Updated February, 2007
These machines came out around 2001. There were pretty hot stuff at the time and sold for $3900! They were used by insurance claims adjusters, utility companies, etc. Now you can find them on ebay for around $200. Although there is a lot of competition from new affordable 7" tablet PCs, the Fujitsu is still worth buying. At that price they are almost irresistible! I bought one for reading e-books and to use as a remote control for my audio system. Older machines had 6GB HDDs (?), newer ones had 15 GB drives. There were three display options. If you want to use the thing indoors, get the 3500S or 3500X. The S and X displays are backlit, 800x600 and 1024x768 respectively. The 3500R has a reflective display that works great outdoors but isn't good for indoor use.
I have linked to a bunch of resources for the ST3500 below. I suggest that you grab the software and technical manual and put them somewhere safe because you never know when they'll disappear from the web.
Pen Computing Magazine
Small Business Computing
Software and Manual Downloads:
Fujitsu's US web site provides detailed specs and options.
Fujitsu's US support web site has manual, drivers, and BIOS downloads.
Here's the big one- the site where you can get the PenX software in case you have to reload the OS:
Fujitsu's German support web site has PenX, and all drivers for the 3500 for all operating systems.
The technical reference manual with BIOS setting details and connector pinouts is available here.
I packaged all the manuals and Win2k stuff I could find and put it on my web site for download because you never know when the other sites will disappear. If your machine happens to use Win2K like mine, you can download all the manuals, drivers, and software from my site here: Win2K drivers, software, and manuals in one 13 MB .rar archive. The image below shows the contents of the file.
Internet forums can be useful if you want to reinstall or change the OS, or fix some problem on your machine. You can get help from other people who have already been through whatever you're trying to do at either or both of these forums.
Tablet PC Buzz Fujitsu Forum
Tablet Questions Fujitsu Forum
Linux and the ST3500:
Yes, there are quite a few people who have loaded Linux on the ST 3500!
The tablet can even be made to work using a driver called fpit that is an included part of XFree86.
This thread at the Ubuntu forums makes it look like installing Linux can be easier than installing Windows...
GroundState has a list of tablet PC software for Linux.
Tuxmobil.org has a nice list of known working tablets and the Linux distros that have been installed on them, but even better is the list of software with explanations of what each does near the bottom of the page. The ST 3500 is conspicuously absent from the tablet list, but I have seen several web sites where different people say they have successfully installed Linux on the ST 3500.
Parts, accessories, etc.:
J&K Sales has some 3500s and accessories for them at what appear to be reasonable prices.
Geeks.com has some really cheap refurbished 2.5" HDDs for <$1/GB. They also have some dirt cheap USB keyboards.
MemoryTen and BIX NET have memory modules for the 3500
D.S. Miller has automotive power adapters.
Super Warehouse has brand new batteries for the 3400/3500.
ebatts.com , Low Cost Batteries , and Duracell Direct have AC adapters, automotive adapters, and aftermarket high capacity batteries.
and don't forget the ultimate source for life, the universe, and everything...
Installing a new HDD and setting up Windows 2000 in the ST3500 : updated 4/23/07
A lot of people would like to upgrade their tablet's OS, and others just want a bigger HDD. Both involve figuring out a way to do it without networking, FDD, bootable USB, or a CDROM drive in the tablet. After some research and trial and error, I have managed to install an 80 GB HDD in my 3500 and everything is working! I bought a Seagate ST980815A drive at newegg.com for $65 with free shipping. It has a 5 year warranty and it is so quiet I can't hear it running without putting my ear right up to it. I couldn't find a better deal even in a refurb!
This procedure requires only USB keyboard and mouse, USB hub (to connect usb mouse and usb keyboard to tablet), a PC with FDD and CDROM drive, a 3.5” to 2.5” cable adapter, a Win2K install CD, a floppy disk, ST3500 specific driver files downloaded from Fujitsu's US support web site, CIC PenX downloaded from the Fujitsu Germany support web site, and of course, a new HDD.
