I read a lot of articles where BlackBerry users complained about their BlackBerry’s trackball (aka pearl – which gave the Pearl its name) doesn’t want to move to a direction anymore.

To be honest, this is something I was afraid of when I first heard RIM will replace the BlackBerry’s trackwheel with a trackball. You won’t believe what happened to me two days ago … My trackball didn’t want to move to right. Well, that’s not good, I thought. After two days of drying everything from moving the ball as fast I could to shaking the Pearl until it got sick. Nothing helped. The ball didn’t want to move right anymore. That’s really bad because there is no way to select an application (address book, options, anything that is not in the left column) and therefor the phone is useless!

Today it was enough! The problem is, I cannot afford to loose that phone for maybe several weeks while it will be repaired. So I searched forums, googled (even yahooed) and found a lot of stuff which had not really an answer to my question. I remembered an article some months ago which mentioned the coloring the of the Pearl’s trackball by coloring the LED beneath the trackball. Finally I realized that removing the pearl’s cover would the best way to get access to its sensor and clean it. By the way, this should work for all BlackBerry devices that carry a trackball around like BlackBerry Pearl, Curve, 8800, 8820 and 8830.

The silver ring which covers the trackball can easily be removed if you use a small screwdriver to lift it at the outer side of the ring. Be careful here! Like you should be during the whole process as all parts have very small plastic nipple which can break very easy. When the silver plastic ring is removed you will see the inner trackball component which can be removed completely. Before doing this you should carefully remove the silver metal ring that holds the trackball component in its position. The trackball component itself can also be carved. For every direction the ball can roll to you’ll find a sensor wheel. Those wheels are mostly carrying some gunk you should clean them from. Once this is done put everything back together to the place the pieces came from and secure the trackball with the silver plastic ring you removed in the first step. Your BlackBerry’s trackball should be back working now.
BlackBerry Pearl Trackball Cleaning Screen Shot
Cleaning BlackBerry Pearl's trackball

BlackBerry Bold Trackball Cleaning Screen Shots

This is a bit more complicated because you need to disassemble all parts starting with pulling out the battery, unscrewing the cover, and popping out the circuit board. It is pretty though. You just need the right tools :)

That are lots of parts I know. But that’s it. Here is a high definition image of the BlackBerry Bold’s Trackball: