Disable latching on Alps latching switch?

robo

31 Jul 2017, 06:08

So, i purchased an AEKII knowing that it has a latching caps lock switch, but I use the Caps Lock key as Control, so I'd like to disable the latching. Is there a simple way to modify the switch so that it will not latch, or is it necessary to replace the switch entirely?

Thanks!

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E3E

31 Jul 2017, 06:14

The latching operation is done by a little arm that moves against a cam in the slider. I'd guess if you disassembled the switch and take off that arm, then it'll become a linear momentary switch. :)

robo

31 Jul 2017, 15:20

Thanks - that looks doable. I'll have to find out if the switch will feel OK like that or if it would still be better to replace with one that matches the rest of the board.

Another thing that just occurred to me is: Will the keyboard controller understand how to use this key as a normal momentary key or is it hardwired to use this as a caps lock that stays with the circuit closed?

Findecanor

31 Jul 2017, 15:34

That would make it into an undamped linear switch, wouldn't it?

Is the bottom housing of the SKCM lock the same as other Alps? In that case, I think it would be better to swap the top and
insides with the switch of another key - and you would not risk losing any parts.

robo

31 Jul 2017, 16:54

I'll have to find out when the board arrives. I can perhaps switch it out with one of the Control keys, since I'll be swapping the functionality anyway.

The question about how the keyboard's controller will handle the switch being momentary still remains. I guess if worst comes to worst I can probably cut the traces and physically rewire the Caps Lock to Control and vice versa... That seems like the simplest solution if the controller handles that key specially.

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2ter

31 Jul 2017, 17:49

The bottom is identical to the other switches on the board. The top with slider and mechanism are different, and the spring is heavier. I might be wrong, but the locking caps lock on my M0118 does't repeat. Maybe you need some keymap software to make it work?

robo

31 Jul 2017, 18:18

2ter wrote: The bottom is identical to the other switches on the board. The top with slider and mechanism are different, and the spring is heavier. I might be wrong, but the locking caps lock on my M0118 does't repeat. Maybe you need some keymap software to make it work?
What do you mean by 'doesn't repeat'?

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2ter

31 Jul 2017, 20:26

by it doesn't repeat i mean that when you press the key down and keep it down, it doesn't repeatedly send the key but emediatly registers key down and up.

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XMIT
[ XMIT ]

31 Jul 2017, 21:19

No.

The latching switch works in tandem with the keyboard firmware to implement this. There is not an easy way to do what you're trying to do without modifying the board.

If you /are/ willing to do a hardware modification - and cut some traces - you could swap the Control and Caps Lock switches, AND rework the board, so that the switches in their new locations are physically wired to their old locations!

I don't know why I didn't have this idea years ago, I might just do this myself. I'd love to use my old AEK I with Oranges. :lol:

Findecanor

31 Jul 2017, 22:27

Hasu's converter firmware has support for handling the latching switch.
https://github.com/tmk/tmk_keyboard/blo ... ng-support

Whether it will handle a non-repeating Control key, I am not so sure.

robo

31 Jul 2017, 23:09

Ah, thanks for the explanations. I didn't realize normal keys 'repeated' while they were depressed. I haven't messed with keyboards at this level before.

In that case, i think i'll definitely try cutting the traces and rewiring the board after swapping the switches. Assuming it's just a single layer PCB it should be relatively easy and also reversible in case I sell the board or something. I don't think I have any reason to use special hardware and firmware here (which is what the hasu firmware is for, if I understand correctly).

robo

05 Aug 2017, 06:06

Just a followup - swapping the switches and rewiring the traces worked great. I now have my Control key in the 'right' place and the latching caps is relegated to the left Control key which I never use. I also discovered that as of the laster Mac OS X release, the latching caps doesn't work at all anyway. Which is fine... it's IMO a pointless keyboard feature anyway :P

I used ultra fine wire-wrap wire for the wiring, just so it wouldn't take up any space (wasn't sure how tight the fit would be). Photo attached.

As an aside, i think i really lucked out with this board. Bought it from an ebay seller 'as-is, untested', and it turned out to be in mint condition, with zero yellowing. I'm not 100% sure I like the damped cream Alps switches, but i'll give them a bit of time...
Attachments
swapped Caps Lock and Control on AEKII
swapped Caps Lock and Control on AEKII
IMG_7219.jpg (252.33 KiB) Viewed 828 times

Findecanor

05 Aug 2017, 12:06

That looks good and simple!

