Saturday, September 11, 2021


It feels like I am constantly fixing computer mice. The most common issue is the wires breaking near the mouse, requiring me to shorten the cable and resolder it to the PCB. I usually also add some glue or heat shrink tubing as strain relief if I haven’t done so already. Switching the household to wireless mice would solve the problem, at the expense of having yet more batteries to deal with.

I started off today with a new fix: the plastic axle from a mouse wheel broke off. I drilled through the mouse wheel and put a toothpick in instead. We’ll see how long that holds up. If it doesn’t, I’ll have to see if I can find a screw or nail of the right diameter instead.

Likely near future task: my daughter complains of a mouse double clicking. When it earlier had that problem, it seemed to me that it was generating an extra click on release, which sounds to me like a debouncing failure. But then I took it apart and put it back together and the problem disappeared, so I didn’t have a chance to fix it. Apparently the problem has come back, but I can’t duplicate it. If and when I duplicate it, I plan to hook it up to an oscilloscope, and play around with capacitors to debounce the release.

I wonder if problems would decrease if we bought more expensive mice.


swaggerswaggmann said...

I had the same problem, then I noticed that a better mouse would not have those problem. After that I followed by imagining an even better, perfect mouse who would also always be anywhere I needed it.
I use this one now.

Anonymous said...

I presume getting a slightly more expensive one would reduce the damage since the (overall) quality should be better. It also depends on the brand you’re purchasing from as well.

Alexander R Pruss said...

I suppose the most common problem we have is caused by flexibility of cable and cost both pushing the manufacturer to thinner cables. I would be happy to sacrifice cable flexibility to have less breakage. I used to have a tiny mouse where at some point I replaced the very thin cable by a fat USB cable from some other product, and the result was a bit more annoying to use, but at least the cable lasted.

The same thing happens with wired earbuds -- I would prefer uncomfortably fat cables if they just didn't break.

Alexander R Pruss said...

swsw made me think what my perfect mouse would be like. :-)

It would be a wireless mouse--so cables don't break--but at the same time it would be battery-free. This may sound like a violation of the laws of nature, but there is such a thing on the market: a Wacom Intuos mouse. It does require a Wacom drawing tablet, and we actually have one large Wacom3 tablet in the household. The tablet, of course, has a cable (I assume the mouse inductively sips power from the tablet, just like I think the styluses do), but the tablet cable should be a lot more reliable than a mouse cable, because (a) it is quite thick and (b) it isn't moved as often as a mouse cable. And Intuos3 mice and tablets are not expensive on ebay if you get the tablet without a stylus.

I wonder what the latency for gaming would be like.

One does lose some portability: all the PCs in regular use are laptops.