Herky-Jerky Mouse Stuttering

Started by V.T. Eric Layton, December 08, 2021, 09:19:13 PM

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V.T. Eric Layton

This may be of some help to someone somewhere someday...

For about the past 6 months, I've been experiencing seemingly random mouse malfunctioning (as described in thread title above). At first, it seemed to have something to do with my then recent upgrade to the newest Firefox browser. However, I also found that I experienced it in Mozilla Seamonkey browser and Chromium browser.

It seemed like an excessive resource issue to me... high cpu usage, no free RAM, etc. Yet, when I checked my system monitor, cpu usage was less than 5% when this occurred, and free RAM was 9 Gig, so that wasn't the issue.

The mouse I'm using is a wireless Logitech device. It has one of those little transmitter/receivers that connects to a USB port on my system. The mouse is rather old and quite used. I thought maybe it's the optics/ball causing the problem. I cleaned the mouse thorough. Actually disassembled completely to check connections, switches, etc. All seemed fine.

The problem persisted. I even went as far as downgrading Firefox. I downgraded my kernel (I'm in Slackware Linux while experiencing this). I even reinstalled my vid card drivers. None of this had any permanent effect. The mouse would still intermittently act up. Two days ago, I was quite aggravated by this. I decided to search online (again) and see if there was any new information regarding this problem out there anywhere.

I found something! A fellow was experiencing the exact same phenomenon. He banged his head against his desk for a couple months before making one simple change. He removed the transmitter/receiver from the USB on the back of his tower computer and plugged it into one that was available on the top of the case. VOILA! For an entire two weeks previous to his posting of this, he never experienced one blip or hint of the previous issue.

This was the one thing I had not tried. I took my transmitter/receiver out of the rear USB and connected it to one I have on the front panel of my tower. It has worked fine now for two days. Further research on my part led me to some older articles here and there on the Internet that discussed Logitech transmitter/receivers causing issues with their mice and keyboards due to spurious RF (radio frequency) interference caused by other hardware within the machine... mobo, vid card, wifi card, etc. Seems that the front or top panel USB ports are somewhat more shielded than the ones on the back of the mobo/case.

If you're experiencing something like this with your wireless mouse, do this simple thing and see if it helps you any.



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V.T. Eric Layton

I had to resolve it one way or another. It was driving me absolutely BATTY!


Oh wow! I sure wish you had posted about this 6 months ago. I might have prevented some receding hairlines, clumps of pulled hair, high blood pressure and/or acid reflux issues! ;)

I've run into this same issue more than once over the years. I think what save me the aggravation is my background. For the first 15+ years of my professional career, I was a "Ground Radio Communications Equipment Technician" (AKA, "radio" maintenance), responsible for maintaining US Air Force air traffic control radio systems, as found in control towers and RADAR approach control facilities.

So, when I first saw this problem (with my Microsoft wireless mouse) my very first thought was RF problems - either weak signal, or EMI/RFI (interference).

Like you, my wireless mouse worked for awhile. So I assumed the cheap, off-brand batteries from distant lands that came with my device were weak. So I replaced them. But the problem quickly returned.

So then I assumed the big hunk of metal (my computer case) was acting as an RF "shield" and was blocking the RF signal to and from the "dongle" (note "dongle" is the common term for the USB receiver/transmitter or "transceiver" device). Either that, or the RF signal was being interfered with by some other nearby electronic device - maybe my wifi router, the cell tower in the church parking lot across the street, or perhaps even my computer's own "switching" PSU.

So, like you, I moved the dongle to a front USB port which is closer to my wireless mouse with no metal obstacles/barriers in between and viola! Problem solved!

Similar problems have occurred with wireless keyboards too - not jerky cursors, but keystrokes that don't register, for example. Again, first thing to try if it was working is fresh batteries. But if problems persist, try moving the dongle.

If you don't want a dongle sticking out of the front or top of your computer case, I recommend using a simple (but "quality") USB extension cable so you can move the dongle out from behind the metal computer case. Just make sure it is a quality cable and it is as short as possible to meet your needs. Don't buy a 10' cable if you only need 3'.

And don't waste your money on fancy (read: expensive) gimmicks like this Logitech Receiver Extender Cable. That said, something like this dongle "pedestal" might be nice - at least aesthetically. And with the cable being 145cm (4 3/4 ft), it is not too long.

I would not even try using a hub.
Bill (AFE7Ret)
Freedom is NOT Free!
2007 - 2018

V.T. Eric Layton

Hey, Bill... I've also posted this elsewhere and have received quite a few "thank yous" and "that happened to me, too" replies.

That Logitech wireless mouse above is my ONLY wireless device. The only reason I'm using it is because Logitech discontinued the production of the wired version a few years back. Unfortunately, I'm addicted to this mouse. I've gotten so I can't even stand to use a standard mouse on other computers, including the one out in my shop.

All's well, now though. YAY! And the little transmitter/receiver is a tiny thing. I don't even notice it plugged into that front USB port.

Logitech TracMan mice (wired and wireless):

Original wired version...

and wireless version...


By the way, I don't know if I've ever mentioned this anywhere that you may have read, but my hobby as a youth/young adult and later my career field for 25+ years was component-level troubleshooting and repair of RF communications and audio equipment (commercial and consumer). I miss it. Sadly, I woke one day in 1998 or so and found that my entire career field ceased to exist, for the most part, in this country. Anyway... can't dwell on the UGLY. It's detrimental to my health.

Have a great day! :)



QuoteI woke one day in 1998 or so and found that my entire career field ceased to exist, for the most part

Yeah, advancements in technologies killed the field. What was once a major subassembly, possibly taking up an entire equipment rack was reduced to one IC, or perhaps one black box that was easier, faster, and simply cheaper to "remove and replace" instead of opening up and troubleshooting down to the component. I'm not sure they even teach reading schematics, Ohm's Law or component level troubleshooting in tech schools any more. :(

It took me 2 years of formal classroom and "on-the-job" training and certification evaluations before I could even think of calling myself an electronics  "technician". And another year of formal training and evaluations before I was certified as a "master" tech.

Today, companies hire anyone off the street, pay them minimum wage, give them a checklist they are not allowed to deviate from, and suddenly they are tech support "technicians". The price of progress, I guess.

But yeah. I "grew up" with a multimeter probe in one hand and a soldering pencil in the other. I miss those days too.
Bill (AFE7Ret)
Freedom is NOT Free!
2007 - 2018