Unidentified clicky 80's IBM optical mouse with nonstandard connector


24 May 2023, 21:38

Ran across this on Friday in a recycling center, tangled up with some serial mice. I can't find any reference to this mouse on Google Images or the web, or its 9-pin female connector.
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Edit: This was also placed on top of the Intel microcontroller.
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Last edited by joshwyant on 24 May 2023, 21:51, edited 2 times in total.


24 May 2023, 21:57

Looks a lot like the early optical mouse from Mouse Systems in this video:
Last edited by Findecanor on 24 May 2023, 22:05, edited 1 time in total.

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24 May 2023, 21:57

Interesting. The connector is probably a standard 9 pin serial. The serial connector would have been unusual if it were a mouse made for a PC, maybe it was for a larger system. Three buttons would have been more common on a Unix workstation. One rarely sees optical mice of that vintage. I never came across them, but some of the early ones required a special mouse pad with a metal grid in it.


24 May 2023, 22:19

Yeah, they seem a lot alike! Looks like a similar optical mechanism, and the bottom is laid out almost identically. So is the slope. There's a longer sticker on the top with the IBM logo, the buttons are boxier, and it's textured like the older PC/XT/AT.

I do think it's serial, but female instead of male. I wonder where it plugged in? Maybe a special card? Maybe there's a male-male adapter that can be used to plug it into a com port.

That mousepad is interesting, does seem really strange. The way it's set up, I bet this one probably needs the same thing, which would be a little disappointing if I can't find one.


24 May 2023, 22:27

dotdash wrote:
24 May 2023, 21:57
Three buttons would have been more common on a Unix workstation. One rarely sees optical mice of that vintage. I never came across them, but some of the early ones required a special mouse pad with a metal grid in it.
I think that type from Mouse Systems is most closely associated with workstations from Sun Microsystems, yes. But the angled buttons are a bit unusual ...

I would speculate the custom to have three buttons is more because Mouse Systems' mice had it than it being specifically a Unix thing. Xerox, who was one of the very first to make mice, also used three buttons.
And mice with three buttons were very common for PCs too before the introduction of the scroll wheel.
For the PC's serial port there were two main protocols that mouse brands implemented: a two-button protocol from Microsoft, and a three-button protocol from Mouse Systems.


24 May 2023, 22:43

I found another Mouse Systems model, still different positioning for the apertures:
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24 May 2023, 23:04

More findings: 1981 invention of the optical mouse, and a 1982 mouse with a female connector.
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From: https://www.gearrate.com/en/mouse/history/


24 May 2023, 23:27

Here's a teardown of a Mouse Systems mouse. The electronics are completely different, but otherwise the inside looks much the same, with some mechanical differences.


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25 May 2023, 01:03

It appears to be an IBM 5277 Mouse (source 1, source 2). It's intended for IBM 3270 family colour/graphics terminals (3179-Gx, 3192-Gx0) and PC-based emulators (3270 PC AT/G and 3270 PC AT/GX). The earliest mention I can find on IBM's Offering Info portal is June 1984 at a price of $340 USD (around $1k today!). It was withdrawn in December 1997. It was made by Summargraphics for IBM.

Note the "7002" at the start of the barcode number? That coincidentally is the feature number for the IBM 3270 Personal Computer AT/GX Option Kit - a kit that allowed various optional hardware (including a 5277 mouse) to connect to an IBM 3270 PC AT/GX.


25 May 2023, 18:50

If you dismantle it again it might be a good idea to put a label over the EPROM window in the MCU - it'd be a shame for stray light to wipe the firmware.

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