Author Topic: Covert mechanical (ball) mouse to optical  (Read 6329 times)

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Offline DrSchlock

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Covert mechanical (ball) mouse to optical
« on: Wed, 25 January 2012, 08:07:54 »
Has any one successfully converted a mechanical (ball) mouse to an optical mouse? Perhaps this is something not worth trying but I'm curious if anyone has tried (or knows of anyone who has).

Edit: Sorry, title should read "Convert"

Offline Arc'xer

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Covert mechanical (ball) mouse to optical
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 25 January 2012, 10:08:28 »
Quote from: DrSchlock;498563
Has any one successfully converted a mechanical (ball) mouse to an optical mouse? Perhaps this is something not worth trying but I'm curious if anyone has tried (or knows of anyone who has).

Edit: Sorry, title should read "Convert"

It's been done for many years now. I think even when the 1st/2nd generation optical started popping out there was someone around that era doing the exact same thing.

Most of the mechanical ball frankenmouse conversions to optical are based on using the logitech wingman or one of the other well-known ball mice of their day but it seems like the wingman is the most converted though with that said some have converted forgotten and or obscure mice from the era like Mitsumi mice and other brands. They either use the intelli(OS MLT04 sensor) or in more recent times the deathadder avago S3668(3G)/S3888(3.5G) some have used the MX518 avago 3060/80 sensor and possibly with the G400(Avago S3095) angle snapping removed another choice, basically any good sensor from an affordable mice.

With that said despite all the improvement on older mice it's a shame they have to eliminate the rollerball and not incorporate it with the more modern optical. Despite the fact that most people seem to have a negative association with rollerball mice(if they even know a difference between the rollerball and trackball) similar in negative association to CRT monitors(though not surprising considering most used ****ty, cheapo, low end CRTs; same can be said with rollerball mice); the rollerball mice when in proper working condition would provide quite a lot of tactile feedback to the user. If you ever run into old gaming posts and even some current users who have and continue to own working rollerball mice they seem to mention the tactile feedback from the ball as well as the rolling sensation while aiming to a target. And the whole low LOD(lift off distance) comes from the fact that once you lift up a rollerball mouse it will stop tracking, you can't do that on an optical or laser unless their is some sort of either low LOD 2-to-1 CD or less of tracking or some sort of algorithm in place to disable tracking after a certain height.

Offline DrSchlock

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Covert mechanical (ball) mouse to optical
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 25 January 2012, 23:16:18 »
Thanks Arc'xer. I have a Winbest 4d+ mouse that I've wanted to do something with. The mouse feels great in the hand but either part of the mechanism that holds the ball is missing or is poorly designed. It feels like dragging rubber over sand paper when I move it. It's not because it's dirty. I was thinking that some sort of optical conversion (if possible) would allow me to use it.

Offline Jamesbeat

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Covert mechanical (ball) mouse to optical
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 25 February 2012, 11:02:31 »
I have done this.

I built a dedicated emulator machine out of an original xbox, and I wanted an Atari mouse to use with it.
The original Atari mouse is not compatible with modern hardware, so I decided to gut it and replace the innards with those from a modern optical mouse.

I was going to use the hole where the ball used to be as the opening for the optical pickup, but this placed the pickup too high off the mouse mat and the mouse didn't function.
Obviously, 'lift off distance' isn't a problem with the particular mouse I used, it only needs to be lifted a fraction before it stops tracking.

I ended up cutting a rectangular  'chassis' out of the optical mouse to hold the pcb/optical assembly, and then cut a corresponding 'window' out of the bottom of the Atari mouse for the chassis to sit in.

I then made some 'goop' out of acetone and scrap pieces of the shell of the optical mouse and used this to cement the chassis into the Atari mouse.

I also used the goop to form a thin layer over the entire bottom of the inside of the mouse to give it some extra weight and rigidity.

Happily, it just so happened that the microswitches for the buttons were spaced just the right distance apart, so by being careful to place the chassis in exactly the right position, I was able to get them to function with no modification.

Had the buttons not lined up, it would have been a simple matter to use the abs/acetone cement and scrap pieces of plastic to make something that would work.

