why I would want to invest any more in this laptop (considering how much of a hassle it's been already) would be to use it's tablet features. I have not removed the screen from it's casing because it was not required to remove the motherboard, so I cannot tell you if there are any wacom chips inside. I can however show that there are no wacom chips on the motherboard, nor was there a  daughterboard with wacom chips on it.


* Motherboard.resized.JPG (127.26 KB. 640x768 - viewed 409 times.)


There were two cables coming out of the display half of the laptop (as to be expected), along with the antenna wires. here is where they connected.


* CloseupSockets.resized.JPG (99.23 KB. 1024x681 - viewed 382 times.)


* SideSocket.resized.JPG (88.96 KB. 1024x681 - viewed 369 times.)


I did not bother to count the number of pins on the white connector. seeing as it says "lcd" next to it on the motherboard, I guessed it is the display cable.


* CloseupVideo.resized.JPG (68.92 KB. 785x768 - viewed 350 times.)


The black connector (which I believe to be the tablet cable) on the motherboard has the text "DIG/SW/FCYFS I/F", and has 41 receiving pins, in two rows so that one of the rows has one more than the other row.


* CloseupConnector.resized.JPG (80.91 KB. 960x768 - viewed 363 times.)


* TopConnector.resized.JPG (41.48 KB. 1024x358 - viewed 390 times.)


While I do not know the actual pen out, here is a diagram of the pins on the cable:

Code:

legend: o = no connection; # = connection;
   _________________________________________
  / o # # # # # # # # o # # # # o o # # # o \
 / o o # # # # # # # o # # # # # o # # # o o \
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

That is: a group of Eight, a group of Seven, a group of five, a group of four, and two groups of three, for a total of 30 connected pins out of 41 (11 unused).

Now for some questions:

  • Which of the choices in the previous bulleted list would you choose if you where in my shoes?
  • If I was to try to mess with the cable to figure out it's pin out, how would I know which pin is power?
  • What kind of connector is this, and how should I connect to it?

Thanks for listening, I hope we can get something out of this.


1For those of you interested in this sort of thing, the two ways of doing this that I found were Maxivista (for Windows), and XDMX (for linux). Unfortunately, I never got either of them working the way I would have liked to have.

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bernard
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« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2010, 09:59:11 PM »

So you are unsure it is a Wacom.  Does it say "Penenabled" ?  (Or can you find a mention of Penenabled for the M7 on the internet?).  The pen has no battery in it, right?  What does the pen look like?  Do you remember if you could "hover" your pen without touching the screen? (you could not if the screen was a simple resitive/capacitive touch screen, and in that case, the pen is often just a piece of plastic without buttons).

For reusing it as a tablet -- the biggest issue is to drive the digitizer. AFAIK, there is no standard connectors for this type of stuff. There is a remote possibility that it matches the Wacom OEM SDK kit -- but I could not get my hands on one (or have somebody get one and take close pictures of it) to know.  In short, nobody (I know) was able to make it work. The **theory** is that it is a plain "serial" connection and with simple electronics you could hook it up to a serial port. But then you would need to tweak the TabletPC driver software to make it "read" from that port.

AFAIK, no magic recipe exists so far to make it work.

I am really interested to see how such a thing could be done because that means we could leverage a lot of dead components out there to make slick DIY Cintiqs.  I say slick because the sensor board on these things have very small "borders" around the active area and are *meant* to be used behind a LCD.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 04:43:28 AM by bernard » Logged
UnderSampled
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« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2010, 10:07:58 PM »

I am quite sure that it is a penabled tablet. I posted these pictures so that you could have this half of the puzzle. If there is anything else I can do to help on the effor of getting this type of tablet working, feel free to ask.
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bernard
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« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2010, 10:11:41 PM »

thanks undersampled! This can be useful indeed.

Do you have a multimeter or other electronic-related devices/skills?
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UnderSampled
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« Reply #24 on: July 27, 2010, 10:23:20 PM »

I definitely have a multimeter. I also have a arduino that might be helpful with reading the output. unfortunately I do not have an oscilloscope. the question I have is, how do I connect to the tablet without soldering strait to the cable?

Edit:
According to http://www.wacom-components.com/products/penabled/developerKits/, There is a interface board between the sensor and the computer. this somehow converts the "I/F" (interface?) cable into rs-232 and power. note that the connector is also labeled "I/F" on my motherboard. However, we can hope that this board can be easily made, because I cannot find any wacom chips on the computer's motherboard, and also that the jumbo-DS used only an FPGA and the maker did not have access to a development kit (I believe).
« Last Edit: July 27, 2010, 10:42:50 PM by UnderSampled » Logged

bernard
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« Reply #25 on: July 28, 2010, 04:18:51 AM »

An arduino board? Oho! You're a techie Smiley   Which model? This board seems quite popular these days. I see a lot of DIY projects fueled by these little inexpensive boards.

Good finding about that connector labeled "I/F" (interface).  The diagram also mentions that the I/F cable goes between two boards, one (smaller?) which has a note saying "W8002 included".

W8002 sounds like it is one of the Wacom chips, so you should have that part (or equivalent) inside your screen.

I am saying it should be a Wacom chip because I've seen other labels for Wacom parts. See the last picture in my Wacom Science post http://forum.bongofish.co.uk/index.php?topic=1514.msg9925#msg9925 the first  Wacom chip inline is labelled W6001F, the next one is W4017CF and the last one is not Wacom but still, a Mitsubishi CPU, M37732...something) - (that's for the UD-1212-R board BTW).

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bernard
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« Reply #26 on: July 28, 2010, 04:42:31 AM »

For the Jumbotron DS:

The guy mentions that he used a Gateway M275 tablet PC ("convertible notebook") screen (which included a Wacom digitizer). He said he was able to read the pen (and convert it to Nintendo DS-friendly digitizer signals) simply by looking at the Wacom Linux driver (open source).  Well, the linux driver only reads Wacom packets sent through a serial port (or USB port). So I suspect the Gateway screen exposes serial port signals.  I am afraid this is not what is exposed in your case (but it could well be). You mentioned you do not see any Wacom-labeled chips on the motherboard, so that is good news.

On your motherboard, can you follow where (most of the) traces from that strange "wacom-related" connector is going to?
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UnderSampled
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« Reply #27 on: July 28, 2010, 04:56:16 AM »

Unfortunately, no, as this is quite definitely a multi-layer board. With regards to the model of the Arduino, it is a Sanguino.
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bernard
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« Reply #28 on: July 28, 2010, 04:57:12 AM »

That super-connector --

I think it is multi-purpose:  the label says "/SW/"  that might be SWitches. Are there any buttons on that screen?  If so, just press them and see if some of those lines getting grounded (instead of no-connect).

BTW, one (or more) of those lines must be ground.

The cable itself might have different "set" of wires which could help find the "groups" of wires. The idea is to reduce the number of wires for interfacing the Wacom.  Since the Wacom "small board with the W8002 included" requires power, some of the wacom lines must be plain DC power + ground. 

Opening the screen "case" will greatly help finding what is what (not talking about opening the LCD Panel component inside which is much more risky)
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UnderSampled
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« Reply #29 on: July 28, 2010, 05:04:34 AM »

Yes, there are buttons on the screen. As I mentioned above, there are six separate groups of pins on the connector.
Before I can start applying a multimeter, I have to figure out how to connect to the cable. A simple Google search for "41 pin connector" yields nothing. do you have any ideas on where to look?
I will open the monitor case tomorrow.
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