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Author Topic: Some technical information on ADB tablets.  (Read 51213 times)
Wilcorp70
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« Reply #90 on: March 23, 2011, 09:12:56 PM »

Welcome to the forum Tabletnut.  There has been a lengthy discussion on exactly what you are talking about.  This thread is a good starting place for what has been discovered and accomplished:

http://forum.bongofish.co.uk/index.php?topic=1659.0

To answer your question about just hooking it straight up (pg 8 of the above thread) to a serial port or even a usb adapter is that a problem exists that these digitizers use an internal serial port, and virtual com ports created by usb adapters don't seem to play nice with the driver.  There is a driver distributed by wacom for its developers that is supposed to address this issue:

http://www.wacom-components.com/english/download/index.html

A member named Undersampled tried the driver and couldn't get it to work; not sure if anyone else had the required set up at the time to try it.  If you can get that to work, then yes that is a great solution and I would encourage you to try it.  Bernard's solution, while slightly more expensive uses a driver that is probably updated far more frequently.

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bernard
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« Reply #91 on: March 23, 2011, 11:21:45 PM »

In addition to what Wilcorp70 put out, I will try to dump the information we gathered so far to fit your purpose. Smiley  I love long posts. Sorry in advance.  Cool

First for the pin out -- could you take a clear photo of the baby board (enough to read the markings and count the pins).   you said 9 wires, I do not know about the wires, but the number of pins in the connector is what matters really. I never saw 9 pins so far, it always been 14 or 10 - so that will be interesting.  I assume you checked our wiki page - I can update it with the information from your board (could you measure it please?).

For the power -- we have little experience, but I think these boards are mostly setup to work with 3.3volts dc, but they have the option to work off 5v -- with optional parts -- like a Zener Diode (ZD1) (that is speculative, but this is as much info we have).

Watch out -- dense information is following....

For hooking it up to a serial port (or serial-to-usb adapter, same thing) -- Like Wilcorp70 is saying, there is a physical problem with it -- I'll try to dig the details: The problem is only about the voltage levels.  A standard RS-232 serial port uses voltages that range from -12v  to +12v -- it actually works with less voltage (like -9v to +9v). To make the matter worse, the polarity is actually counter-intuitive -- a "high" is sent as -12v  and a "low" is sent as +12v. -- it will probably work if you use -5v +5v and maybe even -3.3v +3.3v  (essentially, as long as you are above or below 0v) (The minimal voltage depends on the tolerance of the RS-232 serial port that is sensing the signal).     The wacom baby boards (like a lot of internal serial ports on MCUs, FPGA or whatnot) use a TTL/CMOS voltage levels  -- logic 1 (3.3v or 5v) and logic 0 (0v a.k.a. "ground") ---  "high" as logic 1 and "low" as logic 0 -- that one is not "counter intuitive" (reversed from RS-232).    What undersampled used is a Sparkfun breakout board for a FTDI chip (USB-serial converter) that do not have the "RS-232 line-level drivers" to drive -12v/+12v and so the signals are TTL/CMOS.  What the Jumbotron guy used is not a standard RS-232 serial port either but an internal part, that is why the wires are plugged "directly".

If you just connect the RXD line (which is enough if the driver does not expect special control packets, like Undersampled SerialTablet software since most tablets send packets after being powered on without the need for a setup), I have seen a (real) electronic guy do that by just using a diode and a resistor (in a way I did not understand) to connect that line to a standard serial port (for a Device --> PC connection direction only).

It might be very well possible that your USB-serial adapter already **has** the good signals inside (most probably 5v since USB gives a 5v supply) -- if you are willing to "destroy" it a little bit (by unconnecting the line drivers and you feel you can do it, you could, it might ruin your adapter at worst). You might be able to connect the tablet RxD and TxD lines directly inside the adapter.

For the driver, I assume all the Penenabled (Wacom) TabletPC talk the "ISDV4" protocol. The driver that wilcorp70 is talking has, in my opinion, good chances of working -- especially in a 32 bit windows environment (Undersampled tried it in Win7 64bit I think, and I am not sure he tried mucking up with the text file to fix the COM port number, I hope I do not say things that are wrong, sorry in advance Undersampled). Like Wilcorp70 is saying, nobody else really took the time to try it.  There is hope in there.

