BlackBerry Trackball Replacement Tip

By Kevin Michaluk on 25 Aug 2009 02:51 pm
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 BlackBerry Trackball Replacement

I'm always a bit surprised whenever I click into the ShopCrackBerry.com accessory store to see that the replacement BlackBerry trackball continues to top the best sellers list. It's been #1 since the first week it went on sale and has yet to drop down even a single notch, though between touchscreen BlackBerrys and the introduction of the touch-sensitive trackpad at some point that may just happen. I guess I shouldn't be that suprised though - there are literally millions of BlackBerry Curves, Pearls and 8800 series smartphones in use out there with the older-style white trackball and housing and from time to time they can wear out and need to be replaced.

In fact, just yesterday evening while out doing some shopping, the ball on my girlfriend's Curve 8320 went completely wonky to the point of being unusable. Luckily, I had a spare in my car's glove box so was able to do a parking lot fix up job and get it up and running like new in under a minute (yes, I keep some spare trackballs handy - I highly recommend it especially if/when you're traveling as if it your ball is going to give out on you it will always do so at the most inconvenient time. I always keep a spare charged battery handy too). The experience prompted me to write this up... because what I want to know is, have you ever changed the trackball on your BlackBerry? Be sure to cast your vote above (Storm owners can skip this one). And accessory tip of the week - it never hurts to have a spare trackball on hand. Trust me... you'll thank me one day. You can watch the video above to learn how to replace it yourself.

Kevin Michaluk Kevin Michaluk "Founder, Editor in Chief " 3922 (articles) 3291 (forum posts)
47 comments

BBA

Thank you Kevin for the article!
I will bookmark it because I ordered a TrackBall and a new Band around my Bold! Hope it arrives soon! Then I need to replace my TrackBall on my Bold...lets see how it goes!

Thanks for the always interesting articles!

Xtian80

So I have an 8900, I've only had it a few months but i travel to some pretty remote locations quite often. I was wondering if there are replacement track balls for the curve 8900.

j3nnybean

I've replaced mine by choice and several friends' by necessity. I hate to knock crackberry but I try to be a savvy shopper; berryball.com has COLORED trackballs for $12.99 & free shipping. They weren't as bright as I had mentally pictured however, they're still pretty neat. They offer green, blue, orange, red, and yellow. So if you're looking for variety and a good deal try that! I have found the trackballs very easy to replace. (I think the balls are all the same but I'm not so sure about the retainer rings.)

unkosan1

I work for a large enterprise and this happens all the time. The simplest thing to do is to take an alcohol swab and run it over the trackball in all directions for a few minutes. This is will more often than not save you the time, effort, and money of having to replace the trackball.

wanderman

I can't tell you how much I wish I had known that I could get a trackball replacement for my BlackBerry a year ago!  Last year my girlfriend's trackball stopped working while we were on holiday in Paris and it cost us $100 to get it fixed + six hours for the guy to actually do it... From then on I always keep a spare with me - particularly when traveling...  I'm never going through that headache, hassle and waste of money again!

johnpaul13

how would you replace it for the tour? i dont want to take my whole phone apart to replace my track ball :/

jfsalewicz

the alcohol trick or Wireless wipes http://www.wirelesswipes.com/ work great.
It a little scary when you first do it because it not very responsive for a minute but once it drys you are good to go!

Stinsonddog

bet ya can't do a minute.

billman01

Nice article. Been lucky enough that I just clean mine when it locks up. Will get a spare in case it breaks completely.

tony bag o donuts

But I have been lucky with my replacement trackball not sticking.....

jimmy.tran

Interesting post. I've got a problem with the trackball on my 8900 where I bought the phone off craigslist. It turns out that the phone is a pre-release model and the trackball isn't as easy to take out as the 8900's out there right now. The trackball seems to actually be hard wired into the phone. I would really like to replace the trackball because its so slippery. Does anyone know how to do this or any solutions?? - thx!!

Syco54645

too bad the tour is such a pain to change the trackball on.

cvlowe

Verizon replaces trackballs for free. Just take your phone to a store.

I'm sure thats only for Verizon customers though!

mkurz12

I have 3 Verizon Corporate stores close to where I live and work and none of them where willing to repalce or show me how to replace my Curve trackball when it needed it (close to a year ago if not more). Of course CB forums took care of that for me.

They were also unwilling to change out my Tour trackball when I first went in with the problem 2 days after inital purchase. Instead they gave me a new one...and then another 2 days later and then another 26 days later and now another new one should be arriving tomorrow for me. Not once did they offer to swap out the trackball.

I wouldn't have even cared if it was white as long as it works.

Pandu108h

Apparently replacing the ball on the Bold is difficult. I had a Pearl and on that it's simply a matter of popping the ball casing out the front. On the Bold the whole phone has to be taken apart, requiring a specialty screwdriver and voiding the warranty. There's a small sticker on one of the screws that must be there to keep the warranty effective. At least be careful to keep that sticker in good condition and put it back.

I didn't know this before and peeled the sticker off for no reason, and a few weeks later I needed warranty support. The phone support wouldn't replace my phone without the sticker. I took it to a walk-in warranty center, and they replaced it with no questions.

What I've found is it seems that sometimes a speckof debris can get in the trackball unit, impeding its movement in one direction. To free it, I would hold the phone with the ball facing down and flick the ball a few times. That usually helps dislodge the particle, at least for a while. I'm also more careful to keep dirt, salt, etc., away from it.

kingzee

I discovered this the other day as a matter of fact! Yes, it does work!

fein34

i'm sorry, yes, i am an adult, but does no one else see the humor in the wording of the "yes" poll on the vote? i guess it's been said too many times before already :)

tony bag o donuts

that's why I said it could go downhill LOL

NinjaRAT

I still have the dead trackball for my old 8310 in my desk drawer. I ended up ordering over seas from cnn.cn, but it's good to know I can also purchase from my new favorite app store, Crackberry.com!

