Welcome to another article in TLR’s budget series. If you haven’t read our custom keyboard on a budget build, you can read it here. In this article, we will be breathing new life into my trusty Logitech G502 Spectrum gaming mouse.
The Logitech G502 gaming mouse has been around for years at this point. In that time the G502 has been slightly refreshed, with updated sensors, RGB, and finally a wireless version. This mouse has been the main mouse for many streamers and gamers in that time and you might have one lying around that’s in need of some love. These instructions, for the most part, apply to all versions, the wireless being the only one that noticeably different… With that said though cleaning and installing new feet would be the same.
SideNote: Overall the instructions are largely the same idea for most mice on the market. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this work yourself you can buy paracord for many mice already sleeved. Lastly and most importantly you do this at your own risk, we take no responsibility if you damage your mouse.
Let’s get into it. I use my mouse (most of the time) on a hard mouse pad that has a really smooth (speed) side and a slightly textured (control) side. Most of the time I’m on the control side because the speed side is just that… Crazy fast! The control side is faster than any soft pad that I’ve ever used, but it will cause the mouse skates to wear faster due to the hard textured finish. You can see the result of this in the picture below. Notice the mouse is grinding away at the frame due to the skates being worn.
So the first thing that I know that needs to be replaced are the skates. I didn’t realize how much resistance the G502 had until I got the Corsair M65 RGB Elite to review. The M65 would glide 5 times as far as the G502 with worn skates. I’d advise everyone to check your skates, they are an cheap and easy fix that makes a huge difference in performance and feel. The bad thing is as the skates wear over time you tend to naturally get used to it, so you never really know how much of that smooth, sweet, glide that you’ve lost.
The second thing that I wanted to do was paracord the USB cable. I’ve seen it trending and I see the value in doing it. More than that though the older braided cable is showing signs of wear from years of use. Again see the picture below.
The last thing, the cheapest thing, and maybe the most important thing that I’m going to do is give the mouse is a good cleaning. (Once we’ve separated the top from the electronics) When cleaning plastics or rubber… ESPECIALLY!!! older rubber that has some age on it DO NOT use alcohol. It can change to consistency or the rubber making it sticky or gummy.
Instead, use a sponge with dish soap and water. Squeeze most of the water out of the sponge, you just want it damp enough to loosen any grime that might have gotten into the textured grip. The next thing I do is fold a napkin over something flat like a playing or credit card and then slide in the cracks and between the buttons to remove years of grime. Once the cleaning is done we can use a can of compressed air or just blow really hard to remove any loose particles that may have fallen further in the crevices.
THE GOOD STUFF
Now that we have a plan lets get it after it. Step one, gather tools and start disassembly.
The first thing that you should do is obviously unplug the mouse. Once unplugged, flip it over and you will see that are called skates. This is the plastic the mouse uses to slide. See the picture below. The G502 has 6 which is more than most mice.
We will use a small flat tool to safely pry up and remove the old skates.
Once we have all the skates removed we can remove the 4 Philips screws that hold the 2 parts together.
Once the screws are removed we will use a flat tool and carefully pop the top and bottom sections apart. You can look at the picture below to get an idea of best places to pry. It shouldn’t take much force. PROTIP: Don’t pull up on the right or left mouse buttons when prying.
Once you have the mouse in 2 parts, now is the time to clean the top half as we mentioned earlier. Now to dig deeper. We will we pull up on the black tabs the arrows are pointing to. Once you’ve gently pulled up on the black tabs the ribbon cables should slide up easily. If it’s not easy you don’t have the black locks pulled up fully.
See the circle… this is a pin that slides in and locks the scroll wheel in place. You want to use a small screwdriver, or tweezers and slide it out. Once it is out you can remove the 2 small screws from the clear plastic in front of the scroll wheel and lift it away. ATTENTION: There are 2 very small springs that sit below the clear plastic just below the 2 screws that were just removed. Carefully removed them and set them to the side.
Once removed this is what it looks like, there is one last screw in the rear that is easily seen and removed. We will leave the sensor installed, there is no need to remove it. At this point, we lift the clear plastic from the mouse hold down in the front and remove the mouse cable.
This is how the cable looks, take a picture so you know where to replace the wires. At this point, if you have some mechanical ability it should have only taken about 5 minutes. Here is a video that I found on youtube that may help if you get stuck.
