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Anyone still use ball mice?

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First post, by chinny22

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I for one don't miss those days at all and only use one on my PC without a ps2 port.
But does any of the more hard core period correct builders still use a non optical mouse?

I came across a few at work today, all PS2 only so not much use to me, but in 2 minds if they are worth saving at all.

Nothing fancy, about x10 HP or Compaq branded Logitech M69 scroll wheel mouse
and a Logitech M-S35 3 button mouse which I think came from an IBM

Reply 2 of 55, by gladders

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I have two kinds of Microsoft Intellimouse. The PS/2 port on my PIII is finicky as hell and cuts out of it's knocked slightly, but I'm getting used to it. The pointer motion needs some work, too.

Are there USB mice drivers for DOS?

Reply 4 of 55, by PTherapist

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I only use an old ball mouse on my 8088 & 286 builds, as those 2 are Serial only. The oldest Serial Mouse I own is a 2-button Mouse from the late 1980s and has the old 25-pin Serial connector. After some rigorous cleaning a few months back, it works like brand new.

Everything else gets an Optical PS/2 or USB Mouse.

I literally have a bag full of PS/2 ball mice of various different brands including OEM stuff such as DELL & Compaq etc. I suppose I'd only use any of them if I was desperate.

Reply 5 of 55, by Errius

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Someone here linked DOS USB drivers a time ago, but I remember testing them and finding them unreliable. IIRC, they only really work with DOS text mode programs (like MSD).

“I like to dissect PCs. Don't you know I'm utterly insane?"

Reply 6 of 55, by cyclone3d

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I absolutely abhor ball mice. I hated them 25 years ago and it hasn't changed.

There is a project that lets you use USB mice on serial ports and also one to use PS/2 on serial ports.

You just need a Raspberry Pi or Arduino to do the work for you

I recently got a Pi to do this, but have not had a chance to set it up yet.

See this post for more info:
USB to serial mouse adapter - Raspberry Pi

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
Epstein didn't kill himself

Reply 7 of 55, by brostenen

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I use ball mice, for machines up to and including Pentium-166. And all my Amiga mice are ball versions as well.

Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick....

My blog: http://to9xct.blogspot.dk
My YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/brostenen

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Reply 8 of 55, by Skyscraper

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Of course!

The Corsair M63MM RGB Mechanical Gaming Mouse is the best mouse ever!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hv5bZXauR2M

Main PC: Dual Xeon X5690@4.6ghz, Evga - SR-2, 48gb memory, Intel X25-M g2 SSD and a Nvidia GTX 980 ti.
Retro PC #3: K6-2 450@500mhz, PC-Chips m577, 256mb sdram, AWE64 and a Voodoo Banshee.

Reply 10 of 55, by brostenen

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elod wrote:

Do trackballs qualify? Technically they are just upside down 😀

Is it just me, or is he talking about ball's in a loving and passionate way? 😊
I don't know. A ball inside a mouse, can never be too heavy. Need a good core.
Hard on the inside, soft on the outside. 😁

Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick....

My blog: http://to9xct.blogspot.dk
My YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/brostenen

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Reply 11 of 55, by badmojo

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Yes I still use a serial Logitech ball mouse but only on my retro machine, so it’s not in use daily. I remember they used to get dirty and that was annoying, but other than that what’s the main complaint with them?

Life? Don't talk to me about life.

Reply 13 of 55, by KCompRoom2000

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I still use a black Dell-brand Microsoft PS/2 Intellimouse on my two permanently plugged in retro PCs (both of my Windows 9x systems), it's actually a pretty good mouse for what it is. I always clean it whenever it needs to be cleaned.

Most of the time I use a KEIO PS/2 optical mouse on my spare machines, but depending on whether I want to do a "period-correct" setup I sometimes use one of my spare ball mice instead. I also have a couple serial mice (ball mice, of course) for when I ever encounter a machine without PS/2.

Reply 14 of 55, by torindkflt

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When recreating my family's 486 from my childhood, nostalgia demanded that it be as close to an exact match as possible. That said, I use a two-button blue "Microsoft Home" ball mouse with it.

Reply 15 of 55, by cyclone3d

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torindkflt wrote:

When recreating my family's 486 from my childhood, nostalgia demanded that it be as close to an exact match as possible. That said, I use a two-button blue "Microsoft Home" ball mouse with it.

For me, nostalgia only goes so far... I like newer peripherals such as good mice, keyboards, high efficiency / very well regulated power supplies, and flash based storage.

Then again I have been a geek since I was about 10 and started upgrading computers when I was about 12.

Had the same Opti 930 based ISA sound card with onboard wavetable from 386/486 time until I built a computer that didn't have an ISA slot.

So yeah.. period correct builds have never really been a thing with me.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
Epstein didn't kill himself

Reply 17 of 55, by tabm0de

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I use ball mouse for old system when optical mouse didnt exist.

I like systems to be as equal as they where when they came out, i only have 1-4 newer functions which i would go to parts that did not exist that time, ide 2 sd/cf/sata, dreamblaster, psu with atx to at adapter.

naa, nothing yet...

Reply 18 of 55, by brostenen

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badmojo wrote:

I still haven't heard anyone explain what's so bad about ball mice - is it the feel of them? The precision?

They collect junk inside on the roller's, and most of the cheap ones, have a ball that are too light in weight.
A light ball, will "jump" whenever there is a bit of junk on the rollers, and will result in a sporadically non-responsive mouse.
Compared to a mouse with a heavy ball, that have good response, until the cakes/grime on the rollers get too thick.
There is nothing wrong with Ball-mice in general. It is just those few points, on wich they suck big time.
Finally, then the really old ones are not fast by any modern standards.

As an example, then the Amiga Tankmouse are not that great. You tend to "push" the mouse cursor by lifting the mouse
from the pad, withdraw the mouse, put it down on the pad and move the mouse again.
As compared to a later Amiga mouse, you never pick up the mouse, as it is faster. The same on PC and all other platforms.

Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick....

My blog: http://to9xct.blogspot.dk
My YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/brostenen

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Reply 19 of 55, by KT7AGuy

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I still use a Kensington Orbit with my daily driver, set up as a left-hand input device.

Kensington Orbit PS2.jpg
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It's for when my right hand is, uhhhh... busy. 😊

Seriously though, I learned to be ambidextrous with input devices over fifteen years ago. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is no joke and it doesn't discriminate.

I only keep this old trackball because I paid for it with money, it continues to work, and it's worthless on eBay or craigslist. When it dies, I won't cry. It's really not a great input device but it does the job adequately. At one point I was going to use it with Red Baron 3D to track enemy planes. I may still re-purpose this trackball for that sim someday in lieu of Track-IR support.

I also still have an old 2-button, serial, Mac-style, Kensington "Mouse In A Box". I don't use it anymore. I just keep it out of nostalgia. Back in the day, I remember loving it until the first 3-button, scroller-wheel, wireless mice became available.

Cleaning ball-mouse rollers sucks. Fortunately, my Kensington Orbit trackball only needs attention about once every four months.