[Product news] Poker 2

Qtan's selling the KBC Poker 2. Is that news? Well, it is to me. Apparently this is the programmable successor to the original, on which the Ducky Mini is based. Comes with PBT caps as standard. Pretty appealing.

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Argh! But that font! It's done a Das! Where's the blanks?

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Das ist not the way to label a keyboard.

I'm a little torn about either getting this or the Ducky. ANSI is my preference, though, and PBT. But these legends, ugh!
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Unread post10 May 2013, 16:07

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Font aside...
ENJOY YOUR FEELING -- POKER II
Why?! That is super ugly :/
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Unread post10 May 2013, 16:23

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ASCII stupid question, get a stupid ANSI
Exactly. If this thing just didn't have the legends it does, Qtan would have my order already!

Instead, he's got an email asking about price difference between PBT and backlit ABS versions. Damned if I can find the info anywhere. Thinking I'd have to swap the caps straight off this thing in either case.

Otherwise I like it!

Meanwhile, for twice the price at AliExpress there's something they're calling the KBC poker mini 61Professional PRO/2 II poker Second Generation Portable Mechanical Keyboard. Colour me confused.
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Unread post10 May 2013, 16:41

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"reprogrammable" is a bit of a joke actually...
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Unread post10 May 2013, 16:52

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Well of course, here where the Teensies roam. But I'll take a customisable layer over none at all.

Then find its inadequacies and replace it anyway. The moment you have Bluetooth figured out in fact!
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Unread post10 May 2013, 17:11

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Poker/Pure are hard to hack, I opened one and it has the controller soldered on the PCB, would be quite a task to dismantle and hook a teensy
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Unread post10 May 2013, 17:29

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Ah, right, good point. That's two counts against it. I do like the dizzying array of case and keycap options on Pokers though.
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Unread post10 May 2013, 17:41

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I would really advice you to build a custom 60% from scratch :) hardwired keyboards are easy to do.
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Unread post10 May 2013, 17:49

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Hand wiring does intrigue me. I much prefer the look of this to a PCB I cannot alter:
Image

But I'm going to need a real soup to nuts walkthrough to build anything from the ground up by myself. Not to mention a box of switches and some caps.

I'm still up for a group build on your excellent little Steely, of course. With Bluetooth!
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Unread post10 May 2013, 18:02

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+1
I also need a good explanation on hard/hand wiring.
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matt3o wrote:Poker/Pure are hard to hack, I opened one and it has the controller soldered on the PCB, would be quite a task to dismantle and hook a teensy

Actually, I managed to smuggle a Teensy with Soarer's converter firmware into the damn thing. It's a very close fit at the bottom of the case and damn frustrating to solder, but it is actually possible to do since the original controller supports PS/2 and Soarer's firmware can use up to 5 simple buttons. Most of the trouble went to guiding the wires from controller to Teensy and Teensy to USB slot into gaps cut into the support ridges, otherwise they'd get squished between PCB and case.

At any rate, I would recommend to buy a GH60 seeing how my precious Happy Poker needs to be replugged half of the time, the other half it will boot into "random keypress" mode or outright fail to boot. Likely I burned some capacitor or resistor for signal stability when soldering a couple of wires to existing SMD pads.
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Yeah, that sounds right along the lines of what I'd expect if I dug around in where no man was intended to go.

I like the idea behind the GH60, but when I've looked into it I'm completely baffled at all the options and just whatever is going on with the project. Anyone got an introduction to GH60 that doesn't link to dozen-page long threads?

I'm starting off literally from zero. Zero Cherry switches, zero caps, no case, the works. That means a lot of routes are open. Great. But how do you get from here to a working 60%?
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Unread post10 May 2013, 22:02

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Muirium wrote:I'm starting off literally from zero. Zero Cherry switches, zero caps, no case, the works. That means a lot of routes are open. Great. But how do you get from here to a working 60%?

As of now the problem is finding the switches. It seems there are few MXs around and they will be available again next fall. You could get the cheapest keyboard on ebay and rape them though. Keycaps are not really an issue. Easy to find.

There are a few options for the case, depending on what is your desired design. Anyway this weekend I'll try to start a step by step tutorial. I don't know whether I should set up a website for that to have all the info well categorized or keep everything in the forum.
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Unread post10 May 2013, 23:04

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matt3o wrote:Anyway this weekend I'll try to start a step by step tutorial. I don't know whether I should set up a website for that to have all the info well categorized or keep everything in the forum.

Music to my ears! A monster post in the forum is as good a place to start as any. A well organised site is even better.

I've a few HHKB-inspired ideas kicking around for layouts. Fortunately, I also really like the look of blank caps, so programmable keyboards are a natural fit. Try before you finalise!

The DSA retros on your Steely are quite something, by the way. A juicy set of caps and a hefty case are just the choices I'm looking forward to. It's the stuff that's in between – including plate and controller – where the mystery lies.
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Unread post11 May 2013, 00:14

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KBC POKER 2 consists of 2 versions with ABS key cap (blacklight) and PBT (non blacklight)

poker 2 LED version
Image
non LED
Image

User Manual POKER 2
http://cl.ly/0Z2B3n2u3m0k

Thanks Ekirayuki Kaskus

In taobao many sellers selling poker 2
Last edited by ماء on 12 May 2013, 02:25, edited 2 times in total.
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Unread post11 May 2013, 15:32

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Thanks for the info. I wonder if PBT has no backlight (as usual) and whether this gets in the way of the program layer assignment process. Ducky Nordic's video of how this works on his ISO variant suggests the individual lights provide important feedback.

