[GB] Beam spring USB-C xwhatsit + solenoid drivers; Displaywriter xwhatsits as well

Ellipse

24 Jun 2020, 17:35

Does anyone need a USB-C beam spring controller and solenoid driver?

I am ordering more of the beam spring controllers - fully assembled at the PCB factory - but this time with a USB-C connector.

Solenoid drivers work with all Model F xwhatsit and beam spring xwhatsit controllers, including the Brand New Model F keyboards.

They can now be ordered here - see this page for more details:

https://www.modelfkeyboards.com/product ... ontroller/

I am also ordering USB-C displaywriter xwhatsit beam spring controllers as well. They are a separate design. I now have enough commitments from the interest check to put these into production.

These should start shipping next month, but will be low priority compared to getting out the new Model F keyboards. Fortunately they are far easier to QC and ship than a keyboard. If the dye sub keys arrive then, these will ship out more slowly. Check out the above linked page for more details.

Below is a photo from the last run (not USB-C):
last run beam spring controllers.jpg
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Last edited by Ellipse on 01 Jul 2020, 23:49, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
LightningXI

24 Jun 2020, 17:46

I'd probably be in for a Beamspring controller and two solenoid drivers, but I'm a bit surprised at how expensive the Beamspring controllers are.

kmnov2017

24 Jun 2020, 18:56

That pricing is anything but fair if you ask me.

You can build your own for about 10 euros/dollars

EnthusiastDude

24 Jun 2020, 19:18

kmnov2017 wrote:
24 Jun 2020, 18:56
That pricing is anything but fair if you ask me.

You can build your own for about 10 euros/dollars
I've just built some myself and the parts definitely cost more than 10€/usd.

kmnov2017

24 Jun 2020, 19:26

EnthusiastDude wrote:
24 Jun 2020, 19:18
kmnov2017 wrote:
24 Jun 2020, 18:56
That pricing is anything but fair if you ask me.

You can build your own for about 10 euros/dollars
I've just built some myself and the parts definitely cost more than 10€/usd.
I built one last week for 8 euros

viewtopic.php?t=23406

John Doe

24 Jun 2020, 19:30

😢😢😢

EnthusiastDude

24 Jun 2020, 19:38

kmnov2017 wrote:
24 Jun 2020, 19:26
EnthusiastDude wrote:
24 Jun 2020, 19:18
kmnov2017 wrote:
24 Jun 2020, 18:56
That pricing is anything but fair if you ask me.

You can build your own for about 10 euros/dollars
I've just built some myself and the parts definitely cost more than 10€/usd.
I built one last week for 8 euros

viewtopic.php?t=23406
Interesting stuff, but that's not the product that's pitched here. Different components, different PCB. Also, in the 8€ calculation you ordered at least 10 PCBs as you said yourself (economies of scale).

Not that I'm saying that 100usd is justified, but 10€ is just not what you're paying if you want to build one "original" xwhatsit for yourself.

Ellipse

24 Jun 2020, 19:52

andj00 I do not believe that your solution is compatible. If you would like, you can request a new displaywriter xwhatsit controller which would be compatible with the solenoid driver.

Great LightningXI! Yes unfortunately prices went up on everything, especially labor costs (more of a factor for the keyboard project than the controllers). The next batch of new Model F's will probably cost more given the labor cost increases (many of the keyboard components are assembled by hand because setting up the robotic arm type assembly costs five figures from what I am told).

Confirmed the pricing is higher than before. Setup and assembly charges per unit of PCB, especially with the card edge connector (that has to be soldered on both sides), are far higher for this project than for the xwhatsit Model F when I am ordering thousands of the latter and assembly is relatively more straightforward.

It is great that there is an alternative project involving off the shelf components that can be assembled at low cost by through hole, if you are handy with soldering. The xwhatsit controllers are designed to be a drop in replacement with no soldering required and with all needed parts included and assembled, but I am glad that something could be put together to get a great old IBM keyboard up and running with off the shelf components, even after stock is gone of the premade xwhatsits.

Ellipse

24 Jun 2020, 20:33

The xwhatsit is an easy to install solution but everyone must follow xwhatsit's installation manual to avoid potential damage (installation beamspring PDF in the link below).

https://static.wongcornall.com/ibm-capsense-usb/

Regarding new Model F orders, as you may have read on the project web site blog, orders can ship in two parts if you're interested, with the keyboard and non-printed accessories that are in stock to ship within about one month of ordering, and the rest to ship later when ready. Please feel free to email me to make sure the option is available for what you're ordering, if you are interested in that option.

Attached are my 3278 larger and smaller size beam spring layout files (reminder - always follow the above PDF instructions and test each key before loading any layout files or configuring any key functions in the xwhatsit GUI software).
Attachments
my 3278 larger and smaller size beam spring layout files.zip
(1.61 KiB) Downloaded 27 times

Ellipse

24 Jun 2020, 20:52

1. I am ordering custom made solenoids in the coming weeks so I recommend waiting for them. Shipping is free within the US.

2. Yes confirmed on both the ones you mentioned, plus it works with the beam spring non-displaywriter controllers as well

Ellipse

25 Jun 2020, 17:38

Also I just added the USB-C displaywriter beam spring controllers to the store! It's the same link as the other controllers.

Ellipse

28 Jun 2020, 18:06

I am getting close to ordering the custom made solenoids. The factory has just submitted the technical drawings and specifications. I am aiming to order a custom solenoid that will be even beefier than the original solenoid - a variation of the solenoid that is on eBay, but customized with an adjustable throw of about 0.5 to 5mm for people who want something plug and play, factory set to 1mm throw, without having to drill or adjust anything. Will let everyone know the update once I have more details.

