Best Dome with Slider Boards?

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Thorogrimm

23 Jun 2021, 02:21

After trying BTC dome with slider and Topre boards I find myself yearning for something practical that won't break the bank and allow for N-key rollover. BTC dome with sliders are great in the key feel department, one of my favourites but they're a pain to game with because they only allow up to 2 or 3 key rollover and are customizable to an extent. With Topre, I found myself feeling like I paid too much, even for a second hand board because the key feel was nowhere near as nice as BTC and the variable weighting didn't help either. I have heard of other dome with slider boards that can offer a good value for money like NMB (AQ6) and Scorpius. But none seem to grab me quite as much.

Are there any good modern options for dome with sliders? Aside from the obvious third party topre clones (because they still cost a ridiculous amount).

micmil

23 Jun 2021, 04:13

I mean.. you've basically already named all of them. :lol:

If a Realforce is too much, look for a used Type Heaven. Less than half the cost, still Topre. The variable weighting is essentially worthless for gaming, it's intended for general typing use.

Edit to add that the killer is going to be N-key rollover. That's inherent in Topre or other electro-capacitive designs but you're not going to find much of anything outside of that.

light655

23 Jun 2021, 05:23

You can look into foam and foil for rubber dome with N-key rollover, if you don't mind the soft bottom out feel. The "R" version use rubber domes instead of coil springs for return force element.

User avatar
Go-Kart

23 Jun 2021, 06:34

I've just got a BTC F&F board and the key feel is the my least favourite I've experienced. I'm going to clean it up and Mitsumi Mod it but I'm not hopeful.

Why are you after a dome with slider board in particular?

User avatar
an_achronism

23 Jun 2021, 06:43

Go-Kart wrote:
23 Jun 2021, 06:34
I've just got a BTC F&F board and the key feel is the my least favourite I've experienced. I'm going to clean it up and Mitsumi Mod it but I'm not hopeful.

Why are you after a dome with slider board in particular?
I think he just loves the (firm, rather sharp/binary) tactility of BTC DWS in particular and wants the closest thing to that but with N-key rollover, which I don't think is a thing that exists, to my knowledge. Even Topre and presumably its clones have a completely different sort of tactile bump, way more round than that of the BTC DWS (I haven't investigated the clones though so I could be wrong on that).

Frankly, I too wish this was a thing you could get. Admittedly, I do quite enjoy the BTC DWS key feel, but I have other plain old rubber dome boards (with the slider built into the keycap, not separate) that feel just as good if not better than BTC DWS as well, so I don't think I rate it as highly as some.

User avatar
goomba_

23 Jun 2021, 07:07

If you still have a Topre board you could invest in some aftermarket domes like BKE or DES, I've heard that the heavier options feel similar to more tactile DWS boards. This will also address your issue with the n-key rollover since Topre is capacitive. Unfortunately, they aren't super cheap like most vintage DWS boards and if you don't have a Topre board to begin with you're probably looking at 200-300 bucks for a board plus the domes...

micmil

23 Jun 2021, 19:03

an_achronism wrote:
23 Jun 2021, 06:43
Even Topre and presumably its clones have a completely different sort of tactile bump, way more round than that of the BTC DWS (I haven't investigated the clones though so I could be wrong on that).
The only clone I have is an ABKO, which is 35g weighting across the board. It's much more linear than my 45g Type Heaven, basically no perceptible tactility. From what I understand the heavier Topre weightings are snappier, and the aforementioned aftermarket domes are even more tactile.

But at that point you're $200-300 into it. :?

User avatar
Thorogrimm

23 Jun 2021, 21:36

light655 wrote:
23 Jun 2021, 05:23
You can look into foam and foil for rubber dome with N-key rollover, if you don't mind the soft bottom out feel. The "R" version use rubber domes instead of coil springs for return force element.
I have actually got a BTC 78XXXX and I quite like the feel of it. Reminds of the sound those wooden frogs with ridged backs make when you rub the stick on them.

Bob_le_Samourai

07 Jul 2021, 07:28

Even leaving aside n-key rollover, how is there literally nothing between Topre and the excellent if rickety BTC/Scorpius dome boards you can get on Ebay for a song? It feels like a big, inexplicable hole in the low-to-mid segment of the 2000s market. One of the PC oligopolies could've made at least a minor splash by capitalizing on how much better they felt than membrane domes without needing to increase their expenses all that much. We really live in the darkest timeline re: companies prioritizing literally everything above key feel.

In any event, here's hoping the expiry of Topre's patent will eventually lead to down-market options. As an ergo weirdo, I might even be induced to take Topre prices on the right niche layout. But I'm not holding my breath. As intriguing as the Conundrum looked to me as an ergo weirdo, the $550 minimum was just too much.

Riverman

08 Jul 2021, 00:31

You'd think that someone could make a decent EC keyboard for $125. Every so often I look for one of the Niz/Plum/Royal Kludge/Abko Topre knockoffs on eBay, but their prices never seem to be cheap enough compared to the cost of an actual Topre to make them very attractive. Every so often someone puts a used Topre keyboard on eBay for a reasonable price, and I've managed to snap up a couple of them. So far they're my gold standard, but they are kind of like a Honda. They do the job extremely well, but they're somewhat boring.

User avatar
Thorogrimm

08 Jul 2021, 13:55

Riverman wrote:
08 Jul 2021, 00:31
You'd think that someone could make a decent EC keyboard for $125. Every so often I look for one of the Niz/Plum/Royal Kludge/Abko Topre knockoffs on eBay, but their prices never seem to be cheap enough compared to the cost of an actual Topre to make them very attractive. Every so often someone puts a used Topre keyboard on eBay for a reasonable price, and I've managed to snap up a couple of them. So far they're my gold standard, but they are kind of like a Honda. They do the job extremely well, but they're somewhat boring.
Would you suggest it's just better to find a used Topre than get any of the spinoff brands?

User avatar
Go-Kart

08 Jul 2021, 14:02

I don't think there's much point comparing Topre with BTC D/S. Topre are EC, yes, but even in terms of key feel and tactility; BTC D/S are good and sharp, nicely weighted to match that tactility too; Topre features a more rounded, gradual tactility. Both boards have rubber domes both that's where the comparisons end in my opinion.

Topre clones (Nopre if you like), are EC boards but feel pretty different to both Topre and BTC from my experience.

I think it's best to seek key feel and then look at different switch types that may be able to offer it, rather than looking at switch types that some compare somewhat arbitrarily.

Topre ticks my boxes. BTC and Nopre were nice but Topre tactility is quite distinct. If you've tried it and liked it, I haven't yet found another switch type that feels like it. And that specifically applies to 45 g Topre in a HHKB - the flex of the plastic chassis has a surprising impact on key feel.

User avatar
an_achronism

09 Jul 2021, 00:01

Go-Kart wrote:
08 Jul 2021, 14:02
And that specifically applies to 45 g Topre in a HHKB - the flex of the plastic chassis has a surprising impact on key feel.
Yeah my RealForce arrived and I kinda like it but the bottom out is brütal. I would probably adore this thing if it had a plastic rather than solid metal plate. Furthermore, although I'm enjoying JIS to a certain extent (early doors though), I absolutely love Sun Unix layout. Which... is basically what HHKB stole. So what I'm saying is, I more or less want a full size HHKB, except that I would like it to have a Compose key like Sun boards do. Sucks that doesn't exist...

Please ignore the stupid black-on-black caps, and my beige crotch

Image

User avatar
Go-Kart

09 Jul 2021, 06:37

an_achronism wrote:
09 Jul 2021, 00:01
Go-Kart wrote:
08 Jul 2021, 14:02
And that specifically applies to 45 g Topre in a HHKB - the flex of the plastic chassis has a surprising impact on key feel.
Yeah my RealForce arrived and I kinda like it but the bottom out is brütal. I would probably adore this thing if it had a plastic rather than solid metal plate. Furthermore, although I'm enjoying JIS to a certain extent (early doors though), I absolutely love Sun Unix layout. Which... is basically what HHKB stole. So what I'm saying is, I more or less want a full size HHKB, except that I would like it to have a Compose key like Sun boards do. Sucks that doesn't exist...

