Picture of Desktop Scroll Wheel and Volume Control!
Make Magazine's weekend project, 3/4/09

Some Background

Recently, I've been reading a lot of different blogs. Each day I'll read the latest posts on engadget, lifehacker, hackaday, BBG and the MAKE: blog. The problem for me came when I realised that only some of the posts were interesting to me, and to get to the interesting ones took a lot of scrolling.

For this, there are several solutions. I could have set my RSS reader up with each of the blogs that I read and go through the titles daily, or I could have set up a Yahoo! Pipe to filter by words in the title. I didn't much fancy this though, so I set about looking for easier ways to scroll long distances. In my searching, I came across this: http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/powermate - The Griffin PowerMate. The PowerMate is an assignable controller that you can set up for many things, browsing Google Earth, scrolling, Controlling volume etc..

I took a look at some YouTube videos of it in use and thought it was literally a scroll mouse on it's side with a fancy knob and some software. A few googles later, and I found a post on the bit-tech forums about a guy who made his own from a VCR spindle and an old mouse. I fancied a bit of that, so away I went and this is what I came up with. I call it the Griffin PowerFake.

It's made from an old PS/2 Mouse, a project box and, yep you guessed it, an old R/C car.

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I made a wireless one, it doesn't go very far, but it works nevertheless.
Wireless Scroll Mouse.JPG
hey bro how did you do that man . share with us please :)
tudgeanator6 years ago
Just finished mine! Woop woop! (i only started it about 15 mins ago, not when i posted my previous comment-just so you know) Thankyou so much for giving instructions on how to do this, it's so useful!
crazzzik6 years ago
Is there any other piece of software for this needs? I think the idea is to actually be able to use second mouse INDEPENDENTLY from main mouse. By that I mean using just a wheel without keystrokes or use mouse buttons as modifiers
jaime9999 crazzzik10 months ago

By using the guts of a USB mouse (or PS/2 mouse converted to USB) in this instructable, it will be sending USB "Human Interface Device" or "HID" commands over USB. This is a standard for keyboards and mice, and includes only standard commands like "letter A key pressed down", "letter A key released", "mouse X moved +N ticks", and "mouse L button clicked down".

Virtually all USB *drivers* built into all modern operating systems consider HID commands coming from multiple devices to all be sent to the single Windowing Manager for use in any windowed application (thus the application that received mouse-move events, for example, is controlled by the Windowing system-- generally sent to the active window, sometimes sent to the window overwhich the mouse is positioned). note that it is the Windowing Manager that renders the mouse *pointer* which follows mouse movements (commands coming from the mouse device). Generally this means you can plug in a bunch of mice and any one will move the cursor and no one mouse is the master; and different software does not "claim" any particular mouse nor can distinguish between different mice.

Theoretically if you program the USB (or PS/2 serial) driver at a low level, you can "read" the events from one USB device and, importantly, also keep those commands from being forwarded to the Windowing System.

is is possible that I could attach a steering wheel to this and us it in a game like Flatout 2 respond ASAP I AM a N00B
This is one-hundred percent possible as long as you can steer in flat-out 2 with the scroll wheel, that being said if u are a noob you should get some experience first.
wackottl2 years ago
Thanks for this, it was helpful for my side scroller.

ReCreate6 years ago
its called potentiometer...not encoder XD
whatsisface (author)  ReCreate6 years ago
No, it's called a rotary encoder, there's a difference.
Hi Sir,

Please see attach image of my DELL mouse.but i can't see encoder.Can you please help me where is encoder in this mouse?
whatsisface (author)  wbilgrami3 years ago
It's the thing next to the left click button.
I think...i don't have encoder in this mouse.but i think you can see potentiometer near left side button..please describe briefly if my mouse have encoder then where it is and if not then where can i find this encoder?
If this is a "Rotary Encoder" then PLESE tell us the difference between that and a "Potentiometer". After searching out the web for this part I found a discription for a Rotary Decoder but I have a hard time comparing it to what you've got in the picture.

...I'm sorry, but if it's a Duck then lets just call it a Duck.
whatsisface (author)  scottm_1135 years ago
A rotary encoder shorts two of the legs protruding from it together, followed by another different pair of legs. By interpreting this, a microcontroller can tell which direction the shaft is turning in, and thus the computer knows whether to scroll up or down.

I repeat, it is not a potentiometer.
Really? It has 3 Pins and it looks like a potentiometer...
whatsisface (author)  ReCreate6 years ago
And its name is a rotary encoder. Just like a Voltage regulator has 3 pins and a tab for a heatsink, that doesn't make it a MOSFET.
Funny that you mention that. I've had to remind myself over and over to check the tiny print on those things to keep from confusing them!
hornbadoing3 years ago
man, i wish i could do this. im too poor to afford a good soldering iron. all i have is an old one from like 1999 that dosnt work =(
Hey there, I built mine and it doesn't seem to work. Can my regular mouse still be plugged in while I use desktop scroll wheel?
Please respond.
whatsisface (author)  crf250rider144 years ago
I can only say for certain on Windows as I know it can recognise two mice. Other OS's may not be able to.
Would this work on a Mac?
whatsisface (author)  MrMistermister4 years ago
I see no reason why not, I'd check first to see if OSX can recognise and use two mice beforehand.
robot13984 years ago
i have 4 wires sticking from my mouse which one to use
monsterman4 years ago
is it possible to do this with a usb mouse?
T_T_4 years ago
would this work for a usb optical mouse?
yes it has a rotary encoder
whooms5 years ago
I don no ... but mine didn't work .... it's still like a mouse ... but a butchered one ... clicks still work like before (like right click or somethin') ... and when i scroll the handle thing.... nothin' happens ...:(
So, After a long while, I was poking around some arcade cabinet sites, and low and behold... I found a site that had instructions on how to build a simple spinner from a mouse w/o a rotary encoder. That's right, he used an optical scroll wheel and it worked well apparently. Take a look, It might help anyone who can't get a solid state encoder.
Turns out the link isn't direct, so go to the controls tab on the left, then go to spinners to find the building instructions.
arepark5 years ago
whatsisface, you say that an IR setup is no good for this. what is the reasoning behind this? Reason I ask is I made a wheel following another post and used an IR setup. I have been using it for a few days and today it seems to be generating phantom mouse clicks. Caused by the IR? Any ideas?
My dad gave me his old Wireless mouse when i ordered a new one for him, but i cannot make this, he said it works, but only half the time. But this is the first thing i thought about when i got the new one in the mail.
Hi, I really like this idea but my cable has about 5 wires running through it. Would you know without looking at it what the wires I need to solder to rotary encoder are?
pyro-jim7 years ago
could you put buttons on the side maybe to emulate keyboard strokes or left and right clicks and use the software so that only this mouse would do the adjusting? that way you just press the button on the side and scroll to adjust what you want without affecting other work!
whatsisface (author)  pyro-jim7 years ago
Yes, thats very possible.
Can the software make each mouse do different things; for example: make the left mouse button on the griffen wheel emulate a keystroke? Or does anybody know of some software that can do this?
macs have a softwar called keyboardmouse that will probably do the trick
whatsisface (author)  pyro-jim7 years ago
This software won't do that, and I'm personally not aware of any that can.
Yeah, I tried hotwiring the buttons externally, and it worked. Find the two terminals on each button that are used, only 2/3 are used.
hg3416 years ago
cool this looks like fun if i need some thing to do and i find a usb mouse ill will do this
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