Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

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Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:30 am

So I have a Microsoft Laser Mouse 5000. It's always been a little wonky on my solid oak desk, but recently I decided to make a wider keyboard tray to accomodate my mouse as well. It turns out that even the slightest imperfection, ripple, or spot where the lacquer didn't fill the grain is causing my cursor to jump across the screen as I'm moving my mouse around. It never skips more than a quarter inch on my screen, but a quarter inch can be a long way when you're trying to click a link or headshot an enemy. I've been pulling my hair out trying to get this thing smooth: bought a finish sander, 600 grit sandpaper, 0000 steel wool, and I've gotten it to the point where it's somewhat tolerable, but still not ideal. It's silky smooth to the touch, but holding it at the right angle to a light source I can still see some rippling and divots. I'm starting to think that it may be easier focus on changing my mouse or getting a mouse pad than to keep messing around with my keyboard tray.

So I have two questions:
1) Has anybody else had this problem with laser mice? (I don't see any options to decrease the sensitivity/DPI with my mouse, but maybe I'm missing something)
2) Can anyone suggest a new mouse that's ~$50 or less that wont skip around, or a good low-friction mouse pad for my current laser mouse that's approximately 8.5" x 11" There are so many options for both that I'm a little lost.
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:38 am

MS Intellimouse Explorer 3.0.
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:34 am

Sounds like a poorly designed or defective mouse to me.

FWIW Logitech makes the best mice. IMO.
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:37 am

My experience with wood and computer mice has not been good in general. I say get a mousepad (I am happy with http://www.xtracpads.com/products.php?p ... &section=1 and will be getting another) and keep your existing mouse.
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:39 am

Sounds like your mouse doesn't like the reflectivity of the laquer. On a hunch, though, did you inspect the optical sensor to see if any stray dust fibers are hanging around in the light path? Anytime my optical mice start skipping and acting weird, that's usually where the problem has started.

EDIT: You might just want to re-cover most of the surface of the keyboard tray with a sheet of neutrally-patterned laminate (Formica or similar). The mouse will chew up the laquer surface pretty quickly, the laminate will last for years.
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:52 pm

Thanks for the quick replies everyone.
@ludi: The optical sensor is clean, that has been an intermittent problem in the past, so I made sure to check. I thought about laminate, but I would rather stay away from that for aesthetic reasons if possible. (Maybe this would work if it came down to that) The "reflectivity" of the surface doesn't seem to have much effect on the accuracy of the mouse. It seemed to work similarly on the unsanded shiny lacquer as it does on the "polished" satin finish that's left after my leveling efforts. It really seems to be the surface imperfections that are causing the problem.

@jeffcutsinger: That Xtrac Pad looks decent I suppose, what are the chances I would be able to cut that 11 x 17 in half successfully? Or would the Xtrac Pro be the same? The wording in their surface descriptions is a bit vague.

@JBI: Any Logitech mouse in particular that I should be interested in? I want to tread carefully about buying a mouse since it's like buying shoes before you've tried them on. I always like to use a mouse in person before buying, but obviously I'll be taking care of that.
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:09 pm

The changeover from optical to laser was not smooth and I still believe it is a marketing stunt rather than of practical use. Laser mice have been evolving for a decade less than optical mice, and even as recently as five years ago, some laser mice were still terribad.

Optical mice still seem to handle more surfaces than laser mice, and I'm a big fan of the bluetrack LED sensors that Microsoft use because they even work on my glass coffee table.
My old Razer Deathadders were far more versatile than my current Logitech G9x laser is too. The infrared optical sensor handled everything I had at the time, the earlier Logitech lasers of the day were skipping on all sorts of surfaces.

In short, my decade of empirical data has taught me that optical > laser where all other things are equal.
Over the course of two dozen mice and every surface I can think of, that rule of thumb has held true.
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:22 pm

I use a razer sphex on my wooden table. Just google it.
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:58 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:even as recently as five years ago, some laser mice were still terribad.

Yeah, I probably got mine about that long ago come to think of it. Hmmmmmmm, what to do, what to do.

@yogibbear: that Razer Sphex looks interesting. Is it rough or smooth to the touch? The site says it's 1/8" thick, but the pictures on amazon make it look quite a bit thinner. Optical illusion?
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Fri Sep 21, 2012 3:34 pm

Yeah, get a mousepad. I'm surprised how many people expect good results from using a mouse on shiny surfaces or even matte surfaces in general.

http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory ... ccessories

Take your pick. I'm personally not fond of extra large mouse pads and I have no idea where that craze is coming from. I'm more of the type that uses ultra high sensitivity and DPI though, so my hand has all of maybe 1 inch of travel, maybe 2 inches at maximum for my full range of motion.

