MX blacks: random impressions

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depletedvespene

16 Aug 2019, 01:29

Muirium wrote:
16 Aug 2019, 00:05
Meanwhile, the HHKB has `~ and Esc as entirely separate keys. When throwing shade, aim right!
And that's about the only thing that HHKB got right (even if the placement of the BACKQUOTE key is less than stellar).

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Muirium
µ

16 Aug 2019, 10:51

In your wildly mistaken opinion, yes.

Fkazim

16 Aug 2019, 12:05

I used to use a Func KB-460 gaming keyboard with Cherry MX reds for a long time. From my experience Cherry MX reds are great switches lovely and light, smooth and thats how I like my switches relatively light. Heavy switches do NOT work well for me. The only problem I had with the Cherry MX Red's is they were too light to the point I would press a key by just touching it ever so slightly.

Now you guys may hate me for saying this but the Model M's switches I tried and instantly hated for these reasons 1 too heavy, 2 no N key rollover which I needed for gaming, 3 the switches click was not very crisp feeling. These are only my opinion so take as you want.

After trying the Model M and hating it. I decided to try an IBM Model F XT from things I had read about it online. I liked the feel of its light clicky switches but its damn layout was terrible with the tiny enter stepped keys and that layout with its numpad stuck to the alphanumeric keys , Heavy spacebar. Well Later I found out that there was a much rarer nicer layed out Model F this was the Model F AT. So after many weeks of talking to some sources I got one. Then fully restored it with new foam and changed the layout to a UK one with ISO enter. I have been using it ever since then and it is really fantastic its got everything I want and with some key remapping it is pretty much keyboard perfection for me.

Now some time ago I got a Wyse ACll Keyboard with cherry MX blacks it is very nice feeling I have not been able to use it for an extended period of time as I can't convert it to USB. From the little typing I have done on it I would say it gets the best of both worlds when compared to Cherry MX red's its not light but not massively heavy either and is still very smooth just like Red's overall a very nice switch that i could see myself using on a day to day and yes people hating on cherry is a huge thing now.

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Muirium
µ

16 Aug 2019, 12:11

The old Wyse will have nice smooth MX switches. (Vintage Blacks, as people call them.) Your MX red board will be scratchy in comparison. That’s my main complaint of my Filco with silent reds, as well. If it’s so silent, then why does it forever emit all this shuf-shuf-shuf? And then there’s those creaky springs…

Model F slides quite nicely. But try a Topre sometime to find out quite how silky smooth and silent sliders can be.

Fkazim

16 Aug 2019, 12:23

You are right about the shuf-shuf-shuf noise with Cherry MX red's. In comparison the MX blacks don't have this problem although I say problem but before getting the Model F I did not even notice it. I guess you don't notice a problem until you try something that does not have that problem. I do kind of home in on that problem now that you mention it when typing on my Cherry MX red keyboard. BTW also Cherry MX blues is an absolute fail for a clicky switch since we are on the topic of Cherry.

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Muirium
µ

16 Aug 2019, 12:55

I believe modern MX blacks are also shuftastic. It’s a production thing, not a weighting thing. Cherry used to do a better job.

Word has it they used the old MX molds so long they wore down and the resulting switches got worse and worse as the years went on. Then recently they remade the molds and things got better. I hoped so. But my silent reds are surely recent production and feel more like the bad reds I used five years ago than the vintage blacks in my older boards. Let alone my one and only Nixie. Disappointing!

No wonder the kids bust out their soldering irons, Korean springs and voodoo lubes. (Okay, the young at heart, more like!) MX can be so much better than what Cherry ships today. Indeed, for many years it was.

Anyway, I hope Vometia hasn’t noticed. Fixing the shuf is a world of fiddly hurt. One which ultimately leads all the way to Topre.

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vometia
irritant

17 Aug 2019, 09:00

Actually she has noticed! That's why I was asking about lubricants, but it's sounding like it may be more troublesome than that. Bugger. :( I'm currently back on the canard à la citron vert as I've had a stressful week and constantly having to think about the modifiers on the Poker was just too much think when I wanted to relax. Worst case it'll end up attached to the Zbox I intend to use as a media centre for the TV: okay, I've been planning that sort of thing for over a decade, but with Sky jacking their prices up constantly it's about time I got on with a digital broadcast homebrew DVR thingy. Shame I know nothing about the subject, but that's a discussion for another forum!