When the solenoid is activated there is a metal on metal click, and the solenoid cylinder has a rubber O ring between the strike bar and the metal clip so the return sound is quieter (otherwise there would be 2 loud clicks for each key press).

ebay version: https://www.ebay.com/itm/0837L-06K-6V-0 ... 1967978003

Ellipse

30 Jun 2020, 20:06

Update: I am also ordering USB-C displaywriter xwhatsit beam spring controllers as well. They are a separate design. I now have enough commitments from the interest check to put these into production.

Ellipse

01 Jul 2020, 23:48

Solenoid driver update - solenoid driver samples are confirmed working and solenoid driver assembly should finish soon.

Note: the solenoid driver activity LED for diagnostic purposes does not work (the LED never worked even on my original solenoid driver made directly by xwhatsit). Not sure why.
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User avatar
ramnes
ПБТ НАВСЕГДА

03 Jul 2020, 11:48

Is the solenoid driver required if there's already a solenoid in my displaywriter, or should I be able to plug my current solenoid stuff directly into one of these new controllers?

Ellipse

03 Jul 2020, 17:36

Update: xwhatsit solenoid drivers finished production and are being mailed to me soon.

Yes ramnes, the solenoid driver is required as the xwhatsit controller will not work with a solenoid, unless you have the solenoid driver. I recommend the xwhatsit displaywriter controller and solenoid driver. I am also ordering the solenoids themselves in the next week or so. They will be a much louder, beefier solenoid than the original.

Ellipse

03 Jul 2020, 23:14

The custom made solenoids are now available to order! So now everything is open to order - USB-C controllers (Model F, beam spring non-displaywriter, beam spring displaywriter), solenoid drivers, and solenoids.

For those not aware, a solenoid contains a metal cylinder that vibrates the keyboard and/or makes a noise every time you press a key (with exception for certain key programming like the Windows GUI key, etc.) and helps add even more clickiness to a keyboard.

These solenoids are also a great option as an upgrade to IBM's original solenoids too (I'd always save the originals of course for the sake of completeness).

https://www.modelfkeyboards.com/product ... ontroller/

Why pick this solenoid over other solenoids or over IBM's original solenoids?

The new solenoids are far beefier than IBM's originals, so your solenoid clicking will be even better!  It's a custom design that you can only order here.  The specifications are 6v, 40 ohm, 0.15A, 0.9W, adjustable throw factory set to 1mm but with a user-adjustable range of about 0.5mm to 5mm (there are 2 screws that can be loosened to adjust the distance of the strike bar).  The factory throw setting allows you to start using this solenoid with no modification (still need to follow xwhatsit's solenoid installation guide to avoid damage to equipment).

This solenoid has the dark blue outer covering, black and white twisted wires and 2.54mm connector like the original IBM solenoids, but with a strike bar so it won't exactly resemble the IBM solenoid. 

This solenoid is not the one that's available on eBay, though it looks similar and the voltage and resistance specs are the same.  Also that other model doesn't have the adjustable throw - you would have to spend time milling the strike bar to modify it for correct usage with the solenoid drivers.  If the ebay solenoid's throw distance isn't changed, your solenoid will be very sluggish and won't be able to operate at full typing speed. Also my solenoid is even larger than the eBay solenoid, the 26mm height dimension on eBay is set to be ~29-30mm on my solenoid (the solenoid goes sideways in F62/F77 so it fits) though all the solenoid specs are subject to change.  With a larger metal frame, my solenoid should be a little louder than the eBay model and far louder than the original IBM!  This is the largest possible solenoid that will fit inside the classic style F62 and F77 cases. 

These solenoids will be in the second container ship, expected to leave China soon, so they are not in stock just yet. Will post photos as soon as production finishes.

Ellipse

13 Jul 2020, 19:35

The solenoid drivers are already more than half sold out in the past couple weeks! Both beam spring controllers should be finished around month end, and the solenoids themselves in the coming weeks too.

Ellipse

17 Jul 2020, 01:02

Less than 20 solenoid drivers left, as of today!

User avatar
enrique.aliaga

17 Jul 2020, 01:40

Hey Ellipse, after completing the Model F project, make a beamspring! So I can have use for a solenoid. 😀

Ellipse

24 Jul 2020, 18:13

enrique.aliaga, the solenoid drivers and solenoids are also compatible with the xwhatsit Model F, so you can add a solenoid to your Brand New Model F Keyboard! Check out the keyboard project thread for photos and a discussion of this option!

Ellipse

24 Jul 2020, 23:05

The custom made solenoids are ready!

Here's a video of the solenoids in action! They sound hefty even before they are attached to a metal case which should add further impact!

Ellipse

31 Jul 2020, 17:39

The beam spring controller connectors for the displaywriter and non-displaywriter beam spring keyboards finished production and were sent to the PCB factory. PCB assembly is expected next week!
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Ellipse

12 Aug 2020, 17:04

An update - there were some delays with the components. Components with the wrong footprint had to be re-ordered.

They will be assembling and DHL Express mailing me a few of each controller for evaluation in the next week or two. I am also getting the first samples of the solenoids themselves in hand and hope to post another video!

Ellipse

19 Aug 2020, 18:16

The beam spring and beam spring displaywriter production samples arrived and I have approved the factory to finish up assembly.

I also received a few solenoid production units and posted some more details on the F62/F77 project thread. The solenoids are great, far better than the originals. Solenoid production finished and they are waiting to be in the second container shipment later this year.

Ellipse

27 Aug 2020, 18:54

All the remaining controllers were completed and will be on the next container shipment, expected later this year.

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