alternative to mouse optical sensor

Hey all,

Been checking out projects this lately. I'm looking to do something along these lines, but can't find anybody that sells these sensors which are labeled as "optical mouse sensors" at places like digikey. They don't sell them anywhere! I'm wondering if there's another search term I should query, that isn't necessarily used for computer mice but have the same functionality (to use as a camera of sorts).

Some of the sensors they list are ADNS-5020, PAN3101, ADNS-2610, ADNS-2083 and ADNS-2051.

I know that the whole benefit of using a mouse is that it's cheap and cool to hack stuff, but I'd like to do it with more sensors than I have mice!


Not that this really helps, but I investigated doing the same thing and took and old optical mouse to pieces but found it used an older 16 pin chip / sensor.

I think took a more recent "Microsoft" branded mouse to pieces and it did have a compatible IC in it.

So if you were just going to make one or two devices, I'd suggest checking out some cheap mice and seeing what sensors they have in them, and then just cannibalizing them :wink:

It's all about economy of scale. Companies that manufacture mice will buy these chips in by the lorry load. They therefore get them cheep as chips (litterally :slight_smile: )

If you could find someone to sell you just the sensor, it would likely cost you more than a brand new mouse. Just get a cheapo mouse from somewhere.

The scroller is pretty cool too. I worked out a method to hook this up to a couple of nand gates and transistors to act as a direct positional control for a stepper motor (no other components needed).

Then you get a few microswitches thrown in and a handy usb cable. Bonuses all round.

Thanks to you both. Point well taken, Ken. Do you have any more info on that stepper motor hack? I'm not much of an engineer (just programmer :wink: but I'm very curious.

sorry to dig up this post from last month, but I am currently looking into using a mouse sensor as well.
One of the above is available through Aliexpress, but at $4 much more expensive then the $1 mice available at ebay.
I have found some cheaper sensors in larger quantities ranging from 30-60 cent at Aliepress, but for neither I was able to find an Arduino related blog post of forum topic, so I might as well try the $1 mice.

These mice seem very common,
I had one but gave it away. I am aware that the guts probably change all the time, but perhaps has some info on what's inside? :slight_smile:

//Edit: I found - looks a bit rough, too many for me anyway -
//Edit2: And a bit cheaper despite shipping, but other form factor,
those are mentioned here: