Friday, September 24, 2010

Mighty Mouse Surgery

I'm happy to report that my once mighty Apple Mighty Mouse is once again, mighty! After being faced with roller-ball failure on a second Apple Mighty Mouse, I decided it was time to operate. One knife, one screw driver, one damp cloth and two pieces of tape later, it was all fixed! Avoiding a triplicate purchase at the Apple Store was certainly gratifying but in the end, what I really appreciated most was being reminded of how much fun it is to take things apart and see how they work!

Here's a short photo essay on my experience as a Mighty Mouse surgeon.

My Apple Mighty Mouse about to have an operation.

The mouse on its back in preparation for surgery.

With a thin instrument, I carefully pried off the outer ring. The ring was glued down so I had to gently wiggle it loose in order to remove it without breaking the plastic. (If you choose to use a knife like I did, please wear protective gloves and be very careful!)

This is what it looked like with the outer ring removed.

The next step was to remove the inner grey ring. It wasn't attached with glue so it was much easier to lift off – shown here. (In hindsight, I'm not entirely sure this step was necessary.)

Once the grey ring was off, I gently pried up the bottom of the mouse at the end where the cord feeds in. There was a hinge mechanism on the other end, so once the cord end was free, I unhinged the other end with a little squeeze and a wiggle.

Once that was done, it looked like this. There were a couple of thin electronic pieces that connected the top and bottom of the mouse – I left those connected and was very careful not to damage them.

Inside, there was this little black box with three little screws that I carefully removed.

The contents of the little black box looked like this. Once it was open, I could clearly see the problem – check out all those dust particles – eew!

I noted the shape of the white plastic piece, knowing it would be key to putting the roller-ball mechanism back together again.

After I had very gently removed the white plastic piece, this is what it looked like. All the little pieces inside were free so I had to be careful not to lose any. (When you do this, if any of the pieces fall out, you can use this photo as a reference for putting it back together again.)

With the little grey ball out, this is what I was left with. Can you see the four tiny black and white pieces with the dust particles stuck to them? One-by-one I removed and cleaned each of them with a damp cloth, and while I was at it, I also cleaned out any other particles from the inside of the mouse. After everything was dust free again, I put everything back together by simply repeating the steps in reverse. To make it easier to clean in the future, I decided against gluing the rings back on and opted to tape the rings in place instead

I hope this inspires you to explore the insides of your own malfunctioning electronics instead of feeling like you must resign them to the landfill. With nothing to loose, you might as well go for it, right?!

NOTE: Please be sure to exercise caution by wearing protective gloves and glasses and heed all (if any) warnings noted on the casings.

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