About the drivers… You can get the driver files from either the US or the German support sites, but there are some differences- check the readme files that are packaged with the archive files. The some of the US support site files include readmes that actually tell how to install some of the drivers instead of just saying that you should contact Fujitsu tech support for install instructions.
The procedure looks long and involved, but it takes just a few hours.
Step by step:
1) DL a Win 98 boot disk image file from bootdisk.com and burn a floppy disk.
2) DL the ST3500 driver files from the US Fujitsu support page. Also get CIC PenX from the Fujitsu Germany support page.
3) Install the new HDD in a PC on the second IDE channel or as a slave on the main channel (jumper the drive for slave operation). Note the photos below show the correct orientations of the connectors. The power connection to the adapter goes on the end of the HDD connector opposite the 4 jumper pins (see second photo). After you install the HDD, restart the machine and hit the "delete" key to enter the BIOS set-up. Go to the page that is used to set the HDD dimensions. It is probably set to "auto" to detect the HDD size. You will want to set the dimensions of the new HDD manually. Set the number of cylinders and sectors to match the label on the HDD or on the HDD manufacturer's web page. The BIOS in the ST3500 limits the number of sectors to 63, so if that doesn't match your drive, go ahead and try auto detect.
2.5" to 3.5" HDD adapter
Adapter mounted on HDD showing correct orientation of the power connector
Adapter installed in the PC showing correct orientation
HDD "installed" in the PC via the adapter
4) Boot the PC with the Win 98 boot disk in the FDD.
5) Run fdisk and partition the HDD as desired. After finishing with fdisk, format the drive (it will be FAT32 and support large disk partitions).
6) Copy the boot-up files to the HDD using the SYS command: SYS C:
7) Reboot the machine to its normal operating system. You should see the new HDD, partitioned and formatted.
8) Put your Win2K install CD into the PC’s CDROM drive.
9) Copy the I386 directory from the CDROM to a same name directory on the new HDD in the C: partition. Make sure all the files have been copied.
10) Copy the ST3500 driver files and manuals to the new HDD also.
11) Pull the new HDD out of the PC and install it in the tablet. See photos… Power-up the tablet and enter the BIOS to set the HDD dimensions the same as they were set when the HDD was in the PC - this will prevent the "missing netldr" message when you try to boot to the HDD in the tablet. * note: auto detecting HDD dimensions does work sometimes, however, if you can manually configure the drive dimensions, it is safest to do so. Remember that the BIOS in the ST3500 is limited to 63 sectors.
HDD cable and installation space in the tablet
Cable plugged into HDD prior to install in tablet
HDD almost in position for installation in the tablet. Push the end of the HDD near the edge of the tablet down first, then the connector end.
HDD in place, cable connector not yet plugged into tablet.
HDD in place and connector plugged in.
HDD installed. Now just screw down the cover.
12) Plug the USB hub with attached mouse and keyboard into the tablet.
13) Reboot the tablet. At the C: prompt, switch to the I386 directory and run winnt.exe.
14) Before installing Win2K, you will be asked if you want to convert the file system to NTFS. If you plan on watching DVDs on your tablet, do the conversion. Otherwise FAT32 should be OK. FAT32 has a file size limit of 4 GB, smaller than many DVDs. If you are going to dual bott with linux, leave some unpartitioned space for linux. Most linux distros can't write to NTFS partitions...
15) Answer questions as they come up and finish the OS install.
16) Now install the drivers.
17) Video driver: run the self-extracting archive then run setup. Done.
18) Audio: Run the self-extracting archive. Open the device manager, look for the question mark under "Other Devices" "Multimedia Audio Controller". Update the driver by right clicking that item, selecting properties, driver, and update driver using the freshly extracted audio driver.
19) Power management: Run the self-extracting BatteryAid archive. The setup program will run automatically as soon as the extraction is complete. After the program installation has finished, install the driver. Select the first of the two unknown devices in the device manager. Right click, and install the driver that’s in the BatteryAid extraction directory.
