Decent Rubber Domes thread

I thought it would be a good idea for all of us on a budget to have a thread where we can collect all the decent rubber dome/slider over dome boards in one place, so that we know what's up when we see one of these at a flea market or eBay, where they can't mark it up because it's not 'VINTAGE CLICKY MECHANICAL RARE'.

Please feel free to add your boards, guys! :D
green-squid
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Unread post24 Nov 2018, 19:11

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"Decent" is subjective: I've got several dome keyboards that aren't horrible but I wouldn't particularly recommend them either. They simply do the job without causing thoughts of how good/bad they are.

The best, which I would wholeheartedly recommend, is my IBM KB-8926. As I said in another thread, I didn't realise it was rubber dome until I took it to bits to clean.

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Unread post24 Nov 2018, 19:36

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Call me crazy but I actually don't mind sejin election done with slider. I don't know if it's just my particular board, but they feel decent to me :) i think people have just had really beat up examples of them, and personally I feel that they are rather nice.
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Unread post24 Nov 2018, 19:40

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Topre.
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Unread post24 Nov 2018, 22:15

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what is this ?
Myoth wrote:Topre.

Yeah but that PRICE. This is for non-topre pricetag stuff!
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Unread post25 Nov 2018, 10:28

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NMB domes with sliders are pretty decent (RT6555TW/6556TW)
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Unread post25 Nov 2018, 12:07

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HP C3753A and Dell Quietkeys are both keyboard I appreciated before I got into mechs. I still have a C3753A, I should dig it up sometime for old time's sake :D
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Unread post25 Nov 2018, 13:03

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what is this ?
Myoth wrote:Topre.

Topre counts as a hybrid, I would say.
RealForce says "each switch ... clear 50 millions keystrokes"
But how would we rate Topre's switch durability if we include the wear and tear and hardening over time of its rubber domes on top?
As a point of reference, for a typical imaginary worker (who is not a programmer because a programmer types way fewer keystrokes per day) who writes 10 mid length e-mails per day, assuming each of about 300 words, and let's assume this worker works 365 days every year, and let's assume the typing when using other applications and on websites are negligible comparatively:
For keystrokes per year for the spacebar, it would be:
300 x 10 (e-mails) x 365 days ~ 1.1M keystrokes (i.e. it takes about 50 years to reach 50M keystrokes)
For vowel keys which may occur 2 or more times in a word, we can have an estimation:
300 x 2 (key occurrence) x 10 (e-mails) x 365 days ~ 2.2M keystrokes

My question is then, can these rubber (or silicon indeed) domes last that 50 years or 25 years?
How does silicon materials used in these rubber domes hold up throughout the years? I heard older rubber domes becomes harder, is it the case?

Is there any mechanical capacitive switch design apart from IBM Model-F?
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Unread post25 Nov 2018, 13:27

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One of my coworkers brought in a few of his Apple keyboards and the A1048 felt pretty decent -- short travel with a nice firm actuation near the top.

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Unread post25 Nov 2018, 15:27

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swampangel wrote:One of my coworkers brought in a few of his Apple keyboards and the A1048 felt pretty decent -- short travel with a nice firm actuation near the top.

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There must have been different versions of this keyboard, because the one I had was absolutely disgusting, like typing on a pile of wet newspapers.
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Unread post25 Nov 2018, 15:33

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swampangel wrote:
the A1048 felt pretty decent -- short travel with a nice firm actuation near the top.


OMG, that is almost universally considered one of the worst keyboards ever, mush-deluxe. And the clear case is notorious for collecting keyboard chow. My daughter had one for a short while because she thought it was "cute" but it was truly dreadful to use, in my opinion.

I would agree with the immediate post-Model M IBMs (the US ANSI number is KB8923) and the early Dell Quietkeys (before production went to China). In the early 2000s I used the excellent Compaq SK-2800 and liked the media keys, although I use keyboard shortcuts for everything now.
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Unread post25 Nov 2018, 15:39

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Cannon Typestar typewriters and Silver Reed Typewriters have very nice domes in my experience. They both feel very different from each other too.
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Unread post25 Nov 2018, 16:06

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I'm trying out a board with BTC dome with sliders. It's actually not bad. It's an old Packard Bell 5130.
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Unread post25 Nov 2018, 20:20

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fohat wrote:And the clear case is notorious for collecting keyboard chow.

I got mine with a used iMac G5 — the keyboard was full of dead spiders.

