Sadly, my Amiga mouse stopped working 10+ years ago and a replacement was purchased and the tank mouse went into storage where it remained until yesterday. This is because I discovered this Laser Upgrade for Amiga Mouse. Manufactured by Deikoo and sold by Amigastore.eu and currently costs €29.95.
The Amiga’s mouse is as easily identifiable as the Amiga itself. Typically, a mouse for a home computer was an optional extra this but here it was practically an essential part of the set up. They use a trapped, weighted, rolling ball that translates your movement. When the Amiga was launched this was the standard system. With a new mouse and an ideal surface it worked well but I wonder how many of us remember having to open up a mouse and pull out strands of fluff from around the mechanism and clean the stuck on muck from the rollers. Most of us I bet.
Amiga’s will yellow with age but my poor mouse has suffered far worse than the machine itself, broken and discoloured! I checked the cable to ensure that it was the mouse innards at fault and not a break in one of the 8 wires.
Opening the mouse is simple, just remove 2 screws on the underside and the top pops off.
Unplug the connector, make a note of which colour is at which end.
Get some wire cutters and snip the ground wire which is the only wire soldered to the board. I found this to be odd, why use a connector for all the other wires when you are still going to solder this one in place?
Lift the cable out of the way.
Next, you need to detach the old board from the lower half of the case with another two screws.
The new board is exactly the same size and with everything laid out nicely. See how the components have changed over the years? Here are the two boards side by side.
Along with the board you are also supplied with a clear lens cover, a replacement for the ball retaining cap and two spacers. The spacers and cap appear to be 3D printed using a slightly soft plastic.
Place the clear lens cover over the sensor on the underside of the board. It will only fit one way round due to the differently shaped legs, so don’t force it.
Take the ball cap and insert that into the bottom of the mouse.
Position the new board into the mouse. The lens cover and cap will meet and stay in place. I had to apply a small amount of pressure to get the board fully into place. Using the two spacers screw it down into position. Tape the ground wire up and reconnect the cable. Finally, put the top of the mouse back on.
That’s all there is to it. It is a very neat solution to fix a broken tank or to make roller cleaning a think of the past.
There are a couple of things I would like to point out about the conversion though.
Firstly, the new plastic cap was dirty out of the bag and even when firmly pressed into place it sits slightly proud on one side. Use a solid surface mouse mat instead of material and you won’t have an issue.
The second issue is that it is possible to trigger a mouse button by applying pressure to the top of the mouse just behind the buttons. This is due to there being no space between the mouse buttons and the micro-switches. Sanding the underside of the mouse buttons a little will fix this.
Mouse movement is smooth in Workbench and a quick game of Cannon Fodder was easy to control. You can still control mouse speed and double click preferences as you always could.
If you want to repair an Amiga mouse or if you want to maintain the retro look of your mouse but bring its internals up to date then this is a great little kit. Easy to fit, the Laser Upgrade for Amiga Mouse doesn’t destroy your original mouse internals, the ground wire can easily be reconnected.
I have been using a modern USB optical mouse on my A500+ with the aid of a Rys MK2 adaptor ( click that link for the review ) and I have been happy with that. I will however be transferring the upgrade kit to a brand new tank mouse shell which is due to be released by A1200.net as part of their replacement A500 case project.