26 August 2014

Of Rice and Pen

And terrible puns.

Just over a week after getting it, my Wacom Bamboo Stylus feel (which is quite a name) ended up going through the wash cycle. I’d clipped it inside one of my cargo pockets, and forgotten to take it out.


I tried it out immediately after realising and retrieving it, but it didn’t work. Removing the nib revealed that there was still water inside, and a quick search revealed this thread - someone with a similar problem, but a different Wacom pen.

Two things stuck out - the way these pens actually work:

it is just a coil, and a small circuit board with a switch on it as well as a few tiny components; all of it is really basic, and the [electricity] for it comes from the coil being energized by the field the screen [puts] off

And, from another poster:

Seeing how you already tried it and it wasn’t is disheartening, because if it was moist inside and you tried it, means it powered up with the moisture thus possibly shorting something inside. It couldn’t hurt to try drying it out with rice though.

(Emphasis mine.)

I wasn’t too optimistic after reading that. Though the thread creator did manage to get their own pen working again just by letting it dry out in a warm place for a bit, it hadn’t completely died like mine: it just kept sending clicks instead. It had also just gotten a little wet, whereas mine had been positively drenched.

I stuck it in rice anyway, sans nib.

For quite a while, I actually didn’t want to take it out again to test it. As long as it was in the bag, it was just like Schrödinger’s cat: possibly dead, but possibly working too. Testing it would remove one of those possibilities - probably the one where it still worked - and so just leaving it alone maintained that glimmer of ignorance and hope.

I decided to collapse the possibilities and try it today. I removed it from the bag, replaced the nib, and waved it near my laptop’s screen.

Success. \o/