At least spiders are better than cockroaches :lol:
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Unread post25 Nov 2018, 23:47

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fohat wrote:OMG, that is almost universally considered one of the worst keyboards ever, mush-deluxe. And the clear case is notorious for collecting keyboard chow. My daughter had one for a short while because she thought it was "cute" but it was truly dreadful to use, in my opinion.

I might have been fooled since I didn't type on that one while plugged in to a computer. :oops:
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Unread post25 Nov 2018, 23:48

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Was actually hoping someone would post CURRENT made keyboards that are available to purchase today that are of HIGH quality.

Not the Cherry-esque type of keyboards which are dime a dozen everywhere but the quiet all membrane keyboards that are dirt cheap but still of decent feeling and actuation when used.

Something NOT mushy or dead when pressed. Come on DT Experts, there must be something else out there in this huge world worth considering?
Elrick
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Unread post26 Nov 2018, 00:37

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I had to get a quiet keyboard for work, and I was pleasantly surprised by this HP KU-1156. It's not terrible looking and has reasonably snappy and consistent domes, and it only cost me $5 at a meetup! :D
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Unread post26 Nov 2018, 02:26

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A few years old but at least in this millenium: Logitech Di-Novo variants (high-travel scissors) and Sun Type 7.
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Unread post26 Nov 2018, 03:36

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Elrick wrote:Was actually hoping someone would post CURRENT made keyboards that are available to purchase today that are of HIGH quality.

Not the Cherry-esque type of keyboards which are dime a dozen everywhere but the quiet all membrane keyboards that are dirt cheap but still of decent feeling and actuation when used.

Something NOT mushy or dead when pressed. Come on DT Experts, there must be something else out there in this huge world worth considering?

My workplace is almost exclusively Dell, and in the last couple of years I have collected the following observations regarding Dell's recent keyboard offerings.

KB-212: this looks like a scissor-switch keyboard, but it's not. It's a regular rubber dome board with low-profile keycaps. Its build quality is poor and the materials are cheap and nasty (the keys get shiny almost immediately), but it feels ok to type on.

KB-213: a slim scissor-switch keyboard with chicklet keys. This one is surprisingly pleasant to type on. It has a block of multimedia keys with orange legends and no Num Lock key, meaning that its numpad can be used only for entering numbers.

KB-216: looks even slimmer. No multimedia keys, tertiary legends are in blue. This one is the most horrible piece of shit I have ever used. Because this is the model our IT department currently issues, people tend to hang on to their KB-213s even when they get upgraded PCs.
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Unread post26 Nov 2018, 08:34

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I experimented with rubber dome keyboards quite a bit (with cca 30-40 keyboards of various brands/age) and I would say that it is quite difficult to generally point at a model with good rubber dome, because rubber dome ages quickly and is dependent on use heavily. So I think that that quality depends on condition of keyboard itself (age, heaviness of use) more than with some other (e.g. MX Cherry) keyboards.

E.g. I have tried several BTL keyboards, which are quite favourite in keyboard community (e.g. praised by Chyrosran) and was not too passionate (they are good, but not the best). The same with Dell QuiteKey and similar. They were not heavily used, but not new.

On the other hand, my most favourite rubber dome keyboard is Keytronic KT800 (which is model without sliders, only keycap stems are longer so they provide better stability). Great tactility, minimal mushiness. It was new, never used. I suspect that new state of this keyboard is more important than brand itself, as Keytronic RD keyboard are usually not praised highly.

EDIT: I have realised that also Chicony KB-2966 is my favourite RD keyboard.
Last edited by daneb on 29 Nov 2018, 07:05, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post28 Nov 2018, 08:31

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daneb wrote:I suspect that new state of this keyboard is more important than brand itself, as Keytronic RD keyboard are usually not praised highly.

Suspect that would be the reality concerning ALL rubber domes. Unless it's pure silicone like Topre keyboard's, all other compounds that were used shall degrade over time.

Perfect Catch-22 situation, concerning all rubber dome keyboards.
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Unread post28 Nov 2018, 10:26

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Menuhin wrote:
Myoth wrote:Topre.

Topre counts as a hybrid, I would say.
RealForce says "each switch ... clear 50 millions keystrokes"
But how would we rate Topre's switch durability if we include the wear and tear and hardening over time of its rubber domes on top?
As a point of reference, for a typical imaginary worker (who is not a programmer because a programmer types way fewer keystrokes per day) who writes 10 mid length e-mails per day, assuming each of about 300 words, and let's assume this worker works 365 days every year, and let's assume the typing when using other applications and on websites are negligible comparatively:
For keystrokes per year for the spacebar, it would be:
300 x 10 (e-mails) x 365 days ~ 1.1M keystrokes (i.e. it takes about 50 years to reach 50M keystrokes)
For vowel keys which may occur 2 or more times in a word, we can have an estimation:
300 x 2 (key occurrence) x 10 (e-mails) x 365 days ~ 2.2M keystrokes

My question is then, can these rubber (or silicon indeed) domes last that 50 years or 25 years?
How does silicon materials used in these rubber domes hold up throughout the years? I heard older rubber domes becomes harder, is it the case?

