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Surface pen tip issue


New Member
I've had a Surface Pro 3 since they were first released and love it except for one issue... my pen keeps disconnecting. I mainly use the desktop mode on my Surface and always the pen essentially like a mouse to click through the UI. Unfortunately, the pen tip will always at some point lose connectivity and pressing on the screen with the tip does nothing. Interestingly, clicking the purple button on top of the pen always works so the issue seems to be related to just the pen tip.

This has been an issue since I first bought this unit and I recently performed a complete restore to see if it would fix the issue, which it didn't. Also, all firmware updates have been applied.

Is anyone using their pen as often as me and experiencing this same issue? At this point, I'm not sure if I have a defective unit and/or pen or if this is how it works in desktop mode.

Any suggestions are appreciated.


Well-Known Member
Welcome aboard. It's something that has happened tome sometimes. Unscrewing the top of the pen and putting it back fixes it. For some reason it's not doing it anymore in my case but other than installing all the updates I have not done anything special to fix it.


Staff member
@cipher ,

The purple pen button (Bluetooth device) and the pen tip are separate devices. The pen tip does not digitally communicate, but is instead an active sensing device. The pen is an "active capacitance" device which actually does some processing itself. The basic technology, though, is that the pen amplifies electrical capacitance (small charge buildups) between your hand and the display. The pen concentrates that difference at the tip (nub)., Processing and signal amplification is via the battery.

Sometimes, but rarely, electrical interference around your body and the Surface Pro 3 can cause a problem.
- Static electricity charge buildup on your chair, from the carpet, from bedsheets
- Very near power strips or banks of AC adapters and chargers, such as a cluttered desk
- Use of power supplies or mains power outlets with wiring polarity reversed. Far more common in the USA than elsewhere.
- Wet hands, salty hands, or hands with moisturizer

Check to see if it happens away from your normal use area. Does it happen only at home? Be sure to rule out the environment.

Also, sometimes the nub gets disconnected, or dirty. With your finger tips or fingernails, pull the nub out of the pen a little ways, then push back in. When my pen tip stops working, this usually fixes it.

You may have noticed that your pen tip is wearing down. Replacement tips are still not available for order from Microsoft, but they are stocked in the Microsoft physical stores (such as at the shopping mall). My local store replaces it for free.

Of course, you may have a defective pen. If you have any friends with the SP3, borrow their pen for awhile, or let them borrow yours. No need to re-pair, since that has to do with the button, not the nub. Try to isolate the pen as the issue, if you can.

By the way, LTE devices may make interference worse. I understand some extra electromagnetic shielding is in the works for future devices so that the high resolution capacitive pen still works.

Hope this helps.

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