Do you have a multimeter?  Can you solder?

I do not know how much you are willing to spend?  If you have to balance risk/features/money/hassles. 

If you go with *my* solution you will have to buy a teensy (18$), probably a voltage regulator to get 3.3v (1$) + 5$US shipping and maybe something else like a cable (I do not know exactly what you already have) + soldering is required.

Alternatively:  Maybe we could discover that your board actually has the USB connections in addition to the serial port ones. We have little clue as to how that works -- I have never seen anyone use the USB connection or even what driver to use in that case. That is actually teasing me and I would very much like know how to use them.  It is possible that only one port is active at one time so there might be an "option" on the board to enable it (like solder a component or whatever).
« Last Edit: March 24, 2011, 02:01:58 AM by bernard » Logged
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« Reply #92 on: March 24, 2011, 03:14:50 PM »

@tabletnut If you want to pursue this further, I encourage you to start a "build log" thread -- even if this is only to make a tablet standalone to work (without a LCD) that is close enough to a DIY Cintiq. Smiley
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bernard
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« Reply #93 on: March 24, 2011, 03:35:16 PM »

Now to something different: Emulate a USB Intuos2

Out of nowhere, I've decided to try my (huge!) Intuos2 12x18 USB and try to emulate that instead of the limited Graphire3.  I think that this Intuos2 model will have enough features (tilt) and resolution to emulate all features of ADB and serial tablets out there. In addition, drivers for Intuos2 appears to be well supported by Wacom.  In Windows, the Driver for the Intuos2 is completely different from the one for the Graphire3.  The one for the Graphire3 actually says "Bamboo" -- so I assume the Bamboo and Graphire3 are in the same "class" of the device whereas the Intuos2 is another (more "pro"?).  Anyways, the driver has more features.

Intuos2 USB appears to use what they call "Protocol V" or "Protocol 5".  The USB descriptors are similar to the Graphire3 but there are more HID Reports in there. Some for "input" others for "output". (SetReport,  GetReport).  I have no clue what is what really, for now, I will just ignore all SetReports and mimic the data returned by the few GetReports that are sent at initialization time.

The important packets are sent through the HID Report ID 2 -- same number than the Graphire3. There is more bytes (~10) though.

One first difference is when a tool comes into "proximity" a special packet (still on HID Report 2) is sent containing the "serial number" of the tool (pen, mouse, etc.).  This number can be seen in the "Diagnostics" dialog that can be found from a button in the "About..." dialog within the driver setting.  This diagnostics gives out the "current" tool, position, etc.

I am trying to decipher the linux code, but I have a bit of a hard time with it. Some bits in the first byte (after the HID Report number 0x02) seems to contain some sort of "packet type" -- the linux driver does a bit mask & compare test at various areas, but it is not masking the same bits all the time, so I am a bit puzzled here.  What is the meaning of all those bits - in particular in that first byte after the hid report number (data[1])?
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tabletnut
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« Reply #94 on: March 25, 2011, 04:46:59 AM »

Oh you're right it is 14 pins, but has 9 wires coming out of it.  It's probably not something with a usb connection since only the newer laptops have that - the acer c110 is pretty old - like 2003 old or something not sure the exact manufacture date.

Yes I can solder, yes I have a multimeter.  I saw a 5v to 9v converter on ebay pretty cheap - like 2 or 3 for 7 bucks - this is to connect the serial connection for a serial wacom or maybe this the tablet's digitizer (serial wacoms need 9-12v at 0.1amp)?  I also saw a ttl to rs232 small board for like 5 bucks - would that do any good for anything?

I won't be using a usb to serial adapter as both my laptop and my hackintosh pc have serial connections.  I'm lucky hehe.  I won't use it at first but later I will.

Your solution is very nice - so it's working already?  If it's fully working it would be nice to have a guide with some pictures on how to put one together.

Again the reason I ask these things is I really could use a good tablet - and with a screen it would be even better - I can't spend much on this.  I am getting a replacement motherboard (that cost me only $30) for an acer c110 that I have since the motherboard is burned - I have also a broken acer c100 tablet (I spilled some stuff on it accidentally... murphy's law is cruel) - anyway, after I get the motherboard and put together 1 tablet that works then I can probably do anything with the remaining digitizer.

