RollerMouse Scroll Wheel Fixed

As with the other issue I mentioned before, Contour Design sent me a replacement part for the faulty component. In this case it was the scroll wheel, but because the fault could be a dodgy circuit board they sent one of those as well. I’m glad they did, because the problem was caused by the aperture into which the scroll wheel’s spindle fits, having worn loose after constant use.

Once again, I can’t praise Contour’s service enough. I’m a heavy user of their products and they stand up well to the punishment I give them. This particular RollerMouse was well out of warranty, but they reacted as if it were fully protected. You can’t ask for better support than that.

RollerMouse Red Left Button Fix

I mentioned earlier that I had a problem with the left mouse button and that Contour would send a replacement. They did. Following their instructions, I installed the new cover plate and it’s working a treat again. If you need to do this at any time, here’s the procedure I followed:

Disconnect your RollerMouse Red from any power source before proceeding with the following instructions.

Remove the wrist pad.

A simple twist in this notch here with the tool that came with the RollerMouse will remove the wrist pad. If you do not have the tool a flathead screwdriver is a good replacement.

These two middle screws need to come out from the underside.

Turn the unit over, and pry the button cover off with a flathead screwdriver.

Lift up the button housing from right to left as there are 2 plugs on the left side. Unscrew these 4 screws to separate the board from the buttons.

When placing the new buttons on, line up this notch just in between the scroll wheel and the post where it’s connected.

Make sure the wires are still connected, screw the board back on, making sure it’s nice and tight to reduce excess play with the buttons, snap the buttons back in place, and replace the screws on the back.

Evoluent Vertical Mouse

While waiting for my RollerMouse buttons to arrive (see RollerMouse Red Problems, I tried a spare mouse for a day or so before realising it was aggravating my RSI (repetitive strain syndrome). I decided to explore ergonomic alternatives and came across the Evoluent Vertical Mouse, model C.

As the video below explains, it changes the orientation of the arm while using it.

My experience to date is that it does relieve the strain. However, it's best suited to keyboards that lack a numeric keypad, as most laptops do.

My reasoning is that lateral movement still affects the upper arm as the mouse travels across the screen at normal speed.

In my case, I have a three-monitor setup, and the movement becomes excessive. To compensate, I've adjusted the speed to a high rate, so that less movement is needed. However, this reduces the accuracy needed when settling on a precise location.

When I finally revert to my RollerMouse, I shall transfer the Vertical Mouse to my laptop, where it will be most welcome.

RollerMouse Red Problems

I have two RollerMouse Red devices. One is relatively old; the othere is not yet four months old and bought through Amazon US, but they only allow two months for returns. One has a scroll button that operates erratically when scrolling; the other’s left mouse button is either loose or broken.

Unfortunately, there’s no repair facility in Australia for these products. I got in touch with Contour in the States and they’re sending me the spare parts to repair the devices myself. They say it’s quite straightforward (ha-ha!).

Intuos 5 Installation Problem

I’ve had the Wacom Intuos 5 graphics tablet and pen for a few years and it’s worked a treat, but a few months ago, following a software update, it was left with limited function. I installed a later update but that made no difference.

To ensure that the hardware was not at fault, I installed the software on a Windows 10 laptop, connected the tablet, and it worked fine. I compared the Wacom  folder with the 8.1 folder and noticed that the laptop had an extra service. Clearly the issue was 8.1-related.

I reported the problem to Wacom, and over a few weeks followed suggestion after suggestion from their support team. Just as I was resigning myself to never using the tablet again on my PC, Wacom came up with the solution.

Following their instructions, I turned off the Malwarebytes Premium antivirus* and re-ran the install. This time it set up everything it was supposed to. The tablet is fully functional again.

* The strange thing is that the laptop also had Malwarebytes Premium running.

Cleaning the RollerMouse Red

The Contour RollerMouse Red is a great piece of engineering besides being a boon to RSI sufferers. However, when dirt accumulates under the roller, the pointer's movement can become erratic. Cleaning it proved difficult, so I asked Contour for help. These are the instructions I received. I followed them to the letter and all was good again.

First, make sure the mouse is unplugged. Located on either end of the bar are two black caps. Push them inwards and you’ll hear them click. You should be able to pull them up and off now. Sometimes they can be a bit of a struggle, other times they come right up. Keep note which is left and right as they are specific to each side.

On the left side of the bar you’ll see a circuit board with a small ribbon cable attached, which is how the bar gets power. Be careful not to remove that. You won’t damage anything, but it can be difficult to set back in place.

Once the caps are off, you can slide the roller itself off the bar towards the right  side. You may get some resistance to moving the bar as it is held in place by magnets. I will usually take this time to clean out the inside of the roller as well. I use some air duster down the tube and a qtip with some rubbing alcohol on the inner rim at each end. Usually cleaning it this way will reduce the resistance but, If moving the roller is giving you some resistance after it's been cleaned, you can apply some lubricant in a similar method. A teflon based lubricant is preferred as it's not as messy as oil, such as WD40. Though WD40 is definitely more common, and can be used as long as it’s a very small amount.

With the roller off, you’ve exposed the sensor, which is that lens in the center of the bar. Even if you can’t see anything on it, it’s very sensitive and the smallest particle in just the right spot may cause it to fail. Use some air duster and blow out the area around there and hopefully any dust particles will be removed. If you wanted to wipe down the bar, again rubbing alcohol would be fine, just try to avoid any of the components.

Now replace the roller bar, and replace the caps. The little outside "feet" on the bottom of the caps should line up with two small notches on the plastic part of the mouse and the smaller feet will line up right on the outside where the red/orange plastic ends. After pressing them down, make sure to push them outwards towards the ends. You should hear them click in place, or the bar won’t be set correctly, which can cause it to lose proper function.