Friday, 31 May 2013

Mouse surgery ... ...

I've been using the same mouse for the best part of 6 years now, and as you would expect it has started to show signs of wear and tear, especially in the button clicking department, and one button in particular (it has four) has become really annoying.

Here's the patient -

Reminds me of Moya from Farscape.

The button in question is the one I use when scrolling through documents, web pages and any other type of scrolling, you can see it in the picture above, it's the small button above the large silver one, the way it works is I hold the button down and move the ball and what ever I'm looking at will scroll, and I can scroll vertically (up and down) and horizontally (left and right) which is handy, at least when the button works.

Now I could just go out and buy a new one, but that's the best part of £20 (or more) depending on where you buy it from, and to be honest to fix it costs no more than about £2 or if you have an old mouse lying about then it costs nothing to fix, you just need a soldering iron and some solder.

Here's the offending button, it's a simple micro switch -

Easy to remove, and replace.

So with my trusty soldering iron I set about removing the dying switch, which is just a case of desoldering it, and in this case it's just three little pins that hold the switch to the circuit board.

The three contacts -

Takes just a minute or two to desolder it.

Switch removed - 

That wasn't so hard.

Choices, choices, which switch do I pick ? - 

I removed these from an old mouse.

If you ever need a micro switch or two, then if you have an old mouse you'll be in luck as most mice use micro switches for the left and right click buttons, and any other buttons it might have, but if you do have to buy a micro switch you can get them for under £2 from places like Maplins, and I dare say you could find them cheaper with a quick search online.

All you need to do is remove the screws from the bottom of the mouse and then desolder the micro switches from the circuit board, and you can see in the example below just how long these little switches have been used in mice, the one in the picture is an old ball type mouse, none of this new-fangled laser nonsense.

The willing donor - 

A dinosaur in mouse terms.

Flip it over and go at it with a screw driver - 

There are usually screws hiding under the little plastic pads.

Remove the little pads to show the screws hiding underneath - 

Found you !

And your in, and you should see something very similar to this - 

Three switches, this will be the same with most mice.

And that's as hard as it gets, new switch installed in my mouse - 

I picked the best of the switches I salvaged.

And so far I'm pleased to report the patient is doing well, good as new in fact and I've saved money as well.

Soldering isn't difficult, you do have to be careful as soldering irons get hot, trust me I've burned myself a few times, you can buy soldering irons very cheaply and usually you can buy kits that have everything you need to get you started, iron,solder etc and if you've never tried soldering before I'm sure you can find a 'how to' style video or two on youtube or some other corner of the interweb.

So why not have a go at fixing things that break ? what have you got to lose ? if you can't fix it you've still got to buy a new one, and if you can fix it you'll have saved some cash, can't be bad ... can it ?

Thanks for reading.

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