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Mouse repair 101

Shop tools often double as household tools – when a non-woodworking item needs fixed, sometimes a woodworking tool is just what you need. Sometimes not.

Had a problem with my computer mouse over the weekend. I use these things to death, so it’s not surprising that I go through a lot of them. But when they malfunction I always try to fix them first, and why not? I’d otherwise just trash it and buy a new one, so if I break it even broker by trying to fix it I’ve not really lost anything if I’m unsuccessful. And if I’m lucky I might just get a bit of extra life out of it.

The left button on the mouse – the one used most frequently – was the culprit. It just seemed that when clicking it that it wasn’t going down all the way. My mouse has a little tilt wheel between the two buttons, and it seemed to be sticking when tilted to the left. So I’m thinking there’s maybe some dust buildup or other obstruction jamming that side of the mouse. My little tool kit of very little tools was downstairs, so mouse and me headed down there.

But once in the shop it occurred to me that I could save some time by just blowing out the dust jam, so I grabbed the air hose and snapped on the cleaning nozzle. I figured just a gentle zap of air might do the trick. Boy, did it ever.

That gentle zap came out of the nozzle as more of a blast. I wasn’t gripping the mouse that tightly and it went flying. It hit the workbench, ricocheted over to the top of the table saw, then further ricocheted into the garage door. I should be able to skip stones on a pond so well.

Its energy spent, the mouse bounced off the door and fell to the concrete shop floor, where it broke open. Sure enough, there was a big dust ball jammed under the button/wheel contacts.

I managed to mostly snap it back together, although there’s a small piece missing and the case is now cracked (I put a piece of masking tape on it to keep the crack closed and the case intact), and was amazed to find that the mouse is working. Not working well, but it’ll do till I can get a new one.

Once again, my theory that anything can be fixed with a hammer, WD-40 or tape is proven true.



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