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Pen intermittently not working?

orgoburns

New Member
So after months and months of intermittent pen failures, I've finally fixed the problem and I thought I needed to share this in case it works for others. I had previously tried unscrewing/screwing the battery compartment, removing replacing the pen tip, etc with partial success but never reliably. Any software changes I made (like turning off power management for pen) never made any difference. I actually bought a new pen a few months back, which was ok for a while, but then eventually had the same issue.

Anyway, turns out the problem (for both pens) was simply a lose electrical contact inside, and it's really easy to fix. In the front part of the tip, there is the buttons and pen tip circuitry. As with most similar electrical devices (flashlights, laser pointers), that circuitry uses the metal body of the pen as the "ground" wire. It has a contact with the metal of the pen body, which is a little metal tab that presses against the inside of the pen. That doesn't seem to be pressed very hard against the pen, so eventually the contact fails, but jiggling the insides around (for instance by unscrewing the battery compartment and re-screwing it) can sometimes let it make contact again temporarily. But this issue can be fixed permanently by bending that tab out slightly, so the contact with the pen body is much more stable.

Here's how I fixed it:
Unscrew the pen tip compartment (not the battery compartment).
View attachment 8108

For my newer pen, I could just unscrew it by hand, but for the older one it was much tighter, and I had to use pliers with a rubber bands over the tips. For the tighter one, it looked like some glue or locktite-type material was on the threads, so maybe the older pens were made harder to open for some reason. If you do have a tight cap, I don't advise bare pliers, because they will definitely scratch your nice shiny pen.

Once the cap is off, the pen tip circuitry and 2 buttons should then slide right out. The actual plastic buttons will come out separately, so be sure not to lose them.
View attachment 8105

Find the little copper tab that "grounds" the circuit to the pen body.
View attachment 8109

Bend it out slightly so that when inserted back into the pen, it presses out firmly against the metal of pen body.
View attachment 8110

Then, just reassemble the pen and voila, it works perfectly! The plastic buttons are a little tricky to get in place, the easiest way is to put them in through the button holes, while holding the button holes facing down.
View attachment 8112

Once they're sitting in their places, then slide the circuitry back in behind the buttons and screw on the cap. Hopefully this will help some people, I personally found the pen issue to be extremely frustrating, and was very relieved to have it solved at last!

Thank you ashcanpete!! You are a god!
 

Nahid

New Member
hello, I just have got the same problem with my surface pro 3 pen. but I cant unscrew the top compartment of my pen. its too hard. I use pliers with rubber band but it didn't work. and also I ended up scratching my pen. Is there any other suggestion or easy way to unscrew my sp3 pen?
Thank You.
 

liannamae

New Member
Literally JUST made an account to post thank you for this tiny but totally game-changing fix. My pen was the source of my ultimate anger and frustration when it comes to this machine (along with all the display and touch bugs, actually the list is very long) but this at least makes it a salvageable until I can save for a new device.

I ended up not being successful with the rubber band on the tip of the pen... instead I used the middle section of these pliers with the teeth that bit the pen up bad. Then wrapped the shaft with rubber bands and twisted like there was no tomorrow. it basically ruined the looks of the tip so I filed the burrs with high grit sand paper so it would be smooth again.

I might even sand the whole thing and polish it because it looks actually rather nice.
IMG_1429[1].JPG IMG_1431[1].JPG 81nMKgWsJBL._SL1500_[1].jpg
 

PostAccounting

New Member
Add me to the list of those that had to create an account to express my thanks to you for sharing this, thank you ashcanpete! I must have the older SP3 pen as well, I can attest it was a pain to get that tip unscrewed (doubled up rubber band on just that area, and squeezed like h*** to turn. I recommend taking the back part of the pen off with the clip, as I almost twisted that off on accident.

To note: when attempting this, I couldn't get the pen to work without the cap, not sure if that was user related or systematic. I was dubious that it was going to work for me, because I couldn't get the pen cursor thing to show up after I reinstalled the hardware piece; went ahead and screwed the cap back on and tried again (I might have restarted computer and dropped/reconnected bluetooth connection, now that I think about it) and it worked; thank goodness because it was on the way to the garbage can if it didn't work!

For me, it did scratch up the pen quite a bit, but to be completely honest, it was either this works in fixing it, or it was going in the garbage. I couldn't get but maybe 5 min of pen working in between 20-30 attempts; I hadn't used the pen in months just for the fact that it infuriated me how it would work for a few minutes then just quit for no apparent reason. Unscrewing cap.. new batteries.. nothing else seemed to work.