20) Pen Driver: Run the self-extracting archive. Look for the only remaining unknown device in the device manager. Install the driver for it from the freshly extracted pen driver directory. The device manager should now show “Fujitsu Stylistic 3500 pen”.
21) At this point the pen should work for selecting objects and moving them around on the screen. Setting up handwriting recognition requires replacing the “Fujitsu Stylistic 3500 Pen” driver with the moufiltr.sys driver that is part of CIC PenX. Run the CIC PenX self-extracting archive. Run the setup.exe file. Open the device manager and select the Fujitsu Stylistic 3500 Pen and update the driver by selecting "choose driver from a list", then "have disk". Browse to the c:\CIC directory and select the moufiltr.inf file. Now the tablet will be capable of handwriting recognition.
22) Now install the SAS driver- this is the one that generates a Ctl-Alt-Del command simply by tapping the hand icon in the tray. Run the FPC Utilities self-extracting archive. Now run the add/remove hardware app in the control panel. Select Add/troubleshoot a device, then select “add” a new device, select “No, I want to select hardware from a list”, select “Other Devices”, “Next”, “Have Disk”, and then browse to the FPC utilities extract directory and select fujdrv.inf.
23) Now open the windows start menu, and select settings, task-bar and start-menu, and on the advanced tab, select "advanced". Navigate to the "startup" folder. Place links to the on-screen keyboard and SAS applet so that they will both automatically start in the system tray every time the tablet boots up.
Done! That wasn’t so bad, was it?
Repairing the power connector on the ST3500
My ST3500 had a flaky power connector- I had to put lateral pressure on the connector on the cable to get it to make contact with the connector in the tablet. The problem was that the contacts inside the power connector in the tablet had been bent so they barely made contact with the center pin of the power cable connector. I suspect someone may have dropped it on the connector with the cable plugged in. The repair wasn't difficult, but it takes some cajones to take the tablet apart, knowing that you might screw something up and not get it back together or worse, that it might not work when you're through. I took lots of pictures showing the take-apart procedure. Fortunately, it is pretty easy to disassemble and reassemble the machine.
You will need a good quality, #1 philips (+) screw driver. Don't use a cheapo. The screws have loctite on them and you will need to apply some torque to get them in and out and a cheesy tool will strip the screw's driver socket and you won't be able to do the job. I like the German made Wiha tools. You will also need a good soldering iron.
Start by powering the unit off using the "emergency" power button located in the little hole next to the power switch. Then remove the HDD and battery. You don't need to take off the memory cover.
Turn the 3500 face down and remove all the black-headed screws from the bottom. Put them in a small dish to keep from losing them. The one, long screw goes into the hole marked with an arrow on the rear cover.
Next separate the top bezel and the bottom cover. Turn the unit face-up and pry the two pieces apart with your finger nails. They will come apart.
Set the bezel aside and remove the digitizer. You will need to take out 6 screws, then disconnect the ribbon cable at the top of the screen.
Remove the screws holding the LCD to the main chassis. Also remove the screw at the small PCB at the top of the screen and take the microphone out of its hole. You'll have to remove the ribbon cable from the DC-DC converter that powers the display backlight also.
Now you can remove the LCD and fold it open.
Now you can get to the power connector. Push it in and then lift it out from the case. It is connected to the main PCB by a socketed cable. If you pull on it gently the connector on the main PCB will let go and you will be able to take out the tiny PCB that the connector is soldered to. Unsolder the connector by heating all three terminals simultaneously and pulling it away from the PCB. Pry the center contact out of the connector body with a screw driver. Squeeze the tines of the forked contact together using some long nose pliers. Slide the contact back into the connector and solder it back to the little PCB. Now reconnect the the cable to the main PCB by using a small screw driver to push it into its socket. Reinsert the connector and reverse the take-apart procedure.
When you reassemble the unit, be sure to blow any dust off the digitizer and LCD screens before you screw them back together.
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