[/quote]
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Unread post11 May 2013, 15:53

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KBT Pure with PBT has underlying leds that are pretty visible even with PBT caps.
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Unread post11 May 2013, 15:56

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Yup, I'd take a set of PBT caps on a backlight any day. The manual ماء linked mentions a backlight version and a non-backlit version several times, though. So it's probably the usual deal where backlight = lasered ABS keycaps and non-backlit = PBT.

Then again, that horrible font will be all over both materials!
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Unread post11 May 2013, 16:21

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Taobao truly is a land of mystery.
KBC Poker 2 second generation II 60% PBT mechanical keyboard black shaft / tea shaft / green axis / red axis

Who could turn town tea shaft? I could, for green axis. Do they really have this in MX green?
Image
Well, something's green at least.

Oh and a whole different colour scheme on the keys. With another font!
Image
Another ugly ass one… yay.
Last edited by Muirium on 11 May 2013, 17:20, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post11 May 2013, 17:13

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I see what you mean.

I might be wrong but I believe that the not-backlit keyboard has some LEDs but not the full array. But they could be just the same keyboard with different caps.
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Unread post11 May 2013, 17:18

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At first I thought also mx green.

You can't search english words to find what you are looking for on TaoBao, so here are a few translations to help you find what you are looking for. So for example if you wanted to find Filco boards with brown switches you would search "Filco ??". Double and triple check with the Chinese Buying Agent to make sure you are getting the right keyboard and switch type.

轴 (axis) ~ switch
青 (green) ~ blue (the actual word they use is more like a light-blue green color)
红 (red) ~ red
黑 (black) ~ black
茶 (tea) ~ brown

Note from whiteskwirl2: "About 青 (qing). This character has a long history, in which its use has varied. It can mean green, blue, blue-green, or black, depending on its use. For keyboard switches, or to refer to the sky, it means blue. For tea, for example, it means a light green. When used to describe cloth or hair, it means black."

Ripster Guide
http://imgur.com/a/YKzQV

Thanks Hendyzone Kaskus
Last edited by ماء on 12 May 2013, 03:06, edited 1 time in total.
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kwek kwek we cinta kaskus
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webwit wrote:kwek kwek we cinta kaskus

You know kaskus also webwit :D

Mechanical Keyboard time It's Switch
http://www.kaskus.co.id/thread/000000000000000013911921/mechanical-keyboard-thread---it039s-time-to-switch/175
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Looks to me that the default version everyone has is no lights / PBT. Lots of "DIY" mentioned in the descriptions, presumably about soldering in your own LEDs. Can't say I fancy all that bother. What's it save Vortex on LEDs per keyboard anyway? Pennies I think.

Also my cunning plan to smarten up the caps may not work.

Pity, because despite the caps and the controller, I do actually quite like this keyboard. Big quibbles though.
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Unread post12 May 2013, 18:44

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What I'd really like to do with one of these or any Poker:
Image
The trouble being the PCB mounted controller which I'd really need to remove. Not an easy task, I'm told.
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Unread post12 May 2013, 22:22

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I've ordered this kb from the group buy over at geekhack. It should arrive on Tuesday.

I was planning on the filco MINILA but like so many have said, the layout is terrible.

The fc660 is damn expensive in my humble opinion. As a newbie I think the hhk2 is over hyped. It's an exclusive thing, surely?
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Unread post26 May 2013, 09:12

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The HHKB and Leopold FC 660C are both high end keyboards for a high end price. The main thing that sets them apart is they use Topre capacitative switches, not Cherry MX. Topre has a different feel entirely. Also, the HHKB is built by Topre in Japan (for PFU) with a lot more care for quality control than regular mechanical keyboards. The Leopold is interesting, as it's the first Chinese manufactured Topre board (for Leopold this time) and is the most affordable entry model into Topre switches today.

The Poker II is made by Vortex in China. It's definitely appealing on price, but Vortex isn't in the same league quality wise as Topre. Their caps are definitely crappy. Still, the Poker is a fabulous form factor and I can't deny I'd like something that size and almost that layout. Should be an interesting review, if you fancy reporting your impressions.
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Unread post26 May 2013, 11:42

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Thanks for this information.

I do think however the internet is a strange place... so many views from users who don't appear to actually have the items they pass judgement upon.

Muiruim, is your main keyboard really an Apple one?
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Yup. Its layout and Bluetooth make up in convenience what it lacks in any sense of tactile quality. I don't intend for it to be my main board forever, you know!

As for the passing judgement thing: I can see that the font on the Poker II is fugly quite well from here. Adding Matteo's experience with soldered controllers on this board's ancestors, I can tell that it's most likely not at all hack-friendly either. Vortex's reputation as an entry level manufacturer, high on value but spotty on fit and finish, is well reported wherever I read about them. It's only natural, given the price they position their keyboards at. The Poker's a great form factor, and probably quite a decent board. But it's no HHKB, or even a Filco; not just because of what people say about it, but because of its own manufacturer's priorities at meeting a given price.

There's quite a bit you can find out when you seek it on the internet: a strange place indeed!
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Unread post28 May 2013, 02:06

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Dear Muirium,

Thanks for taking my comments in the manner in which they were intended, to create discussion and debate!

You 'll see I now have my Poker II... its fab. A short review is available on this forum. I'd welcome your thoughts and comments on what I have said.

WIth best wishes,
SY
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