This is a true love story, which leads to an other one... It's all started with me playing some CS...
I literaly fell in love with the shape
of a Microsoft WMO which I was using at my work and after reading bunch of forums threads of others lovers like me, I also realize that for today's standards the hardware from this so well made mouse started to be outdated !
So here comes the idea : Why not taking the best sensor out their from a top end gaming mouse blessed by many players and just simply swap the internal of the WMO with it ?
The project was BORN !
A little recap before getting into more details. I'm not an engineer, just an gaming hardware enthusiasts who likes getting the best of his stuff. So feel free to comment, critisize or help me out if you feel you want to !
CURRENT STATES OF THE PROJECT : WORK IN PROGRESS
My end goals :
1- Figured out how to put Zowie board into the WMO case?
- An happy marriage betweem the Microsoft WMO and a Zowie Divina S2 (more details about why this crush ? later).
- I want the result to looks clean, like a factory product which you can rely on for countless gaming session.
- I want people to be abble to reproduce it so it's gonna be an opensource project.
Here's zowie's ones
And the WMO
As you can see they are both composed of two PCB, with the buttons part separate from the main board which got the 3360 in it. This is why I choose the divina as donor (are we not into marriage anymore?
) because they have a similar conception which may makes things a lot easier. (So I thought...)
Here the positioning of the sensor board of the zowie on top of the WMO shell. With some cleaning space it will be an easy one to implement.
Here comes the tricky part : The second board which contain the buttons switch and the scroll wheel system !
I quickly realized that nothing was right here. The switch positions are differents which means the top shell of the WMO will not press the buttons, the scroll wheel systems yet very similar are kinda inverted and so the PCB's formats doesnt match at all.
From here i've differents options :
- Modding the WMO case to fit the Zowie PCB in it. <---- I don't want to do that as it will probably highly rely on hot glue and a poor results compared to a factory mouse...
- Try to connect the original PCB of the WMO to the Zowie main board. <---- This is a solution but i'm definitely not an engineer and nothing guarantee cross compatibility.
- Using both parts and combine them to have a clean result. <--- This is the solution I choose even if further research would be needed.
fortunately todays its not so hard to build a custom pcb, and there is plenty of chineese websites which do it for an outrageous small price !
On the condition you provide them with the GERBER files of your custom PCB ! In my native language GERBER means vomit
but for the none initiated person GERBER is the file which contain everything to build a PCB (Traces, positions of components, even layers and custom paint job
So as it a new things to me I will need to learn new skills to achieve that...
2 -Creating custom PCB for the switch board
To achieve this I need to clearly identify what I want and where.
I will basicly use the exact same board format as the WMO, I will also use his entire scroll wheel system (bracket, IR led, IR reader...) and I will add the Zowie switch and connector to it.
So now I need to create a vector file of the WMO switch board. What I did is scanning the WMO board using a printer scan set to capture an A4 format. I use this scan on Illustrator to draw the shape on top of it. (tips to do that, usually on this kind of hardware, designers don't use numbers like 9,987 so with the margin of error it means 10 is probably the right measure)
So I ended up with this ! Pretty good results don't you think ?
Now I need to make some reverse engineering in order to copy the zowie pcb and put it on the WMO board.
As electronic was completely new to me, it's have been two weeks since I started to reverse the Zowie's pcb.
This what I ended up with :
This should be the correct zowie's schematic
So with that in hand I was abble to build this on the top of the wmo board
Was tricky first to place correctly all the traces but after a few tries I managed to make something which looks good !
After sending my Geber file for production I received 5 of my custom PCB.
At this moment I was really excited but also worried I didn't take the measures correctly but as you can see everything went well !
I just need to cut some plastic supports of the WMO to make space for the new PCB.
As soldering deserve a course of its own I will not talk too much about it since I'm not an expert and there's plenty tutorial on youtube about it. You will just need to carefully remove the scroll wheel support from the WMO original PCB (the plastic part which looks like a scorpion). For this use desoldering braid, and try not to touch the scorpion as it's a plastic part which will melt !
You can reuse all the components from the zowie PCB, but personnaly I bought everything again, the most difficult part to find was the connector !
After some soldering this is the result :
Now I need to remove some plastic part of the WMO case to make room for the Zowie boards.
For this I use a dremel, some sand paper, and I worked slowly to avoid irreversible mistakes.
Tip is to keep the two plastic part A and B (see the picture below) the same size, as it will greatly help you to correctly place and keep the zowie board straight. You will use them as guides and lean the top of the sensor board on its.
To build stands for the board, I use this kind of M2 standoff
that I cut and sand until it fit the right size in order for the lens of the Zowie to be press against the case. they are composed of nylon so it can be glued to the case using cyanoacrylate glue.
Now finale the easiest part the rebuild !
Here you can see everything is back in place and the sensor board is tightly secure with screws, as it should be during hours of games !
From the back the sensor is align and the lens is press against the bottom of the case.
I took my time before coming back to you with my thought about this custom mouse and how well or bad it perform inGame.
So far (≈ 100 hours) it perform just perfect ! I think it defintly have to do with the shape of the mouse, which fit perfectly my hand.
I never had once the feeling of hardness holding it, it's like I could play with it for countless game session, which confirm my supposition that this 30 years old mouse shape is still a hit !
Only downside for now I didn't succeed making the scroll wheel work, my design was suppose to use the WMO original sensor components which are really close to the zowie's one, but it didn't work probably because the circuit design and the resistor are differents. So as it is the Zowie circuit design I wanted to try to use the sensor from the divina, but I broke them while desoldering so I need to buy them back but they are quite hard to find...