case mod 101: mouse LED swap

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Swapping LEDs in optical mice is actually pretty simple, but there are a couple tricks in this article that will help you avoid the pitfalls. The sensors in optical mice are most sensitive to infrared, and then red, so you usually see a red LED in an optical mouse. (It doesn’t hurt that they’re one of the cheapest colors, either). But as long as you have a bright enough replacement LED (above 3000 mcd as a rule of thumb), any color will work.

In this walkthrough we’ll remove the red from a Logitech OEM optical wheel mouse, and replace it with a 7000 mcd white LED purchased direct from the manufacturer in Hong Kong. Let’s meet the patient before we start the surgery:

our generic mouse
nothing very special about this mouse

I actually like modding these, because they are simple and easy to disassemble. There’s a single screw that holds the halves of the shell together. For different mice, you may have to remove a sticker from the bottom, or pull off one of the glide pads to get to the screws.

here's the screw
spot the screw on the underside

With the mouse open, ther’s a circuit board that needs to be removed, but first carefully remove and store the wheel assembly. It has springs that keep it in tension so you can middle click–losing those is a headache. A small zipper plastic bag is handy for stashing mouse parts while you mod the circuit board.

in the mouse case
open mouse surgery
the board removed
the board removed, but the wheel is on


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