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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:31 pm

Last week we took a brief look at the upcoming laser upgrade kit from AMIGAstore.eu for old Amiga mice, particularly for the tank.
The 'Laser Tank PCB: is compatible with the well-known Amiga Tank model, sold predominantly with Amiga 500 and Amiga 600 systems. If this is your mouse, please choose the "Laser Tank PCB" version
I received an email from them stating:
We [were] aware one month ago about a few rare versions of the tank mouse that are not compatible with this PCB.
That stuck in my head, but I wasn't really sure what it meant (and I'm not sure they do, either, since they didn't articulate any differences to look for).

Then, this week I finally got my hands on a complete Amiga 1000 system for the first time. The tank mouse for the Amiga 1000 uses a unique connector which has a 90-degree angle. The 1000 can use any Amiga mouse, but none look as good as the original tank as it fits snugly to the side of the case and lets the cable fall naturally. It's very aesthetically pleasing, albeit a complete one-off design.
a1000-(3-of-13).jpg
The Amiga 1000's mouse had a very unique 90-degree angled connector. Thank goodness the actual connector itself was a standard Amiga port, which could use any Amiga mouse. But the original tank was the best looking, by far, as it was designed for the machine from an aesthetic standpoint.

After testing the mouse out, it took me about two seconds to realize that the mouse was in really bad shape. I opened it up and cleaned it thoroughly (it was really nasty). After doing that, my y-axis was perfect but the x-axis was still hopeless junk. After a few more attempts I came to accept the fact that I probably wasn't going to be able to fix it. Luckily I had three other tank mouses to scavenge, all in very good shape (all made from the 500/2000 timeframe).

I opened up the old 1000 tank, then I opened up one of my 2000 tanks. I couldn't believe what I saw. They both had the exact same "skin" but their guts were entirely different in drastic ways.
tank-1.jpg
The 1000s tank is on the left, the 500/2000s tank on the right.

This is like one of those "what's different' games where it looks like you're looking at two identical images but you have to find the subtle differences.

Between the two tank mouses, a few big things stand out:
  • The button tap zones (the white/black circles I outlined with red rectangles) are vastly different sizes and heights
  • The 1000's ball and ball socket is actually much bigger than the 2000's
  • The tracker wheels - the things the ball makes contact with - are a completely different design. Post-1000 models are smaller on the interior and have far fewer parts, probably a result of Commodore's legendary cost-saving expertise.
  • And most importantly, the wiring isn't the same at all. The 1000 tank has extra wiring not seen in the newer models.
What this means is that the laser upgrade will not work with an original 1000 mouse (most likely - I'll still want to take a look but now I have my doubts). It also means I can't just pull the guts from a pristine late-model tank and drop it into an ancient 1000 tank. A real pity.

So what if you want to use the just top shell - maybe to replace the outer plastic or buttons? Well the buttons are different between the two models as well.
tank-2.jpg
The newer models have "extenders" that protrude down to the button tap zones. The original 1000 didn't use these as the tap zones were stacked much higher internally.

This could probably be hacked to work, but it would take some measuring.

So no - not all tanks were created the same.

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Sun Jul 16, 2017 9:49 pm

I've read there may have been at least 4 different tank mouses. I think the two I showed above had the most extreme differences of the bunch.

BLTCON0 on Amibay (2013):
I think these are the 4 versions of the Amiga tank mouse:
1a) A1000 version - internally the same as the 3rd one, just with the L-shaped connector.
1b) A500/A2000 early version - the 3rd one (curvy connector)
(as Skyrunner pointed out, these are heavier due to the larger ball. The balls have a metal core, larger ball --> larger = heavier core)

2a) A500/A2000 later version - the 1st one, rectangular connector
2b) A500/A2000 later version with ferrite bead - the 2nd one, I think these were meant for the US market?

There may also exist a different colour version of the version 2 tank mouse (light gray instead of beige).

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LambdaCalculus
New Jersey, USA
Website

Posted Tue Aug 15, 2017 11:31 am

Over the past weekend, I was cleaning and beginning to restore another Amiga 500 I landed super cheap from a yard sale. It had only the mouse included with it; no cables or anything else included.

