Both trackerballs and joysticks may develop errors or cease functioning altogether when used with laptops.
The joystick is powered from the USB port. USB ports on laptops have to provide between 4.35v and 5.25v of power. Newer laptops may provide less than the 5v that some joysticks and trackerballs, particularly those made by Traxsys, need to function properly.
Some laptops may have different USB ports working in different ways. To check the output of the different USB ports on your computer as well as how much power the device requires, follow the instructions on the sheet at www.bltt.org/hardware/usbpower.htm.
The Power Management dialogue box referred to in this sheet also allows you to disable the laptop’s ability to ‘turn off’ the joystick. Uncheck the box that says ‘Allow the computer to turn off this device…’
If the laptop is putting out too little power and the possible solutions above do not help, then a battery powered or plug-in powered USB hub may be the answer. This will attach to the laptop and then power the trackerball. These are available from www.misco.co.uk.