Anyway, gf didn't like the Ducky with Limes: keys are too heavy and she's not a fan of the SA profile. What she does like is of all things the Unicomp rubber-dome: I mean as rubber dome keyboards go, it doesn't feel too bad, though it's from that generation where the case is a bit thin and flimsy, not helped by the blanking plates over the mouse-button holes. Anyway, she likes the weighting, curve and cylindrical keys and says her "perfect keyboard" would be pretty much that minus the number pad. I think she may have a long wait!

Talking of that sort of thing, Model Ms, as just mentioned. They remain my favourite keyboard though I haven't used mine in a while because of the noise issue which led to me embarking on my keyboard odyssey. I had a play with one when she was wondering what else she might try out and she kinda liked it except "the cat wouldn't like the noise", which is true. But what surprised me after all this time is that the keys were a lot lighter than I remembered: my entirely subjective feel wasn't the 85g I've heard elsewhere but probably about half-way between the reds and blacks. But I do agree that the space bar is weirdly heavy. That may just be me though as I often think the spacebar is oddly heavy whatever I'm using, even on e.g. Cherry MX keyboards without the extra-heavy switch designed for it.

What also surprised me is that I couldn't really notice much difference between it ("it" being a 2004 vintage SSK) and my Model F, a 1984 XT. Maybe I'm too much of a pleb to appreciate the finer points, or maybe more extended usage would reveal the differences; or maybe they're just not that different.

But given the comments about the problems with current Reds I'm thinking maybe my keyboard adventure should either come to its conclusion or take a different direction altogether. Pity, I thought I'd finally found the perfect switch but that "shuf" isn't awesome: it's not just audible either, I can feel on both keystrokes and it's rather grating.

Other stuff I should reply to but feeling bleh this morning, hence my return to a more familiar layout.

The one thing about the Ducky I do find distracting and irritating is the light grey colour of the case's bottom half. I don't know why they decided to do a two-tone case, I don't like it. Suggestions for an easy-to-apply, durable black paint I can cover it with? I know some plastics can be tricky when it comes to getting paint to actually stay on. I'd previously thought of painting one of the SSKs too but I suspect that would gain me major disapproval!

Anakey

17 Aug 2019, 10:00

This is why i recommended coming to a meetup where you would be a able to try many different switches instead of just what cherry is offering before buying a full keyboard. There are several in the community that would be willling to lube switches and/or build the board for you and make sure everything works if that part is putting you off.

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swampangel

17 Aug 2019, 15:16

vometia wrote:
17 Aug 2019, 09:00
What also surprised me is that I couldn't really notice much difference between it ("it" being a 2004 vintage SSK) and my Model F, a 1984 XT. Maybe I'm too much of a pleb to appreciate the finer points, or maybe more extended usage would reveal the differences; or maybe they're just not that different.
I haven't had my hands on a Model F, but I have two Model Ms and an SSK, and each feels like it has a different key weight. So it wouldn't surprise me that some Ms are more F-like than others (and vice versa)

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Muirium
µ

18 Aug 2019, 09:44

Model Ms vary a lot. Model Fs less so. I’ve had my mitts on maybe a dozen of the latter—four Kishsavers included—and they’re admirable for their perseverance even through decades of battle with human hands and neglect. The Ms are the ones to get loosey goosey, mealy mouthed, and maybe even a little square pantsy if they’ve really had to eat curry. They’re dull and scratchy compared to F even to begin with, and seem to have more freedom in their choice of ways to degrade.

In a word: have I ever felt an F go to moosh? No. But I’ve felt many a key on M’s go all the way to squidge.

Much as I like Model F, they aren’t as free sliding and graceful as they could be. Topre is the gold standard for that. Beamspring is up there, too, so free and smooth, but add a click with the kind of tactile presence you imagine those controls must have in movies, where battleships and deathstars are steered and locked on target. You picture you’re commanding unseen missions with every bullet-sharp keystroke. Well, if you’re so inclined!

Meanwhile, back in the modern realm, there are all those Cherry MX clones in their resurgence now, many of which are meant to be so superior. Wouldn’t be too surprising if they even are, the way Cherry’s older stuff is so much better, too. I know nigh on jack about Healios, Tealios, Zealios and whoever else is showing up these days. All sounds a bit faux Italian cheeky chappy plumbers to me. But the Box debacle did reach my notice, so beware of any “MX compatible” switches which touch your caps with more than just the + of their stems. They can and did fuck that up.

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vometia
irritant

18 Aug 2019, 11:13

Mine haven't had curry but they have had the occasional beer: I did say I was clumsy! The SSKs recovered but the newer (and flimsier) Unicomp M eventually died. Shame, because it had quite a crisp keystroke, rather surprisingly given its rather insubstantial build. Maybe 2004 was just a good year, or SSKs have a sharper feel or something, I dunno.

The other switches sound a bit of a minefield. Anakey's suggestion of actually attending a meet-up would be the way to go if I wasn't constantly so "argh, outside!" about any sort of excursion. Still working on fixing that, so maybe one day.

The stem thing reminds me of a not entirely dissimilar problem on my hifi amp where a cheap crappity cable from Amazon managed to leave the pin from one of its DIN plugs stuck in the socket. Not surprising looking at it with the not-even-paper-thin metal surrounding a core of... I dunno what it is. Probably not ceramic but very hard and brittle plastic. No idea how to remove it short of totally dismantling the amp. I should stop buying "compatible" stuff from Amazon, whether it's a scratch-plate for one of my basses (does anything line up? What do you think!) or shoes that are two sizes smaller than they say. Trouble is it's getting increasingly difficult to find stuff of any description that isn't crap.

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vometia
irritant

28 Oct 2019, 06:26

Argh, disaster strikes! As I'd been up since about 2:30am I decided to relax with a beer or three by the afternoon while I was being all angsty online and then suddenly I had good reason to be angsty as my Ducky decided it would like a drink too. Yeah I know, considering I'm aware that I'm clumsy, placing a tall, easily-toppled glass right in front of the keyboard was not a cunning plan. Though only half full by that point (of Wychwood Arrowaine, for those who must know), much of that half ended up in my keyboard, all over my desk, under the monitor stand, phone, remote etc and took a lot of cleaning up. Fortunately it seemed to miss the signed Brix Smith CD that just turned up (her band are basically The Fall with her on vocals as well as guitar, if anyone's curious).

Anyway, the keyboard is not that happy. It's hard to say if it's broken or if I've just triggered some weird configuration by hastily turning it upside down to drain out the noxious substance; and even if it is buggered, it's probably fixable.

But it has given me a bit of time to reappraise my preferences which had been a bit "hmm" for the longest time, especially as I'm also setting up a media centre to hopefully replace the Sky+ box (as an aside, why is software designed for TVs so awkward to setup? I've noticed this in the past, which is why I abandoned the idea 15 years ago, and again 5 years ago when I discovered that the then smart TV protocol was so restrictive as to be unusable and that smart TVs aren't even very smart; and today I'm fighting with Kodi, which is nice to use but a PITA to configure, MythTV which is worse and TVheadend which is just... well, a bit of a headend) so the cute, diminutive and currently spare Zotac Zbox has taken on that role. It also needs a keyboard so it seemed the ideal job for the also cute Pok3r whose function-shift was just too hardcore for me.

And my replacement while I decide if the Ducky is serviceable, the old Filco Majestouch TKL with the heavy Filco double-shots.

So, my conclusions having just used all three. I liked the Ducky and it was good at being quiet, though I'd say the keys were a bit too far from the SSKs which I considered too loud for very early morning computing: it would be nice if they had a bit more "snap" to them like the clacky BBC Micro I'd compared them too earlier. Perhaps surprisingly (at least to me) the heavy PMK double-shots actually worsened that: surprising as I'd expected them to do the same as the Filco DS caps which definitely make the Majestouch more clackity. Plus the Blacks are just a little too heavy for my liking.

