NEC APC-H4100E Help

mrve

15 Feb 2021, 00:34

Hi All,

I've recently acquired an old NEC mechanical keyboard, it's missing the `(~) key and the key switch appears to be damaged, the rest also needs a thorough clean.

Does anyone have any idea where I can get a replacement switch and key cap? They appear to be NEC Blue ovals from my googling.
Also generally what's the best process for cleaning these? I haven't had too much experience with vintage keyboards.

Attached are some pictures of the keyboard.

Thanks!
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TNT

15 Feb 2021, 00:43

Afaik you can't just pull the caps off like on all the other boards. You have to do somewhat of a twisting motion... Maybe check the wiki on this before you proceed. Other than that I'd say just disassemble and clean like any other board. Those switches are also not easy to open up apparently.

mrve

15 Feb 2021, 02:18

TNT wrote:
15 Feb 2021, 00:43
Afaik you can't just pull the caps off like on all the other boards. You have to do somewhat of a twisting motion... Maybe check the wiki on this before you proceed. Other than that I'd say just disassemble and clean like any other board. Those switches are also not easy to open up apparently.
Thanks! I had a look at the wiki, definitely seems tricky to avoid breaking them, hopefully it's mostly surface dirt and I don't have to take the switches apart.

User avatar
VelonicV

15 Feb 2021, 04:26

Would recommend reaching out to orihalcon on eBay, he helped me get a replacement keycap for my NEC board when I had the same issue. I think he may have a set of spares and he might be able to sell you some.

mrve

15 Feb 2021, 04:41

VelonicV wrote:
15 Feb 2021, 04:26
Would recommend reaching out to orihalcon on eBay, he helped me get a replacement keycap for my NEC board when I had the same issue. I think he may have a set of spares and he might be able to sell you some.
I'll reach out to him, thanks! Fingers crossed.

4_404

15 Feb 2021, 07:23

I'm not so sure about cleaning, but I've a few of these with faulty switches, and have fixed a lot of these by desoldering the switches, letting the whole switch sit in isopropyl alcohol for a while and pressing them a lot while submerged. Pressing the switch a lot once you take it out seems to push most of the liquid out of them.

I also have a couple of spare keycaps, but not the exact key you're after. Might be able to help though if you can't find the right one.

User avatar
hellothere

16 Feb 2021, 01:22

I still have a bunch of "average" condition blue ovals and a partial set of key caps (grey double-shot legends, not black), so you can use me as a contact, too, if you need to. I'm in the US.

I've been able to contact orihalcon mainly through ebay. He doesn't show up here that often, anymore :(

For removing the keycaps, you do need to do a kind of side-to-side wiggling. Chyros (Chyrosran22) has a video review of a blue oval and, IIRC, he removes at least one keycap. The video's on YouTube.

It's extremely hard to open and re-assemble these switches, so if 4_404 was able to do that, excellent! I wasn't.

mrve

16 Feb 2021, 08:42

Cool thanks! I haven't got a reply from him yet but I'll just wait to see what happens. I'm in Australia so shipping could be a nightmare, but I'll update here if I get a response.

@hellothere do you happen to have a ~ key cap even if its the wrong color?

User avatar
hellothere

17 Feb 2021, 19:26

I'll check.

User avatar
hellothere

17 Feb 2021, 19:29

Yup. Right on top of the bag. Makes things a bit easy.

ollir

18 Feb 2021, 07:12

mrve wrote:
15 Feb 2021, 02:18
TNT wrote:
15 Feb 2021, 00:43
Afaik you can't just pull the caps off like on all the other boards. You have to do somewhat of a twisting motion... Maybe check the wiki on this before you proceed. Other than that I'd say just disassemble and clean like any other board. Those switches are also not easy to open up apparently.
Thanks! I had a look at the wiki, definitely seems tricky to avoid breaking them, hopefully it's mostly surface dirt and I don't have to take the switches apart.
The keycaps come off quite safely with a ring puller with a sort of turning motion: you only lift from one side while keeping the other side down.

mrve

18 Feb 2021, 07:25

hellothere wrote:
17 Feb 2021, 19:29
Yup. Right on top of the bag. Makes things a bit easy.
Ah awesome, do you have a rough idea how much it would be to ship to Australia? (and the cost of the cap + maybe a spare switch since the "oval" part is broken)
ollir wrote:
18 Feb 2021, 07:12
mrve wrote:
15 Feb 2021, 02:18
TNT wrote:
15 Feb 2021, 00:43
Afaik you can't just pull the caps off like on all the other boards. You have to do somewhat of a twisting motion... Maybe check the wiki on this before you proceed. Other than that I'd say just disassemble and clean like any other board. Those switches are also not easy to open up apparently.
Thanks! I had a look at the wiki, definitely seems tricky to avoid breaking them, hopefully it's mostly surface dirt and I don't have to take the switches apart.
The keycaps come off quite safely with a ring puller with a sort of turning motion: you only lift from one side while keeping the other side down.
The side you lift from, is it from the left or right of the key, or from top / bottom?

User avatar
hellothere

20 Feb 2021, 17:41

I sent you a PM to get your postal code to check shipping.

I use a wire key cap puller. Call south where the spacebar is when you're typing. The wires are on east and west sides. Gently pull slowly up and rock the cap east to west. The cap will eventually come off. Just be patient :D.

For what it's worth, I removed the keycaps from two NECs and it wasn't terribly difficult. YMMV, of course. I could have gotten lucky.

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