Help! My ActivPen Is Skipping Around!

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by MARK WEST 09/14/10


My board is being a little difficult when I write on it. It is skipping spots. What can I do?

Jumping and Spiking are two quirks associated with ActivPens; they are both somewhat rare, but do happen.

If the pen cursor moves itself around randomly, this called Jumping

Spiking is when the cursor jumps between points, creating jagged, non-smooth text.

The basic solution is to reset (i.e. power off) the board. When doing so keep these things in mind:

  • Quite often the projector is plugged into the same power strip as the Promethean ActivBoard. So this assumed when you unplug your ActivBoard, you're also unplugging your projector.
  • Always turn off the projector first (don't unplug it yet).
  • Always wait for the projector fan to stop; some take up to 15 minutes. This fan is cooling a bulb, which can break if not properly cooled; it typically costs $150 or more and often contains Mercury, which is very hazardous to your health. The quantity is generally very low, but these are "relatives" of Mercury-Vapor Lamps, which are banned in some areas (see Mercury Vapor Bulb Bans). Please note these are for "bigger" bulbs than your projector uses; however, please let the projector fan stop spinnging before unplugging it.
  • Quit ActivInspire.
  • Unplug the USB cable connecting your computer to the ActivBoard. If USB can send power to your iPod, it can send power to the board to keep it powered up - which is defeating your purpose of unplugging it.
  • Unplug your board. Count slowly to 20, and then plug it back in
  • Reconnect the USB cable and power everything on, restarting inspire. Don't forget the audio button the size of the Pro 300 Boards (the black encased boards).

If this makes you nervous because of the Mercury issue, every school has a tech coach, ask her/him to do it for you.

Usually resetting the board fixes the issue. If the problem persists, there are more steps here: