Mouse Modification

Important: This modification should be done only by someone who has great familiarity with soldering and unsoldering.
Scroll to the bottom for a few instructions.

Yes, it seems that people have come up with all kinds of mouse modifications, even going so far as substituting an Altoids™ box for the mouse case. Some of these modifications are quite impressive but here is a modification that is actually quite useful.

Many years ago when I was using a computer mouse, the left button went "dead". Taking the mouse apart would have been easy enough but the bigger problem would be finding a replacement switch of the same exact size and having the same "travel" distance as the previous one. Then, it occurred to me that I didn't even need a switch and instead, two wires could be used in its place.

Before we talk any more about the modification, the first thing to do is taking the mouse apart.

Each manufacturer constructs a computer mouse differently, but you can be almost 100% sure that it will be fastened with at least one screw. To make things tougher, sometimes these screws are very well-hidden. Sometimes the screw(s) are covered with a piece of foil. In the picture above, the arrows are pointing at four ovals of plastic (the two on the left have been removed. Remember to keep and replace these pieces of plastic because the mouse moves more smoothly with them.)
Anyway, the mouse I modified was held together by two screws and the ovals on the right were covering 2 plastic latches that snapped the two pieces of plastic together. So I removed the two screws, moved the plastic latches and was able to open it up.

Since you are taking the mouse apart, it's probably because one of the buttons no longer works and if you are right-handed, the chances are higher than 99% that it's the left mouse button that's causing the problem. The old mouse button has to be unsoldered and 2 wires have to be soldered in its place. To do this, the scroll wheel has to be removed and the circuit board has to be lifted out of the plastic case and flipped upside down.

Now that the circuit board has been flipped, the left mouse button is now at the bottom right of the diagram.

What you now have to do is unsolder the two connections and remove the pushbutton switch from the underside of the board.

Now you have to solder 2 thin wires to the same two terminals where the switch used to be. Keep the wires thin because the holes in those solder terminals are pretty small.

Once you solder those wires to the circuit board, seal up the mouse, making sure you can access both of those wires.





At the left is the re-assembled mouse with the left and right plastic mouse buttons still unattached.

Before going any further, you could use the newly attached wires to act just like a mouse button. Strip some insulation from the two ends and when you want a left mouse click, touch the two wires together and release to break the connection. Of course, using the mouse in this manner is pretty awkward and so we need to find a faster and easier way to connect and disconnect two wires.

There are probably many solutions to connecting the two wires but here is one way. Two small holes were drilled into the mouse (see red arrows) and then a bare number 14 wire was placed into those holes. For extra security, one end of the wire was heated and melted into the plastic so that it would remain tight and not rattle around. (You can use a soldering iron for this, but remember to heat just the wire and don't let the tip touch the plastic.) One of the recently attached thin wires was then soldered to the other end of the number 14 wire.

For the other connection, braided #18 wire was used and the other thin wire was soldered to this.

As for using the mouse, you'll probably have to adjust the top wire quite a bit but eventually you'll find a spot in which "clicking" the mouse is now easier than it was originally.






Well, as you can see, after just a few days I decided to "modify the modification". It does look better when it's completely sealed up and I also decided to remove the right mouse switch as well.

That's a nail that's been melted into the mouse and is connected to the "common" side of both mouse buttons. The braided wire is soldered to the left mouse button terminal and the solid wire connects to the right.

As for the plastic mouse buttons, since I removed the switches that were beneath them, they are now connected to nothing.

Okay, maybe the appearance of the mouse still isn't that appealing but the important advantage of this modification is the greater ease you will gain in using the mouse.






Yes, just a few days elapsed and it was time for another modification. This time I used some sheet metal (although I should have searched for something a little better looking).

The important thing to remember with this modification is that the only requirement for the materials you use is that they be conducting and this should leave you with a huge amount of choices.








  Since this modification permits the use of a wide variety of different materials, I decided to use a U.S. quarter. (For the first time I'd say this looks pretty good doesn't it?)

The quarter is not just sitting on the mouse and has been "burned in" to give it greater stability.

Maybe the mouse would look better if it hadn't undergone four modifications. Wow, that plastic has been drilled, bolted and burned a great number of times and it does show doesn't it?

With this mod (and the previous one), the mouse has become "ambidextrous". Yes, a left-handed or right-handed person should be able to use this equally well - and there's no need to go to the control panel and change the "buttons" from right-handed to left-handed.




Well, didn't you feel that another mouse modification would make an appearance?

Deciding to make a break with the past (well not really), the quarter on the mouse has now been replaced by a half dollar. Quite a radical change in design huh?

This time the coin was "burned" into the mouse until it was flush with the plastic. This makes the mouse much more comfortable to use. I suppose the coin being flush with the plastic would also make the mouse look better - if it hadn't been subjected to so many modifications.







S u m m a r y
So, after all that work what are the benefits of doing this?

• The mouse is now silent. (and I can't possibly think of a reason why anyone really needs to hear a mouse click.)

• Using the mouse is so much easier. Granted, pushing a mouse button doesn't require the strength of Arnold Schwarzenegger, but then again, think of how many times per day you have to "click" the mouse. Excessive mouse use, (particularly clicking with the index finger), can cause medical problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome. I haven't conducted any extensive medical research on this but it seems this modification would definitely reduce the risk of acquiring any neurological problems.

• You are no longer restricted just to using your index finger and you can now use two or more fingers.

• The mouse has lost its "right hand / left hand" orientation and so you really don't have to go to the Control Panel to change from "right hand" to "left hand".

• This modification allows tremendous freedom for you to place the left click "button" (actually two wires) and right click "button" (another two wires) just about anyplace.

• Since there are so many materials that conduct electricity, this opens up a lot of possibilities for materials and objects you could use. Perhaps you could replace the #14 wire with a nail. With a small modifcation, you could control this mouse by using ... a mouse trap!

Can this modification produce a functional mouse that can be used every day just as if it were a "real" mouse? Yes. In fact I'm using one right now.

Good luck with your modification.

I n s t r u c t i o n s
When doing modifications such as these, there are some problems that could arise.

Damage could be done just by disassembling and re-assembling the mouse.

Remember that the soldering iron gets very hot and accidentally placing it next to an electronic component can destroy it.

Using too much time when soldering or de-soldering can cause damage to the circuit board.

Circuit board terminals can get "worn out" by too much soldering and de-soldering.

Because this mouse underwent four modifications, what were once the switch button terminals became damaged. Basically, there was no copper remaining and so a proper connection could not be made. I found one solution for this (see photo).

In just about any electronic device, there is more than one circuit board and there is usually a ribbon cable connecting one board to the other. Eventually I found which wires attached to the mouse button switch terminals and so I used a knife to separate and remove the insulation from wires #2 and #5. I attached and soldered two wires to these points and these newly soldered wires are now quite secure.










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