Typical failures

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Typical failures

Post by Archie » 21 Oct 2019 22:33

Old trackballs are often sold in non-working condition. There are several types of problems: mechanical, when rollers aren't moving properly, are caused by dried out grease in bearings. Remedy is described here:

Electronics is also prone to various glitches. Brief routine to identify them is next:

If the device is not detected by system at all - check the cable with DMM for possible wire breaks (most often occurred near connector or the device, due to strain and bending). Next, inspect all the electrolytic capacitors present on the device: old ones could be leaking or dried out. Sometimes soldered contacts of chips and other components are disconnected due to repetitive temperature fluctuations or mechanical loads: inspect them with magnifying glass or microscope, and resolder if required.

If buttons are working but there's no movement - check infrared LEDs. Often, they're faded out beyond workable level. Quick check could be done with webcam or phone: working IR LEDs aren't visible to human eye but easily detected by camera. Frequent issue is also dust and/or dirt on the optical elements: good cleaning will fix that.

Clicking failures are caused by worn switches. If it's the case - just replace them. In some cases, injection of contact cleaning fluid might restore the functionality.

To check the basic operations, some testing software is quite handy. Here is a brief list of useful utilities: