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Building a lighted trackball! Answered

I saw a guy at Starbucks using a lighted Trackball with his laptop about six months ago. I should have asked him where he bought it, because I've been searching for one ever since and it's "can't be found!". I even searched at the Consumer Electronics show in January; nothing. Nothing online. So I'm going to have to BUILD one! The trackball he was using had a clear plastic case, and it flashed blue as he moved the ball. You can buy translucent trackball assemblies (for games) where the ball is lighted; but that's not what I'm after. The optical trackballs operate off an internal LED, it may only be necessary to expose that by making a clear plastic, or colored (blue?) plastic case; I'm not sure. Any suggestions or know-how would be much appreciated! I would try to build one if I had enough information. -steve



10 years ago

I had a couple (large, desktop-style) trackballs like that that were compUSA branded, of all the unlikely vendors. I had them on the kids' computers when they were too young to deal with mice, and they all expired some years ago, and CompUSA doesn't seem to sell them any more. But they did exist!

Crystal trackball's were sold (back in the dark ages) by CompUSA. They were manufactured by Ferris, (I'm using one now) The spare one that I had, got sat on by some fat chick & got busted. I just finished scavaging it's innerds to fix up the one I'm using now. It's the smoothist trackballs I've ever used. Scour the "Geek" shops & swap meets, Maybe you'll get lucky. Best of luck !

aha! so there were some from CompUSA! Well, that's the story on these, I've heard things like "oh, there used to be one called...". But nothing now. Even on eBay there is nothing in used trackballs like this. Thanks for the info.

Yeah. Did some time with google; apparently it was called the CompUSA "crystal" trackball, and it looks like they were all snatched up by the community that restores and mods arcade-style video games. There was a serial and a USB version, and they weren't bad trackballs, and they were quite cheap compared to some of the competition... And the leds were a nice touch.

I found a photo of one; although they aren't for sale on eBay anymore; or anywhere else that I can find. That looks like the one I saw the guy using at Starbucks! It had a clear plastic case like that; and it flashed blue when he moved the ball (not through the trackball like gamer trackballs; but through the case). I'm pretty sure the led's that flash, are the same ones that detect the trackball movement. I'd like to buy one of these, if anyone knows where I might find it. Or...figure out how to build a similar trackball.

Hmm maybe you could get one with an easily moddable case, use transistors or some such wizardry across the data lines and add your own leds to the case...

kj, i think the standard workings of a trackball already include flashing LED's inside... they are normally hidden by the case. That's the optical part, of an optical trackball, supposedly. Guess I'll need to take some apart to confirm. If that's true, then the challenge would be, to build a clear case. I'd rather find a CompUSA Crystal trackball to try 1st, though.

The "crystal" trackballs did not have "optical" mechanisms; that was what tended to lead to their demise in our household; eventually the rollers got all gummed up and even cleaning them didn't restore it to original functionality. I don't think they were any worse than any other mechanical mouse/trackball, but I'm glad the optical technology came along.

There was also the Macally iBall trackball, which was clear-ish (vaguely bondi-blue iMac-like), but did not have lights. It might be pretty easy to add lights to, and it looks somewhat more Available on eBay

Hmm you could put windows in the case or recast the whole thing in clear cast resin...

Yes... but not the kind where the ball is lighted, like the Kensington Orbit Elite' trackball. Unfortunately, i don't see any with the lighted/clear case, where the light flashes as the trackball is moved, as I described above, on that link. Just a few of the "lighted ball" items. I've searched the web high and low for this, using several search engines and a lot of keywords. I've also called trackball dealers. Thanks for your response, if I missed anything there, let me know! -steve