The strange thing about this mouse is that it's got a straight connector to the computer, but the guts are similar to those of an Amiga 1000 tank mouse.
And the sad part is that only the X axis of the mouse is read and not the Y axis, which means I can't move vertically at all with it.

In the picture below, you can spot three major differences from intric8's A1000 tank mouse:
  • The connector is straight, not at 90 degrees
  • The buttons are thin contact points and not actual switches
  • The connector on the board is soldered as opposed to socketed.
I could rip out the guts and replace them with the Laser Tank upgrade as well, but I can also get a DB-9 to USB or PS/2 adapter and use a spare mouse from my collection of parts for the Amiga. But I do need a mouse; my other Amiga didn't come with one.
IMG_20170812_151514-1.jpg

User avatar
SPiFF

Posted Mon May 31, 2021 10:16 am

Hi All ...

I have an A1000 that I am now using quite a bit more thanks to David Dunklee's awesome Parceiro. It is an all original unit with original packaging and disks, so I really was just preserving it. The Parceiro lets me use this machine without altering it.

One issue is the mouse. Of course I have a new optical unit from AmigiaStore.eu that gets used on my A1200, but that really doesn't match the look of this machine. It really needs the tank with the correct cable. These original mice are a PITA to restore so I thought I would give the optical upgrade a go since it would allow me to keep the correct look of the system without having to fight with the keeping the original unit functional.

I knew the unit would not be compatible with the A1000 tank body as shown in this thread. My plan was to use an A500-era tank body with the A1000 cable. Turns out this is not as straight forward as it might seem. The 8-pin PCB header has a completely different pinout on these early units. So, with a little work I have been able to re-pin the A1000 cable to use with the later tank body and the optical upgrade kit. Below is the pinout for any future generations who may want to do this.

Code: Select all

5   4   3   2   1
  9   8   7   6

	A1k
DB9	PCB				Optical
Pin	Pin	Color	Function	Pin
---	---	-------	------------	-------
5	N/C	N/C	Button 3	N/C
4	5	Blue	HQ		6
3	1	Green	VQ		4
2	6	Orange	H		7
1	2	Brown	V		3
9	7	White	Button 2 (R)	1
8	4	Black	GND		5
7	3	Red	+5V		8
6	8	Yellow	Button 1 (L)	2

SPiFF - 31 May 21

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A10001986
1986
Website

Posted Tue Jun 01, 2021 2:25 am

LambdaCalculus wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2017 11:31 am

The strange thing about this mouse is that it's got a straight connector to the computer, but the guts are similar to those of an Amiga 1000 tank mouse.
And the sad part is that only the X axis of the mouse is read and not the Y axis, which means I can't move vertically at all with it.
(Edit: Just realized the posting I am responding to is from 2017, but I'll leave this here regardless)

That's a very early A500/A2000 mouse. The weak parts of those are the photo transistors, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUjqIohxCrA

I have two of those, and in both this was actually the issue. The replacement part is about $.05 and available at rs components. Was a ten minutes job to fix.

However: Those buttons are not built to last. Mine still work, but I don't actually use those mice nowadays. If you want this mouse to live a long life, you'd need to think about replacing those "buttons" (hardly deserve this name) eventually.

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A10001986
1986
Website

Posted Tue Jun 01, 2021 2:37 am

SPiFF wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 10:16 am

It really needs the tank with the correct cable. These original mice are a PITA to restore
It isn't that bad. These mice suffer from two weaknesses: 1) The cable, often broken inside due to twisting it once or twice too often, 2) aging resistors or solder.

The inside of these mice looks like a 5yo soldered them. It is terrible.

I have several of those, and some of them showed erratic movement in either or both directions. Turned out that they all were all easily fixed by replacing 4 SMD resistors. You need 2,7kOhm 1206 ones.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmJqf-VHn9E

When I de-soldered the old ones, I noticed that they were all but 2,7kOhm ones, some were 800Ohm, some 3,6kOhm. Not by measured value, but by denomination! I don't know why.

Replacing them (all four) with 2,7kOhm ones did the job in every single case.

User avatar
JoeUser
Dallas, TX

Posted Tue Jun 01, 2021 7:12 pm

Excellent thread, full of great info, thanks!

I recently aquired three tank mice, and another trackball. I've yet to fully test any of them, but they're well used and need some cleaning. It's good to know about the resistors, and I'll file that info away for future use!





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