Adding a middle mouse button to a Kensington Orbit

To Orbit or not to orbit

As a christmas gift from my employer I got a very nice mouse, the Kensington Orbit. I really liked having a trackball mouse again, in the past I’ve had several Logitech trackball / mice that helped me solve RSI problems. The reason I liked having one now is that I’m frequently drawing in Google Sketchup and / or Solidworks. I liked the idea of rotating a physical object (the ball in the mouse) to manipulate the object on the screen.

Middle mouse button!

The Kensington Orbit has a ‘scrolling ring’ and two mouse buttons, but lacks a third mouse button. That last button is extremely comfortable when using 3D CAD programs as it allows you to orbit your object while performing another task at the same time. Confusing enough, the Kensington Orbit cannot be used to orbit by mouse….

..have..to…press..middle…mouse…button….

OK. This one might have gone too far, but I REALLY wanted that middle mouse button. To go short, I added a Konig mini USB hub, and the controller of another mouse inside the original housing to add the functionality I wanted.
Description:

  • Konig Mini USB hub, removed housing and desoldered the USB connectors to make space available
  • Cypress CP6238 controller desoldered from a logitech mouse, only to use the USB lines and the middle mouse line.
  • Original mouse electronics and USB cable, but removed connector from incoming USB cable and soldered the lines directly to the USB hub. One of the USB hub ports now feeds the original electronics

What did I try that did not work?

I had several other options in mind before I used the one described above:

  • Remove original electronics and use only donor mouse parts.
    • Pro: USB hub not needed
    • Con: the Orbit uses a Allegro A505 optical chip, the donor mice I had lying around were all using other (less sophisticated) optical chips. Interfacing would be very hard.
  • Use original microcontroller
    • Pro: no other hardware needed
    • Con: The original microcontroller (also Cypress, but now the CY7C63813) can probably be flashed, but I didn’t feel like finding out what compiler to use, creating a build environment, etc. I also tried checking unused pins for pull-ups by touching them with 10k to GND (first checked voltage level on left & right mouse button to see what could be expected), but could not find an unused ‘middle mouse button’ pin.

Pictures

Terminal Proof

user@t61 ~ $ lsusb
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 004 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 005 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 006 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 007 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 003 Device 003: ID 0483:2016 SGS Thomson Microelectronics Fingerprint Reader
user@t61 ~ $ lsusb
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 004 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 005 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 006 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 007 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 003 Device 003: ID 0483:2016 SGS Thomson Microelectronics Fingerprint Reader
Bus 001 Device 011: ID 058f:6254 Alcor Micro Corp. USB Hub
Bus 001 Device 012: ID 047d:2048 Kensington 
Bus 001 Device 013: ID 046d:c03f Logitech, Inc. M-BT85 [UltraX Optical Mouse]
user@t61 ~ $ 

6 thoughts on “Adding a middle mouse button to a Kensington Orbit

  1. Al says:

    I understand you can program the pressing of it’s two buttons together to simulate a middle click in the orbit’s software.Did you try it?

    • admin says:

      Hi Al,
      I’m using this mouse on several PC’s so I didn’t want to install the Kensington drivers. For me , this soloution works, I haven’t tried the solution you suggested.

  2. rosol7 says:

    hi
    I just bought Kensington Orbit and I would like to add more then one more button. Is it possible? How many buttons is possible to add?
    Thanks for your reply.

    • admin says:

      Hi Rosol,
      You could add another left and right mouse button, but they would do the same as the 2 buttons already present on the Orbit. Physically, this hack just places 2 mice in one housing.

  3. […] mittlere Maus-Taste ist somit nicht vorgesehen. Wer den Aufwand scheut, den Trackball mit einem zus√§tzlichen Taster zu versehen, der als mittlere Maustaste interpretiert werden kann, muss eine Neuzordnung der bestehenden Taster […]

  4. […] will be missed during the general Linux usage, e.g. for copy & paste. Who hesitates to add a mechanical middle mouse button by himself, has to make a reallocation of the already available buttons. This can be done with the tool […]

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