Unfortunately I'm starting my school term right now and I won't be able to tinker with this much at this time.  Otherwise I would start that project page you suggested.  

BTW the screen resolution to tablet chart could use an update - for example the Intuos 4 Large fits a 15.4 WXGA screen, which is what most laptops have these days.  I have a 15.4 spare screen from my brother's dell 6400 laptop that has a burnt motherboard but I can't afford to buy a intuos 4 large Sad  - Also a 12x12 screen doesn't fit a 15.4 screen properly - there's a gap.  What do you do with that gap??  

It seems the new tablets are going more for a wide aspect ratio - it's better to have a corresponding aspect ratio tablet to your screen because then your hand-eye coordination gets trained properly - I think using a 12x12 with a wide screen (them both not being together - I mean using them separately) will eschew your ability to draw properly when not using the tablet.

I was going to buy a 9x12 intuos but I can't find a 15" monitor cheap where I live (I'm in Brazil right now), plus I need a pen for that which is about $50, plus I have to have it shipped here and customs has a nasty habbit of charging full price for anything that is over $50 that goes through the border, even if it only cost me $100 on ebay, they could charge me $1000 in customs or more since a wacom here costs that much or more here.  On top of that most people on ebay won't ship out of the US for these parts.

But a laptop screen with a digitizer might pass through without any charges.  There are several for about $60 plus shipping on ebay.  

I thought about other things to try too - like hacking a bamboo usb tablet and connecting the logic board to a larger serial tablet.  But I don't know enough to do that.  This reminds me of the people working on the magic lantern software for the canon slr cameras and the guys who developed the chdk for the powershot cameras - I think some guy translated the binary signal coming from one of the chips and was able to reverse engineer the camera's internal software.  Maybe we could send one of these tablet digitizers to one of these guys?

I think right now your solutions is best.  I'm doing a fine arts major right now and having a big tablet with a screen (simtiq) would be such a huge benefit.  Actually the best solution would be to save enough to buy a used tablet pc and have it shipped here, but I think it's pretty impossible since the customs officer might decide to charge the full original price of the laptop when doing the customs calculations.  I'm thinking about buying a tablet piece by piece - haha - first the screen, then the motherboard, then the casing, then the keyboard.. hahaha  might take me a while.

The acer c110 has such an awful viewing angle - specially when viewing in portrait mode.  I recommend that before any of you buy any old laptop screens to check the reviews on viewing angle because it's just terrible to use a tablet screen that doesn't show well at certain angles (some old 15" laptop screens such as the one from a dell CPx also have the same problem).  But it's what I have and what I can get working the cheapest at the moment.

I will try out your solution too though.  I have included a screenshot with the wires coming out of the baby board.

BTW it's a SU-001-A 01 board attached to a LTD104KA1S lcd.


* wacom_acerc110.jpg (77.73 KB, 850x638 - viewed 492 times.)
« Last Edit: March 25, 2011, 04:58:33 AM by tabletnut » Logged
bernard
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« Reply #95 on: March 25, 2011, 06:54:52 AM »

For my solution "completion", it is still in the works, but it is very well advanced -- it "works" but very roughly (side switches not mapped correctly, etc.). On the other hand, I am 100% sure it will eventually work perfectly for any serial-based Penenabled (Wacom) TabletPC to work (for which we know the pinout) --

Your baby board we only see the back?! Is it possible to see the front or is it glued?  Anyway, you have a cable with the wires, which might be enough, we just have to pick the right one(s). Smiley   Armed with a multimeter, a 3.3v supply (the Teensy + regulator would provide that supply) and a bit of luck, we might get through it.  We essentially need to find 4 connections: the ground, the 3.3v, the RxD pin and TxD pin. If this is the same pinout as the other 14 pin wacom we know, it will be a breeze. (And we might get away without connecting the TxD pin actually).

What operating system are you using?  And if windows, is it 32 bit or 64 bit?  I ask this to put a priority to make the tool work onto that OS.  Actually, it might work on any OS *today* --- Since you can always use Paul's Teensy Loader (my config tool can generate a .hex file) and thus avoid the need for native .dll. 

