What Link between Mouse and Audio Circuitry?

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It has happened twice now, that a failing mouse
(1) triggered audio malfunction (chattering playback) and then
(2) system hang, with no mouse or keyboard function
(which sometimes persisted after reboot, wasting much
time until I figured things out.)

It is my own fault for (a) preferring trackballs over mice and
(b) preferring Logitech hardware over other makers'.   The
units that failed were a Logitech TrackMan (approx. 1992
i.e. in use for 15 years) and a Logitech 3-button mouse
(model S-35, perhaps equally antique.)   Both times (it
seems) installing a new mouse ended the problem
(fingers crossed.)

But I cannot understand why defective pointer hardware
should interfere with audio playback.  How so?

Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)

Re: What Link between Mouse and Audio Circuitry?

On 6/22/2011 7:50 PM, Don Phillipson wrote:
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Mice, Keyboards, trackballs, and just about any other input/output
device compete for access to the computer's interrupts, memory, and CPU

Normally the drivers for each device has been written in a such a way
that allows them to share the resources with out affecting the other

When something does go wrong, like a a stuck button, key, or a device
driver gets corrupted then just about anything can be affected.

Even if a device drive is not corrupted by something like a virus it
might just have been written with an older operating system in mind and
is no longer quite up to the current standards making it subject for
intermittent or total failure.

Re: What Link between Mouse and Audio Circuitry?

On 6/22/2011 8:50 PM, Don Phillipson wrote:
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If there is a connection it is could be tenuous -- at least as far as
Logitech trackballs are concerned. I have Logitech 'thumb' trackballs on
three computers now and have worn out two others (it is always the switches
that fail for me, BTW), having started using them when they were first
introduced. I am so used to these devices that I'm hardly able to use a
mouse proficiently. If it were strictly a matter of 'bad trackball = bad
sound' then moving the trackball to a different system should yield
consistent results. Have you tried that?

As for the causal connection, one possibility which comes to mind is that
something in the trackball/mouse is generating false data which overloads
the system and is eating up enough time to disrupt the timing of data going
through the audio circuits. Maybe I'm biased against switches but I'd
probably look at them first though I guess it could be anything within the
trackball generating and queuing up false information which is then dumped
onto the computer to handle. Is there some commonality in the way you use
these devices? Chemical fumes? Smoking? Liquids? Alien probes? Have you
considered opening the devices and cleaning them using some neutral solvent
which is safe for use with delicate circuitry? Just grasping at straws here
-- when mine have failed it has always been an obvious 'I pressed the
button normally but nothing happened but if I really lean on it then it
sometimes works...' sort of thing.

BTW: I have recently switched over to Logitech's 'Unifying' wireless
keyboard and trackball on my main Shuttle system and have found them to be

Re: What Link between Mouse and Audio Circuitry?

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Yes, I smoke a pipe which is utterly condemned by the local
PC builder (who showed the surprising thickness of gunge the
CPU once accumulated) . . .

JM's upgrad is promising:  I shall shop and probably follow suit.

Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)

Re: What Link between Mouse and Audio Circuitry?

On 6/23/2011 10:16 AM, Don Phillipson wrote:
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The new trackball uses the same optical system to measure movements as
their older units do. If some environmental issue is causing problems with
the old ones it will probably affect the new ones similarly in time.

One thing you might try is to take a cotton swab slightly moistened with a
strong window cleaner and clean the little dark-colored window inside the
ball retaining socket. That is where the optical sensors live and if it is
something as simple as smoke residue causing problems that ought to at
least help a bit. I really doubt that smoke could be getting inside that
assembly so the problem, if it exists, should be on the outside and
theoretically cleanable.

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