The Majestouch which I'm using now. Kinda like it, kinda don't. Bits I like: well, the Filco bits! It doesn't try to be anything other than what it is, just a very nice, solid, unpretentious TKL that does its job and is unintrusive. The caps are nice; would be nicer with the usual wish-list (big, centred legends, a splash of colour) but they're good. Cherry MX Blues: meh. Not as bad as I'd made myself remember but not that pleasant to use. If I want audio-tactile I'd do it properly and use one of the SSKs, but as they require adapters and I'd just moved all the stray cables into the garage as part of my lair tidying it was a choice between this and the Matias if I wanted TKL, which I do. So it'll have to be temporary. Also interesting that the tactility makes the Blues seem heavier than they are.

The Matias I didn't use because of the key chatter but I have noticed it's also been a problem with other keyboards to a lesser extent so I suspect that at least a part of the cause is the Avocent KVM which seems to use some bastardised not-fully-compatible version of the USB protocol as it has some other annoying quirks too. Maybe I should give it another chance.

And the Pok3r: that thing about it being too hardcore for regular use is true, but it's a lovely little keyboard and the minor gripe about the quality of new MX Reds really is that: minor. My inclination is that if there is something of theirs closer to TKL, still with reds and in a black rather than white colour scheme that would definitely be my preferred choice; well, assuming the layout isn't so weird as to preclude pimping it with new caps. I should have another look into it as a serious possibility, though my enduring hate of the ANSI layout does restrict my choices.

kmnov2017

29 Oct 2019, 13:36

I stumbled upon this thread just last week and having gone over it, I have to agree I do love my vintage MX blacks as well.

While I frequently swap between my Beamspring, several model Fs, several Ms, a blue Alps and this wyse Mx black: I have to admit I end up using the vintage blacks more and more.

One of the key reasons is, as part of my job, I need to be in conference calls quite a lot and having a noisy beamer typing away in the background just doesn't work. I am the biggest fan of clicky switches, but in terms of practical usage - the vintage blacks it is...
IMG_20191028_191337__01.jpg
IMG_20191028_191337__01.jpg (4.17 MiB) Viewed 794 times

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vometia
irritant

11 Nov 2019, 15:40

Bah, other people and their beamsprings!

Anyway, having ruined the Ducky by covering it in beer, seemingly having caused both mechanical and electrical damage in the process, I've now taken delivery of a Vortex Race which seemed to be the thing for me, though it looks decidedly more functional than the Poker.

It's already got off to an inauspicious start. The key-profile is totally flat. No problem, I'll just take the keys off the Ducky. First key I tried to remove from the Vortex was clamped on so hard that the stem came out with it. Which I'm presuming means the switch is now buggered; even if it's not, I have no idea what to do as I can't solder to save my life, and yanking the keys off is a guaranteed voiding of any warranty. I guess this'll be the most rapid and probably most expensive delivery-to-bin things I've done.

Maybe I should just give up and use cheap crappy rubber-domes like everyone else.

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vometia
irritant

11 Nov 2019, 17:02

Well it seems it's a regular problem with Vortex keyboards. Usually with MX Clears but mine has Reds; I suspect it's mostly but not entirely Vortex to blame as I noticed that the keycaps were extremely variable in terms of how much they gripped, some obviously way too much whereas others almost fell off. But I also think Cherry shares some of the blame as I didn't pull that hard and the stem shouldn't have popped out of the switch so easily. I guess a mixture of Cherry's infamous worn-out dies and probably sub-standard plastics. Given that it's actually intended to have the keycaps replaced as it ships with replacements maybe I should RMA it; anybody got any experience with CandyKeys' customer service? Hopefully they're not as bad as KeyboardCo.

