Focus FK-5001 replacement keycaps.

lesor

16 Nov 2020, 19:50

Hello, quite new to mechanical keyboards but I picked up a couple FK-5001 for cheap and wanted to put them into service after some mods maybe.
I was thinking to change the letter and number caps to a US/UK layout but can't find much info if there is anything compatible. Would ALPS (it has white ALPS) compatible ones work?
Thanks for you help, looking forward to hack into this board.

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hellothere

16 Nov 2020, 22:25

I was thinking to change the letter and number caps to a US/UK layout but can't find much info if there is anything compatible. Would ALPS (it has white ALPS) compatible ones work?
I'm not 100% sure I understand the question. Did you get a French AZERTY keyboard and want to convert it to QWERTY? ISO to ANSI?

While a keycap with an Alps stem will physically fit any other Alps mount (talking SKCM and no modifier keys or spacebar, of course), however, you should watch out for the keyboard profile: keys on one row can be taller than those on other rows. See the SPOILER at the bottom of this post.

You're probably not going to find those calculator-legend caps anywhere other than in a Focus key cap set. The arrow keys might also be a stretch. Also, the spacebar on the Focus 2001, at least, has a plastic stabilizer "bar." I don't know if the 5001 has something similar.
Spoiler:
Profile.jpg
Profile.jpg (567.84 KiB) Viewed 272 times

lesor

16 Nov 2020, 23:53

hellothere wrote:
16 Nov 2020, 22:25
Did you get a French AZERTY keyboard and want to convert it to QWERTY? ISO to ANSI?
Precisely, I was thinking of replacing the letter and number keys. Eventually the alt keys with the single length keys next to them but seems like a bit of a stretch. Otherwise the keys are in great condition they have barely been used.
I did try to move around the letters, like I have done with all the laptops and keyboards I have had, but of course as you say the key profile is quite different so back they went.

I was just wondering what my options were to replace the keys aside from finding a FK-5001 donor QWERTY board.
It looks like the profile matches the Tai Hao do you agree? I can't understand though if the profile is always related to the keycap mount.

Here's the profile of mine:
Spoiler:
Image

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hellothere

17 Nov 2020, 16:42

It looks closest to Tai-Hao to me, too.

I would love to buy a new set of Tai-Hao keycaps. I haven't really looked into it because ...

a. All of the Alps-mount keyboards I have, except one, have big-ass enter keys (BAE). I don't see any new sets from Tai-How that have a BAE. I haven't written to ask, though.
b. I'm not 100% sure that the control and alt keys on the new Tai-Hao keyboard sets would fit.
c. I'm not sure the space bar would fit. Off the top of my head, the Apple Standard Keyboard with (usually) orange Alps is around 4.5 units. The massive one on my Cumulus yellow Alps is around 9 units.

I think your best shot would be to find a donor keyboard with the AZERTY layout. It doesn't even need to be an Alps keyboard. It just needs the Alps mount. You also don't necessarily have to replace all the key caps, unless you really want to and/or the fonts look insanely different.

Please do note that if you see an Apple Extended Keyboard (AEK) or an AEK II, which are two of the few Alps-mount keyboards to have PBT keycaps, the key switches for the function keys are rotated 90 degrees. Both the AEK and AEK II are missing the big + (plus) key on the numeric keypad, so they could fit in an extra = (equals) key.

Signature Plastics and Matias also sell modern Alps keycaps. I strongly recommend against the Matias ones because they wear down easily. I have no experience with Signature Plastics. I did buy a set of MX-mount keycaps from Tai-Hao and they're pretty nice.

lesor

18 Nov 2020, 14:33

Thanks for the help hellothere, I appreciate it!
The tip about AEK is good, but I doubt I'll find many old boards except from ebay where they seem to be incredibly overpriced
I've written to Tai-Hao asking them what they got to offer, I hope I can just buy and change the alphabet and number keys, that's what's most important and the colored modifier keys are pretty like this.
It would be nice to swap the Alt keys with the single length keys next to them to have a large Super key there but as you said they are bigger than standard 1.25 keys. They measure 1.5 so maybe they have some replacements.
This must be all to obvious sorry but I've just started considering certain things.

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