I personally use a RAZER Goliathus Control because it has a rougher texture on it. They make a speed version, which is supposedly smoother. This is after using a fUnc mousepad for years, which is a hard textured plastic. My only gripe with the Razer pad is the dye they use on it is already fading after a month of use.
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:18 pm

Chrispy_ wrote: optical > laser .

Unless you're using your mouse to play games. The resolution on laser mice is 10x better in some cases. If you want to move your mouse around the screen quickly and precisely, laser is the only way to go.
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:11 pm

Definitely get a mousepad. Preferably a plastic or metal one (easy to wash in case if you have sweaty/oily hands), and if possible - you should "try it out" before purchasing (or buy it at a place where you can easily return them for a full refund), different mousepads have different friction "feel" with different mouse models (depending on mouse "feet" and the weight of the mouse itself). Don't "focus" on particular brands/models, just try as many as you can.
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:31 pm

Get one of the metal pads that has a 'Teflon' coating on one or both sides. Have one from Razer for my Steelseries Sensei (gaming on a 30" needs more resolution than Logitech has to offer...) and another no-name one I picked up from Best Buy which works great with my G500.
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:50 pm

Laser mice have issues with "imprecise" surfaces due to their nature of focusing extremely tightly. A lot of "gamer-grade" treated/crystallised textile mousepads, most plastic pads, and all aluminium mousepads should be perfect for laser sensors. The problem is, none of those are cheap, but if you want to get headshots like you said you would, then $15-50 will not kill you. Pick the right brand, and it will last for years regardless of material.

Remember, this is all assuming that the mouse itself is faultless.
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:17 pm

Meadows wrote:Laser mice have issues with "imprecise" surfaces due to their nature of focusing extremely tightly.

I remember the ads when they first came out making a big deal about the fact that they "work on any surface, even glass". Not so much, eh?

IIRC I've owned exactly one laser mouse, and it seemed to have inferior tracking to most of the non-laser mice I've used.
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:14 pm

Thanks for all the advice everyone. I swiped one of those company promotional free-bee mouse pads that my parents had stowed away in a cabinet while I was visiting this weekend. Its a cloth pad, somewhat silky. I threw it down right away when I got home and it seems to work well. The only gripe I have so far (with my 5 minutes of use at this point) is that the back isn't real tacky. I will assess this weakness sometime this week when I get a chance to play some BF3 and decide whether or not I'll stick with it or buy a "gaming" mouse pad that has a better chance of staying put. I was afraid that the cloth surface would cause my mouse not to track well, but the cursor moves around pretty smoothly. I like the concept of a cloth surface since plastic pads can sometimes cause excessive wrist sweat on warm days, so I think I'll steer clear of those.
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:26 pm

If the pad is sliding around, just use some double-stick tape to hold it in place. Not the foam stuff, the thin cellophane stuff. (Note: It is possible the adhesive could damage the finish on the desk, but if you were mousing on the bare desk before you obviously don't care too much about the finish to begin with.)

Cloth mouse pads work surprisingly well; I actually prefer them to the hard surface ones.
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:31 pm

DPete27 wrote: I like the concept of a cloth surface since plastic pads can sometimes cause excessive wrist sweat on warm days, so I think I'll steer clear of those.

That's not quite correct :wink: If you have problem with sweaty hands - your hands will sweat equally, regardless of the mousepad surface. It's just the cloth surface absorbs (permanently) sweat and dirt, whereas the plastic/metal ones do not, that's why you can, for example, notice the "wet spots" on plastic/metal surfaces :wink:
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:44 pm

Most cloth surface pads will clean up quite nicely with warm water, a few drops of dish detergent, and an old toothbrush. Just set it someplace warm overnight to dry...
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:51 pm

JohnC wrote: If you have problem with sweaty hands - your hands will sweat equally, regardless of the mousepad surface

Whether or not smooth plastic in contact with your skin causes you to perspire more (I still think it does), the wicking action of cloth (if nothing else) makes it feel more comfortable to me than dragging my wrist through a [figurative] pool of sweat. Thats all I was trying to say.
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:38 pm

just brew it! wrote:Most cloth surface pads will clean up quite nicely with warm water, a few drops of dish detergent, and an old toothbrush. Just set it someplace warm overnight to dry...

