Cherry G84-4321: folding keyboard, possibly with MLs

This is a circa-50% folding keyboard with USB connection, for PDAs with USB host according to the review I found. It seems to be Russian-layout only; black caps with white Roman (English) legends, Cyrillic legends in red and functions in blue.
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So far, so laptop-alike. But then we see the article number: G84-4321SUNRG. If this can be believed, it's got MLs and dyesub caps.
I'm slightly sceptical about the MLs - those number keys and the bottom row seem a bit small even for MLs - but Daniel Beardsmore thinks it could be plausible (having seen only the first two photos), so perhaps it's true.
Also, that's a slick dyesub job, to achieve white-on-black in 2005 ;) ... and I think I can make out some pad-printing marks on some of the white legends in this pic. (And also on the coloured legends, but that's to be expected.)
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The only other variant of this I've seen has article number G84-4321LPNRG. But this, too, is described as a USB keyboard on various sites, which makes the P seem odd.

The back label appears to say "Made in China". So I'm assuming this is a project designed by a Russian branch of Cherry and produced in China, or else a Chinese design rebadged as Cherry and given an approximately-correct article number. Has anyone used one of these - and/or does anyone know whether these have MLs?

References:
Review and several more photos: http://www.mobile-review.com/pda/review/cherry-kb-en.shtml
Other sites, including LPNRG version (all in Russian):
https://market.yandex.ru/product--cherry-g84-4321lpnrg-black-usb/904576
http://belgorod.nix.ru/autocatalog/keyboards_cherry/Klaviatura-Cherry-G84-4321SUNRG-USB-64KL-Mini_38604.html
https://naobzorah.ru/keyboard/cherry_g84-4321lpnrg_black_usb
citrojohn

Unread post20 Apr 2017, 13:20

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I highly doubt that these are dyesubbed, the only possible way to achieve WoB dyesubs would be to dye every part of a white keycap except the legends. Cherry probably just didn't adhere to their naming convention as they have done several times, especially for non-standard, made-to-order products.
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Unread post20 Apr 2017, 14:01

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The legends look clearly pad-printed, and not even good quality.
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Nuum wrote:I highly doubt that these are dyesubbed,

davkol wrote:The legends look clearly pad-printed, and not even good quality.

citrojohn wrote:Also, that's a slick dyesub job, to achieve white-on-black in 2005 ;) ... and I think I can make out some pad-printing marks on some of the white legends in this pic. (And also on the coloured legends, but that's to be expected.)

I'm pretty sure this is joke, note the winky smiley and the fact he acknowledges the pad printed marks!
citrojohn wrote:I'm slightly sceptical about the MLs - those number keys and the bottom row seem a bit small even for MLs - but Daniel Beardsmore thinks it could be plausible (having seen only the first two photos), so perhaps it's true.

I am very sceptical these would ML, mainly due to the large amount of horizontally and vertically squashed keys. I think the diagnosis that it's some Chinese OEM product with Cherry's logo slapped on it is probably correct.
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Unread post20 Apr 2017, 15:49

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Stabilized wrote:I'm pretty sure this is joke, note the winky smiley and the fact he acknowledges the pad printed marks!

Yes, I did wonder about using brownfont... Considering people are still finding it difficult to dyesub white-on-black now, it seemed unlikely that Cherry had solved it in 2005 - or that if they had, they wouldn't have put dyesubbed keys all over the MX-Boards! :lol:
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Unread post20 Apr 2017, 17:01

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ML is really small (width, depth, height), and the top row needn't be ML switches. When I examined all the photos (not just the two I'm alleged to have looked at) I was trying to gauge whether it was chunky enough to fit in the ML switches and PCB.

Now, Cherry did secretly commission a rubber dome keyboard or two from Chicony, to bring down costs (this was clear from the PCB codes, prior to getting confirmation), so being Chinese-made doesn't prove anything one way or the other.

One site gives a packaging height of 29 mm (closed, so each half will be under 14.5 mm including keycaps) and ML is 7.3 mm high not including the slider but including the PCB, and 9.6 mm tall overall. Allowing 1 mm for the keycap, that leaves 4.9 mm for the shell and box.

It's going to be a very tight squeeze!

It seems too widespread to be a hoax, so is it just a brazen trademark violation? It could just be a case of Cherry putting the wrong codes on the product.

I'm certainly sceptical of it being real ML, I have to say!
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Unread post20 Apr 2017, 18:16

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Daniel Beardsmore wrote:(not just the two I'm alleged to have looked at)

Ah, I should have realised you'd do some research! :oops: I didn't want to give the impression you'd seen all the photos if there was something in one of the others that made MLs impossible. :)
Daniel Beardsmore wrote:[...]It seems too widespread to be a hoax, so is it just a brazen trademark violation? It could just be a case of Cherry putting the wrong codes on the product.

That's an interesting possibility. As far as I know the only other 43xx is the J84-4300 - perhaps this should have been a J84 too. I must admit, I'm rather hazy about exactly what the Jxx codes imply - for instance, do the other J84s have MLs somewhere under the waterproofing?

