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Rebuilding an exploded black ADB Mouse II


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A couple of months ago I was using my Performa 5400 when the mouse suddenly stopped working. I gave it a frustrated tap on the table and the ball cover fell off, about a dozen pieces of plastic following it. This was clearly the mouse's last day of functionality for the time being. A fair few bits have flaked off my 5400 over the years so I really should have seen this coming. The black plastic is even more brittle than the very worst of the beige Macs, turning to dust when you so much as breathe on it too hard. Moving a machine as heavy and fragile as this is nerve-wracking. 

 

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I looked on ebay for a replacement and was horrified to discover that the black variant of the ADB mouse is extremely expensive compared to the beige one. Resentfully I realised that I was probably going to have to rebuild the thing myself, boxed up the pieces and left it for a while. I couldn't even begin to fathom where all the pieces had come from. 

 

Today I set about rebuilding it. It took me a couple of hours, needle-nosed tweezers and some super glue. The ball cover was easy enough to figure out. 

 

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The internals had become a veritable 3D puzzle but I soon started to get my head around everything. Bits were still falling out as I worked. 

 

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The ball cover clip was next, not too complicated. I did have to apply a little extra glue to fill some gaps. 

 

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Things were coming together nicely but the rollers weren't playing nice. I realised that these little posts were supposed to keep them pinned down. 

 

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It was hard to keep a steady hand for some of this. I had to hold my breath while I was getting the alignment just so.

 

 

Once this was done things actually started looking pretty good. I plopped the ball in and gave it a little wiggle to verify everything could move as it was supposed to. Then it was curing time.

 

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After all that I still had some bits left which I simply couldn't find a home for :(

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All rebuilt, things look good! Here's the little fellah with their other-coloured siblings. They're all a little overdue for a cleaning...

 

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After rebuilding I got the 5400 set up with the repaired mouse hooked up. I was delighted to find that it works perfectly! 

 

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Success! Here's hoping for many more years of the plastic staying attached to this lovely computer and its peripherals.

 

Thanks for reading. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, cheesestraws said:

That's impressively dedicated and patient work.  Well done.

 

Cheers! I'll have to use it for a while longer before we see how well plain old super glue works with this sort of plastic in the long term. My test-pieces on the chassis showed great promise. If it breaks again I think I'll have to resort to using hot glue to reinforce the structure. As evidenced above, these mice are not particularly well engineered. There are just far, far too many points of pressure with inexplicable gaps around them. It's incredible to me that a material so clearly abundant with flaws made it to production. 

 

Here's an edited photo that shows the tooling marks (vertical creases on the bezel) on the plastic that are visible in some lighting conditions. 

 

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Material complaints aside, the black 5X00s look so much cooler than their "platinum" counterparts. 

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4 hours ago, olePigeon said:

Super Famicom would match a beige one, but everyone knows that stealth black computers are faster. ;)

 

I think that's actually a PAL SNES, ours didn't change the look of the console from the Super Fami, thankfully! :)

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@Daniël Oosterhuis Oooh, ok.  What about the regular Nintendo?  Or did you guys get the North America style one?  I didn't like the Famicom because of its ridiculously short and permanently connected controllers.  The NA release was definitely an improvement.  Although I was absolutely fascinated with the Nintendo Disk system.  You could bring a 3" floppy to an official Nintendo kiosk, buy a game, and it'll write it to the floppy disk.  Same type of disk as the Amstrad, but had some minor tweaks to the plastic case.

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4 hours ago, olePigeon said:

@Daniël Oosterhuis Oooh, ok.  What about the regular Nintendo?  Or did you guys get the North America style one?  I didn't like the Famicom because of its ridiculously short and permanently connected controllers.  The NA release was definitely an improvement.  Although I was absolutely fascinated with the Nintendo Disk system.  You could bring a 3" floppy to an official Nintendo kiosk, buy a game, and it'll write it to the floppy disk.  Same type of disk as the Amstrad, but had some minor tweaks to the plastic case.

 

The NES was the same boxy console as the North American market got, yes.

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4 hours ago, cruff said:

If there is room for more material at the location of a break, Bondic (UV curing) works very well at providing strength.

Good call! I think I'll order some of that and add it as reinforcement. This was such a fiddly job that I'd rather reinforce the mouse preemptively than wait for it to break again. 

