Upgrading My Logitech MX Ergo Trackball with USB-C

Kyle Niewiada on May 07, 2024

5 Minute Read | Small project

Logitech MX Ergo trackball with USB-C port

Trackballs are a fine alternative input device for driving computers. They excel with slinging the cursor across multi-monitor setups. When used correctly, they can help reduce wrist strain. I started taking trackballs seriously over a decade ago as part of a package solution to mix in a variety of inputs with daily computer usage. In 2013, for less than $20, I picked up a Logitech M570 entry-level trackball. Pairing the trackball, an external trackpad, and a split keyboard together helped break up the repetitive movements that were giving me trouble 🧘.

Throwback

When 2017 rolled around, I was ready to upgrade. Don’t get me wrong, the M570 still functioned just fine, but the Logitech MX Ergo trackball was a solid upgrade. The MX Ergo featured a rechargeable 4-month battery, Bluetooth, and it allowed switching between 2 computer profiles without pairing it again. These features meant I could go dongle-free on my work laptop. I also wouldn’t need to pair the MX Ergo to my desktop every time I brought it home. With my future looking bright, I ordered it the first day it was available from Logitech’s website; September 6, 2017.

The MX Ergo did everything that I wanted. But Logitech made the insane decision to ship a product in their premium MX line with a Micro USB port 🙁. Unfortunately, USB-C wouldn’t trickle into the Logitech lineup until a year later in 2018 with the MX Vertical. While all of my other devices were making the transition into the USB-C world, this device was left behind.

Trapped in the Past

It’s a first-world tragedy when all I want is to carry one charging cable in my bag without giving it a second though. I only have a handful of devices that I regularly use which don’t have USB-C ports.

Looking back, 2017 was quite the year for me 😅.

Woe is Me

Whenever I want to charge my (or my wife’s) trackball, I have to hunt down another Micro USB cable. My wife doesn’t have any other Micro USB devices, so she always has to bring it to my basement office for charging. It’s not that big of a deal because it only requires a charge every few months. But it’s still annoying that if I’m going to be away, I need to either pack a Micro USB cable or remember to charge it ahead of time.

Onward

Almost every year I make a casual search to see if Logitech released a USB-C successor for the MX Ergo, but so far they haven’t. This year, my search returned a result. The Reddit user, Solderking, reverse engineered the charging PCB for the MX Ergo. They recreated the board and added a USB-C port. They even went a step further and figured out all the components to redevelop a fully assembled board.

I was so excited to see this. I had been waiting years to banish Micro USB from my regular life (I’m almost there!).

Solderking shared their project on PCBWay along with the Gerber files where anyone can order it bare or fully assembled. PCBWay shows me some promotional quotes for ~$35 for any quantity under 20. I have no idea if that quote is accurate.

I decided to cut out the middleman and ended up ordering 3 boards directly from Solderking. One for my MX Ergo, my wife’s MX Ergo, and a spare.

If you want to reach out to them as well, Solderking has a Linktree with all their social media links.

Installation

A pair of USB-C boards for the Logitech MX ErgoA pair of USB-C boards for the Logitech MX Ergo from Solderking

A few days after ordering, the new USB-C boards arrived fully assembled and tested ✅. I know it’s not important, since they’ll never be seen, but white PCBs are my jam!

To prepare for my work, I pulled out my trusty iFixit driver, a few bits, some mini files, and flush cutters. I followed their Instructables directions and disassembled my MX Ergo.

iFixit driver, 3 mini files, flush cutters, and the Logitech MX ErgoiFixit driver, 3 mini files, flush cutters, and patience were all used to install the new USB-C board

Using the flush cutters, I trimmed away some plastic to make room for the larger USB-C port housing. With some patience, I used a number of mini files to shave away the edges in the old Micro USB port hole and enlarged it for the new USB-C port.

Logitech MX Ergo shell bottom with the new USB-C board insertedLogitech MX Ergo bottom shell with the USB-C board freshly fitted

After validating the new connections, I began reassembly. All I did was follow the original directions, but in reverse 🔄. The grand result; A Logitech MX Ergo with a USB-C port for charging!

Logitech MX Ergo with a USB-C portLogitech MX Ergo with the USB-C board installed under a magnifying glass

Conclusion

My only feedback is that I wish the power switch on the board was clickier to prevent the MX Ergo from getting accidentally toggled-on in my bag. The power switch on the new board seems to slide rather than click into the ‘on’ position.

I reached out to Solderking with this feedback. They let me know that this specific power switch was chosen due to availability of parts. They have a few other switches that they are going to try out, but they went with one that was easy to obtain.

If it’s really that big of a deal to me, I’ll figure out how to transplant the power switch from the old board in the future. I know I have some ChipQuik around here somewhere.. (or maybe that will give me an excuse to finally buy a hot air gun).

Logitech MX Ergo with the USB-C board installed and fully reassembledLogitech MX Ergo with the USB-C board fully installed and reassembled

I intend to keep these trackballs operating for a long time. The one in the picture above is from my original order back in 2017. I’m glad that I can keep it going with a modern charging port. Here’s to another 7 years of use, and death to Micro USB! 🖲️

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