Fixing the scroll wheel on the Microsoft Arc Mouse
When I saw the Microsoft Arc Mouse in the retail store recently I just had to have it, the cool factor was high in my opinion. So I paid some $60 plus tax and took it home to play with.
After about one month of use the scroll wheel was intermittently working (it would click some of the time), then it stopped working (clicking) altogether in about 2 months.
When the wheel stopped working, I searched around the Internet and noticed many more people where having this exact same problem. Some had the mouse wheel stop within a couple weeks, and others in several days.
What follows is an account of how I fixed my mouse. I believe that this wheel problem is DESIGN related and here is what I did to fix it (for now).
*** START DISCLAIMER ***
If you are NOT TECHNICALLY INCLINED (or have the right tools) to fix your mouse please use the correct support procedures outlined by your retailer or Microsoft to get one that works or your money back for a different mouse. Following this procedure to fix your mouse will likely VOID the warranty!
*** END DISCLAIMER ***
Ok, now on with what I did … I could not take the mouse back to the retailer due to length of return time and I did not want to deal with MS support (more effort & energy than it’s worth) to get a replacement that will just break again.
Remove the skid pads on the front part of the mouse, they are held there with a bit of adhesive (like tape), I used a small screwdriver to pull up the edge of the skid pad then just pulled them off. You can also use a small knife or hobby blade (think x-acto knife). Keep them clean so you can reapply them later. (Special thanks to sahil & Chuong for suggesting this part)
Once you remove the battery cover and batteries, there will be 3 screws under the label as shown in the pictures below. In addition, there are 4 screws under the black skid pads in the front part of the mouse.
The trick is removing the 3 screws under the label … the 2 side screws are of phillips type and the middle screw is different and requires a hex screwdriver. Not sure why MS decided to do this, but it makes taking apart the mouse harder since you need another tool.
After all screws are removed, the top cover will come off and you will see this:
The upper board just floats and is held down by the cover and wheel, to remove the wheel, just lift the upper board.
In my opinion, the problem with the mouse wheel lies in the material it is made of and the length of the hex shaped part of the shaft that fits into the mechanism that detects the wheel movement. My mouse wheel shaft was a little bit worn, but it was worn just enough and short enough to free spin and not turn the wheel mechanism.
I guess MS did not test the fact that people would be putting different pressures at different angles on this scroll wheel, hence the different failure rates with different people.
So what did I do to fix the problem?
I used some blue painter’s tape to provide a tighter fit and lengthen the end just slightly. This is a good enough fix to allow me to get more mileage out of the mouse and, as a side benefit, it gets rid of the loud plastic clicking sound the mouse made before.
To finish up … make sure the wheel spins freely, put the cover back on, put all the phillips screws back (not the hex one), replace the skid pads, add the batteries, and put the battery cover back on.
I hope this helps a lot of folks out there decide what to do with these cool yet dysfunctional mice!
Take care & be safe.
Additional Information on this post:
Matt wrote to me recently to tell me “I used superglue instead of tape, spin the tip around the part you taped and then once you have a thin but even coating around breathe (like a hot slow breath, not like blowing out candles) to help the glue set (super glue sets with water, the moisture in your breath will help speed things up). After a minute it should be dry and then just put the scroll wheel back in and its as good as new :)”. Thanks Matt.