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XMIT
[ XMIT ]

05 Aug 2017, 20:06

Findecanor wrote: That looks good and simple!
As I thought it would be! Yeah, these are single sided boards, forgot to mention that.

If you really really hate Caps Lock you could just cut traces, replace the switch, and make Caps Lock another Ctrl, so you have two of them. The possibilities are endless with reworks like this.

If I had the time I'd make one of these boards NKRO by cutting and sanding a bunch of traces and soldering in SMT diodes, and replacing the controller. But at that point it's almost easier to just make a new PCB. :lol: :o :roll:

But this is a quick and dirty hack that at least makes the AEK and AEK II usable for folks who love their remap. I'll need to try this myself!

Stupid Mac OS X updates. I didn't install Sierra on my production laptops because Apple f'd up the input system so Karabiner doesn't work. It's El Capitan for life for me it looks like, until I'm dragged kicking and screaming to a new OS in a few years. I'll probably just go back to Linux. :roll:

ShawnMeg

05 Aug 2017, 21:03

I use an adb to usb converter with Hasu's firmware and remapped the Caps Lock with LCtrl in the firmware. I removed the white locking latch in the switch so that the locking mechanism is disabled. Ctrl works perfectly (on Windows, Linux and Mac OS) without having to butcher the PCB nor having to use software to remap.

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E3E

05 Aug 2017, 21:05

ShawnMeg wrote: I use an adb to usb converter with Hasu's firmware and remapped the Caps Lock with LCtrl in the firmware. I removed the white locking latch in the switch so that the locking mechanism is disabled. Ctrl works perfectly (on Windows, Linux and Mac OS) without having to butcher the PCB nor having to use software to remap.
Good to know! Looks like all that hacking isn't necessary then.

robo

06 Aug 2017, 03:46

ShawnMeg wrote: without having to butcher the PCB
I prefer to call it "precision surgery" :lol:

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XMIT
[ XMIT ]

19 Aug 2017, 20:04

So I've been thinking more and more about this mod. It's a good intermediary between being unable to use the otherwise delightful AEK at all, and needing to spin a whole new PCB for it.

The one thing that bugs me is that, this board is so nearly perfect, but there is no 1.5u bottom row "caps lock" key available for Apple boards. So, I made one! The R3 "Control" key is readily available as a donor key from an Apple Keyboard I, or you could in theory make one as well.

First, I used a dremel tool with a tiny barrel (cylindrical) sander to remove something like 0.2mm of PBT from the top of the key. This is just deep enough to pull off all of the factory dye sub, leaving a completely blank cap.

Then, I made a legend with black-on-clear P Touch label maker tape. At first I used the Univers 57 Condensed Oblique font, from a TTF file online. But, I found that the kerning and letter height, shapes, and thicknesses were just a bit off.

So, instead, I took a high quality macro shot of a real "caps lock" key, cropped it, and leveled it. Sure, the edges are rough, but the resolution of the camera is so much higher than the resolution of the label maker that I didn't bother doing any manual smoothing. Something in the print path will do the smoothing for me!
caps lock legend, from AEK I
caps lock legend, from AEK I
D7K_1748.jpg (178.61 KiB) Viewed 729 times
I then printed the label. This took a few tries to get something close to the original scaling but I eventually got it.
AEK hardware caps lock / control swap - keys only.
AEK hardware caps lock / control swap - keys only.
600_7860.jpg (182.17 KiB) Viewed 729 times
Almost there! What's next?
1. I need to actually do the rework. These are just the keys, the switches are not swapped.
2. More precise measurement and placement. This was a quick and dirty, proof of concept type mod.
3. If it works this well I'm going to talk to wokechill to see if he can actually dyesub the cap for me so that it's not just tape.
4. Stabilize the control key. The donor key has stabilizer inserts, and the AEK I PCB has stabilizer holes. If you have some extra wire and clips handy - perhaps donated from a junky Apple Keyboard I - you can stabilize control nicely. :ugeek:

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Wingklip

20 Aug 2017, 12:05

Quite lucky there! My AEK 1 and M0116 came with heavy trace corrosion and what looks like an acid spillage which corroded away half the metal plate on the ADB ports and some of the orange switches :(

Two of the traces are somehow cut due to corrosion too, and it seems that someone tried to sand them to fix it and cut off the guide pins on the back plastic casing XD

rip $160 for broken m0115&6

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