Need to hook a classic Mac mouse up to your modern machine with the help of a DIY USB adapter? [John Floren] has you covered. [John]’s solution uses a board with an ATmega32U4 microcontroller on it to connect to the Mac mouse on one end, and emulate a USB HID (Human Interface Device) on the other. A modern machine therefore recognizes it like it would any other USB input device.
Why is this necessary? The connector on the classic Mac mouse may look like a familiar DE-9 connector, but it is not an RS-232 device and wouldn’t work if it were plugged into a 9-pin serial port. The classic Mac mouse uses a different pinout, and doesn’t have much for brains on the inside. It relies on the host computer to read its encoders and button states directly.
This project is actually a bit of an update to a piece of earlier work [John] did in making a vintage Depraz mouse work with modern systems. He suspected that it wouldn’t take much to have it also work with a classic Mac mouse, and he was right — all it took was updating the pin connections and adding some pull-up resistors. The source code and design files are on GitHub.
Even if one does not particularly want to use a classic Mac mouse for daily work, there’s definitely value in this kind of thing for those who deal in vintage hardware: it allows one to function-check old peripherals without having to fire up a vintage machine.