Macintosh ADB Optical Mouse

The mouse had to be right as well so I set off on a mission to get an optical mouse’s hardware inside an old Macintosh ADB ball mouse.

This is the one mod that was destructive. Every other part of the project could easily be reverted back if needed including the keyboard but this one required grinding away some of the plastic inside and gluing the mouse ball access point shut. I was okay with this as it isn’t really part of the computer and could be (pretty) easily replaced if I wanted to reverse the project.

Here’s the guts of it after the conversion.

I used the original switch which you can see at the top. It’s been hot-glued and wired into it’s original position making the click and overall usage feel exactly the same as the original (aside from no longer needing to clean the rollers every week to keep it rolling smoothly!)

People have asked why I didn’t go with 2 buttons on a rocker or similar. Technically there wasn’t anything stopping me but it wasn’t really part of the experience I was trying to create, which was a balance between modern hardware that made the computer useable again, and a truly authentic feel. I felt the one click was a really big part of staying true to the feel of the original.

I also wanted to use the original cable with the PS/2 connector, again to preserve the original look, so I wired that up to the USB mouse hardware and on the computer end, I took a female PS/2 plug from an old motherboard and wired that with the corresponding connectors on another USB cable which plugs straight into the NB100’s standard usb ports.

Below I’ve lifted the mouse a little so you can see the red light shining through, but when it’s flat on a surface it looks completely original and you wouldn’t know from looking at it or hearing the click that it wasn’t original.


Converting the original Macintosh Portable keyboard to standard USB

The keyboard was critical to this project. As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts of all the amazing retrofitted computer projects I’d seen, none had the original keyboard hooked up and I thought doing this and doing it properly would make the look, feel and experience uncanny. Looking back now, I was completely right about this.Continue Reading

Will it fit?

I’ve been modifying and creating things for years. Back in 2005 I converted a 1920s phone to use Bluetooth for a promotion at work (and I never imagined we’d see widespread commercial success of the old handsets plugged into iPhones otherwise I would have started producing them!) Anyway I spotted the Dockintosh video on YouTube.Continue Reading

Macintosh Portable running OSX tour

So here’s a tour of the final product! I took plenty of photos along the way which I’m going to turn into a post a week for the next few weeks. I’ll be covering the main hardware, mounting the screen, optical mouse conversion and the remapping/rewiring of the keyboard – which ended up being fairlyContinue Reading

About this Project

2 years ago I had a crisis of identity. The ideals of hipster culture were becoming ever more attractive with their careful balance of frugality and conscious consumption. What I loved most was the nonsensical obsession with artefacts and obsolete technology, which defines me. This works well for dusty, old, single-gear bicycles from Dad’s garage,Continue Reading