Mouse Problems             July 2003

I've been having problems with my mouse for awhile now but have always cleaned it when it acts up. I own a track-ball type mouse which means that you don't move the mouse. Instead, you move the mouse ball with your thumb. The other day I was doing the normal "take the ball out, clean it with my shirt, then put it back in routine" when an unexpected problem occurred. See how the ball comes out? There is a small finger size hole in the bottom that allows you to poke it out with your finger. 



While I was cleaning the ball with my shirt, it slipped out of my hands and fell to the floor. Now I was sitting in my chair while doing this with my keyboard tray pulled out (see the upper picture to set the mood). All I heard was the sound of the ball bouncing off the floor and then......the weirdest a pin ball machine (this picture is what you see if you push the keyboard tray back in). Now what the hell was that weird noise??? 

As it turns out, the mouse ball went into the hole in the side of the subwoofer if you can believe that. Now this is a one-in-a-million shot to make this into the cone shaped hole and to miss the support that sits next to it. After unhooking the subwoofer (all four speakers attach in the back along with the volume controls and wall outlet), I tried to get the ball back out but the path of the hole goes in for about 4" or so and then takes a 180 degree turn back to the same side in came from. I couldn't get my hand in there and my wife couldn't seem to reach it either so I did the shake-rattle-and-roll to see if I could get it out. After about five of six times doing this, the ball seemed to wedge it self against something inside and wouldn't come loose. That meant it was time to do surgery...



 To get the subwoofer apart, there's 25 screws that surround the back along with another 20 or so screws that I didn't know if needed to come out or not so I took all of the outside ones out first. After removing those screws, I tried pulling on the heat-sink but nothing happened. This is where I started taking out the remainder of the screws. After removing 10 or so, I pulled on it again and the same thing happened....nothing! Now it was time to force a small screwdriver in between the speaker back and the side walls to see if it would come loose. Turns out that there was some type of gasket sealer between the two and that's why it stayed put. After getting the back to come loose, I couldn't get the power cord to move as it was attached to the inside somehow. This is as far as I could open it without inflicting damage to something.



Here you can see where the ball was caught between some wires, vent tube and the side of the sub. Again my hands were to big to reach it so I called on my wife once more to help out. Her hands were just small enough to reach it. Now it was time to put the whole thing back together and clean the ball like I had planned in the first place. This little setback took a good hour to finish but everything worked fine when I got done. It's time to buy a new mouse this weekend.