Low-Tech Fixes: $1 Mouse Repair

By Dustin Main Keep Things Running2 Comments


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Sadly, we live in a throwaway society. With planned obsolescence, the idea of buying something new when one of our toys gives up or seems outdated has permeated everyday life. As much as we might want to think otherwise, sometimes a low-tech fix is just what the doctor ordered.

The Victim

A few months back, my trusty Logitech VX Revolution wireless mouse was flaking out. It was losing connection intermittently, resulting in frustration and sadness. My baby was dying.

As a proper travel companion for a digital nomad working on the road, I couldn’t bear to see it go. But a mouse isn’t meant to be fixed. You’re meant to replace it.

With nothing to lose, I began to peel away the slick pads on the bottom of the mouse with my handy Leatherman Micra multi-tool to find the screws holding the top and bottom together.  This was the gateway to seeing what ailed my laser-guided assistant.

Take a mouse apart, and you quickly realize how much open space there is inside. I carefully unclipped a ribbon cable to open it wide like a shell, and with that it was easy to spot the culprit. 

In my case, it was a loose wire on a battery connection. Given the beating it takes in my bag as I move, it wasn’t all that surprising. It’s actually an easy fix, had I a soldering iron. For some reason, that doesn’t meet the guidelines for what travels with me around the world. Go figure.

The Fix

Fortunately I was heading to Bangkok’s famous MBK Center the following day. One of the biggest electronics malls in the world, MBK has it all. Be it from soup to nuts, or maybe circuit boards to cameras, you’ll find it all there.

So around I went looking for a tech with the right gear for the job. With hand signals, a sad face, and outstretched arms holding my Logitech mouse like a sick newborn puppy, it didn’t take long.

When I caught the eye of an electronics tech sitting around, I headed over and pointed out the area requiring minor surgery. After about 30 seconds in his hands, it was fixed. The friendly repairman wouldn’t accept payment, even when I insisted. Just an easy job.

low-tech-fix-tma-1-3

Back at my apartment, I gathered the pieces to put it all back together. The screws went back in, and some super glue I bought at 7-11 sealed the pads back in place. I popped a battery in and the green light came on. Success!

I don’t know how long it will hang on, but it’s been over three months since the fix and my little VX Revolution is still going strong. It’s a tough life for a mouse tagging along with me.

The Round Up

  • 20 minutes disassembling/reassembling
  • 30 Thai baht ($1) for super glue
  • One mouse saved from the landfill

And just as an FYI, if the repair hadn’t worked and I had to buy a new travel mouse to replace my elderly VX Revolution, I would have gone for the Logitech MX Anywhere 2s. I couldn’t help but look at the options when my mouse was on the fritz!

Do you have any stories of low-tech solutions when your high-tech problems pop up?  Let us know in the comments.

About the Author
Dustin Main

Dustin Main

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Dustin just can't get enough travel or technology, but when he's not directly feeding one of those insatiable habits, you can probably find him at some far away ice cream shop taking pictures of empty cups. That, or on top of a mountain somewhere shooting photos and finding adventures to share on his website "A Skinny Escape".

Comments

  1. Avatar

    Haha, I do this with all my technology. From a laptop that was literally in pieces and had to be held a certain way so it would charge to my car, which deserves its own post. It’s so satisfying to use something you’ve brought back from the dead!

  2. Avatar

    Maybe this does not count, but my Macbook Air lost its sound when I was in southern China. All my online research told me that it needed a new sound cable ~$20. But then I took it and me on a 30 hour bus ride from Kunming to Luang Prabang. As soon as I opened the Mac in Laos the sound was working 100%. Thusly, to fix a recalcitrant Mac all one needs is a long, bumpy bus ride.

    I travel always with a leatherman (even though I am a vegetarian).

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