My history with keyboards is not a happy one though. I mean in fairly recent years I've had:
  • An IBM keyboard that I mistakenly assumed would be up to their usual standards; it was expensive enough but was a crappy rubber-dome. It was well-designed in terms of layout but it sucked in actual use.
  • Some Microsoft crappy bollocky thing that didn't even have tilt adjustment. Not as well-designed as the IBM and even worse made. The opaque coating over the clear keycaps started to peel off after just a few months. Typical Microsoft quality. Both before I knew better.
  • Unicomp... thingy. The one with the smaller bezel. Just randomly stopped working one day with about a quarter of the keys not registering, in no particular pattern I could discern. Pity, it felt really nice to type on, more like an F than an M (though with a flimsy case with the infamous blanking plates where the "mouse buttons" would be on a Trackpoint variant) but it's not very nice when a bunch of characters don't happen.
  • The Filco. Actually there's nothing wrong with the keyboard at all and it's lovely, I just hate MX Blues. I'm using that at the moment.
  • IBM XT: lovely keyboard, made usable with the USB converter thing. Which doesn't work with my KVM's shonky idea of USB.
  • The Matias. With the usual Matias problems.
  • The Ducky. Not its fault I spilt beer in it, but RIP etc.
  • The Poker. A truly lovely keyboard but I could never get used to fn-everything. Actually that sounds quite rude.
  • The Race. Which I've just described.
Is this normal? Am I just phenomenally unlucky or do mechanical keyboards suck?

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vometia
irritant

11 Nov 2019, 19:05

Becoming less and less impressed with Vortex. Whose decision was it to use 1) Phillips heads; 2) to use cheap screws made of soft metal; and 3) to use presumably automated equipment that misaligns and over-tightens them? Cue one stripped screw that is now impossible to remove unless I drill it out. This is just shit.

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swampangel

11 Nov 2019, 19:10

vometia wrote:
11 Nov 2019, 17:02
Is this normal? Am I just phenomenally unlucky or do mechanical keyboards suck?
Well that's 8 boards, 6 mechanical, 3 faulty, and 1 notorious for it (the Matias). You haven't had good luck, but from that list the Unicomp failure stands out as exceptional to me.

You've said before that you would prefer not to repair switches on your own, but it does sound like you have (or had) the Unicomp, Matias, and Race plus maybe even the Ducky that could be revived.

If you don't want to do it on your own (it is a whole new rabbit hole), have you tried finding a local nerd willing to fix them up? Should be cheaper than another new board, and it is one of the "features" of mech kbs, sort of like the difference between an old metal Maytag washer and a new, mostly plastic one.


By contrast, my first few mech kbs:

- thrift store Model M, still fine
- Model M2 which worked until I broke too many tabs when disassembling it for the ... 3rd time? iffy design, but also mostly my fault
- Northgate Omnikey, still fine
- Das Model S with MX Browns, still fine, except I don't like it any more than you like your Filco

It's only now, after accumulating a collection, that I have some temperamental boards like my Ergo Pro and some of the converted ones.

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vometia
irritant

11 Nov 2019, 19:57

Yeah, stuff was definitely better in The Olden Days™. :D I'm probably just feeling a bit sorry for myself, given the long-anticipated keyboard. Which I am now using anyway, sans insert/delete key. Somewhat surprisingly, the PMK Lime key-set mostly accommodates its eccentricities apart from the unusual escape and now absent ins/del keys, but oddly enough it looks okay. It's a shame about the questionable QA (hmm, déjà vu) because first impressions are that it's really nice to use. But the random (over-)tightness of the stock keycaps, the oddly fragile switches and also that four out of the 10(?) screws holding the thing together were either badly tapped, cross-threaded or over-tightened isn't good.

I'm a bit of a hermit so I don't have any local nerds, unfortunately. But a (not entirely local) friend does and may even be able to do the things herself, so I should really pester her about it.

I suppose I feel a little disappointed in myself for not being able to tackle switches and stuff but I honestly have no aptitude at all and if my last experience is anything to go by I should be kept well away from soldering irons. Even something as simple as joining two bits of wire together involved an hour's worth of me becoming increasingly moody and sweary, various things being melted and burnt and then the bits of wire immediately becoming unattached anyway. Strange, I didn't mind getting my hands dirty with car engines (actually I hated getting my hands dirty, but that's another matter) and generally had a fair bit of success, even managing to rescue myself when something important broke. But anything requiring any degree of precision seems to defeat me.

Anakey

11 Nov 2019, 20:29

I would be quite willing to solder and build a kit for you for free if you were to supply it, assuming it is just putting a build together that is a problem. Though I will repeat that you would gain so much from coming to a meetup and trying a small selection of what the wider community has to offer rather then buying a pre built that you do not end up liking.

