When Your Trackball Gets Dirty?

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Offline Titanscape

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When Your Trackball Gets Dirty?
« on: 08/12/2009 14:05:07 »
I have a Fellowes trackball, but the ball sensors get dirty from skin erosion. What do you fellows do when this happens to your trackballs? I clean mine, but it doesn't work well.

Do you know of a better system?
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Offline graham.d

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When Your Trackball Gets Dirty?
« Reply #1 on: 08/12/2009 14:58:29 »
I clean my balls regularly :-)

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Offline LeeE

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When Your Trackball Gets Dirty?
« Reply #2 on: 08/12/2009 15:10:32 »
If it has rollers then it's down to cleaning them thoroughly with a cotton-bud dipped in isopropyl alcohol.  If there's a substantial buildup of crud, which is often the case as it usually seems to take quite buildup before you notice the problem, you may need to scrape the bulk of it off with a scalpel before you clean with the alcohol to remove the last traces of grease/oils.

A better alternative is to use an optical track ball.  I seem to recall seeing such a device, where the ball had a grid pattern printed onto its surface (but beneath a protective transparent coating), and with a couple of LED sensors built into the ball-pit (I think it may have still had rollers but these were just to allow the ball to move freely and weren't used for detecting movement).
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Offline techmind

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When Your Trackball Gets Dirty?
« Reply #3 on: 10/12/2009 21:56:20 »
My conventional mouse needs unclogging once a year or so. I just remove the ball and carefully pick at the little rollers inside using my fingernails to remove the ring of crud which forms around the each of the rollers. Having loosened it with my nails, the sticky side of a piece of Sellotape can be used to extract the offending ring from the works. Then it's fine for another 12-18 months.

In the past, the company I now work for developed a trackball device for messy/industrial applications - and needs neither optics nor rollers. They embedded coils inside the solid ball, and used an inductive sensing method to monitor the ball position. I've no idea whether anything based on this technology is available at consumer-electronics prices...
« Last Edit: 10/12/2009 21:57:58 by techmind »
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Offline Don_1

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When Your Trackball Gets Dirty?
« Reply #4 on: 11/12/2009 10:21:22 »
I clean my balls regularly :-)


I'm glad to know that, though it could be a little more information than I really wished to know.

I hope you don't overdo the cleaning, I gather such actions can misconstrued as something undesirable and can necessitate a trip to Specsavers.
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Offline Titanscape

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When Your Trackball Gets Dirty?
« Reply #5 on: 22/12/2009 15:09:00 »
In my patent research I found someone else got the same idea first, a trackball, with stripes, and a laser detector in it, instead of rollers.
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