XMIT Keyboards - December 2018 Update

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[ XMIT ]

26 Dec 2018, 18:38

I've got a chance to catch up now over the holidays. So, for anyone curious about developments with Hall Effect keyboards, I've posted some updates to xmitkeyboards.com:

https://www.xmitkeyboards.com/2018/12/2 ... 18-update/

If anyone has any questions or comments, I'm happy to address them here. I may also propagate particularly good questions or comments to the FAQs.

For completeness, I'll copy-paste the posts here!
Merry Christmas from the XMIT Keyboards family!

tl;dr – Merry Christmas! If you have a problem with your keyboard either email support@xmitkeyboards.com and be patient, or ask Massdrop for a refund. We’re working on future product with no ETA.

We’ve updated the FAQ section. Please go check it out, at: https://www.xmitkeyboards.com/hall-effect-keyboard/faq/ .

It’s been a while, so, I wanted to take a moment to reach out to all those who supported Round 1 or Round 2 of our keyboard offering, and anyone who might be curious about what’s next.

2018 has been a busy year for us. We welcomed baby #3 into our lives right around the time the Round 2 keyboard deliveries were happening. We had a lot of quality control issues with Round 2. The fact that those coincided with sleepless nights from baby meant that we did a poor job of supporting our beloved customers. For this, we are sorry.

First, a support update. We’ve heard from several of you over the past few months with various quality issues. The most frequent ones are: stuck keys, mis-registering keys, and failing circuit boards. We’re aware of these and a number of other quality control issues. We’re taking steps to address them permanently in future designs.

But, for existing customers, our support options are, unfortunately, extremely limited. The options are:

Try to fix your own keyboard. We do have a limited number of service parts on hand, and are able to order additional service parts from the manufacturers. But this takes time, and patience.
Ask for a refund. All Round 2 keyboards were sold through Massdrop with a warranty or guarantee. Contact Massdrop Support for your options.
We would really love to offer a repair service but with our current workload and capabilities that is simply not feasible.

Believe me, I know as well as anyone how disappointing it is to have something like a keyboard, which you love, and use every day, suddenly start to fail. You might say it’s why I got into keyboards in the first place.

Every time I read a support e-mail, I feel like I’ve let you down somehow. So, please, bear with us, as we read through your support e-mails and figure out the best way to address your issue.

For those of you who want to repair your own boards: Great! We’re working on a repair guide to help anyone who might like to do this. Again, please be patient. These Hall boards are not so much like Cherry or other discrete switch boards but also aren’t that tough to service.

Again, the FAQ is now up to date at https://www.xmitkeyboards.com/hall-effect-keyboard/faq/ .

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Last Update: December 26, 2018.

Who are you?

I’m XMIT. I’m a keyboard enthusiast. What this means is that I spend so much time in front of my computer that I’ve become obsessed with finding the best keyboard for my needs. Along the way, I’ve sampled thousands of keyboards, owned hundreds, and designed a few.

My first “mech” was IBM Model F XT that I found in a trash heap in 1997. It drove my housemate at the time insane, and, the layout was challenging. But the key feel was sublime and I was stuck.

What is a Hall Effect Keyboard?

Different kinds of keyboards use different kinds of sensors. Some options include capacitive, inductive, magnetic valve, membranes, and of course, good old fashioned mechanical metal switches. A Hall Effect keyboard by definition uses a Hall sensor to determine key position.

What is a Hall Effect sensor?

A Hall sensor measures magnetic field strength. Formally, it is a sliver of conductive material arranged such that the voltage difference across the material is proportional to the strength of the magnetic field through it.

Put simply, it lets us detect whether or not a magnet is near the sensor.

These contact-free sensors have a reliability on the order of hundreds of years and billions of cycles. They are inherently dust proof and water proof. They are popular in laptops (to detect if the lid is closed), automobiles (to determine the position of the crankshaft in an engine), game consoles (to sense the exact position of an analog trigger), airliners, and other such fun applications.

Where can I buy your keyboards?

As of December 2018, keyboards are not currently being offered for sale.

From 2016 through 2018 XMIT Keyboards enjoyed a productive relationship with Massdrop.com for sales and distribution. That relationship soured in 2018 due to a misunderstanding between XMIT, Massdrop, and the manufacturer.

Who is Ace Pad Tech? They make a similar keyboard, why should I buy yours instead of theirs?

Ace Pad Tech in Guangzhou, China were the manufacturers for the “Round 1” and “Round 2” version of the XMIT Hall Effect Mechanical Keyboard. Our relationship is on hiatus as we work through quality control issues.

Round 1 was an off the shelf Ace Pad Tech keyboard with a specific configuration, and added quality control.

Round 2 were keyboards manufactured by Ace Pad Tech to the exacting design and specification of XMIT.

Keyboards sold by Ace Pad Tech today through a number of channels, including massdrop.com and mechanicalkeyboards.com, are superficially similar to Round 2 keyboards, but are not sold or supported by XMIT Keyboards in any way. Though, if you ask nicely, I may help with support for these keyboards.

So, if Round 1 and Round 2 keyboards were basically an off the shelf design, what did you actually do?

If Ace made the keyboards, what did you actually do?

I designed the keyboards. Design, as I’ve come to appreciate, is every bit as challenging as engineering (my background), or manufacturing.

I believe in openness, so, I’ve shared the nearly complete Round 2 design doc. This 100 page document gives some insight to our design and thought process: https://docs.google.com/document/d/19HV ... 4BhuUG6eE/ .

Why work with a partner instead of manufacturing keyboards yourself?

Manufacturing is really challenging. It’s expensive, risky, and involved. Going with a design partner inevitably involves some compromises.

In late 2015 I had an idea for a Hall effect based keyboard that was compatible with Cherry MX style switches. I put this on the back burner along with many other keyboard ideas. In 2016 I was delighted to find that Ace had a similar design. I partnered with them for design and distribution in the US.

Will you continue to work with Ace?

Perhaps. Some portions of their in-house product are so good that I would specify them in any design.

Will you continue to work with Massdrop.com or MechanicalKeyboards.com?

Massdrop.com was a difficult partner. Working with them with Round 1 was absolutely stellar! But that set an expectation for what Round 2 would look like. For Round 2 I was all but forced to sign an exclusive distribution agreement, had to wait forever for responses to my questions, and had issues with payment. It became clear that my best option was to sever our formal relationship.

I would only work with Massdrop.com again if I retained full creative control over my product (which I did), and full distribution control (which I did not).

I’ve never worked directly with MechanicalKeyboards.com. I was hoping to make them a launch partner in 2016 and they never responded to my e-mails.

I’m having a problem with my keyboard. What should I do?

Please read: https://www.xmitkeyboards.com/2018/12/2 ... 18-update/ .

I’m still having a problem. How do I contact you?

Please read: https://www.xmitkeyboards.com/contact-us/ .

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