Monday, December 3, 2012

Fixing Logitech mouse cables , and why braided cables are a bad idea!

Seems like the new feature on most gaming mice, keyboards, keypads, and similar devices is braided cables. There's no arguing that since peripherals are used so much with heavy gaming, they need to be able to withstand a beating. Especially devices with cables that are constantly getting thrown around, bundled up, and used almost daily.

A common problem with cabled devices is, if they don't have some sort of plastic support system they will inevitably break from constant bending back and forth. For instance, 
Notice the Logitech G700s' cable on the left, since it has a large plastic support and since the cable is extra thick, it bends much less. The Logitech G5 (1st Gen.) on the right however, has little to no support and the 
cable is extra thin to make room for the braided "protection" around it.



























All of these mice were broken, notice the G9s even have this problem, some worse than others depending on their use.

Problem is, rather than taking the standard somewhat thick USB mouse cable and then put the braided material over it; Logitech went ahead and made the plastic thinner and weaker and must have assumed the braided material could handle a beating and keep the plastic protected. Sadly, it cannot handle much. The braided material would come undone and sections of the cable began to become bare, with no protection but the thin plastic. All of the G9s and G5s my family and friends have, over 15 of them, have all broken where the cable leaves the mouse. 100% failure rate.

Besides the cables though, Logitech tends to make some great mice, and they actually went with an extra thick, non-braided cable for the G700, which I personally love!

Now, down to business though, I've fixed many of these mice, figured I would put up a tutorial.

I will be showing you how to fix broken Logitech mice! Particularly Logitech G5s and G9s, but this method can work for any mouse that has a bad cord section that you want to patch  rather than getting a new cord.

We're simply going to take the mice apart, take the cables out, cut out the bad sections, solder the connectors back to the rest of the cable, and put them back together.


1. Soldering Iron
2. Solder
3. Solder Flux
4. Electrical tape
5. Philips Screwdriver
6. Flathead Screwdriver
7. Wire cutters
8. Wire strippers
9. Needle Nose Pliers










Let's start with the G5
Turn the mouse over and remove the 4 screws 
Use a flat head screwdriver to pry the bottom section off
Set aside the top
Remove the one screw holding in the weight tray section, 

BE CAREFUL WITH THE RIBBON CABLE!
Set the weight tray holder somewhat aside
Work the cable out of it's path
Disconnect the cable from the control board
Set the mouse aside
Cut out the bad sections
Trash the bad sections!
Prep the wires for soldering

NOTE: The shielding must be soldered to the first black cable (the one on the left)
Flux the tips
Solder them together (not the greatest solder job, but it works!)
Electrical tape them up

NOTE: Make sure you tape them up so that none of them are touching!
Put the cable back in

NOTE: The cable may be quite hard to get back in, but I can promise it's possible!
Put the weight try holder back in position
Make sure you screw it back in!
Plop the cover back on
All done, and working! (notice the lights)


Now for the G9x!



Turn the mouse over, remove the pads

NOTE: Use a flat head to pry under both layers of the pads that way you can re-use them
Notice I ruined the pad on the left, but the one on the right is reusable 
Remove the 4 screws
NOTE: You cannon remove the top of the G9 or G9x without first removing the ribbon cable!

Use a flat head or your fingers to gently pry the two black tabs up, then remove the top of the mouse
There!
Disconnect the cable

NOTE: Removing the G9 or G9X's cable requires the main board to be removed first!
Somewhat move the cable aside
Unscrew the 6 screws holding the board and the scroll wheel mechanism on
Remove everything from the body of the mouse,

Remove the cable and don't loose the little spring the blue arrow is pointing at!
Cut out the bad section of cable
Toss the bad section, prep the wire for soldering
Prepping!
Flux the wires
Solder!
Wrap them up

NOTE: Make sure you tape them up so that none of them are touching!
Put the wire back into position

NOTE: Make sure you check the placement of the wire before you put everything back together!

ALSO: The cable may be quite hard to get back in, but I can promise it's possible!

Put the tiny spring back if you removed it
Screw everything back in
Plug your connector back into the main board
There!
Plop the top on, reconnect the ribbon cable, screw the top back on, put the pads back on, and you're done!

Good as new!

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me on, Soundcloud, YouTube, or email me at: scottemusic(at)live.com

If you're feeling kind:

I really hope this helps!

- Ezra

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Upgrading to / Installing Windows 8 on an HP Envy 15

Hello everyone!

Figured I'd make a post about this since I had some serious issues with this and I know a lot of others have also.

Upgrading HP Envy 15s to Windows 8 can be some tricky business. Particularly the laptops with the 4830m and possibly the 5830m cards.

Issue is, apparently these cards aren't exactly well known, and Windows 8 in particular goes through a "preparing devices" stage where it really screws things up. I don't know exactly what it does, but once it gets to around 90% in that stage, it checks the graphics card. It must assume that the 4830m/5830m is a different card, and then it must install the wrong drivers or something of that sort. Thus ruining the install and leaving your computer Windows 8-less.