They might clean up, but if you'll do it often enough - the top surface will "wear out" more quickly (if it's a cloth mousepad) and will eventually start to "separate" from the "spongy" rubber bottom surface; the glue that holds them together is not meant to be permanently water-proof :wink: Plus it's much easier to "dry" the metal/plastic mousepad - you just wipe it with cloth/paper towel and it's dry. Saves a lot of time which can be spent on something very valuable, like more gaming :wink:
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:49 pm

Agreed. But I only clean them when they start to get visibly dirty (or if I spill a beer on 'em... heh), so it hasn't really been an issue!
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:18 am

AFAIK the current Razer Deathadders still have the best sensors bar none. I can't say much about the rest of the mouse other than that I like the shape and that it works after 6 months. It does feel a bit cheap though considering how much you pay for it.

edit: Oh I forgot, this mouse does have tracking problems with the surface of my own desktop. It doesn't skip a beat on my mousepad. YMMV.
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:30 am

just brew it! wrote:or if I spill a beer on 'em... heh

Drinking near PC is a bad, bad thing... Just ask my "dead" Deck Legend keyboard :cry:
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:36 am

JohnC wrote:
just brew it! wrote:or if I spill a beer on 'em... heh

Drinking near PC is a bad, bad thing... Just ask my "dead" Deck Legend keyboard :cry:

I've yet to wreck a keyboard with beer (knock on wood). The mousepad is between the keyboard and the spot where I set my pint glass, so the mouse and/or mouse pad is what tends to get it.

I did manage to dump about half a beer into a RUNNING Asus motherboard once. I think it would've actually survived if I hadn't dropped the mobo in my haste to get it cleaned up; the fall (onto a hard tile floor) caused the PCB to partially de-laminate in the area of the PCI slots. After a thorough rinse and sitting in a warm spot to dry for a couple of days the board would still boot up and run, but the PCI slots were toast.
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:39 am

JohnC wrote:
just brew it! wrote:or if I spill a beer on 'em... heh
Drinking near PC is a bad, bad thing... Just ask my "dead" Deck Legend keyboard :cry:

Couple of hand-dremeled drain holes on the old 1391401 and that problem is no longer a problem.

I've doused two work laptops in Diet Coke. In both cases I went for immediate power-switch shutdown, pulled out everything that could be pulled out, and immediately drained as best I could. After a night with a fan blowing on the open bits both of them immediately rebooted without issues, though full keyboard functionality took a couple of days of manual de-sticking. And yes, I know I got lucky.
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:59 am

Captain Ned wrote:
JohnC wrote:
just brew it! wrote:or if I spill a beer on 'em... heh
Drinking near PC is a bad, bad thing... Just ask my "dead" Deck Legend keyboard :cry:

Couple of hand-dremeled drain holes on the old 1391401 and that problem is no longer a problem.

I've doused two work laptops in Diet Coke. In both cases I went for immediate power-switch shutdown, pulled out everything that could be pulled out, and immediately drained as best I could. After a night with a fan blowing on the open bits both of them immediately rebooted without issues, though full keyboard functionality took a couple of days of manual de-sticking. And yes, I know I got lucky.


Not that easy to "revive" a keyboard with mechanical Cherry MX keys even with "drain holes" on the body of keyboard - "sticky" drinks (especially with honey and milk in them) can make many individual keys permanently "sticky", washing the whole PCB with each mechanical key actually soldered on didn't really help, neither did spraying a lot of "Electro-Wash" on each individual key and I didn't want to bother with trying to un-solder and disassemble (or replace) all of the "sticky" keys :-?
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:01 am

Where do you get these metal pads from that work with laser mice? I combed through Newegg before I bought mine and they're all roughly the same price ($20 and under) and are either cloth or shotty plase. The plastic ones being cheaper then the cloth. I had a fUnc mousepad for the longest time, but they've been retooling their business for like the last two years and it's really hard to get a hold of one.

I actually wore the coating off of my old fUnc pad so the mouse would drag where the coating was worn off. I would expect a metal pad to work good with laser either due to it being reflective...
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:03 am

Metal pads are very hard to find nowadays... You may try other than Newegg places, for example here:
http://www.amazon.com/ACT-LABS-SBS-SV-S ... 9DO9KNCZRS

There's still plenty of plastic pads, though, as well as some "hybrid" ones, with metal "core" between plastic surfaces, like for example Roccat Alumic (which is available at many stores, including Newegg and Amazon).
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Re: Laser Mouse Skipping, Recommendations?

Postposted on Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:55 pm

Firestarter wrote:AFAIK the current Razer Deathadders still have the best sensors bar none.


This is my experience too. None of the laser mice have quite had the tracking abilities of the Deathadder's 3500dpi sensor.

Razer say their optical sensor does 60–120 inches per second and 15g of acceleration, which I totally believe.
Razer say their lasers do 200 inches per second and 50g of acceleration, which I can disprove with nothing more than a mild wrist-flick.
Logitech are less boastful of their lasers, claiming 165 inches per second and 30g, but again - it skips on fast movement no matter what surface I try it on.

My understanding of this is that lasers are TOO DAMN FUSSY; They may have superior stats on paper, but those stats relate to "optimal surface in laboratory conditions";
I can make most laser mice I have tried skip and screw up quite easily (even though I now use one for gaming). I say most because I tried a Taipan which uses two sensors (laser/infra-red optical) and that performs more or less as well as the old Deathadder.

I'd have bought another Deathadder if the build quality wasn't so shocking ;)
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