Kensington Expert Mouse Trackball

One of the great indispensable pieces of equipment in my office is the Kensington Expert Mouse, bafflingly named since it is, in fact, a trackball. I think Frank Kozik recommended it way-back-when on, and it perfectly combated my hand pain problems of the time. My setup, which has worked really well for me over the last few years, is a dual monitor setup, with a Wacom Intuos 2 mapped to the main screen, and the Kensington trackball set for both. As I’m a lefty, I keep Wacom/pen on the left, and trackball on the right, and I often find myself using both at once. If you’re so inclined, it’s a great setup.

After four or five years of daily use, I finally had to disassemble the trackball to clean the infrared emitter that controls the scroll wheel (note that the ball itself requires cleaning more often, especially if you have pets). I turned to trusty Google and quickly found trusty Ed Nisley to give me a few take-apart instructions. Some dog and cat hair removal, some blowing crap into my own eyes, a Q-tip and a damp tissue later: she’s good as… well, now at least the scroll wheel is working intermittently instead of not at all.

I’d also tried installing the proper drivers/software for this thing (currently running the default Windows 7 “hey we detected your hardware” drivers) and had no success. The 64-bit installation was a no-go because Kensington doesn’t have signed certificates or some shit like that. They provided a workaround, but it didn’t work, and made the trackball not work at all. So I’m back where I was, except slightly better off.

Anyway, it’s a hell of a trackball, overall.

Please share your tasteful ball-cleaning/blowing/damp tissue jokes in the comments section.

UPDATE DEC, 2011: Scroll wheel stopped working again about a month after I posted this, and I kept putting off re-disassembling this thing because the gooey little rubber feet were a real TURN-OFF, Y’KNOW? (And besides, I know it’s clean in there, so what exactly would I do if I did open it again? WIGGLE THINGS?) Anyway, I gave in and bought a replacement (J&R had it in the $80 range) and will keep my mostly-functioning old one as a backup/spare/spare parts. I still quite like the product. Ken #1 served me well. It’s time for Ken #2 now. OH MY GOD MAYBE I SHOULD USE BOTH AT ONCE. MASTER BLASTER.

UPDATE, JAN, 2019: Yes, I still use this product. I’m on my second one. It is indispensable to me.

5 thoughts on “Kensington Expert Mouse Trackball

  1. I have this trackball. a week ago i took it apart and cleaned it and now today, my stupid scroll wheel is acting up again. Just as you say, intermittently. It’s very annoying. I spent HOW much on this thing? Other than that I’ve loved this mouse though. but c’mon kensington, i shouldn’t this much of a pain in the ass.

  2. I have an Expert Mouse, too, and I can’t live without it.
    Like you I was having trouble with my scroll wheel and before tearing it apart to clean it I went to the Kensington website to update the driver. The latest software is 1.1 beta, and the installation failed because of the certificate issue you mention (I’m running Win7 64), and their workaround failed for me as it did for you. I uninstalled, and then was unable to install my old driver (1.01; I had problems with the 1.04). I called tech support, and the guy told me that the 64-bit installation will fail for all users, and will prevent re-installation of earlier versions, and that the programmers are “upset” and working on a remedy — he took my phone # and supposedly I’ll be called when they’ve fixed the software. (He couldn’t tell me why this toxic beta driver was still available for download when it has such issues.) So I’m using the MS generic mouse driver with it, with limited functionality.

    I fixed the scroll wheel problem by cleaning the IR emitter as you did. I wish I’d tried this first.

  3. Yeah, I think ‘intermittent’ is actually more annoying than ‘not working at all’. Frustrating as hell. If you read through the comment section of the Ed Nisley link above, many people had success moving the sensors slightly closer together, though he himself didn’t think it should’ve made a difference. I am considering this option, I dunno…

  4. A sad story that became a happy one: I was moving my Expert Mouse, off level, and the ball fell out, hit a hard metal edge and was chipped. Attempts to patch the chip helped but were not good enough. I contacted Kensington to see if I could buy a replacement ball from them and received a reply starting out saying that they don’t sell parts…but since mine was still under warranty they would send me one. Needless to say I was very pleased at that. The new ball still feels a bit stiffer than the old one (and stiffer than my old PS/2 Expert Mouse) but it is great to have it back. I’ve decided it is worth registering products online after all, at least with Kensington.