Blog entries tagged with "repair"

The middle mouse button

Sunday, December 27th, 2020 at 3:19 pm

My computer mouse of choice is the Microsoft IntelliMouse Optical 1.1A:

I don’t recall when I first started using this mouse, but it was a long long time ago with a white version in 2006 and then black versions from 2008 on. I have tried some other mice, but kept returning to this one. I prefer it so much that at some point I picked up a few of them (new old stock) as spares.

Over the years these have been very reliable for me, typically the fault being with the scroll wheel which is rectified by disassembling the mouse and giving the whole thing a clean. Having the spares meant that I could swap out the mouse immediately, then clean it later.

There has been one fault that a clean doesn’t resolve: when the middle button stops working.

Some people I know don’t think this is a problem, but I use the middle button a lot (second only to the left button) so for me it is a big deal. For example in a web browser to open a link in a new tab do I ctrl/command-click or do I right click and select “open in new tab”? No, I simply middle click on the link…

Good thing I have those spare mice as my first action was to grab one of those from the cupboard. Still doesn’t work. It it is software issue with Windows? Reboot, still doesn’t work. Grab my work Macbook, still doesn’t work. How about Linux? Doesn’t work there either. What about a different spare mouse? Ah…

I then tested the other spare mice and found that it was only those two (the one I had been using and the first spare I tried) that didn’t have a working middle button. Time to open one of them up to see if I could see anything obvious like dirt wedged in the button, nope it all looked good. Having two mice out of action would mean I would be down to one spare and replacements at this time are quite expensive.

While I had the mouse apart I noticed that the switch for the middle button appeared to be the same as the switches for the side buttons, the side buttons that I never use, so what if I unsoldered the switches and swapped them around? It took longer to get the soldering iron set up and find my solder wick, but I was able to restore middle button functionality.

Repeating the procedure on the other broken mouse meant that these two mice are now in the cupboard as spares, not being thrown away.

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