I wonder who might have initiated this. Do we know if Cherry has/had a Russian branch like its Chinese and UK operations - or if Cherry's Chinese branch was already operating circa 2005?
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Unread post20 Apr 2017, 18:58

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I don't know that they ever had a Chinese branch, only that they subcontracted out at least one model to Chicony:

http://utensilia.tk/maxdata-cherry_kb-0556/

The photo of the PCB shows codes that identify it as a Chicony OEM (probably based on comparison with known Chicony keyboards — I forget now how I came to that conclusion), but externally it's labelled as Cherry.

I knew I'd seen a J__ code before.
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Unread post20 Apr 2017, 19:20

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I also believe that it is a hoax / fake.
It is not the first time that the former Soviet countries created hoaxes or fakes, no matter how illogical those hoaxes are, requiring more lies to cover the former lies.

Before we believe something has happened or something exists, we have to put that idea into some level of logical thinking to see how possible for its happening or its existence.

Here is an example of the highly technical "reverse dye-sub" work of the Japanese dye-sub artist on Etsy:

Image

Even he said these caps need a lot of work to dye.
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Unread post20 Apr 2017, 19:29

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Curiously, it was the Russians who put ML switches into the Optimus keyboard … (which had above-normal spacing, which sounds like a recipe for disaster).

Maybe the "4321" in the article number is quietly mocking us for believing it!

Also, I notice that the price tag is $35-40 according to the review — no way is an ML keyboard going to be that cheap.
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Unread post20 Apr 2017, 20:37

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Daniel Beardsmore wrote:I don't know that they ever had a Chinese branch,

Well, what I mean really is wherever they make the MX-Boards - I had the impression the original ones were a Chinese initiative. Though that may be me misinterpreting as usual. ;)
Daniel Beardsmore wrote:only that they subcontracted out at least one model to Chicony:

http://utensilia.tk/maxdata-cherry_kb-0556/

The photo of the PCB shows codes that identify it as a Chicony OEM (probably based on comparison with known Chicony keyboards — I forget now how I came to that conclusion), but externally it's labelled as Cherry.

I knew I'd seen a J__ code before.

Hmm, interesting. 16199 is new to me, though it looks pretty similar to the J82-16000 and 16001 I've seen before.
There's a few Jxx - I think they're intended for more difficult operating conditions, though exactly what the conditions are seems to vary. I am sorry to say that two of them have 2xxx model numbers! :o
  • J82-16000 and 16001: plain office keyboard (wonder if these are still Chicony-made?)
  • J84-2120: 60%ish keyboard with pointing stick, waterproof because encased in rubber!
  • J84-2800: fullsize rubber keyboard, perhaps the most "un-DT" Cherry keyboard I've seen (which is saying something consdiering the more basic G85s)
  • J84-4300: layout like the G84-4400, made waterproof somehow
  • J86-4400: vandal-proof metal keyboard with trackball
Menuhin wrote:I also believe that it is a hoax / fake.
It is not the first time that the former Soviet countries created hoaxes or fakes, no matter how illogical those hoaxes are, requiring more lies to cover the former lies.

Interesting thought - perhaps someone thought their Chinese import would be easier to sell (to people like me :lol: ) if it had a Cherry badge on it. Then the only engineer in the office says "they'll never believe it's Cherry if it doesn't have a code" and they have to dream up a suitable article number...
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Unread post20 Apr 2017, 22:56

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Well, that J keyboard is just a bog standard rubber dome. I had a very similar one.

Do you know what switches each of those J keyboards have?
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Unread post20 Apr 2017, 23:05

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Daniel Beardsmore wrote:Well, that J keyboard is just a bog standard rubber dome. I had a very similar one.

Do you know what switches each of those J keyboards have?

Well, the J82 are rubber-dome as we know, though I don't know how J82 domes relate to G82. I think the J86 has rubber domes under its metal caps. But I don't know about J84 at all. I suspect they have so much rubber in their construction that the feel would be pretty bad even if there were MLs inside - like those TG3 vehicle-mounted keyboards, but more so. But the supposition of MLs is only based on the 84 in the article number...
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Unread post21 Apr 2017, 00:16

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@citrojohn

Just the model number of this 'Cherry' board offers immediate ways (ML switches and PBT dyesub caps) to verify if the keyboard itself is real or fake, you know "keebs don't lie".

On the other hand, I have been thinking about getting a more serious soldering station, but this Hakko Fx-888d station confuses me a lot -- I can't really figure out if they have any made in China production, but I know traditionally their products are made in the US.
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Menuhin wrote:Just the model number of this 'Cherry' board offers immediate ways (ML switches and PBT dyesub caps) to verify if the keyboard itself is real or fake, you know "keebs don't lie".

Yes - that's one reason I like Cherry so much, one can "read" the article numbers and find out what a keyboard ought to be like. But there are a few Cherry boards that don't stick to the normal system... and finding out the article number's inaccurate doesn't help with the question of whether this is Cherry-sanctioned or just some importer sticking Cherry branding on their Chinese keyboard. :)
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