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swampangel

11 Nov 2019, 21:39

vometia wrote:
11 Nov 2019, 19:57
I'm probably just feeling a bit sorry for myself, given the long-anticipated keyboard.
Understandable! Happens to me even when the thing I got works fine, if it isn't just exactly what I was expecting.
vometia wrote:
11 Nov 2019, 19:57
I'm a bit of a hermit so I don't have any local nerds, unfortunately. But a (not entirely local) friend does and may even be able to do the things herself, so I should really pester her about it.
I wasn't even thinking someone you know, I figured you could post on reddit or whatever the popular local equivalent of craigslist is, and find someone to do it for a few bucks. But a friend is better. :)
vometia wrote:
11 Nov 2019, 19:57
I suppose I feel a little disappointed in myself for not being able to tackle switches and stuff but I honestly have no aptitude at all and if my last experience is anything to go by I should be kept well away from soldering irons. Even something as simple as joining two bits of wire together involved an hour's worth of me becoming increasingly moody and sweary, various things being melted and burnt and then the bits of wire immediately becoming unattached anyway.
I hated soldering when I tried it as a teen, and I hated it through 4 years of electrical engineering, and for a long time after that. I burnt my fingers, my hair, and plenty of plastic and other things I didn't mean to. :(

I stuck with it because I have a cheap streak and was appalled at the thought of tossing things I could have fixed with a bit of wire. Finally in the last couple of years I've come around to mostly being okay at it.

The right tools really do make a difference, like a proper soldering station, pot of flux, and a mini vise or sturdy pair of "helping hands". Beyond that there was no "aha" moment for me, just lots of breaking things, fixing them, and then fixing the fix. :|

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AJM

12 Nov 2019, 02:08

@vometia: It seems the Race 3 is quite infamous for riped out stems (although I myself had no problem with mine).
It is also well-known for the fact that the screws are actually not over-tightened, but they simply used screws one size too small! So with patience you should be able to pull/jiggle the assembly out of the case.
Candykeys is sometimes a bit lax concerning their delivery dates, but I would certainly see, what they (he) has to say about these two problems.

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Darkshado

12 Nov 2019, 03:42

swampangel wrote:
11 Nov 2019, 19:10
- Model M2 which worked until I broke too many tabs when disassembling it for the ... 3rd time? iffy design, but also mostly my fault
There's a fairly easy fix for that involving "Zip" ties, look in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=62&t=18610

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vometia
irritant

12 Nov 2019, 13:29

Anakey wrote:
11 Nov 2019, 20:29
I would be quite willing to solder and build a kit for you for free if you were to supply it, assuming it is just putting a build together that is a problem.
I'm starting to think that might be the better option for me! I might get exactly what I want then... well, inasmuch as "exactly what I want" can be something of a moving target, as a core part of its specification is "what I don't have". Should I take you up on your offer (which could take some time, given my level of disorganisation) I wouldn't dream of you doing it for free. As much as I loathe the "time is money" vibe of late '80s yuppiedom, there is enough truth in it that I don't expect people to devote a significant amount of time and effort for free. Okay, I do exactly the same thing myself but y'know. It's my prerogative to be contrary.
swampangel wrote:
11 Nov 2019, 21:39
Understandable! Happens to me even when the thing I got works fine, if it isn't just exactly what I was expecting.
I often get that at the best of times. Usually the things that I like the best are the ones that actually weren't as expected, that I was initially moody about but which eventually grew on me.
Anakey wrote:
11 Nov 2019, 20:29
Though I will repeat that you would gain so much from coming to a meetup and trying a small selection of what the wider community has to offer rather then buying a pre built that you do not end up liking.
swampangel wrote:
11 Nov 2019, 21:39
I wasn't even thinking someone you know, I figured you could post on reddit or whatever the popular local equivalent of craigslist is, and find someone to do it for a few bucks. But a friend is better. :)
Part of the problem is that I'm ludicrously agoraphobic and also quit using Reddit for my sanity! "I need to get out more", except for when I need to get out less. Which is most of the time, in both cases.
swampangel wrote:
11 Nov 2019, 21:39
I hated soldering when I tried it as a teen, and I hated it through 4 years of electrical engineering, and for a long time after that. I burnt my fingers, my hair, and plenty of plastic and other things I didn't mean to. :(

I stuck with it because I have a cheap streak and was appalled at the thought of tossing things I could have fixed with a bit of wire. Finally in the last couple of years I've come around to mostly being okay at it.

