My computer mouse is dead, why?

Human Biology Versus Computer Mouse

Steve Smith explains why you are usually to blame for your dead computer mouse.

Episode #5-32 released on April 30, 2015

Watch on Youtube

Your computer mouse, like any part of your computer, is considered a vital part of equipment, and once it dies, all hell breaks loose. The majority of you will not own a spare mouse, and more the likely blame the mouse manufacture for faulty design.

The issue, usually, is not the way the mouse works, or even how it is designed. The issue is the user and our own biology, work environment, and cleanliness.

vFor those who don't remember the old school ball mouse, many of us had to open our mouse to clean the ball, and wheels, which acted as sensors. What the mouse was picking up slowly as we used our computers was a combination of dust, dirt, and skin oils. The dust is mostly dead skin cells, on top of all else in your own environment. The difference here, is the electronics for the wheel sensors were further away from the surface of the table, or mouse pad, and therefore was less affected by moisture and skin oils.

Optical mice present a whole different issue. The optical source and sensor are closer to the surface, and housed in the same section of the mouse. On top of all else, there are, also, in a small cavity which has some sharp angles, which adds to a growing issue. The dust, dirt and skin oils, which also include sweat, are now being shoveled into our mice, and there effect seams to affect high DPI mice more than low DPI mice. This is probably because lower DPI capture requires few pixels of capture, which means the mouse will accept a higher error rate without ill affect.

Is there anything that can be done to protect your mice, before your mouse fails?

Use an easy to clean surface like a hard mousepad, or keep your mouse as clean as possible, keep your own hands as oil free as possible, use isopropyl alcohol to clean the mouse, and sensor whenever dirty, and never get the mouse surface, and mouse wet. If you keep your hands as dry as you can, keep the mouse pad as clean as you can get it, and regularly maintain your mouse, and the optical sensor, your mouse will last longer. You can, also, use a bit of compressed air to remove some dust from your optical sensor, as well.

For those wondering, is there anything you can do once your computer mouse dies?

Yes, get a new one. Either through the manufacturer's warranty processor, or at your local computer store. If you are at this stage, follow my guide to protect your new mouse.

Host : Steve Smith | Music : Jonny Lee Hart | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Productions

Community Comments

Share your thoughts, opinions and suggestions

Login or Register to post Your comment.