The result isn't pretty if you look at the underside (mainly because of the difference in color of the plastics) but when it's right side up, the only indication that the mouse is not stock is the color of the lead.

Another problem that I need to fix is that the red led that's now inside glows through the plastic slightly, so I need to make some kind of shield to prevent this.








EDIT: There are actually four photos, but I don't seem to be able to post them, presumably because I'm a newly-registered user. I'll try to get them on here eventually.

Offline Jamesbeat

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Covert mechanical (ball) mouse to optical
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 25 February 2012, 11:30:34 »

Offline Jamesbeat

  • Posts: 126
Covert mechanical (ball) mouse to optical
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 25 February 2012, 11:30:57 »

Offline Jamesbeat

  • Posts: 126
Covert mechanical (ball) mouse to optical
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 25 February 2012, 11:31:08 »

Offline Jamesbeat

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Covert mechanical (ball) mouse to optical
« Reply #7 on: Sat, 25 February 2012, 17:50:59 »
Let's try those photos again now that I have a high enough post count....








As you can see in the last photo there is a (to me) undesirable leakage of light from the thin parts of the mouse casing that I am going to have to fix.
I'll rig up some type of shield around the led/optic parts inside the case to prevent the light from leaking out and making my mouse look like novelty Hello Kitty merchandise.
« Last Edit: Sat, 25 February 2012, 17:53:41 by Jamesbeat »

Offline SmallFry

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Covert mechanical (ball) mouse to optical
« Reply #8 on: Sat, 25 February 2012, 19:17:06 »
That is sincerely cool! Great mod!

Offline kps

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Covert mechanical (ball) mouse to optical
« Reply #9 on: Sat, 25 February 2012, 20:41:56 »
I did something similar several years ago, essentially as a play on the one-button Apple mouse.
[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 41768[/ATTACH] [ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 41769[/ATTACH]

Offline Jamesbeat

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Covert mechanical (ball) mouse to optical
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 25 February 2012, 20:51:42 »
Kps, that is a much neater mod than mine, nice work!
It's a little hard to tell from the photo, but it looks like you had to do a lot of cutting just as I did.
Did you use a similar 'chassis' technique to lower the pickup close enough to the mouse mat to work properly?
It looks like you did something along those lines, but the image gets a little blocky when I zoom in.

Offline kps

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Covert mechanical (ball) mouse to optical
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 25 February 2012, 21:44:18 »
I didn't have a decent camera at the time, and I'm not sure where that mouse is stored right now.

I cut a out the lens-holding section of the donor mouse, and glued it into the base of the Apple mouse. The donor was almost ideal for this purpose, since its wheel and button section could be moved relative to its tracking section, though apparently I still had to modify the buttons somewhat.

[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 41778[/ATTACH] [ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 41779[/ATTACH] [ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 41777[/ATTACH] [ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 41774[/ATTACH] [ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 41776[/ATTACH] [ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 41775[/ATTACH]

Edit: it's not actually neat; you just can't tell from the tiny pictures how messy it is.

Offline Jamesbeat

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Covert mechanical (ball) mouse to optical
« Reply #12 on: Sat, 25 February 2012, 22:48:57 »
And you worked the scroll wheel into the design too!
I didn't see that the first time (I can only view the thumbnails because my iphone doesn't seem to want to cooperate when I click to get a bigger image)
I didn't bother with the scroll wheel on mine, because the idea was to keep it looking exactly like an Atari mouse, and since it is intended for use with an Atari ST emulator, the scroll wheel is not needed.
As you can probably see, I just folded it out of the way. I didn't remove it because I don't know exactly how they work, and was concerned that the firmware of the mouse might be expecting to see it.

I guess it's a bit of a pity that my donor mouse wasn't beige like the Atari mouse so it wouldn't look so rough, but there's not many modern beige mice.
Mine looks sloppy because I put a big seam of 'weld' around the edge, favoring strength and integrity over appearance.
Yours certainly looks neater than mine, but even if it's not very neat in real life, who cares?
Who turns a mouse over to inspect the underside anyway?
« Last Edit: Sun, 26 February 2012, 08:03:58 by Jamesbeat »