The right tools really do make a difference, like a proper soldering station, pot of flux, and a mini vise or sturdy pair of "helping hands". Beyond that there was no "aha" moment for me, just lots of breaking things, fixing them, and then fixing the fix. :|
Oh, I didn't manage to set fire to my hair: now I really feel like I wasn't doing it properly. Not like the time I decided to do some "filing" (i.e. a bonfire) having just sprayed my hair with half a can of hairspray as the wind was annoying me. Fortunately only a small amount of my hair exploded.

Anyway, yeah, point taken: as much as there's some conventional wisdom that you don't need the expensive tools etc, IME actually you really do. At best the wrong tools or poor quality examples are just going to make life more difficult, and will usually make the straightforward impossible. Plus the thing with "practice makes perfect", or at least "practice makes acceptably good-ish". I did that with C programming, which is enough for one lifetime. There's a lot to be said for "subcontracting" to friends who Know Stuff™!
AJM wrote:
12 Nov 2019, 02:08
@vometia: It seems the Race 3 is quite infamous for riped out stems (although I myself had no problem with mine).
It is also well-known for the fact that the screws are actually not over-tightened, but they simply used screws one size too small! So with patience you should be able to pull/jiggle the assembly out of the case.
Candykeys is sometimes a bit lax concerning their delivery dates, but I would certainly see, what they (he) has to say about these two problems.
I did jiggle it out, the problem was putting it back. :/ one of the heads was ground off, though it may be because I was using a Phillips drive or a "Japanese Phillips" or... something. One of the heads got ground off in the process though. I'm not sure that torque-limiting screws are really the answer as it seems that the outcome is generally worse than what they were supposed to prevent. I remember back in my early IT days there was a lot of problems with engineers over-tightening screws (which was very easy to do) when inserting cards into the (very expensive) VME-backplane minicomputers we used, with a lot of swearing, dark looks and stern emails as a result.

I'll probably let him know as a courtesy, but I've ordered a batch of MX Reds to experiment on. Mainly as I'd thought I could use the brute-force approach to repairing my broken switch having miraculously found the missing spring... only to find that the stem which I'd put in a safe place is no longer there and seems to have completely disappeared from this reality. Argh.

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swampangel

12 Nov 2019, 13:42

Darkshado wrote:
12 Nov 2019, 03:42
There's a fairly easy fix for that involving "Zip" ties, look in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=62&t=18610
This is fantastic and I'm glad you shared it. Too bad for me I ditched the broken chassis for that board in a move years ago. But I'm pretty sure I'll get another one eventually; I loved that board.

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vometia
irritant

12 Nov 2019, 21:07

Well after all that my other half managed to find the errant slider. With a not inconsiderable amount of effort I managed to force it back into the switch and it works fine, rather surprisingly (to me, at least). Now all I need to do is get used to its slightly unorthodox layout; the only potential issues are that the understandably absent scroll lock key is used by my KVM owing to it being otherwise utterly useless and I don't think it's reprogrammable; that and print screen, but if it's too annoying to do fn-F10 I suppose I can remap it to something else.

Anyway, after all the trauma it's actually a really nice keyboard to use. I've quickly warmed to its extremely minimalist appearance, which is... well, not steampunk but a bit Max Headroom.

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vometia
irritant

13 Nov 2019, 09:07

And the thing that's been causing me all the stress, sitting there looking all innocent. As mentioned, the PMK Lime set works pretty well, with just the escape and delete keys looking slightly incongruous but actually I think it looks okay (and just for the record, the delete key in the top right isn't sunk down because of my repairs but because it's a row-2 key!) In fact I'm wondering if I might not be better off getting a few other keys that are a different profile e.g. arrows etc to make it easier to position my hands on a slightly unfamiliar layout. I'm still having to look quite a lot to make sure I'm not doing the "one-key-to-the-right" thing that seems to be taking a while to adjust to. Plus the editing keys are taking some effort too. But overall I'd say it's about as compact as I can deal with: meaning I can see it having good long-term functionality unlike its smaller sibling with for me really is just occasional use only. It'd probably be good if most of what I did was word-processing, but for programming and gaming the Poker is too fiddly.