I am not sure I followed all your options/permutations -- but my solution would be a safe bet I think (if you have a USB port on that machine!!)  If you are "stuck" with a serial port, then yes, TTL to RS-232 (TTL at 3.3v not 5v) would probably work.  I say 3.3v just because this is the voltage we have seen so far, but it could very well be 5v.

I would not attempt to do any of the special hacking of the wacom "internals" (other than power and external communication) and certainly not transplanting control boards to other type of sensor boards. This is totally beyond what we could do with simple tools. And I by *simple* tools I mean: an Oscilloscope, a Lab power supply, a few laptops, Arduino/Teensy boards to build special custom electronic tools, a good fine tip soldering iron+skills and fair knowledge of digital electronics and good knowledge of most CPU cores out there. More than the average DIYer have.

About the "Gap":  Tablet bigger than Screen: no problem, just do not use that extra tablet space.  For the reverse, some clever chap here thought about a special mapping (that I implemented in my Teensy project with what I call "Anchors") -- Essentially if you have a 1 cm gap of "inactive area" on the left, then you could "map" the last 1cm of tablet to 2cm of screen space.  Essentially if you approach your cursor near the edge, at 2cm from the screen edge, the mouse pointer will start to progressively "detach" from the Pen to "reach" to the edge of the screen.  Since you typically not draw in that area and rather access menus or whatnot, it should not be too too much disturbing (I say should, because I never really experienced it -- yet).  More fun to come!

Quote
the best solution would be to save enough to buy a used tablet pc and have it shipped here
Note that TabletPCs are typically small.  -- never seen a "big tablet" in the aftermarket (yet).  maybe 12 inches max?  If you see bigger, tell me.
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Wilcorp70
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« Reply #96 on: March 25, 2011, 06:36:38 PM »

Toshiba Tecra M4 is a 14 inch tablet, there are a couple of others.

~Will
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tabletnut
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« Reply #97 on: March 25, 2011, 11:13:04 PM »

Gateway m275 is 14.1, so is the Acer C300 series, and there are more.

What concerns me is the screen viewing angle quality.  All of these old lcds seem to have issues (most of these models are from 2003-2005).

You probably want a 12x18 ARTZ Wacom serial tablet - there are a couple for sale on ebay right now. 

Hanvon makes a 19" magnetic resonance digitizer (just like wacom's!  no battery on the pen) that has a USB interface - actually they make every size.  Can someone contact them and ask if we can purchase these directly?

http://www.hanvon.com/en/products/components/products/digitizers.html

I've included a picture of the baby board for the su-001-a 01 digitizer. 


* acerc110_digitizer_sideb.jpg (168.94 KB, 1417x1063 - viewed 513 times.)
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Trashie
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« Reply #98 on: March 30, 2011, 04:23:16 AM »

Hello all, new to this board..and trying to catch up :-)
I'm replacing my tx2000, so i was browsing the web looking for using its screen as a cintiq..
First, i'd like to know if i've understood it well, specially what i see it's the shortest path possible:
Scenario 1: IF those 14-pin connectors unknown pins are actually for USB connections AND it actually sends data even if what it uses is the serial connection, then the problem would be knowing the pin assignment.Once known, it'd be as simple as wiring them to an USB connector.

Scenario 2: Same as above, but USB is not enabled by default.2 Cases here...Maybe USB is enabled if the digitizer sees voltage on those pins.

Scenario 3: USB is not enabled at all, so all it's available is the serial connection, which may need a serial-usb adapter, and looks like the tested drivers have problems with these.But i've not seen if the linux drivers have been tested, i think only windows drivers were..That would be interesting to know.

And, i guess if all that were solved, still a LCD controller would be needed for the display..

Although i've started learning electronics, i was thinking in a rather brute-force method, please correct me if i'm saying nonsenses...
My tx2000 is not completely dead.I starts up, and runs well (but the keyboard and mouse pad...spilled liquid..).So, if the tablet is working, lets suppose i can bridge the supposed USB data pins to an USB male connector.