Shao128

The saddest part of this article is that while Kevin is sporting the S2, his gf is using a 8320 :p

mkurz12

You can't throw her an 8900 to play with?
:)

vba

Please help, I'm unable to find Bold replacement trackball in your webshop.

mkurz12

I had replaced the Curve's trackball with what was labeled on cnn.cn as a G1 / 8900 replacement trackball. I really only wanted it because it was black (same price as all the rest) but it is defintiely a little different than the stock white as well as a lot different than a blue one I got a while back.

Really wish the Tour's was easy to swap out as well. I'm sure I'll end up doing it eventually...if I ever get one that I can keep for more than a couple weeks.

theshnyde

Can we not refer to anything as "sticky balls"? In the words of Cleveland... that's nasty.

ronnienyc

Yes, Sprint replaces them for free at stores. Though I called Sprint about "purchasing" a trackball for the Curve and the price quoted was $38!! That's a good one.

trickynick

I replaced my Bold's trackball a couple of days ago. Very easy process. I chose to go with yellow but I will be ordering a red and blue one to swap out when I'm feeling a little frisky.

asproles

I pay the $7 a month insurance thru sprint that covers trackballs. I never had sticky balls though I have had my balls fall out. Sprint told me its $100 to do this if you dont have insurance.

trekmario

i ordered the color balls so i can be diffrent and yes the extra battery is needed on vacation.you just cant get to a store that sells thease things all the time.

robotaholic

My Tour tracball is smooth and precise- much nicer than my old 8830 and 8330. I wouldn't think of going back now that I've got my precious. :)

forgive my duplication

robotaholic

My Tour tracball is smooth and precise- much nicer than my old 8830 and 8330. I wouldn't think of going back now that I've got my precious. :)

sorded

I try and keep mine clean... take it out a few times a week, use some compressed air to clean the crap out of the contacts and the ball housing itself.
Any more hints on cleaning your BB?

Mister869

Good video. Unfortunately for me, I started my Blackberry experiance with a Storm and now a Tour. I wish RIM would have kept the easy change trackball with the Tour. I think you have to completely dis-assemble the phone to replace.

bmcmullin#CB

For the more adventurous and patient folks out there, you can actually take the trackball apart and really clean it, which I have done a few times. I have found that lint and fabric strands really get caught up in the rollers. There are clips on the outside of the assembly that must be detached then the ball itself can actually come out, along with the rollers that are magnetic.

Also, if you encounter the problem where you press the trackball and the Blackberry doesn't respond (but the ball springs back) then the issue is very likely that there is moisture underneath the copper (brass?) dome that the trackball presses down upon when clicked. I have carefully removed this dome, cleaned the contact, then replaced the dome with surprising success. I realized after the fact the someone already documented this. If you Google "audsound trackball" (not in quotes) the first hit is a link to the PDF explaining how to do this in detail.

Bill McMullin

MrMJefferson

I needed to replace my pin wheel, and sent my phone back and got a replacement.. now i know how to do it my self.

phone9

Can you replace the trackball with a trackpad?

What if the button goes bad, can you replace that too?

classact

See my Review in the product section for the "8330 etc" trackball replacement item. In a nutshell, replacing is a must and a no-brainer when they get dirty or go bad (cleaning is a total waste of time, can take hours, risks a lot of harm, and can actually make it slip even worse). BUT two of three of the replacement trackballs I just bought from ShopCrackberry are faulty out of the box. Shameful!

deadfreeman

I had to replace a track ball last summer, the plastic housing brackets and the way it's put together on an 8310 is extremely flimsy and cheap. Looking forward to that 9700 in Nov!

SOOO...yes...sticky balls are, in fact, a very big problem for me...especially in the summer...it broke while I was trying to clean it...I swear...I guess I wasn't handling it right...

..
STICKY BALLS!

n8d

The main problem with that video is there is no closeup on where the clips actually go when putting the chrome ring on and it doesn't show which way the trackball actually goes in (the "nipples" horizontally).
Here's a better still pic walk-through that actually shows those two things.
Many people have broken the chrome clips by trying to put it back in the incorrect way.
http://www.mynationlink.com/blog/?page_id=171

Jenathis

I did swap out the trackball on my 8330 several times but that was to put in a different color one not because it stopped working, I got sick of the white ones always getting dirty looking so I changed it to a black one and then a blue one, then went back to the black one. Now I have a 9630 I hope that one doesn't go out i'm not too sure how to take that one out!

buddhataz

I replaced the trackball in my daughter's Pearl. I bought it from Crackberry. Absolutely easy to replace, works great! Now she's been upgraded to a Curve 8310. Lucky kid (she's 17), huh?

AUTiger92

Spare trackball in your glovebox? Now that's CRACKberry with a capital CRACK. Of course, I carry parts around in my back pack.

jc

currently i have a curve and havent had to replace the trackball, hopefuly i will be as lucky when i get a bold.

Philadelphia Wedding Photographer

Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Finally was able to replace my trackball with this video. My only question is...why do all the Blackberry wheels, trackball, whatever, never last? I have yet to have a Blackberry where these parts wear out faster than the speed of the Internet.

Grimmron

Wow 50 seconds well spent I replaced it like an expert thanks

back2iphone

And this helps How?!!!! How about which directions the prongs should face on the silver ring? I'm on my 3rd Trackball in as many months and one was due to me being a Newbie and following a "Rush Over" like this one and breaking prongs thinking I could just follow what the demonstration is doing...Thank God for YouTube instructions on this...they actually talk to you and make sure you're not breaking anything. Sorry I saw this and HAD to post something.