Once you’ve taken a picture of the connector you will use a razor blade or small flat screwdriver to gently lift the tabs and slide the wires back and out… One at a time until there are all loose.
The next step is the most dangerous and requires you to be extremely careful and delicate. You need a sharp razor, we will use it to carefully split the plastic wire holder located on the mouse cord. IF you make a clean slit can be easily peeled open and moved to the side to be reinstalled later. The next thing you do need to do is remove the black braided fabric from the cord. This is easy with small cutting pliers but you could also do it by slowly sliding the razor blade down the cable. Once you get to the end near the USB you will see a round plastic piece. You will gently use the razor and slide it around it as a guide. See picture.
You will be left with the cable its black plastic jacket.
You are going to slide the razor down the black cover and it will come off easily. Once done you’ll be stuck with the most annoying part of the project. Removing the metal shielding.
I wish I could say this part was fun. It’s not, but the end result is worth it. The easiest way that I found was to slide shielding down which expands it and allows you to insert cutting pliers so it to be cut off easily. Important: The shielding is actually the large black wire that you pulled out the connector earlier so don’t be alarmed. It won’t be used anymore. Just be very careful that you don’t cut any of the wires at this point. This is really the first time that cutting the wires is really possible.
Once you complete this step you’ll end up with this.
If you made it this far and most of you should, at this point it should have only taken you maybe 20 minutes. You are in the home stretch now though. Pull out the paracord and stretch it out next to the cable and cut the paracord to size. I recommend cutting it about 2 inches longer than the cable. Once cut removed the white paracord from the center with only the paracord sleeve remaining.
Once you’ve removed the white paracord you can begin to thread the wires through. What I did was slide the terminals in a neat row and applied heat shrink tubing so I could thread the wires much easier thru the paracord sleave. I used more of an inchworm approach to threading it, I bunched the sleeve together worked the wires through. Once completed I slid a piece of heat shrink tubing down toward the USB and shrunk it.
Next, I applied a piece of heat shrink about half an inch from the end that we needed to install back into the connector. But! first, slide another piece of heat shrink tubing that is large enough to go around the black plastic mount for the mouse cable that we split and removed earlier. See below, this is the heat shrink installed.
Using the picture that we took of the connector earlier, reinstall the cables into the connector. Next route the cable back into the base of the mouse, install the black cable holder posted above… Once it’s in place heat shrink the base… The wire is complete.
Now its time to reinstall the board back into place, Remember to install the clear piece above the wire holder, then attach the cable and the 2 ribbon cables. Then firmly press the ribbon cable locks so they stay put. Install the 3 screws that hold the board down, the 2 in the front and the one in the rear. The next step is to replace the tiny springs that I told you not to lose. Now place the scroll wheel assembly back into place and slid the black plastic pin that was removed earlier.
Woooo Hooooo almost done. Now grab the freshly cleaned top of the mouse and carefully install the top back onto the bottom. It will click into place. It might need a little pressure. PROTIP: If you tip the front of the bottom into the top I found it easier to align all the switches… and make sure that all the buttons are clicking as they should. You can also plug in the mouse and make sure that it’s working before clicking the top on.
At this point, you should only need to replace the last 4 screws into the bottom of the mouse. Once you’ve tightened the screws its time to install the new skates and get that brand new mouse feel.
The new feel will probably include an alcohol wipe to clean and prep the surface where the new skates will be installed. It’s safe to use the alcohol on the plastic at the bottom it’s a different more durable plastic when compared to the rest of the mouse. Once you have the surface prepped take your time and install the skates one at a time using firm pressure across the skate once installed. I used the 7mm replacements that can be found on Amazon here. Skates that are less than 7mm are to thin and could allow dragging. Go for the thicker options.
This is how the freshly installed skates look once the thin plastic protective layer is removed. AHHH YEAHHHH FRESH!!
Completed! We have a cool looking paracord cable that reduces the drag on the mouse to almost wireless levels of freedom. The new skates are gliding better than new. Overall the 30-45 minutes of work and the $5-10 in parts were more than worth it. My 2-year-old mouse feels better than it did when it was new and looks cooler as well. Hopefully, this helps inspires you guy and girls breath some new life into your tired and trusty mouse.