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Do IR-mice get tired?

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Boncuk

New Member
Hi all,

I've used up hundreds of mice since I'm working with computers, most of them because of malfunctioning microswitches.

The last mouse I purchased is just shaped ergonomically perfect for my relatively small hands.

I've noticed that the mouse sometimes won't follow proportionally to its movement, which is annoying when routing traces on a PCB design. I tried wiping the optics with a Q-tip and it seems to work, but limited to just a few hours.

Are the IR-transmitting diodes operated at or close to their maximum rated current? If so, that would explain the phenomenon.

That mouse doesn't emit the typically red light, but seems to be inactive due to the invisible IR-beam.

Regards

Boncuk
 
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Sceadwian

Banned
Hundreds? Dude you're like a digital demon then... I've gone through no more than a dozen or so mice on my main PC in my entire life and that's even including the old style ball mice. Only my last three mice have been optical mice, and those were changed out for increased performance, I've never had one fail completely, though I've had 2 that ended up with touchy micro switches.

You need to understand how optical mice work, red, IR, laser, they all work on the same basic operating principal. A light is shined at an object, reflected off of it and fed back into a CCD array which goes to a DSP. The DSP does an edge detection algorithm on the received image and uses a buffer of the last few frames it's captured to determine the distance the mouse has traveled. Lasers are really good at this because the interference pattern generated by the laser in the first place with reflections gives the edge detector algorithm a LOT to work with. If you clean your optics make sure you don't scratch the plastic outer lens, if you do that'll kill them because they'll see the same scratch patterns in every image and it'll override any other edges it might detect. Never clean one with anything but a mild solvent and dry thoroughly with a lint free cloth, or a puff of dry compressed air. I have a Logitech G5 gaming mouse. Worth it's weight in gold, you can adjust the weigh of the mouse which is a novelty but generally useless. It has 7 buttons, 9 if you could the wheel's left and right pushing but I've never found a reliable use for those. Adjustable resolution (which is the gaming feature really) And it was inexpensive. I have not once ever had to touch the lens on it, it's in a slightly recessed hole on the mouse so it's generally well protected, if it ever got clogged with anything a quick burst of canned air is all I need.

There are high performance optical mouse pads out there, and they're not a joke, they're designed with with a regular optical or micro optical pattern on them which is unique over the entire area that a mouse looks at and tiles perfectly with itself. Even with custom printed graphics on top on the mouses scale the pattern across the surface is unique, even at it's visual looking hard edges.

I've used Wowpad's since I found them, they're thin flexible mousepads, I currently have a 1ft square one, but they make 6inch square ones as well. Never a glitch, always precise. The backing is made of that 'lint roller' type material which is slightly adhesive till it collects dust then you wash it and it regains it's stickiness, juuuuust enough to keep it from sliding. I get them at local office supply stores, you can get them from microthin.com

My last 6 inch pad lasted almost 2 years, this 12 inch pad is a year and a half old and holding up better. I think you can get them with custom graphics too from the website.
 
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Boncuk

New Member
Hi Sceadwian,

thank you for your reply and explanation.

As a matter of fact I have used up one mouse per month since 1984, again mostly because of malfunctioning buttons.

I never used a mouse pad since they normally tend to move on the table, but I will look into a good one, hoping it solves the problem.

Another reason might be the surface of my PC table. The more often I clean it (using an abrasive Scotch brite) the less becomes the structure of the paint. (normally small pits in the paint, which looks like having been polished in the area of the mouse)

Boncuk
 

Sceadwian

Banned
One a month? Most of those buttons have 10's of thousand to millions of cycles MTBF. What do you do, club the mouse with a hammer when you're click something? =) Yes regular scratches might cause odd effects with an optical mouse. I'd recommend a wowpad or something similar, and just glue it to the desk if it moves around on you too much, the light tack on it probably isn't enough (the smaller one I was using always moved)

All that aside even if you don't want to blow the 2-5 dollars on an optical mouse pad you could try a naturally irregular surface, such as cloth. Mind you it sucks up dirty and grease equally well.
 

kchriste

New Member
Forum Supporter
As a matter of fact I have used up one mouse per month since 1984, again mostly because of malfunctioning buttons.
I've swapped the middle button, which I rarely use, with the left button on an optical mouse that had intermittent clickability. they do use cheap switches in the mice these days which might explain the poor reliability. High humidity probably doesn't help matters.
I never used a mouse pad since they normally tend to move on the table, but I will look into a good one, hoping it solves the problem.
Some Optical mice don't work well on surfaces with very few contrasting patterns. A well defined wood grain on the desktop might help the mouse track better if you hate using a pad.
 

Boncuk

New Member
Hi Sceadwian and Kchriste,

thanks again for your replies.

A top quality mouse should also have top quality micro switches - which applies in very few cases.

Designing a PCB of 400X320mm to be populated with 80 ICs and lots of discretes requires a lot of mouse clicks mainly with the left mouse button which "surrenders" already when half of the work is done.

If the button gets unreliable it begins getting a PITA when working.

I also replaced the left switch with the center switch, but it didn't last for long.

I don't either use a sledge hammer to operate the mouse or brute force of any other kind, and I really don't know why mice can't stand working "with me". My friends attested that I have the ability to destroy any mouse on the market within shortest possible time.

If a mouse pad turns out not be suitable I'll probably purchase a new PC-table and have it painted with a distinct pattern so the mouse has a good "vision".

Kind regards

Hans
 

Sceadwian

Banned
You need to be aware Boncuk, the area that the CCD focus's on is VERY VERY small, what you think of as a regular and irregular surface is NOT the same thing it does. You could try a scuffed surface and a sparkly paint as the 'speckles' from a reflective surface help.
 

PatM

Member
One thing I have noticed is that the surface color of a table seems to affect the operation when not using a mouse pad.
I have a bluetooth wireless mouse that I use with my Netbook.
It will not work when I am using it on a table at Panera Bread.
If I grab a newspaper and use that as a mouse pad everything works fine.
 

Sceadwian

Banned
The CCD sensor itself has no colour filter on it, so it is only responsive to the CCD's range, and more important the light producer itself, so it depends on the material and the wavelength of light the device provides.
 
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