I've been using the pen without a single failure for about 3 hours now, which would be absolutely unbelievable before taking those steps. Thank you!!! If I happen to have intermittent failures again in the near future, I will repost.
 

cadder

New Member
Done this, but still experiencing problems. Only unscrewing the main battery does get to work the pen again.
 

Tom 44

New Member
After trying almost everything -- including buying a second (newer model) pen -- I've narrowed it down to most likely being my use of a third party charger for the Surface Pro itself. Whenever the charging cable is connected and it is charging, the pen is "choppy." Whenever the charging cable is not connected and/or the battery is fully charged, the pen is fast and smooth as it should be. My solution for now is to charge whenever I'm not using the Surface Pro, and unplug while I'm using it for pen things. I guess an alternative would be to buy another OEM charger (my original died).

For me, the Surface seemed to be dropping the pen connection every few tenths of a second because the computer was "busy thinking." I tried monitoring system processes, turning of wifi, turning off other bluetooth devices, etc. to isolate the culprit. I finally noticed the correlation with my third-party charger. In fact, I have two different brands of third-party chargers (one at work and one at home), and the problem exists for both! I don't know the underlying cause, but it must be that some Windows system process for monitoring battery life and charging has hiccups when not using the OEM charger, and for some reason these hiccups also disrupt *something* about the pen connection -- either the bluetooth itself, or the screen response to the pen's proximity, etc.

I'll update the post if this hypothesis does not hold up over the long term -- i.e., if I ever get the choppy pen behavior when the third-party charger is disconnected.
 

Wayne Orwig

Active Member
After trying almost everything -- including buying a second (newer model) pen -- I've narrowed it down to most likely being my use of a third party charger for the Surface Pro itself. Whenever the charging cable is connected and it is charging, the pen is "choppy." Whenever the charging cable is not connected and/or the battery is fully charged, the pen is fast and smooth as it should be. My solution for now is to charge whenever I'm not using the Surface Pro, and unplug while I'm using it for pen things. I guess an alternative would be to buy another OEM charger (my original died).
Probably conducted EMI. Under load, the power supply is likely creating enough electrical noise that it messes with the pen operating frequency. If you can find access to a LARGE ferrite bead, as you often see molded into cables, you might try putting one of the DC output side of the power supply. At those frequencies, the larger the better, and a couple of loops through the bead are better.
 

Naiera79

New Member
So after months and months of intermittent pen failures, I've finally fixed the problem and I thought I needed to share this in case it works for others. I had previously tried unscrewing/screwing the battery compartment, removing replacing the pen tip, etc with partial success but never reliably. Any software changes I made (like turning off power management for pen) never made any difference. I actually bought a new pen a few months back, which was ok for a while, but then eventually had the same issue.

Anyway, turns out the problem (for both pens) was simply a lose electrical contact inside, and it's really easy to fix. In the front part of the tip, there is the buttons and pen tip circuitry. As with most similar electrical devices (flashlights, laser pointers), that circuitry uses the metal body of the pen as the "ground" wire. It has a contact with the metal of the pen body, which is a little metal tab that presses against the inside of the pen. That doesn't seem to be pressed very hard against the pen, so eventually the contact fails, but jiggling the insides around (for instance by unscrewing the battery compartment and re-screwing it) can sometimes let it make contact again temporarily. But this issue can be fixed permanently by bending that tab out slightly, so the contact with the pen body is much more stable.

Here's how I fixed it:
Unscrew the pen tip compartment (not the battery compartment).
View attachment 8108

For my newer pen, I could just unscrew it by hand, but for the older one it was much tighter, and I had to use pliers with a rubber bands over the tips. For the tighter one, it looked like some glue or locktite-type material was on the threads, so maybe the older pens were made harder to open for some reason. If you do have a tight cap, I don't advise bare pliers, because they will definitely scratch your nice shiny pen.

Once the cap is off, the pen tip circuitry and 2 buttons should then slide right out. The actual plastic buttons will come out separately, so be sure not to lose them.
View attachment 8105

Find the little copper tab that "grounds" the circuit to the pen body.
View attachment 8109

Bend it out slightly so that when inserted back into the pen, it presses out firmly against the metal of pen body.
View attachment 8110

Then, just reassemble the pen and voila, it works perfectly! The plastic buttons are a little tricky to get in place, the easiest way is to put them in through the button holes, while holding the button holes facing down.
View attachment 8112

Once they're sitting in their places, then slide the circuitry back in behind the buttons and screw on the cap. Hopefully this will help some people, I personally found the pen issue to be extremely frustrating, and was very relieved to have it solved at last!
THANK YOU!!!! My pen has been getting worse for MONTHS and finally became unusable. Searched and searched for a fix and finally found your post and fixed my pen in less than a minute - works like new!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing!! You rock and deserve all the good karma :cool:
 
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