After doing a ton of searching and finally finding a suggestion online, I got it to work! There's a catch though, it's going to take some time, especially if you're trying to upgrade Windows 7 on your Envy to Windows 8.

Basically what we're doing is we're creating a virtual PC, creating an image of it, and then cloning that image back onto our PC overwriting everything. That way we bypass the install process and clone a working image of Windows 8 onto our computer.

I would recommend reading through the process to make sure you have everything needed to get this working!

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Let's get started!

1. Prepare your PC for a format - The usual, get everything important off of your PC, you will loose everything in this process!

2. Install Oracle VM VirtualBox or something similar - This is the software required to create our image later on. (NOTE - You cannot use XP Mode in Windows 7 to do this upgrade, for some reason Windows 7 doesn't give XP mode enough RAM to get the Windows 8 install going.)

3. Create a virtual drive - Make sure the virtual drive has plenty of room, at least 2-3GBs of RAM to use, and make sure you install the USB addon in VirtualBox if you plan on using an external HDD

4. Install Windows on your virtual drive - If you bought a Windows 8 disk, then go straight to Windows 8, if you bought an upgrade, then you're going to have to install your Windows 7 copy on this virtual drive and then upgrade it to Windows 8. (It's a pain I know, but this is the only way I could figure out how to do this, and this is also why I said it can take some time!)

5. Create a recovery image of that virtual drive - Once you're done installing Windows, you need to create an image we can then clone to your PC. In Windows 8, go to the search bar, type in "recovery", tell it to search under "settings" , and you should see "Windows 7 File Recovery" at the top. Go there, click on "Create a system image" on the left, and then get the process going from there. (You can use an external hard drive or a network drive to do this)

6. Boot into the usual Windows install - Use a Windows disk to boot into the usual install process of Windows, except click on repair PC, then select recovery, and then recover your PC from that image you made with the virtual PC (I used a network drive to do this, and getting the address just right can be tricky, refer to my paragraph further down if your having trouble getting it to locate your image on the network)

NOTE - If you're using an external drive, such as a flash drive or hard drive to store your image, you must plug it in after your computer has booted into the install process of Windows. (Thanks bfaber at bfaber.com)

7. Recover from that image - Recover from that image you made earlier, and once the process is done you should be good to go!

8. Clean up - Install the usual drivers, I know that the forums at NotebookReview (1XXX 1st Gen. Envy drivers , 2XXX 2nd Gen. Envy drivers) has a lot of drivers for our devices that work with Windows 8.

NOTE - When installing Graphics Card drivers, make sure they're from HPs' website or notebookreviews forum. Not many drivers work with our cards and installing the wrong drivers can ruin your install of Windows. Once you know you have the correct graphics drivers downloaded, run the install in compatibility mode (Windows 7) and as administrator to get them to install properly!

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If you're having any space issues with your PC, like missing space, it's because the image we cloned from was using a virtual drive that was a specific size and the image does an exact replica of that. To fix this, go under "Administrative Tools" (You can search for this under settings like we did before with searching for Windows 7 recovery), then "Computer Management" , then on the side bar "Disk Management", select your drive, right click, and select "Extend Volume", and extend the unallocated space back onto the primary partition.

Also, I would recommend creating a backup image of your PC once you have everything up and running. If you need to re-format eventually in the future, and you don't have a ready to go image of your PC, it's going to take a ton of time to get it up and running again!

Rather that storing the backup image on your primary partition, you can create a recovery partition which I would recommend. You can do this by shrinking your primary partition by about 30GBs and then putting your "WindowsImageBackup" folder with all of the image goods on that partition. Make sure that the folder is in the root of that partition. When recovering from an image Windows doesn't like it when the "WindowsImageBackup" folder is anywhere else but the root of a HDD. (If you don't know what the root is, it's the furthest back folder on a drive. So on my network drive (Drive Z) my "WindowsImageBackup" folder is in this address "\\computername\z\"

If anyone is still having issues getting through the "installing drivers" stage after this image has been cloned to your PC, follow this guide (Thanks bfaber at bfaber.com):


1 - Reboot, select f8 to get to the advanced options boot menu.
2 - Select "Boot into safe mode"
3 - After you're in Windows, open up control panel and get to the device manager
4 - Open up display adapters
5 - Double click on the adapter listed there, (should be something like WDM , 4830m, 5830m, or something similar)
6 - Go to the "driver tab" , Select "update driver"
7 - Select "Browse my computer for driver software"
8 - Select "Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer"
9 - Select "have disk"  (Find, then navigate to and select CH_97046.inf)
10 - If you select it, find "4830 series" and select it
11 - Restart and get back into normal Windows, and everything should be working fine now
12 - Install the usual drivers from the forums at NotebookReview (1XXX 1st Gen. Envy drivers , 2XXX 2nd Gen. Envy drivers) or from HPs website

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If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me on Twitter , Soundcloud , YouTube , or email at scottemusic(at)live.com

If you're feeling kind, feel free to donate a beer or so. Or simply let me know this method worked through one of the contact methods above:
I really hope this helps!

Thanks!