Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Keeping a mouse alive...

Are you one of those people - like me - who just finds it irritating when things seize to work. This writing is about my Microsoft "Intellimouse Optical" (nothing much intelligent about it, though).

It's a good old wired mouse that I originally bought to my first Mac. Somewhere like 2002. It's still working, but the roll of it started getting stuck a year back or so. It's irritating; the symptoms are that the roll rolls.... then not... then again. Like there was some place alongside it that's sticky. This of course is quite an annoyance for using it on websites or anywhere.

Now. What's interesting about this is that *nothing's wrong*. I've analyzed the glitch and I suspect all Intellimice of this age would be affected. Here's what.

The roll is too close to the right edge. If one moves it slightly left (it has a gap of around 0.5mm) all is fine. So - I opened the mouse and made the case opening bigger. About 20 times. What's funky about this is that in order to feel if the cure is enough one has to put back the screws and all. :) Before that, it was always okay. After tightening the screws, not so. :)

So, here's the advice if your mouse has the same glitch:

- case opens by detaching the lower glued pads only. Below them are two screws.
- try scraping some off the right side of the mouse wheel first. Doing this would have no visual effect on the mouse, if this is enough, be happy.
- scrape the mouse opening from "outside in" to keep visual effects minimized. I had to remove rather much until it finally worked. But I wasn't having this guide. ;P
- once the cover is back on (but not the pads) try to "free wheel" the wheel. It should give a high pitch and roll a few rounds. It should feel light.
- don't tighten the screws too much. You can even leave them loose. Tightening makes the problem worse.

Naturally, instead of doing all this one could just go and get the latest Apple Magic Mouse. But it feels good to have old stuff working, and it feels good to be able to fix things.

p.s. If you know how to make the right extra button (mouse button 5) do "Exposé - show desktop" I'd be pleased. Running OS X 10.6, Microsoft Intellipoint 7.1.0. It just does not work (tried both assigning at Intellipoint and 'Handled by Mac OS'); used to about a year ago. Maybe an OS X update has killed that?

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