A15 Mouse Drivers

A mouse in computing terms is a small box which can be pushed around the desk and as it moves, it is translated by the computer into cursor key movements and hence moves the cursor (or a pointer) on screen instead of using the keyboard.

Depending on the implementation, a mouse can make it very easy to use programs, providing a quick means of moving the pointer on screen.

The type of mouse which can be used and how you need to link it to the computer depends upon the QL implementation being used.

Many other devices have been created which send the same information as a PC mouse and should therefore work with drivers which support PC mice. This includes, trackerballs and bitpads.

A15.1 A Mouse for the Standard QL

There have been several types of mouse which have been produced over the years to be linked to a Sinclair QL. However, there are now only really three types of mouse commonly used with the QL and its various guises.

A15.1.1 Quanta Mouse (or QIMI Mouse)

This mouse is linked into a hardware interface which needs to be plugged into the computer - fitting involves opening up the QL case, carefully removing one of the microchips from its socket and plugging in the interface (plugging the microchip back into the top of the interface). A long lead is attached to the interface into which you plug the mouse.

The mouse needs to be an Atari-style 2 button mouse. Limited cursor key emulation is provided by holding down the left hand mouse button as the mouse is moved around.

This mouse will not work with some older versions of the Pointer Interface files (PTR_GEN and WMAN) - upgrade them if you notice a problem.

A15.1.2 AURORA Mouse Interface

The AURORA replacement motherboard, includes a socket into which a QIMI compatible mouse may be plugged - this emulates the QIMI Mouse Interface described above.

A15.1.3 Serial Mouse

This consists of a small wire connector which plugs into the QL’s serial port and allows a standard PC serial mouse to be plugged in. This in itself will have no effect on the QL and you will also need to link in a serial mouse driver which will need to be set up for either a two-button mouse or a three button mouse (depending on which you have plugged into the serial port).

The main problem with using Serial Mice is that they tend to need the serial port set to BAUD 1200 which can be problematic if you need to use a printer for example, on the other serial port running at BAUD 9600. However, the serial mouse drivers can cope with this, generally suspending the mouse driver whenever the baud rate is altered, or if the other serial port is open (with a different Baud rate).

Another problem with Serial Mice is that they do not work very well with communications software (such as mail-box programs); unless the Modem (or mouse) is run through SuperHERMES. The problem is due to the original QL design of the serial ports - a link between the serial ports mean that if you move the mouse whilst using communications software, it will corrupt data.

You can also have problems of the serial ports holding onto the information sent by the mouse and then releasing it all at once (particularly with three-button mice).

Although a serial mouse can therefore be used on a standard QL, you should consider obtaining Hermes or SuperHermes which allow you to set independent BAUD rates for each port and thereby avoids this problem altogether (allowing you to still use the mouse whilst a channel is open to a modem for example). SuperHermes also provides additional serial ports which would allow you to use a Modem, Printer and Serial Mouse at the same time for example.

Another problem with serial mice is that the 3-button mice can be difficult to set up - some will automatically power up in 2-button mode unless you hold down a mouse key when you switch on the QL. Others have switches which force the mouse signals on a PC to generate straight vertical or horizontal movements. It is therefore recommended that you buy a suitable mouse from the supplier at the same time as buying the serial mouse driver!!

There are three Serial Mouse drivers available for the standard QL:

SERMouse (by Albin Hessler Software)

This is provided with SMSQ/E for the Gold Card family.

It is ideally for use under the Pointer Environment, although you can use it to control the cursor as well if you prefer - see SERMCUR and SERMPTR. It will handle both 2 and 3- button mice.

If you want to be able to read the position of the pointer (as controlled by the mouse), you will need to use either EasyPTR or Qptr commands. There are however, several commands added to SuperBASIC to control the mouse - see SEMSPEED.

DIY Toolkit Serial Mouse (Vol I)

This is a cardware version of a mouse driver, which comes with several versions, allowing use of 2 and 3- button mice and also versions which will only move a mouse pointer around the screen and ones which will also emulate the cursor keys and various buttons on the keyboard. You also have to load a version which is set up for the serial port which you intend to plug the serial mouse into.

Note that current versions do not currently move the Pointer in the Pointer Environment, although a commercial version of this driver is available (called ms_mus) which contains the same commands as SERMouse and can be used to control the Pointer, although this driver appears to be a little more selective over the serial mice which can be used with it.

Several commands are added to SuperBASIC to allow you to read the position of the mouse and control the mouse - see X_PTR% and PTR_ON.


This includes a low speed serial interface into which a PC- style serial mouse can be plugged, in much the same way as the Albin Hessler SERMouse.

It emulates the QIMI Mouse Interface (see above).

A15.2 A Mouse for QPC / QXL

You cannot use a QL mouse driver with these emulators and will need instead to set up the system to load a DOS mouse driver before QPC or QXL is initiated. If the mouse does not have a PS/2 style mouse connector, you will also need to configure SMS so that it does not connect a serial port to the COM port to which the mouse is connected.

PS/2 style mice work with later versions of QPC (and all versions of QXL) without having to disable either serial port.

Having done this, the DOS mouse normally used with the PC can be used from within QPC and QXL to control programs written for the Pointer Environment.

Some early versions of SMSQ/E had problems if you disabled one of the serial ports (neither of them worked!) - you had to disable both serial ports for the mouse to work!!

A15.3 A Mouse for ATARIs

You cannot use a QL mouse driver with these emulators.

You can however use the Atari’s mouse as soon as the file ATARI_xxx file is loaded which allows the Pointer Environment to work correctly with the mouse.

A15.4 A Mouse for Unix and Macintoshes

The QL emulators for these computers simply recognise the mouse which is normally used by the computer - do not try loading a QL mouse driver.

On the MacIntosh, you will need at least v2.1 of the Q- Emulator program if the mouse is to work with the Emulator.

You can however use the Atari’s mouse as soon as the file ATARI_xxx file is loaded which allows the Pointer Environment to work correctly with the mouse.

A15.5 A Mouse for the Amiga

You cannot use a QL mouse driver with this computer.

Amiga QDOS has been able to use the Amiga’s own mouse to control its software since v3.20. Various functions and commands have been added to SuperBASIC to control the mouse, as with the DIY Toolkit version (see PTR_ON).