If i plug that connector to *another* computer,i guess that computer would be able to detect the device (if we are in scenario 1).If that doesnt work, try other permutations , always keeping the lcd connected to the original tablet, and trying to send serial/ usb data to another computer.
Problem is, is there any easy way to  connect those pins to a male USB (apart from buying a spare digitizer cable and happily cut it?)
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Wilcorp70
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« Reply #99 on: March 30, 2011, 04:47:58 PM »

Ok, So first off; Bernard you may want to split this thread since I think it might get confusing for those poor souls searching for a solution to their useless (for now!) ADB tablets.  I don't know if you want to make one based on all of the things your teensy solution will interface with, or just make a separate one for the tablet pc digitizers. 

To anyone new who has a tablet pc and wants to try to turn it into a cintiq, here are the basics:

>>Are you familiar with electronics?  Do you have a multimeter, soldering iron, and/or oscilloscope?  If the answers to these questions are no, then you may just want to wait for Bernard to finish his "converter" and follow his work.  Not to discourage you, if you have time and are willing to learn, with the proper tools you can help this project along and we are willing to help.

1. The digitizer and the ribbon cable are all that is needed to start; previously it was suspected that there were necessary parts on the motherboard, this is not the case!
2. Most likely your ribbon cable will have 14 wires, possibly 10; How standardized the pinouts are accross these digitizers is still unknown because it hasn't been done with many digitizers yet but we can hope.  Many of these digitizers likely support usb as well as serial but are likely missing certain surface mount components to enable the usb.
3. Although they use a serial interface, it is ttl rather than rs232 meaning the voltages are off; as well as some driver issues.  This means you probably cannot simply connect a serial cable to the wires and have the digitizer work.  These are probably not insurmountable problems, but we are not sure how to do it yet, and no one is currently working on it.
4. Bernard is using a small and cheap microcontroller called a teensy, after some delicate soldering of your digitizer cable, you can simply plug the teensy into a usb port and use software to emulate an intuos tablet. 
5. Once you have your digitizer working, the lcd can be driven using any number of lcd controllers, they are fairly cheap and a list of suppliers is on the wiki.

Sorry Bernard if I missed something, I was trying to be brief but cover the basics.  Feel free to correct anything on here.

~Will
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bernard
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« Reply #100 on: March 30, 2011, 10:50:33 PM »

Yeah -- my ADB/teensy project/tabletpc thread is getting quite long.

I think the text you wrote in there could be put into the wiki maybe instead of a sticky topic?  (text of sticky topics can only be modified by the user that created it or admins).
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Trashie
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« Reply #101 on: April 01, 2011, 10:19:34 PM »

Dont want to clutter more this thread, but just wanted to tell you i'm jumping in...Already got an arduino nano and i've ordered 2 digitizers and cables (i'm sure i'll break at least one :-P) to experiment.I'm a newbie in electronics, only know the basics, but i'm an experienced programmer..Hope to find here help to fill the electronic gaps.
Btw, Bernard, in your project,are you actually decodifying the serial packets, or just re-sending them? This is related to another question....Do you think it's possible to make an interface to 2 digitizers? I mean, receiving input from two digitizers and make them look as a single tablet? Lol, i know, there are lots of problems to solve before even think on that, but that may help keep motivation up :-)
(Moved to http://forum.bongofish.co.uk/index.php?topic=1870.0)
« Last Edit: April 02, 2011, 01:31:16 AM by Trashie » Logged
bernard
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« Reply #102 on: April 01, 2011, 11:41:46 PM »

Welcome Trashie!  A brave programmer onboard!

Yes, the packets are decoded from Protocol A and re-encoded in Protocol B (protocols on both sides depends on what you configure, there is a "central" PenEvent structure that is like a universal plug between all protocols). Depending on which tablets you plan to have, it **might** be possible that they use the same protocol (more or less) and allow to be able to send the data portion of the packets "directly", but I did not complexify the code to allow what I consider a special corner case. Not only does the protocol matches, but also the coordinates remapping must be like 1:1.

I assume you want to use the Arduino Uno instead of a Teensy(?)   

Twin tablets: you could do that I suppose...  but I would not choose to do it myself. I would simply get 2 teensy boards (18$ each) and that's it. (no complication of the code: let the Wacom drivers handle that).  One reason could be to map two tablets to two separate screens (just guessing here) -- with the wacom driver, it is easy to do so even with screens of varying geometry.