Image

Edit: that's also quite some pincushion distortion my phone-cam has.

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vometia
irritant

13 Nov 2019, 13:18

Trying to reprogram it: maybe that should be best left to another day. What I'd like to do is to move the pn key to... I dunno, one of the keys that's less useful like caps-lock or right-ctrl but I dunno if that's possible; and to map whichever not-useful keys are left over to scroll-lock (for my KVM) and print-screen (for video games etc) but I also want to do it in default mode so there isn't a distracting LED under the spacebar. I'm not sure any of that is possible either. I experimented for a bit and got a headache. But at least my broken key is unbroken.

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vometia
irritant

13 Nov 2019, 15:10

Some minor customisation, which will mean there's more to get used to but hopefully it'll be worth it in the long run. I've given up trying to move pn, and while fn can be moved with less trauma, I've decided it's just confusing. So they've stayed where they are. But I have finally (!!!) done the decent thing and swapped ctrl and caps-lock round, which I should hopefully habituate to quickly as my first major keyboards were DEC LK201s which of course had control in the correct place. And compose, now that I think about it, but right-alt is good enough for that.

Caps-lock now in the lower left I've remapped to scroll-lock×2, which is what activates the KVM; and the totally pointless right-ctrl is now print-screen.

As there's an absence of suitable caps in PMK Lime I've chosen "super" keys for both of them, and the stupid Windows key is now "meta". I can't help but feel there's a better use for it but I haven't thought of it yet. pn is still pause, and I've replaced the row-2 backspace in the top right with a proper row-1 delete key, even though like escape it's a bit too small.

I think the keyboard is doing what I want. Overall I like the even smaller footprint than the Ducky and the Filco, though I'm not mega keen on the aluminium base: I mean it's great in terms of the weight and rigidity it gives, but I'm meh about the colour of bare aluminium and I think they could've worked on the edges a bit more. While not actually sharp, they're definitely... well, edgy.

What surprises me after so many years of moaning that MX Reds would be much too light for me, they still feel a bit heavy! Obviously they aren't, but I think I like light keys much more than I'd assumed. But I'd hate clears: twitch-keyboards drive me nuts and it wasn't the weighting of that infamous Philips keyboard from decades back that was the problem but that the actuation point was so tiny that I found it impossible to use. Yeah, I am that typist who still bottoms-out constantly.

Anyway. Though it'll take some getting used to, and though I may need to replace some of the keys with different heights, contours or colours to aid with positioning, I'm pretty happy with it now. It takes up absolutely the minimum space possible while still being fully functional (by which I mean without emacs-style finger torture), it's very, very solid and it has an agreeable key feel and sound without being overly loud or otherwise irritating. And the PMK Lime set makes it look pretty, even if the colours in the photo above are a bit off (tried taking it about 5am with inadequate lighting and using a phone-cam so yeah).

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AJM

13 Nov 2019, 19:39

Very nice! Concerning the distracting LED: I've simply covered the slits under the left side of the space bar with black tape on all of my Vortex boards. (And on the right side I used clear tape - to prevent any dirt getting into it.)

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vometia
irritant

14 Nov 2019, 13:44

AJM wrote:
13 Nov 2019, 19:39
Very nice! Concerning the distracting LED: I've simply covered the slits under the left side of the space bar with black tape on all of my Vortex boards. (And on the right side I used clear tape - to prevent any dirt getting into it.)
Good idea! I think I'll do that next.

Still trying to get used to the control key being in the correct location. I've had to move the bottom-left-caps-lock being the KVM trigger to the Windows key so that I don't keep accidentally hitting it. I tried to swap it with the Windows key, which works just fine in Linux but not in Windows, curiously. I mean it should send exactly the same keycode... though it seems that Vortex's keymapping is inconsistent and buggy. I've updated the firmware to the latest version but it's still problematic.

In terms of the keys themselves, I think it'd help me to replace some of the with different colours and/or profiles, as I mentioned. I could swear that I saw various alternative arrow keys on PMK the other day but after going through their entire inventory several times I couldn't find them at all. Maybe I saw them somewhere else.

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