So I was messing about with some of my tablets over Christmas and thinking about jedikalimero's post 'older pens less suitable for DIYtiqs than newer ones?' where it's discussed that Wacom made a change to the Cintiq compatible I4 upwards pens so that they would work correctly with I4, I5, Pro, and Cintiqs.
This got me wondering about the Wacom pens and how all of the tablets use the same frequency, and I began to revisit the idea of getting pens from different generations to work on their non-companion counterparts. It has been discussed before that it is likely that the Wacom pens (post Intuos 1) use a digital signature of some sort to activate the tablet to accept pen input, so I thought about it a bit more and decided to have a play.
Below is a video of my abusing a Wacom Bamboo Pen&Touch for investigative purposes.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFpvz7oZXc8
So the idea here is simple, place the official Bamboo pen close to the digitizer of the bamboo to activate it, then place another pen within range and remove the bamboo pen.
Things I noticed when I did this:
-The digital signature is only called for once so long as the pen is in range of the digitizer.
-The Intuos 2 pens both worked perfectly with the Bamboo albeit with some pressure calibration required.
Other tests using the same principle as above:
-The bamboo pen can be used on the Intuos 4, however there are random button pushes and brush sizing issues. I imagine this is a driver issue more than anything else.
-The Intuos2 pens were not recognized by the Intuos 4 tablet.
-The intuos 4 pen does not work on the Intuos 2 tablet
-The bamboo pen does not work on the Intuos 2 tablet
This all seems a bit pointless, and maybe it is, but perhaps it does demonstrate that there are few major differences between the pens and that maybe one day with a small circuit hack and a bespoke driver it may be possible to use any of your favorite old (post I1) pens on your lovely new tablet.