Some time ago my Microsoft Laser Mouse 6000 lost the most important function; the left click. And who can blame it? I have used it almost every day for the last 7-8 years.
A quick search for a replacement mouse (same model) turned up nothing so I decided to fix it instead.
How I fixed my mouse
To be fair, I have repaired the mouse a little in the past (moved the "middle click" to "left click", hence it's missing in the photo below) but this time I needed to buy actual tactile push buttons to replace some lost and/or non functioning ones.
1. The non functioning "left click" button, 2. The still working "back" button and 3. The missing "middle click" button.
I started by removing the non functioning "left click" button shown above. After that I moved the "back" button to the "left click" position. This left me with two empty sockets, which I populated with the tactile buttons shown below.
Bag of 20 tactile buttons
The moved button (from "back click" position to "left click") and the two newly installed tactile push buttons.
All sockets are now populated! As can be seen the new push buttons are slightly lower than the originals, so in the end I placed small pieces of wood on top of them and that works just fine.
Finally I have a shot of the backside below where the white cables connect ground to important places where the original connection was broken (because of soldering).
Some previous (ugly) repairs, connecting ground to appropriate places
All in all, the mouse is now working again! Next time the "left click" button fails, I will probably replace it with the "forward click" button which in turn will be replaced by my newly bought tactile push buttons.
Suggestion for an improved mouse design (buttonless)
Repairing my mouse made me realise that the only mechanical thing in modern mice is the tactile push button. What if we did not have them at all?
Button not clicked (left side) and button clicked (right side)
The above figure shows my idea of a light source (either a LED or a fraction of the already installed laser (which is actually an infrared LED)) being detected by a photodetector below the plastic shroud. If the light is detected, button is not clicked. If no light is detected it corresponds to a button click.
This could of course also be done the other way around, where light detected would equal a click and no light would equal no-click.
Who knows, some day I might try to make this.