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Have you considered using the internals of a grey/beige mouse within the black mouse?

 

I had a similar issue with a black mouse that came with the insides broken (considering the actual 5200 was fine, I could live with the mouse only being damaged). I even considered getting a grey/beige ball cover underneath, but I think they are slightly different sized?

 

I have all the pieces, and might have a similar go with super glue if yours continues to hold on…

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4 hours ago, TimHD said:

Have you considered using the internals of a grey/beige mouse within the black mouse?

 I'm not really sure that's possible. The lower half of the mouse is all one piece, including the mounting points for the rollers. All the pieces you'd want to replace (for my mouse, at least) are attached to the casing so another mouse's innards wouldn't be any use. The only parts you can remove without breaking the plastic are electronic and they all work fine. 

 

 

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On 2/8/2021 at 7:46 AM, PowerMac_G4 said:

 

Cheers! I'll have to use it for a while longer before we see how well plain old super glue works with this sort of plastic in the long term. My test-pieces on the chassis showed great promise. If it breaks again I think I'll have to resort to using hot glue to reinforce the structure.

 

I've heard that mixing baking soda with superglue helps make a much stronger bond

 

this video shows it a bit:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sq5YJbZXaZk

 

and this one goes much more in depth:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1meoZaHYZo

 

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@PowerMac_G4 I know the pain - recently, innocently took apart the same black ADB mouse for cleaning and it crumbled in pieces in the same location as soon as I took it apart.  Said some swears. Rebuilt.  Found the plastic looked tired so used black vinyl dye to restore the outer shell.  Can't help thinking you could do the same on a beige ADB mouse if keen, but the vinyl dye does add a thin layer of "paint" on the top making reassembly a bit tight (or it reacts with the plastic becomingly slightly thicker).

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@Byrd Interesting that our experiences happened in roughly the same time frame. Which black Mac(s) do you have? I'm not sure how many Macs have actually shipped with black as an option beside the 5X00s and the mTV. I'd love to hear your experience with the plastics on any different models to mine you might have. My 5400 and its peripherals have remained quite nicely black but they're so brittle that it's terrifying. It's impossible to even lightly nudge the vents on the side of the 5400 without cracking them. The keyboard creaks when you lift it. 

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Hi PowerMac_G4,

 

I've come across several black 5500 "Director's Macs" here in Melbourne, Australia where they were provided to schools as part of a supermarket promotion back in the late 90's - they weren't the latest and greatest Macs at the time, possibly Apple offloading some excess stock.  There were many around and the ones I've come across all had some sort of educational history behind them.  I have a 5500/275 now with USB 1.1 card and Sonnet G3 400Mhz upgrade.

 

My experience with them is that the plastics are no worse in durability than beige Apple hardware of the time, but that era probably had the worst quality plastics of all.  Poorly stored and heavily used units of course suffer the worst fate.  The black ABS can fade and "yellow" to take on a warmer shade of black but vinyl dye matches it perfectly, at least.  The AppleDesign keyboard is terrible in any hue and you could look out for a nice matching USB keyboard if keen.

 

JB

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14 hours ago, Byrd said:

I've come across several black 5500 "Director's Macs" here in Melbourne, Australia

Ah yes, the Australian Director's Editions! My 5400 is often mistake for a DE but it's just black. I've never seen another black Performa up for sale in the UK. Was there anything actually distinct about the DEs beside the software package?

 

I'm jealous of your Sonnet G3; this Mac is slowly becoming my favourite Performa and I'd love to soup it up given that it's such an unusual machine to begin with. Which USB controller do you use? 

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19 hours ago, PowerMac_G4 said:

Ah yes, the Australian Director's Editions! My 5400 is often mistake for a DE but it's just black. I've never seen another black Performa up for sale in the UK. Was there anything actually distinct about the DEs beside the software package?

 

I'm jealous of your Sonnet G3; this Mac is slowly becoming my favourite Performa and I'd love to soup it up given that it's such an unusual machine to begin with. Which USB controller do you use? 

 

No different to yours apart from a silk screened "Director's Edition" label on the top of the CRT bezel.  I'd look for a 5500/300 board for yours for a decent boost in CPU and video performance.  The USB card in mine is the most generic "OHCI compatible" 2 port card, forget which chipset.  A Voodoo 2 would be a fun card inside it ...

 

JB

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