Cleaning the BlackBerry 8820 track ball
I love my 8820 ... I have had it for about a year and it replaced my 8700 which I also loved. I was a little skeptical when I first got the 8820 because the beloved thumb wheel was gone and replaced by a track ball in the middle of the phone. But it didn't take long before I was happily scrolling around the screen enjoyed the improved 4-way motion. :)
Then one day moving to the left suddenly stopped working. I could move the track ball to the left but it didn't move on screen. I tried a few things and finally removed the battery and restarted - this seemed to do the trick and everything started working again.
Then last week the same thing happened but this time I couldn't move down. I tried taking out the battery but it still wouldn't move. Surprisingly I couldn't find any key on the keyboard that would substitute as "down" so that I could still use the device (this was surprising since the BlackBerry always seems to have great keyboard shortcut keys for most stuff).
I found this very useful post which suggested that dirt on the interfaces of the track ball was the likely culprit.
I decided to undertake the procedure and here are my pictures which may help if you are experiencing the same problem. (be sure to try taking the battery out and restarting before attempting to clean the track ball as that is an easier fix!). Disclaimer: These instructions are based on my experience and anything you do to your phone is at your own risk.
1. Turn off your phone and remove the battery. Take a small screwdriver and pry it under the silver ring around the track ball at the bottom. Gently apply pressure until the ring pops up.
2. Carefully push up on the ring until it pops off.
3. The ring has 3 plastic clips underneath - remember that the side with no connector matches the top side when put back on the BlackBerry.
4. Get some rubbing alcohol and an ear bud - needed to clean the connectors.
5. Looking underneath the track ball you will see the metallic connector below. This should be cleaned gently using the ear bud and rubbing alcohol. I also rotated the track ball around rubbing it with the rubbing alcohol.
6. Clean the gold color area under the track ball using the ear bud and rubbing alcohol.
7. Reposition the track ball with the vertical part of the metal connector pointing up. Press the silver ring back over the track ball putting the side with no plastic connector at the top.
You can put your battery back into your phone and power it up. The track ball should work correctly now - mine did!
Jonathan Cogley is the CEO and founder of Thycotic Software, a .NET consulting company and ISV in Washington DC. Our product, Secret Server is a enterprise password manager system for teams to secure their passwords. Is your team still storing passwords in Excel?