Please ignore the stupid black-on-black caps, and my beige crotch

Image
I'm a fan of the R1 beige chassis. I was surprised how quick I adjusted to JIS and how slowly I'm getting used to the HHKB layout! That's one of the reasons why my HHKB ain't leaving my desk for another week or so.

One of the things I was experimenting with when I did the work on my BFK was slackening off the PCB screws. It gives it just a little flex and gets it closer to that HHKB feel. The other thing I'd highly recommend is lubing the slider legs (and the slider shafts too if the board hasn't got silencing rings installed). It took about a week of use to break in my BFK after lubing it but damn was it worth it.

Jan Pospisil

09 Jul 2021, 12:25

Riverman wrote:
08 Jul 2021, 00:31
You'd think that someone could make a decent EC keyboard for $125. Every so often I look for one of the Niz/Plum/Royal Kludge/Abko Topre knockoffs on eBay, but their prices never seem to be cheap enough compared to the cost of an actual Topre to make them very attractive. Every so often someone puts a used Topre keyboard on eBay for a reasonable price, and I've managed to snap up a couple of them. So far they're my gold standard, but they are kind of like a Honda. They do the job extremely well, but they're somewhat boring.
The NiZ fullsize used to go for 139 USD on Amazon, but they seem to be sold out.

User avatar
an_achronism

09 Jul 2021, 20:31

Go-Kart wrote:
09 Jul 2021, 06:37
I'm a fan of the R1 beige chassis. I was surprised how quick I adjusted to JIS and how slowly I'm getting used to the HHKB layout! That's one of the reasons why my HHKB ain't leaving my desk for another week or so.
Adjusting to the physical layout of JIS with UK logical mapping is easy, but actually *using JIS* in IME is entirely another matter imo hahah. My brain has been doing somersaults. It's so different from typing in English or other Latin-based languages. The main annoyance with the physical layout for me is the short right Shift, because I almost never use left Shift... probably because that's the short one on ISO. And a lot of the extra keys on JIS are just dead on UK logical layout, but I can't remap them, because that would stop them working properly when I flip back to Japanese IME.

Go-Kart wrote:
09 Jul 2021, 06:37
One of the things I was experimenting with when I did the work on my BFK was slackening off the PCB screws. It gives it just a little flex and gets it closer to that HHKB feel. The other thing I'd highly recommend is lubing the slider legs (and the slider shafts too if the board hasn't got silencing rings installed). It took about a week of use to break in my BFK after lubing it but damn was it worth it.
Interesting. I'm half considering trying to make a custom plastic plate for this RealForce but I dunno. If I get particularly crazy, I might even try to make an actual custom Topre board, but... I dunno. Layout would be something like if IBM PC (XT), 4704 (F77 / Model 300), Sun Unix, and NeXT got into a horrible accident... well, y'know, I can dream.

User avatar
Go-Kart

09 Jul 2021, 22:33

an_achronism wrote:
09 Jul 2021, 20:31
I'm half considering trying to make a custom plastic plate for this RealForce but I dunno. If I get particularly crazy, I might even try to make an actual custom Topre board, but... I dunno. Layout would be something like if IBM PC (XT), 4704 (F77 / Model 300), Sun Unix, and NeXT got into a horrible accident... well, y'know, I can dream.
Bro, do it.

User avatar
an_achronism

10 Jul 2021, 00:46

Go-Kart wrote:
09 Jul 2021, 22:33
Bro, do it.
One thing that might be a bit of a barrier: seems ISO layout Topre boards aren't exactly common. I missed the board on KeyboardCompany selling them already. Definitely want ISO left Shift...

vadik

30 Jul 2021, 23:54

an_achronism wrote:
10 Jul 2021, 00:46
One thing that might be a bit of a barrier: seems ISO layout Topre boards aren't exactly common. I missed the board on KeyboardCompany selling them already. Definitely want ISO left Shift...
They have a German 105U and a French 105UB at the moment.
an_achronism wrote:
09 Jul 2021, 00:01
So what I'm saying is, I more or less want a full size HHKB, except that I would like it to have a Compose key like Sun boards do. Sucks that doesn't exist...
If you're talking about Compose, you use X11, it seems. Want my funky xkb configs? They won't grow physical keys on your HHKB, but they will at least give you Compose.