BUT if you really want to get this thing going, I can help you of course. You would need 2 serial ports on your device of course (I assume the tablets are serial?  Or are they ADB?  -- what models are you getting?)  Maybe you can get away with bit-banging with slow baud rate speeds (software serial)(?).

It is fairly easy to send packets as if it was one device mixed in.  There is actually nothing special todo (other than handling the "in proximity" "out of proximity" state "mismatch" that could occur when both tablets are used at the same time -- which I assume is not a use case you would want to support).

I assume you might want to reuse some (if not all) the stuff I am working on. It was not built for the arduino uno, but for the Teensy. The major difference is the USB interface (and it is not the same CPU also). All Arduino boards are typically built to use a virtual serial port (FTDI chip) -- that will never work to emulate a USB Wacom and thus needs to change. The good thing about the Uno specifically is that the chip that is handling the USB virtual serial port is no longer the costly FTDI chip, but actually another 16Mhz AVR chip.  That second chip can be reprogrammed so to emulate another USB device (a Wacom in our case) but I think it is a bit of a hassle I think, I have no experience doing this and I am not sure how well it blends with the Arduino IDE or the main chip bootloader code -- The teensy is so much easier to deal with (and so tiny compared to the uno!!).   So easy, I even integrated the programmer code in my little config utility quite easily!

To resume: To use the Uno is a lot more work than using 2 Teensies.  Using 1 Teensy appears a little bit easier, but still require software bit-banging to handle the extra serial port and maybe other tricks inside (more stuff under interrupts, more timers) to allow for the time spent in the bit-banging routines so we do not loose data. Not counting the change to the project (if you use mine) to allow for dual tablets -- including the configuration side, etc. I am not sure I would even allow that level of complexity in the base source code repository.   Really, nothing was done to allow to interface more than one tablet. It appears a bit irrelevant, knowning that a second relatively inexpensive teensy would make it work very quickly.  Smiley 

--- Please, start a new thread, you can edit your previous post and add a link to it.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2011, 12:00:09 AM by bernard » Logged
Wilcorp70
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« Reply #103 on: April 04, 2011, 09:23:17 PM »

Bernard, I was thinking about sending this to hackaday.  I never sent it last time due to UnderSampled's request to put some more polish on it.  But with you heading up the code development I figured its your call now.  I think it might bring some new blood to the forum and possibly some help on this project.  If you dont mind I would like to send them a link to the code in its current state (is it being hosted anywhere?) and link to this thread and these other two:

http://forum.bongofish.co.uk/index.php?topic=1659.0
http://forum.bongofish.co.uk/index.php?topic=1870.0

as well as possibly UnderSampled's test video here: http://www.vimeo.com/15053360

Tell me what you think.
~Will
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bernard
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« Reply #104 on: April 04, 2011, 09:41:57 PM »

Thanks for asking.

...It might also create big buzz -- and push me in the back faster than I can handle. Since this is not final, some people might get disappointed and would not come back when it really works (and we advertise it a second time).

I would "prefer" that we have something more "presentable". It is not like the development is stalling. It is continuing (not sure what happens with Undersampled, I think he met his goal). But maybe I am mis-understanding what Hack-A-Day is all about? Feel free to enlighten me.  I could actually "work towards" getting something "good enough" to post on hackaday. (Now I am helping whatever soul wants this to work out.) I could, for example, solder the Teensy more permanently instead of using alligator clips and close the tablet cover for the photo, etc.

What Undersampled did which is common to this project is the ISDV4 protocol and... well, not much actually! Maybe the pinout discovery and the 3.3v voltage levels -- and even that, it is not even the same!  (mine is 10pin, his is 14 pins). And I also interfaced other tablets like the ADB ones and the serial ones.  His "driver" is a little Windows C software that moves the mouse an infer clicks, whereas I am simulating a usb tablet so it works with the latests drivers with pressure, eraser, etc.

The code is currently being hosted on google code (project WaxBee) -- but it is not final. There is no binary distribution either [yet].

Also, I am missing a "bee" logo -- at least that I should have before posting!  Grin
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