Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mighty mouse woes - update

It is not totally repaired. The scroll-ball is no longer able to act as the third mouse button, although as a scroll-ball it still operates perfectly.

I seem to remember the third mouse button being over-sensitive, and triggered by a lazy left- or right-click, so I disabled the function many moons ago. However, I did check it today–opening the whole thing up again to see if any ribbon connectors were out of place, and to see if the internal support was wrongly positioned/reshaped. Despite fiddling with the tiny metal arm, and reshaping it ever so slightly, the scroll-ball firmly refuses to work as a button now.

One less thing to worry about I suppose.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mighty Mouse woes and warnings

The Apple Mighty Mouse is famous for its 3D scroll-ball which is, in turn, infamous for getting gunked up, jammed, and useless.

The common remedies to free the scroll-ball prescribed on the interweb involve rolling the gunked up scroll-ball around, either with mouse upside down on a sheet of paper, or with some saliva or rubbing alcohol in the palm of your hand as a 'gunk-solvent'. This remedy does work; my mouse is a few years old and has been un-gunked in this manner at least three times.

More recently, I carried out this un-gunking exercise - first rolling the scroll-ball around on a bit of paper as well as then using some rubbing alcohol in my palm. And the process worked well, at least for the un-gunking. The scroll-ball was free and easy in its socket, scrolling smoothly in all directions. However, I began to experience some odd behaviour with the normal left-click: the mouse would become unresponsive to a light click, but a firm (almost rough) click would restore its normal functionality for a few minutes. I also saw some odd tab-opening behaviour in Safari, with the left-click causing tabs to open behind the current tab.

Then I saw that I had, in my familiarity with the un-gunking exercise, pressed too hard on the scroll-ball and bent its tiny internal support out of shape. My suspicion was the scroll-ball, which normally sits proud of the mouse's upper shell, was now slouching in its cup. While the scroll-ball would still scroll smoothly, its weight would cause the internal support–which seems to double as the switch for the third mouse button–to register a constant click, hence the irregular left clicking (and perhaps the Safari tab issue).

Taking a deep breath, I searched out a video tutorial on how to open up a Mighty Mouse, knowing that opening up the scroll-ball mechanism would be the only way to confirm my suspicions. Taking a craft-knife to my mouse, I dug inside and confirmed my hunch was accurate. The rubbing alcohol had left the rollers clean, but the internal support was crushed into the base of the cup. Using two small screwdrivers, I reshaped the support, and am pleased to say that, on reassembly, my mouse is working fine.

Next time, I'll definitely use some gunk-solvent, and less pressure.