Is there any mechanical capacitive switch design apart from IBM Model-F?

I can tell you one of my HHKBs that has been used for seven years straight is still superb, still looks like brand new and types perfectly. And I’m very fussy about my boards.
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Unread post30 Nov 2018, 13:19

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I use the shit out of my HHKB, too. I've heard Topres get a bit stiffer as they age. If my HHKB is doing that, it's not enough to notice. Not like it has many wasted keys! But I surely use \ less than Fn, and they still feel like, several years in.

I do believe Topre domes do stiffen with age and use. But it's a long term thing, and doesn't diminish their function. The place people really notice it is in HHKB Pro 1 vs newly manufactured Pro 2s. And there was some public gaming rig's Realforce 002 once told me about, that had been hammered by punters for years and still worked perfectly.
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Unread post30 Nov 2018, 14:39

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Maybe we should do a big topre meetup with new/used pro 1 boards and new/used pro 2 boards to see the different of age and usage :D
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Unread post30 Nov 2018, 14:49

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Well I can tell you for a fact my seven year old daily beater hhkb (45g) still feels A LOT lighter than my new realforce (55g).
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Unread post30 Nov 2018, 14:49

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A long time ago, I had an AST rubber dome board that I liked, but it did wear out -- after a while some of the keys became unresponsive.

On the other hand, my main keyboard at home and work for the past 3+ years has been HHKBs, and thus far they show no signs of wearing out or changing stiffness.
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Unread post30 Nov 2018, 14:51

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adhoc wrote:Well I can tell you for a fact my seven year old daily beater hhkb (45g) still feels A LOT lighter than my new realforce (55g).

Same here. Maybe it's the switching I do between 55g Realforce and 45g HHKB that shields the minor ageing effect behind a much more obvious one for me!
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Unread post30 Nov 2018, 14:51

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adhoc wrote:Well I can tell you for a fact my seven year old daily beater hhkb (45g) still feels A LOT lighter than my new realforce (55g).

Else I would be worried :lol:

A keyboard won't age within minutes so if it gets lighter or stiffer over the years your hands would adjust as well. A 30g>45g or 45g>55g change would be way more than I'd expect but it would be a fun thing to compare.
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Unread post30 Nov 2018, 15:33

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There is a major difference in feel between a HHKB with stock 45g domes and a RF with stock 55g domes. Indeed, I find a noticeable difference between each of these combinations:

HHKB 45g - RF87U 45g

HHKB 45g - RF87U 55g

HHKB 55g - RF87U 45g

HHKB 55g - RF87U 55g

In the above, the 55g HHKB was a customization using 55g domes from a 55g RF87U. The 45g RF87U was a stock RF "EK edition" with all-45g domes.

In each situation, the RF board felt heavier to me. This perception is presumably a combination of the force rating of the domes along with the fact that the switches in the RF are plate-mounted in a steel plate, whereas the switches in the HHKB are case-mounted in the plastic case.

These are subjective qualitative perceptions. I have not done objective quantitative measurements. Indeed, these perceptions have been recalled from experiences some time ago. I have not done recent side-by-side comparisons.
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Unread post30 Nov 2018, 15:54

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hansichen wrote:
adhoc wrote:Well I can tell you for a fact my seven year old daily beater hhkb (45g) still feels A LOT lighter than my new realforce (55g).

Else I would be worried :lol:

A keyboard won't age within minutes so if it gets lighter or stiffer over the years your hands would adjust as well. A 30g>45g or 45g>55g change would be way more than I'd expect but it would be a fun thing to compare.

I don't really understand what you're saying. 7 years is not minutes and how my hands adjust is irrelevant, as I am comparing a 7 year old daily beater and a 3 year old daily beater to a new 55g board. I have them side by side (2x HHKB, RF). I have just ordered 2 brand new HHKBs and it will be interesting to see how they stack up one next to the other, but I'd say the difference won't be much. I can not tell the difference between the 3 years old and 7 years old.

At 130+ WPM, my fingers actually get fatigued with 55g Topre domes, whereas I can go for hours on 45g.
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Unread post30 Nov 2018, 16:30

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