Pretorian SimplyWorks E080024

Archie
Site Admin
Posts: 122
Joined: 31 Jan 2019 15:27

Pretorian SimplyWorks E080024

Post by Archie » 13 Mar 2022 20:53

https://www.pretorianuk.com/simplyworks-trackball

Ball size: 2 11/64" (55.12mm)
Interface: USB wireless
USB ID: VID_0CD3&PID_320F
Product Name: Pretorian SimplyWorks
Year: 2007

Image


Good cordless optical trackball, intended primarily for disabled people. My sample have "it-Roll" nameplate, relabeled to be distributed via Inclusive Technology company, but Pretorian sticker is also present. To prevent accidental clicks, the buttons are mounted below the surface. Also, left & right buttons have additional 3.5mm sockets to connect external buttons or foot pedals if needed. Middle button is hardwired as a LMB click lock and cannot be reassigned, unfortunately. Red sparkling 55mm ball is supported by 1.75mm grey ceramic beads, mounting holder is separate piece of black plastic.

Image Image

Image Image

Image Image


Internal design is more or less typical, but with some unusual details. Device uses 9-volt PP3 block battery, and have Maxim MAX640-based voltage converter to reduce it to the common 3.3v level. Power switch is absent, so it's impossible to switch it off: trackball is permanently in working state as long as the battery is installed.

Image Image


Button switches used are keyboard keys, and doesn't have distinct "click" feel. Apparently they're of Sasse series 25 type. Buttons (or more correctly in this case, key caps) are elastic, with rigid insert matching switch stem.

Image Image


Sensor is Agilent ADNS-3040 ( 400/800 cpi resolution), radio link is based on Nordic nRF24L01 transmitter. The controller is inaccessible to identify, as it's blocked with radio daugtherboard permanently soldered over it, but I'd suppose it's some Cypress CY7C63xxx or similar.

Image Image


There's no any internal connectors: all the electronic parts are connected by soldered wires:

Image Image


USB receiver is an independent piece of hardware, not limited to this particular device:
Spoiler
Show
Trackball works in conjunction with Pretorian universal 2.4GHz SimplyWorks Receive E080025 bidirectional transceiver (FCC ID: VKL-E080025), that supports up to 6 devices connected simultaneously. The SimplyWorks product range includes various peripherals like joystick, keyboard, remote switches, audio devices etc. Device have pairing/activity LED, click-lock and caps-lock LEDs, but PCB does have a soldering points fot 3 more LEDs. One of them is obviously a num-lock indicator, installed in it-Receive-branded variant, and two others are unknown to me.

Image Image


Transceiver is based on Cypress CY7C63613C-SXC controller, accompanied with ST 93C46WP serial EEPROM (apparently used to store the information about paired devices) and Nordic nRF24L01 radio transmitter.

Image Image


Despite modern 2.4GHz band used, the receiver is quite big - similar to the 27MHz bulky receivers with USB cable widely used in early generations wireless devices like Logitech T-RB22 or Kensington #64329. There's also updated version, RECEIVE:2, with more modern USB dongle form factor.

Receive user manual:
https://trackballs.eu/media/Pretorian/R ... ECEIVE.pdf
General quality of this trackball is good, except for the ball: it seems to be not hard enough. I've bought this trackball in used condition, so minor dents on the surface of the ball looked like a traces of impacts or dropping it survived - but turned out they're developing if the ball is just pressed against the holder with some force barely exceeding normal use. Keyboard switches used are of questionable quality: they work fine, but overall feel is bizarre. There's no click as such, while tactile perception resembles rubber-dome keys - but actual closure of contacts occurs before that tactile feeling.

One quite funny thing about this trackball was, during disassembling I've found that sensor still have protective Kapton tape intact! The worker has forgot to remove it after soldering, but trackball was operational anyway. The tape was transparent enough for the sensor to see the picture through it. I've never seen such manufacturing flaws even on cheapest Chinese stuffs, so it's especially strange for expensive UK product. Interestingly, the device does not have common "Made in ..." marking at all - but I'd suppose it's made in Great Britain.

Image Image


User manual:
https://trackballs.eu/media/Pretorian/S ... CKBALL.pdf

Overall impression is good. Despite simple flat shape of case, device is very convent to operate, except for the button location/design. Ball movement is perfect, except for the dented spots. Seems like excellent candidate for modding, either by installing normal thumb/pinkie buttons or using the internals for retrofitting some other casing, and a better ball from Kensington or Perixx.

As usually, this trackball was used to prepare & publish this article.