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MorseMail PS/2 Mouse Setup

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Here are some instructions on how to setup a PS/2 mouse for use with MorseMail using a straight key.  These instructions will show you how to modify this PS/2 mouse and still use it as a functional mouse.

These directions should work, with some modifications, for any mouse you choose to use.  You'll need to test your mouse as discussed below to determine where to modify your mouse on your mouse's PCB.  If you'd like to see instructions on how to do a USB mouse, and a source of where to purchase that exact mouse, please see Harry Pyle's instruction page.  You can also adapt this project for your PS/2 mouse if you wish to use a paddle with this project.  Look at Harry Pyle's instruction page for ideas on how to do this.

It's advisable that you use a different mouse than the one you use every day with your computer.  If the project goes bad, you won't ruin your primary mouse!

Parts Required for this Project

1 - 1/8" two conductor open circuit jack
1 - 1/8" two conductor plug
2 - 8" pieces of  of small gauge copper wire
1 - Cable with small gauge copper wire (old mouse cord will suffice)
                 - OR -
2 - lengths of small gauge copper wire long enough to go from the mouse to your key
1 - PS/2 Mouse

I have several Compaq mice around so I used one of these.  The part number is 166861-001.  It is a 2-button mouse (no scroll dial).


Turn your mouse over and remove any screws.  Most mice have two screws near the back of the mouse on the bottom.  Once the screws are removed, carefully remove the top. Then, carefully lift the PCB with the attached cord from the base of the mouse. Now, look for the switches that actually receive the mouse button clicks. Turn the PCB over and look at the board underneath the switches. There should be a common area. Also, look for the middle contact of what should be switch 1 (this is the left mouse button).

Here is a picture of the PCB of my mouse:


Notice on this PCB that the "common" area is quite easily found.  It's where the arrow on the left is pointing.  You can see the three points for switch two on the top left.  The three in the middle are for the center button if this were a three-button mouse.  The three points on the far right at the top are for switch one.  The "common" links the two outside contacts of each switch (normally).  Make sure you test your mouse as described below before soldering anything.

The way to test to see if this works is to hook up the mouse with it currently opened up. Connect the mouse to your computer.  Run MorseMail and position the mouse pointer as you would when you use MorseMail (you may have to manually move the vertical or horizontal position wheels). Then, using a single piece of wire, touch these the contact points on the PCB as discussed above.  If you hear the tones, those are your two spots.  Use a sharpie and mark the PCB if you like. 

If you don't get the tones from MorseMail, change positions.  One wire must be connected to the common area and the other wire to a spot where that's not connected to the common area.  And, preferably, you should choose the switch that would normally be for the left mouse click....which should be switch one.  Once you find the switches, it should be relatively simple.

Then, disconnect the mouse from your computer.

Carefully solder a 8" piece of wire to each spot.  You can use just about any small gauge wire.  I chose to use 22AWG single copper strand.  If you're a network guy like me, you may also strip out a CAT5 cable and use the 24AWG single copper wire.  (Hint, if you're looking for wire of this gauge and work in an office building, ask your network guys if they have any scraps of CAT5 cable laying around.  It's good stuff and if it's being thrown away, you have free wires of high quality.)

Here is a picture after I soldered my wire.  Note that on the common spot, I soldered from the top of the PCB since I didn't have a third switch to deal with.


You can see where I soldered the common and you can see the black wire peaking over the edge of the PCB for the other wire.

You now need to take your 1/8" two conductor open circuit jack.  Find a spot in the base of the mouse where it will fit.  I used the rear right side of the mouse base because it fit better there.  The best way to measure it is to take off the outer ring and place it on the top edge of the base and see where it will fit without the wires getting in the way.  Make sure you put it in a spot where it won't interfere with any guides from the top of the mouse case and where it won't get in the way of the vertical and horizontal mouse control wheels in the front of the mouse.  For a clean hole, drill (slow speed) a hole just big enough for the jack to fit through.

Take the free ends of the wires, cut off enough extra wire to give you a bit of play so you can route the wires in the bottom of the mouse case.  Mine ended up being about 6" in length.  Strip off about 1/8" and solder to the two contacts on the jack.  Be quick about it, you'll need a hot iron.  You don't want to spend too much time here with a hot iron or you'll ruin the insulator disks on the jack.


Once you get the jack in, now it's time to carefully reassemble the mouse.  Make sure you lay the wires in the mouse so the vertical and horizontal wheels won't be interfered with.  Also make sure you avoid spots where the guides from the top of the mouse case won't pinch your wires.  In the picture below, I've not yet moved the wire around the horizontal control wheel.


Once you've got the wires where they need to be, put the top of the mouse case back on and screw it all back together.


Now, you're mouse can still be used as a mouse.  Re-connect the mouse to your computer and test it.  It the mouse still functions as it should, you're almost done!  If not, open it back up and check your work.  Make sure you have solid connections and haven't dislodged anything.

If you already have your key connected to a cable with a 1/8" two conductor plug, hook it up and try it with MorseMail!

If not, here are some simple instructions.  Get a 1/8" two conductor plug and some wire.  I've used a scrap piece of wire from an old mouse that no longer worked.  The key here is that if you use a cable with more than two wires use the same two colored wires on both ends.  I used red and white with my cable.  (Of course, if you're only using two wires anyway, do it the way works best for you).

To make a clean looking cable, only remove enough insulation from the outer cladding and the insulation around your copper wire to enable you to solder your wires.  You won't have much wire showing.  Probably no more than 1/4".  The key is that you want to make sure the outer cladding of the cable meets with the end of the prong with the crimping metal.  That way, after you're done soldering you can secure the cable to the plug by using needle nose pliers and crimping that metal around the cable.  If you've never done this before, buy some extra plugs (they're cheap) and practice.

Using one end of the cable, solder each wire to each contact.  If you have a two conductor plug, there's only two contacts.  Slip a piece of shrink tubing over the other end of the cable and slide it up and over the contact points.  And use a lighter or match to shrink the tubing on all sides/surfaces.  (I use my soldering iron, it's slower, but works.)


Now, slip the plastic cover up the cable and screw it back on the plug.


Now, take the other end of the cable (using the same two colored wires).  Strip off about 3/8" insulation.  I always put solder on the visible surfaces of my wire to protect them from corrosion and to keep their shape.  Now, connect them to your key. 


Connect the plug to the mouse, run MorseMail and try it out!!!!  Here I am at work, using my key.

73, KB9RPD