I'm not usually one for purchasing "gaming hardware". It tends to be overpriced, over-marketed low-grade consumer electronics, justifying its price on the less-than-discriminating tastes of those who favor the hardware used by their favorite Twitch streamers, rather than manufacturer reputation, hardware specification, and performance.
However, for the M6800, the price was right, the shape was what I had grown accustomed to, and it had a full 5 buttons, so I could take advantage of left, middle, and right click, as well as a two buttons that I tend to assign as push-to-talk for VOIP (Voice-over-IP) services.
After my first M6800 worked so well for gaming on my Home Theater PC, I purchased a second for use on my development desktop. Everything was proceeding swimmingly until... my right mouse button stopped working. Did it stop working entirely? Well, no, not entirely. It would begin not registering some of the clicks I was making, and then it would register fewer and fewer until it wasn't registering any of them. If I waited for about 5 minutes, the functionality would come back.
So I did some mental troubleshooting:
Left-click works, there are no driver errors, so it's unlikely to be between the USB controller and the OS.
Every other function on the mouse works, so it's unlikely to be an ASIC (integrated circuit) issue.
The "exhaustion" type issue, where the specific button slowly stops responding as if it were overworked, sounds like it might be a grounding issue.
Grounding. In most logical circuit devices, a ground provides a path for current that might otherwise build up in the circuit.
If the ground is interrupted as in S2, the switch may behave erratically and stop registering clicks, as the voltage source on Vaa won't provide the expected potential. Worse yet, it could seriously damage the integrated circuits and prevent the mouse from ever working again.
I set out to investigate and fix the problem, pushed forward by my coworker Morgan Intrator and his declaration that I could not actually fix this. As such, I have documented the entire process with awful cellphone photos.
- Xcelite PH 00x60 screwdriver
- Trusty Soldering Iron
We begin by turning the mouse upside down. There are no screw holes visible, so we remove the pads.
Now we have screw holes that I can reach my tiny electronics screwdriver into.
I've removed the front and back screws only. Why?
Well, I have a secret: You see, I've torn this product down before. I find that when I find myself in a situation such as this, I ask my self three questions:
Am I willing to destroy this and get rid of the pieces if I end up not knowing what the heck I'm doing? (Note: this has happened before with a smartphone)
If I'm willing to destroy it, is it even reasonably possible for me to tear it down and put it back together again, without making any changes to the parts, and can I execute that process reliably after making repairs?
Once I've taken it apart, is it even clear how to fix what's wrong with it?
Having checked "yes" to all three already, I set out on this knowing how the right and left screws work. As you will see, I can remove them later. If this were my first time, I would have taken them out.
We can see many of the switches (1, 2, 4) are black boxes with either red or white tabs sticking out. The switch labeled 3 is hard to see, but is resting under the front of the mouse wheel, so when the wheel is pushed, it can register the click. The DPI button and the two switches on the side are processed through the cable which connects to the board at 5. The light sensor is labeled 6: it's really just a tiny, light-sensitive box that reads the way light from the LED to its right reflects off the surface below the mouse.
I carefully removed the cable at 5, and the top of the housing. At this point, the screws retaining the side panels can be removed, but the screws in the circuit board just behind the switches will also have to be removed in order to free them
and Two. To get to the bottom of this problem, we'll need to free the mouse wheel from the chassis as well.
First, I removed the plastic dowel from its retaining hole. I had to flex the plastic a bit to make this happen, but pulling directly upwards on the rear doesn't seem to be a good idea, particularly with that switch in the front, which I don't want to overpressure. Instead, now that the wheel is freed, I can tilt the wheel on the side and gently slide the back T-shaped joint out of the socket.
After drawing the four screws retaining the circuit board to its chassis, I can get a good look at the underside. First, here's the chassis with the crystal- the non-electronic parts that make the whole thing go:
Now here's what I pulled off of it.
Well, there's your problem.
Looks like someone had a bad day at the mouse factory, and forgot to solder the right clicker's switch to ground! This looks like a job for a soldering iron.
I did a terrible job with the actual soldering, but all the same, it closed the circuit.
Now for the moment of truth: Plugging it into a USB hub that I'm willing to lose, crossing my fingers, fire extinguisher at the ready...
It works! And upon testing, the right mouse button works perfectly!
If you find yourself needing to teardown or repair your Gigabyte mouse, I hope this helps.
And Morgan: Your move.