User avatar
an_achronism

Yesterday, 00:04

vadik wrote:
30 Jul 2021, 23:54
They have a German 105U and a French 105UB at the moment.
Sadly, no, they don't .
vadik wrote:
30 Jul 2021, 23:54
If you're talking about Compose, you use X11, it seems. Want my funky xkb configs? They won't grow physical keys on your HHKB, but they will at least give you Compose.
Nah I know how to set it up in X, but it requires "sacrificing" a key (partially anyway) whereas on the original Sun SPARC implementation it was an actual dedicated Compose key, with its own status LED in some cases. But I like the system so much I use it in Windows as well (via the slightly buggy but functional WinCompose). Thanks though.

vadik

Yesterday, 01:13

an_achronism wrote:
Yesterday, 00:04
Sadly, no, they don't .
Didn't notice that. Sadness...
an_achronism wrote:
Yesterday, 00:04
Nah I know how to set it up in X, but it requires "sacrificing" a key (partially anyway)
I do that on bigger keyboards (I don't use Windows and Menu keys), but on HHKB I did double shift (which fails on Chrome and Electron apps, so I use Ctrl-Henkan instead). Though a partial sacrifice is, while not as convenient, not too bad, as some keys (AltGr, perhaps Windows and Menu) aren't used with some modifiers (Ctrl, Alt).
an_achronism wrote:
Yesterday, 00:04
whereas on the original Sun SPARC implementation it was an actual dedicated Compose key, with its own status LED in some cases.
Speaking of which, I don't think xkb supports a Compose LED... I'd like to see keyboards with more LEDs, TBH. Group lock! Another group lock, and increase the maximum number of groups from 4 to at least 5! Compose!
an_achronism wrote:
Yesterday, 00:04
But I like the system so much I use it in Windows as well (via the slightly buggy but functional WinCompose).
Thanks, didn't know about that.

Findecanor

Yesterday, 11:15

an_achronism wrote:
Yesterday, 00:04
Nah I know how to set it up in X, but it requires "sacrificing" a key (partially anyway) whereas on the original Sun SPARC implementation it was an actual dedicated Compose key, with its own status LED in some cases.
The Sun keyboards with USB have the Compose key emit the same code as the Menu key on PC keyboards. They also have the LED (it's in the USB HID spec) but I dunno about software support.

User avatar
wobbled

Yesterday, 18:24

The closest thing to BTC dome w/ Slider with N Key rollover is Topre & clones with BKE domes.

User avatar
an_achronism

Today, 00:51

wobbled wrote:
Yesterday, 18:24
The closest thing to BTC dome w/ Slider with N Key rollover is Topre & clones with BKE domes.
Having just received a test batch of BKE Redux domes, I think I am inclined to agree. Nothing like actual Topre, which kinda surprised me.

micmil

Today, 17:10

Riverman wrote:
08 Jul 2021, 00:31
You'd think that someone could make a decent EC keyboard for $125. Every so often I look for one of the Niz/Plum/Royal Kludge/Abko Topre knockoffs on eBay, but their prices never seem to be cheap enough compared to the cost of an actual Topre to make them very attractive. Every so often someone puts a used Topre keyboard on eBay for a reasonable price, and I've managed to snap up a couple of them. So far they're my gold standard, but they are kind of like a Honda. They do the job extremely well, but they're somewhat boring.
If it were possible someone would have done it. The fact is it's not a cheap method of manufacturing and it's a niche product in a niche market in a niche industry. Good rubber is expensive and it's the rubber quality that really differentiates Topre feel from everything else.

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